John Dewey and the buddhist philosophy of the middle way

Asian Philosophy 16 (2):87 – 98 (2006)
This paper argues that the central philosophical movement in the complex history of Buddhism that originated with Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha and carried on by Nāgārjuna (among other later Buddhist philosophers) shares some common themes with the pragmatic philosophy of John Dewey. These themes are the rejection of traditional metaphysics as definitive of philosophy, a return to the correct understanding of the nature of experience, and a particular view about the conduct and nature of philosophy. Dewey is used to illuminate such controversial problems in the Buddhist tradition as why the Buddha is silent about metaphysical questions, what it means to say that everything is anitya, and how we are to understand Nāgārjuna's key concepts of prattyasamutpāda and únyatá.
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