On the Argument of Infinite Regress in Proving Self-awareness



In PV 3.440ab and 473cd–474ab, Dharmakīrti raises the argument of infinite regress (anavasthiti) twice. The argument originates from the same argument stated by Dignāga in his Pramāṇasamuccaya 1.12ab1, in which the fault of infinite regress is called aniṣṭhā. In Pramāṇasamuccayavṛtti 1.12b2, Dignāga presents another type of argument of infinite regress (anavasthā) driven by memory, which is elucidated by Dharmakīrtian commentators. The arguments were criticized by Kumārila Bhaṭṭa and Bhaṭṭa Jayanta and even more intensively so by two modern scholars, Jonardon Ganeri and Birgit Kellner. In this paper, I first examine the source of the arguments—Pramāṇasamuccayavṛtti 1.12 and its translation, based on which I provide my interpretation of the two models of arguments of infinite regress. I then offer my response, according to Dharmakīrti and his commentators, to Ganeri’s and Kellner’s critiques. By doing so, I attempt to identify the essence of these arguments is and find out to what extent one can defend the infinite regress argument in Dignāga’s and Dharmakīrti’s theory.


Buddhist epistemology Self-awareness Infinite regress Diganga Dharmakīrti 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Indologie und ZentralasienwissenschaftenUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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