Descartes supposed have said "I think therefore I am". For him thinking entity is the Self. While Hindu sankhya-yoga system puts, both mind and intellect in products of prakriti/pradhana, separate from self that is purusha. Vedanta schools also seems to subscribe to samkhyan model of thinking entity not being self and self being only a witness/observer. Do any of the other darshanas consider thinking entity as Self or do any of the non darshana Hindu philosophical schools consider thinking entity as Self?

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    "The followers of Nyaya practically consider BUDDHI to be the Self in the worldly condition. After liberation, they consider Self as identical with the void. The Mimamsakas also practically consider Buddhi to be the Self in as much as they believe the I-CONSCIOUSNESS to be the Self The Buddhists also consider only the functions of BUDDHI as the Self." Dec 24, 2017 at 1:54
  • see my answer here - hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/7055/… Dec 24, 2017 at 4:33
  • @Tamas.If you can answer with quotes from mimsaka works which shows that they think of Self as "thinking entity" or something similar, I will accept it as answer.
    – Aks
    Dec 24, 2017 at 8:02
  • @SwamiVishwananda Yes, as I said in my question, I know Vedanta schools consider Self to be different from Buddhi/vijnanamaya kosha. That is what your answer to linked question says right? Unless I misunderstood it. I am looking for Hindu philosophical system which considers Buddhi/thinking agency itself as Self, not as upadhi or 'mirror' in which true self is reflected or false self etc. Hindu philosophical system which considers thinking entity to be actual, ultimate, true Self.
    – Aks
    Dec 24, 2017 at 8:10
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    @Tamas Though the Nyayikas consider Self or Atma as one of the real substances or Dravyas, what they say is that it is conscious only in bondage and becomes devoid of consciousness after liberation.
    – SMJoe
    Jan 15, 2018 at 15:33

2 Answers 2


Though I don't know of any specific sources which directly claim that Self is Intellect/Thought, ie Atma is Buddhi, but you can certainly find that such schools existed - one being the Buddhist - as their arguments have been mentioned and systematically rejected in the Dakshinamurthy Stotra here.

One needs to be careful when comparing with Descartes (or any Western philosopher) though, as he doesn't differentiate the Mind, ie mental substance, into Mana, Buddhi, Ahankara, etc as is typically done in Indian system.
So, the 'Mind' of Descrates could also mean Prana(Life-Breath) or Vijnana(Consciousness) or Buddhi(Intellect) or Ahankara(Ego), and even the Carvakas could be considered here.


Desire, aversion, volition, pleasure, pain and intelligence are the marks of the soul. - Nyaya Sutra I.I.10

So, according to the Nyaya school, intelligence is the quality or the attribute of the soul.

Reference -

  • The Nyaya Sutras of Gotama translated by Mahamahopadhyay Satisa Chandra Vidyabhushana, Revised and Edited by Nandalal Sinha, 2nd Ed. (The Sacred Books of the Hindus, Volume VIII)
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    But it's like of the many attributes, not equivalence, I guess?!
    – Vivikta
    Apr 23, 2022 at 7:55
  • @Vivikta, True. Apr 23, 2022 at 8:14

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