This article – which includes a complete translation of Mūlamadhyamakakārikā chapter 2 together with Candrakīrti’s commentary thereon – argues that notwithstanding the many different and often arcane interpretations that have been offered of Nāgārjuna’s arguments against motion, there is really just one straightforward kind of argument on offer in this vexed chapter. It is further argued that this basic argument can be understood as a philosophically interesting one if it is kept in mind that the argument essentially has to do (...) with whether a personal level of description will admit of an exhaustively impersonal explanation. (shrink)
Aiming to complicate this story, Dan Arnold confronts a significant obstacle to popular attempts at harmonizing classical Buddhist and modern scientific thought: since most Indian Buddhists believe that the mental continuum is uninterrupted ...
Framed as a consideration of the other contributions to the present volume of the Journal of Indian Philosophy , this essay attempts to scout and characterize several of the interrelated doctrines and issues that come into play in thinking philosophically about the doctrine of svasaṃvitti , particularly as that was elaborated by Dignāga and Dharmakīrti. Among the issues thus considered are the question of how mānasapratyakṣa (which is akin to manovijñāna ) might relate to svasaṃvitti ; how those related doctrines (...) might be brought to bear with respect to some problems addressed with reference to the further doctrine (also closely related to svasaṃvitti ) concerning pramāṇaphala ; and the distinctiveness of Dharmakīrti’s sahopalambhaniyama argument for svasaṃvitti . A question recurrently considered throughout the essay has to do with whether (following Akeel Bilgrami) svasaṃvitti reflects a perceptual or a constitutive understanding of self-awareness. (shrink)
Some influential interpreters of Dharmakīrti have suggested understanding his thought in terms of a ‘sliding scale of analysis.’ Here it is argued that this emphasis on Dharmakīrti's alternating philosophical perspectives, though helpful in important respects, obscures the close connection between the two views in play (identified by later commentators as ‘Sautrāntika’ and ‘Yogācāra’). Indeed, with respect to these perspectives as Dharmakīrti develops them, the epistemology is the same either way. Insofar as that is right, John Dunne's characterization of Dharmakīrti's Yogācāra (...) as ‘epistemic idealism’ may not, after all, distinguish this perspective from Sautrāntika; indeed, epistemic idealism can be understood as just the view these positions share. Thus, what distinguishes the ‘Yogācāra’ section of Dharmakīrti's texts is simply his making explicit that epistemological commitments the Sautrāntika does (or at least can coherently) hold are already compatible with idealism. Sautrāntika and Yogācāra thus differ only when one turns to the metaphysical arguments that (on the idealist's view) additionally show that only such mental things as sense data could be real. (shrink)
Dharmakīrti, elaborating one of the Buddhist tradition's most complete defenses of rebirth, advanced some of this tradition's most explicitly formulated arguments for mind-body dualism. At the same time, Dharmakīrti himself may turn out to be vulnerable to some of the same kinds of arguments pressed against physicalists. It is revealing, then, that in arguing against physicalism himself, Dharmakīrti does not have available to him what some would judge to be more promising arguments for dualism (arguments, in particular, following Kant's 2nd (...) Critique) – and indeed, that these arguments actually cut against Dharmakīrti's own position. After elaborating and characterizing Dharmakīrti's case for rebirth, then, this article briefly considers an argument that Dharmakīrti cannot himself enlist for this purpose. (shrink)
Two strikingly similar critiques of epistemological foundationalism are examined: J. L. Austin's critique of A. J. Ayer in the former's "Sense and Sensibilia," and part of Candrakīrti's critique of Dignāga in the first chapter of the "Prasannapadā." With respect to Austin, it is argued that his writings on epistemology in fact relate quite closely to his better-known philosophy of speech acts, and that the appeal to ordinary language is part of a transcendental argument against the possibility of radical skepticism. It (...) is then argued that Candrakīrti makes some very similar moves, and that his argument against Dignāga makes still clearer the sense in which both Austin and Candrakīrti can be characterized as making transcendental arguments. In particular, if a condition of the possibility of meaningful discourse is the making of certain kinds of assents, then the epistemologist's demand for the justification of those assents is unreasonable. (shrink)
The Mīmāṃsāka doctrine of "svatah prāmānya" ("intrinsic validity") has seldom been given the serious philosophical attention it deserves. This doctrine in fact grows out of a sophisticated critique of epistemological foundationalism. This critique, as well as the larger project that it serves, has striking similarities with the philosophical project advanced in William Alston's "Perceiving God". A comparison of the two helps to highlight the strengths and the problems of both projects, and shows, perhaps more importantly, that the Mīmāṃsāka doctrine is (...) in fact still relevant, as it resembles one of the more interesting positions currently in play in contemporary philosophy. (shrink)