Reconceptualising Selfhood and Identity in Indian Tradition: A Philosophical Investigation


  • Deepak Kumar Sethy JNU, New Delhi.



Self, Identity


This paper presents a synoptic overview of two key philosophical concepts – self and identity - in Indian tradition. Drawing on both Indian and Western studies on the concept of self-hood and its implications for conceptualising identity, the paper reviews the contemporary scholarship on self-hood and outlines its relation to identity needs to be rethought if ethical possibilities of self-hood are to be given due consideration. This paper asks and addresses the nature and experience of the self in the Indian intellectual tradition, how representative Indian thinkers conceptualised the self, how such a conception of self-hood engages with the overall conception of Western history of self-hood and so on. The paper offers a comparative study of self-hood that not only underscores the significant points of convergence and divergence as theorised in Indian and Western philosophical traditions but also highlights how certain conceptions of self-hood and identity enable the project of the self’s ethical transformation.

Author Biography

Deepak Kumar Sethy, JNU, New Delhi.

PhD Scholar, Centre for Philosophy, JNU, New Delhi.


Mohanty, J. N. (2000). The self and its other: Philosophical essay. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Organ, T. W. (1964). The self in Indian philosophy, Netherland: Mouton and co publisher.

Kumar, S. (2005). Self, society and value: Reflection on Indian philosophical thought. Delhi: Vidyanidhi Prakashan.

Nicholson, A. J. (2001). Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and identity in Indian intellectual history. New Delhi: Colombia University Press.

Ram-Prasa, Chakravarti. (2013). Divine self, human self. London: Bloomsbury Academic Publishing.

Paranjpe, Anand. C. (1998). Self and identity in modern psychology and Indian thought. New York and London: Plenum Press.

Mohanty, J. N. (1993). Essay on Indian philosophy traditional and modern. (P. Bilimoria, Ed.). Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Ames, R. T., Dissanayake, W., & Kasulis, T. P. (Eds.). (1997). Self as a person in Asian theory and practice. Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications.

Deutsch, E., & Bontekoe, R. (Eds.). (1997). A companion to world philosophy, UK: Blackwell Publishing.

Hume, D. (1961). A treatise of human nature. London, J. M. Dent.

Hawley, Katherine. (2001). How things persists. New York: Oxford University Press.

Thomson, J. J. (1983). Parthood and identity across time. The Journal of Philosophy, 80, No. 4, pp. 201-220 .

Noonan, H. W. (1991). Indeterminate identity, contingent identity and Abelardian predicates. The Philosophical Quarterly, 41, No. 163, pp. 183-193.

Black, M. (1952).The identity indiscernible. Mind, New series, 61, No. 242, pp. 153-164.

Ram-Prasad, C. (2001). Saving the self? Classical Hindu theories of consciousness and contemporary physicalism. Philosophy East and West, 51, No. 3, pp. 378-392.

Raju, P. T. (1978). Self and body: How known and differentiated.” the Monist, 61, No. 1, pp. 135-155.




How to Cite

Kumar Sethy, D. (2021). Reconceptualising Selfhood and Identity in Indian Tradition: A Philosophical Investigation. Tattva Journal of Philosophy, 13(2), 19-39.