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Profile: Sonam Thakchoe (University of Tasmania)
  1. Sonam Thakchoe (2012). Candrakīrti’s Theory of Perception: A Case for Non-Foundationalist Epistemology in Madhyamaka. Acta Orientalia Vilnensia 11 (1):93-125.
    Some argue that Candrakīrti is committed to rejecting all theories of perception in virtue of the rejection of the foundationalisms of the Nyāya and the Pramāṇika. Others argue that Candrakīrti endorses the Nyāya theory of perception. In this paper, I will propose an alternative non-foundationalist theory of perception for Candrakīriti. I will show that Candrakrti’s works provide us sufficient evidence to defend a typical Prāsagika’s account of perception that, I argue, complements his core non-foundationalist ontology.
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  2. Sonam Thakchoe (2012). Prasangika's Semantic Nominalism: Reality is Linguistic Concept. [REVIEW] Journal of Indian Philosophy 40 (4):427-452.
    Buddhist semantic realists assert that reality is always non-linguistic, beyond the domain of conceptual thought. Anything that is conceptual and linguistic, they maintain, cannot be reality and therefore cannot function as reality.The Pra¯san˙gika however rejects the realist theory and argues that all realities are purely linguistic—just names and concepts—and that only linguistic reality can have any causal function. This paper seeks to understand the Pra¯san˙gika’s radical semantic nominalism and its philosophical justifications by comparing and contrasting it with the realistic semantic (...)
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  3. Georges Dreyfus, Bronwyn Finnigan, Jay Garfield, Guy Newland, Graham Priest, Mark Siderits, Koji Tanaka, Sonam Thakchoe, Tom Tillemans & Jan Westerhoff (eds.) (2011). Moonshadows. Conventional Truth in Buddhist Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    The doctrine of the two truths--a conventional truth and an ultimate truth--is central to Buddhist metaphysics and epistemology. The two truths (or two realities), the distinction between them, and the relation between them is understood variously in different Buddhist schools and is of special importance to the Madhyamaka school. The fundamental ideas are articulated with particular force by Nagarjuna (2nd--3rd century CE) who famously claims that the two truths are identical to one another, and yet distinct. One of the most (...)
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  4.  5
    Jan Westerhoff, Jay Garfield, Tom Tillemans, Graham Priest, Georges Dreyfus, Sonam Thakchoe, Guy Newland, Mark Siderits, Brownwyn Finnigan & Koji Tanaka (2011). Moonshadows. Conventional Truth in Buddhist Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    The doctrine of the two truths - a conventional truth and an ultimate truth - is central to Buddhist metaphysics and epistemology. The two truths (or two realities), the distinction between them, and the relation between them is understood variously in different Buddhist schools; it is of special importance to the Madhyamaka school. One theory is articulated with particular force by Nagarjuna (2nd ct CE) who famously claims that the two truths are identical to one another and yet distinct. One (...)
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  5.  28
    Sonam Thakchoe (2007). The Two Truths Debate: Tsongkhapa and Gorampa on the Middle Way. Wisdom Publications.
    All lineages of Tibetan Buddhism today claim allegiance to the philosophy of the Middle Way, the exposition of emptiness propounded by the second-century Indian master Nagarjuna. But not everyone interprets it the same way. A major faultline runs through Tibetan Buddhism around the interpretation of what are called the two truths-the deceptive truth of conventional appearances and the ultimate truth of emptiness. An understanding of this faultline illuminates the beliefs that separate the Gelug descendents of Tsongkhapa from contemporary Dzogchen and (...)
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  6.  16
    Sonam Thakchoe, The Theory of Two Truths in India. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  7.  17
    Sonam Thakchoe (2003). 'The Relationship Between the Two Truths': A Comparative Analysis of Two Tibetan Accounts. Contemporary Buddhism 4 (2):111-127.
    Introduction Na?ga?rjuna, the most well-known Buddhist thinker after the Buddha himself, points out in his famous Mu?lamadhyamakaka?rika? that ?The Buddha's teachings of the Dharma is based on the two truths: a truth of worldly conventions and an ultimate truth? (XXIV:8). This doctrine of the two truths does indeed lie at the very heart of Buddhism. More particularly, the phenomenological and soteriological discourses in the Ma?dhyamika tradition revolve around ideas concerning the two truths. Central to the doctrine is the concept that (...)
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  8.  33
    Sonam Thakchoe (2013). Prāsaṅgika Epistemology: A Reply to Stag Tsang's Charge Against Tsongkhapa's Uses of Pramāṇa in Candrakīrti's Philosophy. Journal of Indian Philosophy 41 (5):535-561.
    Stag tsang, amongst others, has argued that any use of mundane pramāṇa—authoritative cognition—is incompatible with the Prāsaṅgika system. His criticism of Tsongkhapa’s interpretation of Candrakīrti’s Madhyamaka which insists on the uses of pramāṇa (tha snyad pa’i tshad ma)—authoritative cognition—within the Prāsaṅgika philosophical context is that it is contradictory and untenable. This paper is my defence of Tsongkhapa’s approach to pramāṇa in the Prāsaṅgika philosophy. By showing that Tsongkhapa consistently adopts a non-foundationalist approach in his interpretation of the Prāsaṅgika’s epistemology, and (...)
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    Sonam Thakchoe (2008). Gorampa on the Objects of Negation: Arguments for Negating Conventional Truths. Contemporary Buddhism 9 (2):265-280.
    In this paper I explore Gorampa’s conception of the objects of negation. My primary aim is to show that, in Gorampa’s conception of the objects of negation, negating the extreme existent (bha ̄va/yod pa)—the first of the tetralemma (catuskoti/mtha’ bzhi)— __ entails negating the conventional realities qua truths themselves. The paper first identifies Gorampa’s notions of the objects of negation soteriogically and epistemically, and second it considers Gorampa’s arguments defending his treatment of truths (bden pa) as the objects of negation. (...)
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  10.  17
    Sonam Thakchoe (2005). 'Transcendental Knowledge'in Tibetan Mādhyamika Epistemology. Contemporary Buddhism 6 (2):131-152.
    At least in as much as it is accessible to ?transcendental wisdom?, Tsong khapa and Go rampa both maintain that ultimate truth is an object of knowledge. So granting that ultimate truth is an object of knowledge and that transcendental wisdom its knowing subject, this paper attempts to address one key epistemological problem: how does transcendental wisdom know or realise ultimate truth? The responses from the Tibetan Mådhyamikas entail that transcendental wisdom knows ultimate truth in at least two different ways: (...)
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    Sonam Thakchoe (2004). How Many Truths? Are There Two Truths or One in the Tibetan Prāsa[Ndot]Gika Madhyamaka? Contemporary Buddhism 5 (2):121-141.
    The paper demonstrates that the Tibetan Prāsaṅgika Madhyamaka offers both pluralistic and monistic paradigms for interpreting the Mādhyamika's doctrine of the two truths. Tsong khapa’s interpretation, the paper argues, represents pluralistic a model while Go rampa’s interpretation a monistic model. The arguments are considered through two separate moves. The first move forms the basis for the second. In the first move the papers explores the arguments relating to the ‘basis of the division of the truths’. While the second move integrates (...)
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    Sonam Thakchoe (2007). Status of Conventional Truth in Tsong Khapa's Mādhyamika Philosophy. Contemporary Buddhism 8 (1):31-47.
    This paper examines how and why conventional truth is, in Tsong khapa’s view, false and deceptive yet indeed truth that stands shoulder to shoulder with ultimate truth. The first part of the paper establishes the complementary nature of the two truths by responding to the question ‘Why is conventional truth “truth” at all?’ The discussion in the second part examines the uses of conventional discourse within the Maādhyamika philosophical framework—partly by discussing Tsong khapa’s response to the question ‘Why is conventional (...)
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