“When we speak of an individual having a property we nominalise the predicate expressing the property we take to be constitutive and ascribe the instantiating properties to the individual thus created. There is, however, no deep ontological reason why we could not change our view of what the constitutive and what the instantiating properties are, and thereby describe the very same situation in terms of different individuals and properties. But if we accept this picture of ontology it is evident that we are not obliged to infer the existence of a substratum or underlying individual from the existence of a quality.
Of course the Mādhyamika does not deny that there are a variety of sensory and mental events that happen in close temporal and causal connection. But our ascription of these to a single self does not commit us to the existence of such a self at the ontological level, any more than the ascription of redness to a circle commits us to the existence of an individual — the circle — and the redness it instantiates. In the same way in which we select one property, such as circularity, as constitutive and then group all the other properties around this newfound ‘individual’, in the same way we select certain properties of a causal nexus of sensory and mental events, some ‘shifting coalition of psychophysical elements’ and group the remainder of the properties around this newfound ‘self’. To speak of the self and its properties in terms of substratum and quality is perfectly acceptable, as long as we do not assume that such talk is based on a distinction with an ontological grounding.”