Grasping Snakes and Touching Elephants: A Rejoinder to Garfield and Siderits

Journal of Indian Philosophy 42 (4):451-462 (2014)
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Some time ago I advanced on the pages of this journal a critique of the interpretation given by Jay L. Garfield and Mark Siderits (hereafter GS) of Nāgārjuna’s doctrine of the two truths (Ferraro, J Indian Philos 41(2):195–219, 2013.1); to my article the two authors responded with a ‘defense of the semantic interpretation’ of the Madhyamaka doctrine of emptiness (GS, J Indian Philos 41(6):655–664, 2013). Their reply, however, could not consider my personal understanding of Nāgārjuna’s notions of śūnyatā and dve satye. My interpretation of these notions was in fact absent in the paper GS responded, and was only related in a second paper of mine (Ferraro, J Indian Philos 41(5):563–590, 2013.2), still unpublished at the time of GS’s drafting of their ‘defense’. Therefore, in the present rejoinder, I found it appropriate, rather than responding point by point to the passages of GS’s reply, to advance a comparison between the semantic interpretation and my ‘realist antimetaphysical’ understanding of Nāgārjuna’s thought



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