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Other usages?![edit]

I think "awareness of awareness" is the main use. The more technical senses of the word seem to be in the domains of specialists in Gestalt psychology and Kant. On the surface, it seems to me that that students of Vedic literature are taking off from the Gestalt use of the term.

In any case, there is something a bit strange, dare I say arrogant, about Wikipedia article that relegates Webster's definition to beiong an "other usage". Please discuss. I may edit this. --Munge 23:17, 22 March 2006 (UTC) _________

The following definition for apperception is from: Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 .

"the comprehension or assimilation of something, for example, a new idea, in terms of previous experiences or perceptions"

This is all it says.

If you would like to expand the technical senses please do. And you may want to put those first. But it would be intellecutally disingenuous to go the the opposite extreme and exclude the more common usage I think. Please improve the site. Thank you.

Another definition (free farlex dictionary)

ap·per·cep·tion (pr-spshn) n. 1. Conscious perception with full awareness. 2. The process of understanding by which newly observed qualities of an object are related to past experience.

So it seems to have 2 definitions. Both should be included here, with some expansion. After all this is an encycopedia and not a dictionary. Please expand.

We may need a disambiguation page for this term.


As far as the "awareness of awareness" definition being the more well-used usage, I can't coroberate that. This usage appears to me to be unique to Immanuel Kant and any such usage is the much more technical abstraction of the term from philosophy. But I'm not sure. Would appreciate if someone would clarify this word. Dictionaries vary.


JA: I've added a couple from Runes. Use the local style sheet as far as exact quotes, paraphrase, etc. There's also the more specific Kantian sense that I'll toss in later. Jon Awbrey 14:08, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

JA: P.S. I'm guessing the capitalization comes from the German Apperzeption in Kant, which won't really work in English orthography. Jon Awbrey 14:12, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

Thank you Jon. This is vastly improved and also helps my own understanding.

Third opinion[edit]

'Apperception' is an English word, and there is an etymology from Latin given. Fine. Inclusion of Sanskrit and Tibetan 'equivalents' is speculative _at best_ absent any source or discussion of how the terms may (or _may not_) be related.

Sagely advice, ensure all materials in the Western section are sourced and cited otherwise they will be removed as conjecture and hearsay within 108 days.
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 03:48, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
That's not my responsibility, as I'm not the editor who added them so save your threats (Which is what you're making ) for someone who cares and tend to thy own house. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:58, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Due to a lack of compassion and responsible care, there is canker in your house, attend to it! You perceive the caveat of 108 days as a threat? I perceive 108 days as generosity and a call to action.
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 05:28, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Removed unreadable off-topic original research. It doesn't matter if it is cited. The material does not use the word "apperception" and is off topic. This is an English encyclopedia. Syncretizing terms is a type of original research. Redletternight (talk) 18:26, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

removed again, unsourced, unreadable, OR was restored by B9 Hummingbird Hovering. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:41, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Original research? I have quoted the articles that associate the terms. It is all cited and you removed all the citations to leave the article with none. You are the one who is misrepresenting this topic which you have provided no sources to qualitatively improve.
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 03:30, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Third Opinion (redux)[edit]

B9 hummingbird hovering has three times now restored material what was removed as unencyclopedic OR with _no discussion_ whatsoever, despite his/her/its assurances during a recent block [[4]] that he/she would engage in constructive dialog when making such changes. Could a neutral editor please assess the contested material.

Look my edits are cited and in the body of work to which I make reference, apperception is central and key and their inclusion in this article is most definitely not 'off topic'. The article is just not saying what the reactionary detractors wants it to say and they are not open to have it include voices of different people, me in this instance, and the learnings of different cultures. I am quite comfortable and empowered by different voices and dialogue. Some people are unsettled and undermined by such dialogue. Wikipedia is a dialogic exercise and study into such different narratives. What is their understanding of apperception? Very rigid and uninformed. The apperception as process is a human cultural universal. Apperception is a polyvalent term but all the meanings are related to the term. Do you see the first entry on this talk page, it mentions Vedic literature. This is my area of specialty. This is the dialogue I am including.B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 08:03, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
"Wikipedia is a dialogic exercise and study into such different narratives. " -- news to me. Please review WP:NOT —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:18, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes and I was blocked that time due to an agenda of worked misrepresentation and it appears on the face of it that is happening again. I have entered into dialogue on this discussion page, so that statement that I have not is false and my inclusion is not original research, it is defensible and cited. I find it interesting and worthy of note that this person does not embrace the transparency of a Wikipedia user-name which provides the ability to ascertain quality of contributions. I edit in the volatile and passionate area of spiritual traditions and consider that I have done so honorably. Indeed, few articles of Buddhism on Wikipedia have not been iterated and qualitatively improved with citations or quotations by my hand. Moreover, the above attribution of 'syncretization' of terms as original research is unfounded as I have cited where the terms have been associated in the literature.
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 01:21, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

I am a neutral editor and have a degree in philosophy. I agree this original research does not belong in this article. B9 hummingbird hovering should desist from reinserting it. What's further, as stated before, this material is off-topic and brings confusion rather than clarity. People deserve to know basically what the word "apperception" means in its various contexts. What B9 hummingbird hovering is describing is concepts that he is trying to syncretize with the English word apperception, and that is the original research part of his additions. They add nothing to the article but his opinions in the guise of cited research. Dazedbythebell (talk) 14:42, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

A degree? In philosophy but not sound judgement. Original research? It is all cited therefore in Wikipedia's protocol it is not original research. Syncretic? That charge is false and proven so. I have not included any of my own opinions so that charge is unfounded. In fact, to you who hold a degree in philosophy, you have demonstrated the worth of your learning. I was going to concede this round but upon investigation I noticed that this 'neutral editor' is a new user account and therefore has no editing history. I have edited 8000 independent articles in Wikipedia. Therefore, I am the senior editor in this instance. I recommend you find a sound neutral party. Energy does not lie and honour does not rest.
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 05:24, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Being more or less "senior" is irrelevant. Consensus is what matters, and it is clear that, in this case, the consensus is that this material does not belong. Edhubbard (talk) 05:35, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Contested version of article[edit]

Apperception is discussed in both Western[1] contemplative and philosophical traditions and in Eastern traditions where 'apperception' (Sanskrit: svasaṃvedana/svasaṃvitti; Wylie: rang rig)[2] is an apt gloss or rendering taken in view of the corpus of the Western discourse.[3]

Western traditions[edit]

Caveat lector
Apperception (Latin ad + percipere, to perceive) has the following meanings:

  • In epistemology, it is "the introspective or reflective apprehension by the mind of its own inner states" (Ledger Wood in Runes).
  • In psychology, it is "the process by which new experience is assimilated to and transformed by the residuum of past experience of an individual to form a new whole" (Ledger Wood in Runes)[4]. In short, it is to perceive new experience in relation to past experience.

Example 1: We see a fire (visual perception). By apperception we correlate the appearance of fire with past experiences of being burned. Having combined present and past experience we realize this is a situation in which we should avoid placing our hand in the fire and being burned.[5]

NOTE: The above quote is bogus. James never said this in the citation provided, or elsewhere. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:12, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Example 2: A rich child and a poor child walking together come across the same ten dollar bill on the sidewalk. The rich child says it is not very much money and the poor child says it is a lot of money. The difference lies in how they apperceive the same event -- the lens of past experience through which they see and value (or devalue) the money.[6]

  • In philosophy, Kant distinguished empirical apperception from transcendental apperception. The first is "the consciousness of the concrete actual self with its changing states", the so-called "inner sense". The second is "the pure, original, unchangeable consciousness which is the necessary condition of experience as such and the ultimate foundation of the synthetic unity of experience" (Otto F. Kraushaar in Runes[7]). See Kantianism.
  • The eastern concept of the sanskara can also be looked upon as a form of apperception - seeing events through the lens of accumulated impressions.

Rowlands (2001: p.124) states that:

The most significant aspect of consciousness, I shall try to show, is its structure, its hybrid character. Consciousness can be both act and object of experience. Using the somewhat metaphorical notion of directing, we might say that consciousness is not only the directing of awareness but can be that upon which awareness is directed. Consciousness is not only the act of conscious experience, it can be experience's object. [emphasis is original][8]

In the above quotation the metaphor of 'directing' is employed. In 'directing' consciousness or the mind to introspectively apperceive refer iconographic understanding of Ankusha (Sanskrit) in Buddhadharma.

Eastern traditions[edit]

'Apperception'[9] (Sanskrit: svasaṃvedana/svasaṃvitti; Wylie: rang rig)[10] is understood variously in different yana, buddhist schools, sadhana and practice lineages. These cosmetic differences are resolved in the practice of 'meditative trance' (Wylie: 'jog pa)[11]. For it is in the direct experience and associated literatures of the deep contemplative traditions of Himalayan Buddhism (Tibetan Buddhism, Nepalese Buddhism, Bhutanese Buddhism, etc) and Bon that apperception is key, eg. Dark retreat (Tibetan: mun mtshams[12]).

Nomenclature, orthography and etymology[edit]

'Apperception'[13] (Sanskrit: svasaṃvedana/svasaṃvitti; Wylie: rang rig)[14]

In the language of Zhangzhung, 'rang rig' (Wylie) is 'nges de shin'[15] where 'shin' equates to 'shes pa'. The Zhangzhung lexical item 'shin' is found in many compounds (Martin, 2004: p.158[16]) where it contributes a semantic value drawn from this semantic field: 'to know' and 'knowledge' to both nominal and verbal/process oriented lexical items.


Pettit (1999: p.129) holds that 'apperception' (Wylie: rang rig) is key to Mipham's (1846–1912) system of epistemology and hermeneutics discussed in the DRG[17] and in Mipham's Commentary to the Ninth Chapter of the Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra.[18]

Padmasambhava, Karma Lingpa, Gyurme Dorje, Graham Coleman and Thupten Jinpa (2005: p.480) define 'intrinsic awareness' which is a rendering of the Tibetan Wylie 'rang-rig' and the Sanskrit 'svasaṃvitti' or 'svasaṃvedana' according to the precedent established in Indian Buddhist epistemology and in the writings of the lauded logicians Dignāga and Dharmakīrti that this technical:

...term svasaṃvedana refers to the apperceptive or reflexive faculty of consciousness, for which reason it is sometimes rendered as 'reflexive awareness' or 'apperceptive awareness'. However, in the view of the Great Perfection (rdzog-pa chen-po) and in the context of the present work [The Tibetan Book of the Dead], the same term refers to the fundamental innate mind in its natural state of spontaneity and purity, beyond the alternating states of motion and rest and the subject-object dichotomy. It is therefore rendered here as 'intrinsic awareness'. As such, intrinsic awareness gives the meditator access to pristine cognition [ye-shes; jñāna] or the buddha-mind [thugs, citta] itself, and it stands in direct contrast to fundamental ignorance ([ma-rig-pa,] avidyā), which is the primary cause of rebirth in cyclic existence (['khor-ba,] samsara). The direct introduction to intrinsic awareness is a distinctive teaching within the Nyingma school.... This practice is a central component of the Esoteric Instruction Class ([man-ngag-gi sde,] upadeśa[varga]) of Atiyoga, where it is known as Cutting Through Resistance (Khregs-chod).[19]

Williams, et. al. (2000, 2002: p.264) conveys an epistemological commonality held by Dharmakirti and Śāntarakṣita which holds that all is sentient consciousness:

There is also an epistemological argument found in thinkers like Dharmakirti and Santaraksita. How does consciousness know ‘external’ physical objects, when consciousness itself is of a completely different order from matter? Consciousness has a reflexive quality of knowing (svasamvedana), while matter has no such reflexivity. Clearly only things of the same basic order of reality can contact each other. Thus either all must be matter, or all must be consciousness. But if all were matter then there would be no experience at all. Since there patently is experience, all must be consciousness.[20]

Eight Great Difficult Points[edit]

Tsongkhapa’s dictated 'Notes on the Eight Great Difficult Points of the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā' (Wylie: ba shes rab kyi dka’ gnad chen po brgyad kyi brjed byang) were transcribed by his disciple rGyal-tshab-rje. The fifth point contends with 'apperception' (Wylie: rang rig).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Please accept my apologies for the perpetuation of the arbitrary construction of Eastern and Western discourse: If we reify the polarity of the Occident and Orient, a historical literature review may reveal the attribution of meditative disciplines to the East and prayerful disciplines to the West. Just as the East and West are but arbitrary compass constructions of an all-encompassing Globe, so too are the disciplines of prayer and meditation complimentary, interpenetrating and essentially indivisible. The perpetuation of these cultural and historical misattributions obscures the boundary-permeable manifold experience of individuals and communities that traverse this ill-constructed ideo-geographical binary.
  2. ^ Williams, Paul (1998, 2000). The Reflexive Nature of Awareness: A Tibetan Madhyamaka Defence. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 978-0700710300, p.xi
  3. ^ Pettit, John Whitney (1999). Mipham's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection. Boston: Wisdom Publications. p. 129. ISBN 0861711572. 
  4. ^ Runes, Dagobert D. (ed.), Dictionary of Philosophy, Littlefield, Adams, and Company, Totowa, NJ, 1972.
  5. ^ From a discussion of apperception by William James, "Talks to Teachers," Chapter 14
  6. ^ The Evolution of Perception and the Cosmology of Substance by Christopher Ott, 2004.
  7. ^ Runes, Dagobert D. (ed.), Dictionary of Philosophy, Littlefield, Adams, and Company, Totowa, NJ, 1972.
  8. ^ Rowlands, Mark (2001). The nature of consciousness. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521808588. Source: [1] (accessed: Sunday April 12, 2009), p.124
  9. ^ Pettit, John Whitney (1999). Mipham's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection. Boston: Wisdom Publications. p. 129. ISBN 0861711572. 
  10. ^ Williams, Paul (1998, 2000). The Reflexive Nature of Awareness: A Tibetan Madhyamaka Defence. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 978-0700710300, p.xi
  11. ^ Pettit, John Whitney (1999). Mipham's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection. Boston: Wisdom Publications. p. 126. ISBN 0861711572. 
  12. ^ Allione, Tsultrim (2000). Women of Wisdom. (Includes transcribed interview with Namkhai Norbu) Source: [2] (accessed: November 15, 2007)
  13. ^ Pettit, John Whitney (1999). Mipham's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection. Boston: Wisdom Publications. p. 129. ISBN 0861711572. 
  14. ^ Williams, Paul (1998, 2000). The Reflexive Nature of Awareness: A Tibetan Madhyamaka Defence. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 978-0700710300, p.xi
  15. ^ Jacques, Guillaume (2008). Zhang-zhung and Qiangic languages. National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka. Source: [3] (accessed: Sunday April 12, 2009), p.6
  16. ^ Martin, Dan 2004. Zhang-zhung dictionary. electronic publication.
  17. ^ DRG = Mipham's 'Don rnam par nges pa'i shes rab ral gri' (Wylie) a text within 'lHag bsam bstan pa'i ryal mtshan, 1984' (Wylie)
  18. ^ Pettit, John Whitney (1999). Mipham's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection. Boston: Wisdom Publications. p. 129. ISBN 0861711572. 
  19. ^ Padmasambhava (composed), Karma Linga (revealed), Gyurme Dorje (translated), Graham Coleman (Editor) and Thupten Jinpa (Associate) (2006). The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation by Hearing in the Intermediate States. London, England: Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN-13: 978-0-140-45529-8. p.480
  20. ^ Williams, Paul with Anthony Tribe (2000, 2002). Buddhist Thought: A complete introduction to the Indian tradition. Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2002.

Further reading[edit]

  • Yao, Zhihua (2005). The Buddhist Theory of Self-Cognition. (Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism) (Hardcover). Routledge. ISBN-13: 978-0415344319
  • Runes, Dagobert D. (ed.), Dictionary of Philosophy, Littlefield, Adams, and Company, Totowa, NJ, 1972.

External links[edit]