David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
International Association of Buddhist Universities 4 (2012):68-80 (2012)
Nagarjuna and Quantum physics. Eastern and Western Modes of Thought. Summary. The key terms. 1. Key term: ‘Emptiness’. The Indian philosopher Nagarjuna ( 2nd century BC ) is known in the history of Buddhism mainly by his keyword ‘sunyata’. This word is translated into English by the word ‘emptiness’. The translation and the traditional interpretations create the impression that Nagarjuna declares the objects as empty or illusionary or not real or not existing. What is the assertion and concrete statement made by this interpretation? That nothing can be found, that there is nothing, that nothing exists? Was Nagarjuna denying the external world? Did he wish to refute that which evidently is? Did he want to call into question the world in which we live? Did he wish to deny the presence of things that somehow arise? My first point is the refutation of this traditional translation and interpretation. 2. Key terms: ‘Dependence’ or ‘relational view’. My second point consists in a transcription of the keyword of ‘sunyata’ by the word ‘dependence’. This is something that Nagarjuna himself has done. Now Nagarjuna’s central view can be named ‘dependence of things’. Nagarjuna is not looking for a material or immaterial object which can be declared as a fundamental reality of this world. His fundamental reality is not an object. It is a relation between objects. This is a relational view of reality. Reality is without foundation. Or: Reality has the wide open space as foundation. 3. Key terms: ‘Arm in arm’. But Nagarjuna did not stop there. He was not content to repeat this discovery of relational reality. He went on one step further indicating that what is happening between two things. He gave indications to the space between two things. He realised that not the behaviour of bodies, but the behaviour of something between them may be essential for understanding the reality. This open space is not at all empty. It is full of energy. The open space is the middle between things. Things are going arm in arm. The middle might be considered as a force that bounds men to the world and it might be seen as well as a force of liberation. It might be seen as a bondage to the infinite space. 4. Key term: Philosophy. Nagarjuna, we are told, was a Buddhist philosopher. This statement is not wrong when we take the notion ‘philosophy’ in a deep sense as a love to wisdom, not as wisdom itself. Philosophy is a way to wisdom. Where this way has an end wisdom begins and philosophy is no more necessary. A.N. Whitehead gives philosophy the commission of descriptive generalisation. We do not need necessarily a philosophical building of universal dimensions. Some steps of descriptive generalisation might be enough in order to see and understand reality. There is another criterion of Nagarjuna’s philosophy. Not his keywords ‘sunyata’ and ‘pratityasamutpada’ but his 25 philosophical examples are the heart of his philosophy. His examples are images. They do not speak to rational and conceptual understanding. They speak to our eyes. Images, metaphors, allegories or symbolic examples have a freshness which rational ideas do not possess. Buddhist dharma and philosophy is a philosophy of allegories. This kind of philosophy is not completely new and unknown to European philosophy. Since Plato’s allegory of the cave it is already a little known. (Plato 424 – 348 BC) The German philosopher Hans Blumenberg has underlined the importance of metaphors in European philosophy.
|Keywords||Nagarjuna, Pratityasamutpada, Sunyata, Madhyamaka, Quantum, Einstein, Bohr, Whitehead|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Ewing Chinn (2001). Nāgārjuna's Fundamental Doctrine of Pratītyasamutpāda. Philosophy East and West 51 (1):54-72.
Christian Thomas Kohl (ed.) (2012). Nagarjuna and Quantum Physics. AV Akademikerverlag.
Ewing Chinn (2001). Nagarjuna's Fundamental Principle of Pratityasamutpada. Philosophy East and West 51 (1):54-72.
Christian Thomas Kohl (2008). Buddhism and Quantum Physics. Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies 9 (2008):45-62.
Christian Thomas Kohl (2007). Buddhism and Quantum Physics. A Strange Parallelism of Two Concepts of Reality. Contemporary Buddhism 8 (1):69-82.
Jay L. Garfield & Graham Priest (2003). Nagarjuna and the Limits of Thought. Philosophy East and West 53 (1):1-21.
Chien-Hsing Ho (2010). Nāgārjuna's Critique of Language. Asian Philosophy 20 (2):159-174.
John Schroeder (2000). Nāgārjuna and the Doctrine of "Skillful Means". Philosophy East and West 50 (4):559-583.
Vicente Fatone (1981). The Philosophy of Nāgārjuna. Motilal Banarsidass.
Amos Yong (2005). Christian and Buddhist Perspectives on Neuro Psychology and the Human Person: Pneuma and Pratityasamutpada. Zygon 40 (1):143-165.
Chien-Hsing Ho (2012). The Nonduality of Speech and Silence: A Comparative Analysis of Jizang’s Thought on Language and Beyond. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11 (1):1-19.
Jan Westerhoff (2008). Nāgārjuna's Arguments on Motion Revisited. Journal of Indian Philosophy 36 (4):455-479.
S. Radhakrishnan (1989). Eastern Religions and Western Thought. Oxford University Press.
Jan Christoph Westerhoff, Nāgārjuna. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Added to index2012-04-07
Total downloads1,385 ( #71 of 1,724,889 )
Recent downloads (6 months)114 ( #4,450 of 1,724,889 )
How can I increase my downloads?