Knowledge and Liberation: Philosophical Ruminations on a Buddhist Conundrum

Philosophy East and West 52 (3):326 - 345 (2002)
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Abstract

A philosophical analysis is offered of the relationship between knowledge and liberation in Buddhism. Buddhists often consider the knowledge of impermanence as a key to liberation from craving, attachment, and hence suffering. However, it can be objected that one may know that things are impermanent and yet still be subject to craving and attachment. In the face of this objection, critical consideration is given to five ways in which one might preserve the claim that a knowledge of things as they actually are results in liberation from craving and attachment. Many Buddhists might in fact reject the thesis that knowledge alone, no matter how it is characterized, is a sufficient condition for liberation

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