David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Asian Philosophy 15 (3):231 – 246 (2005)
Over the last several years, there has been a growing controversy about whether Yogacara Buddhism can be said to be idealist in some sense, as used to be commonly thought by earlier scholars. In this paper, I first clarify the different senses of idealism that might be pertinent to the debate. I then focus on some of the works of Vasubandhu, limiting myself to his Vimsatika, Trimsika, and Trisvabhavanirdesa. I argue that classical Yogacara Buddhism, at least as found in these works of Vasubandhu, is closer to epistemic rather than metaphysical idealism or absolute idealism, as I understand these. However, there are undoubtedly some important differences between Vasubandhu's Yogacara and Western epistemic idealism that cast doubt on the idea that Yogacara is simply to be lumped together with Western epistemic idealism.
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