Philosophy Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 7 - Question 5

90 Days Philosophy Answer Writing Practice Question 1 for 28-Dec-2018

Instructions for Writing Answer

1. Write your answers in the comment section.


2. Experts will provide their feedback in reply.

3. Model Answers will be uploaded on this page the next day.

4. Rectify your mistakes and progress further.

5. All the Best.

28-Dec-2018 - Question 1

"The soul is nothing but conscious body." What are the reasons for Carvaka in holding this view? (2017)

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Model Answer

[Note: Sutras given below in italics can be used in the final examination, will give edge over others.]

Carvaka says,

chaitanyavishistah kaya purusah” and “chaitanyavishistah deha eva atma

i.e., he argues that soul is nothing but the body characterized by consciousness, this is also known as Dehatmavada.

This arises out of his epistemological stance of considering perception as the only valid source of knowledge. (“pratyakshameva ekam pramanam”). The validity even of inference is rejected.

Carvaka admits the existence of only four elements – pruthvi(earth) – vyapas(water) – tejo(fire) – vayur(Air) as these are directly perceived. Carvaka admits only these four as the ultimate existents and rejects all other concepts of soul and God. He further says, everything which exists, including the mind, is due to a particular combination of these four elements. In other words, Bodies, senses and objects are the results of the different combinations of these four elements (tatsamudaye sharirendriyavisayasamjna).

Reasons for Dehatmavada:


  • According to him, consciousness is regarded as a product of mater, produced on a certain combination of four elements in certain proportion. As long as the body is present consciousness is present in it and it vanishes when the body disintegrates.
  • Nobody has seen consciousness apart from the living human body: Here Carvaka argues that if soul is different from body then it must be perceived so, which is not possible. Hence he argues the so-called soul is simply the conscious living body.
  • Further, common experience depicts consciousness as a quality of living body. E.g., I am fat.
  • If soul is different from living body then it must be perceived independently from body, which is not possible, as we never perceive any independent soul.


Just as the combination of betel, areca nut and lime produces the red color though the ingredients separately do not possess the red color, similarly a particular combination of the four elements produces consciousness, though the elements separately do not possess it” – Sarvasiddhantasangraha

Note: There is no template for a correct UPSC answer, the model answer is only for your reference

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