The Fang Bian Xin Lun is a text on Buddhistlogic which is thought to be the earliest one still to be extant. It appears in Chinese only (T1632). The great Italian indologist Giuseppe Tucci, believing that the text was originally a Sanskrit text, translated it into Sanskrit and gave it the title Upāyahṛdaya. The paper provides the historical background of the development of logic in Classical India up to the time of this text, summarizes its content (...) and translates its first section. (shrink)
The problem of empty terms is one of the focal issues in analytic philosophy. Russell’s theory of descriptions, a proposal attempting to solve this problem, attracted much attention and is considered a hallmark of the analytic tradition. Scholars of Indian and Buddhist philosophy, e.g., McDermott, Matilal, Shaw and Perszyk, have studied discussions of empty terms in Indian and Buddhist philosophy. But most of these studies rely heavily on the Nyāya or Navya-Nyāya sources, in which Buddhists are portrayed as (...) opponents to be defeated, and thus do not truly reflect Buddhist views on this issue. The present paper will explore how Dignāga, the founder of Buddhistlogic, deals with the issue of empty subject terms. His approach is subtle and complicated. On the one hand, he proposes a method of paraphrase that resembles Russell’s theory of descriptions. On the other, by relying on his philosophy of language—the apoha theory, he tends to fall into a panfictionalism. Through the efforts of his follower Dharmakīrti, the latter approach would become more acceptable among Indian and Tibetan Buddhists. Dignāga’s Chinese commentators, who were free from the influence of Dharmakīrti, dealt with the empty term issue in three ways: (1) by adhering to Dignāga’s method of paraphrase; (2) by allowing exceptions for non-implicative negation; and (3) by indicating the propositional attitude of a given proposition. Among these, the third proved most popular. (shrink)
A glimpse of the new application of Buddhistlogic in the seventeenth century leads us to reflect about our approach to logic in a given religious tradition: Should we isolate a logical system from the very context that has given rise to the genesis and development of such an intellectual apparatus? Methodologically, we do have the legitimate right to approach Buddhistlogic from a purely logical point of view. However, when we study the actual use (...) of Buddhistlogic in the seventeenth-century anti-Christian polemic, an analysis of its intentional application allows us to conclude that Buddhistlogic in the context of controversy is primarily apologetic. Therefore, with a methodological concern, I suggest that philosophers and logicians should reconsider the apologetic nature of logic in any given religious tradition. (shrink)
This volume collects essays by philosophers and scholars working at the interface of Western philosophy and Buddhist Studies. Many have distinguished scholarly records in Western philosophy, with expertise in analytic philosophy and logic, as well as deep interest in Buddhist philosophy. Others have distinguished scholarly records in Buddhist Studies with strong interests in analytic philosophy and logic. All are committed to the enterprise of cross-cultural philosophy and to bringing the insights and techniques of each tradition (...) to bear in order to illuminate problems and ideas of the other. These essays address a broad range of topics in the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, logic, epistemology, and metaphysics, and demonstrate the fecundity of the interaction between the Buddhist and Western philosophical and logical traditions. (shrink)
Buddhist logicians have rejected the reality of universals on the one hand, and, on the other hand, given a substitute in the form of the doctrine of Apoha. The doctrine of apoha first appears in Dinnaga’s Pramanasamuccaya, according to which words and concepts are negative by their very nature. They proceed on thebasis of negation. They express their own meaning only by repudiating their opposite meaning. The Buddhist logicians talk of two types of knowledge, viz., pratyaksa, which is (...) non- relational and anumana, which is relational. They accept nirvikalpaka pratyaksa as a pure pratyaksa, and savikalpaka pratyaksa has been merged with anumana by them. According to them, cognition is either a direct awareness of an object, which is independent of any mentalconstructionor it is an awareness of an object which is a mentalconstruction. Further, according to the Buddhist logicians inferences are of two kinds, viz., svarthanumana and pararthanumana. But they do not accept pararthanumana as a source of knowledge. Now, since perception is devoid of kalpana, perceptual knowledge is essentially non-linguistic and does not involve any general concept or universal. Thus,Apoha has no role to play in perceptual knowledge. On the other hand, savikalpaka pratyaksa and anumana are based on kalpana, thus according to the Buddhist logicians knowledge of universal is essential for both, savikalpaka pratyaksa and anumana. (shrink)
In this essay, which draws on a set of interrelated issues in the phenomenology of perception, I call into question the assumption that Buddhist philosophers of the Dignāga-Dharmakīrti tradition pursue a kind of epistemic foundationalism. I argue that the embodied cognition paradigm, which informs recent efforts within the Western philosophical tradition to overcome the Cartesian legacy, can be also found– albeit in a modified form–in the Buddhist epistemological tradition. In seeking to ground epistemology in the phenomenology of cognition, (...) the Buddhist epistemologist, I claim, is operating on principles similar to those found in Husserl’s phenomenological tradition. (shrink)
Indian philosophical thought on Pramana (valid cognition) is a rich achievement that merits attention not only for its technical brilliance and variety but also for the ways in which it reverberates with contemporary discussions in science. In a spirit of free and open enquiry, Tibet House collaborated with the Drepung Monastic University at Mundgod, Karnataka to organize a monastic debate that was both traditional and contemporary. This debate was special in that it grew upon the pre-Buddhist traditions of thought (...) on this critical question on logic while also incorporating a perspective that leapt across the centuries: that of contemporary physics. While the different schools such as Vedanta, Sankhya, Nyayavaisesika, Purvamimamsa, and Jaina were represented by scholars from academia, there was a lively interaction with monks being trained in traditional Tibetan philosophy at monasteries across India. The seminar was multilingual—with presentations and queries in Tibetan, Hindi, Sanskrit and English. While this book presents lightly edited versions of the key papers presented there, the lively debates in Tibetan could not be transcribed due to logistical difficulties. Hence, this bilingual volume attempts to make available to the scholarly community and curious students a valuable resource for understanding this crucial issue in logic from a rich, multifaceted, comparatist perspective. (shrink)
From about the fourth to the tenth century Buddhist monks in China engaged in formal, semi-public, religious disputation. I describe the Indian origins of this disputation and outline its settings, procedures, and functions. I then propose that this disputation put its participants at risk of performative contradiction with Buddhist tenets about language and salvation, and I illustrate how some chinese Buddhists attempted to transcend these contradictions, subverting disputation through creative linguistic and extra- linguistic strategies.