Prāsaṅgika epistemology in context

In Sonam Thakchoe, Bronwyn Finnigan, Jay Garfield, Guy Newland, Graham Priest, Mark Siderits, Koji Tanaka, Georges Dreyfus, Tom Tillemans & Jan Westerhoff (eds.), Moonshadows. Conventional Truth in Buddhist Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 39--55 (2011)

Sonam Thakchoe
University of Tasmania
Some argue that a prāsaṅgika mādhyamika is committed to rejecting all epistemic instruments (pramāṇas) in virtue of the rejection of intrinsic nature (svabhāva) and intrinsic characteristic (svalakṣaṇa). This chapter takes a different perspective, arguing that Candrakīrti accepts both conventional and rational epistemic instruments, and develops a cogent account of their respective roles in our cognitive lives. To be sure, any mādhyamika rejects intrinsic nature, but Candrakīrti shows that epistemic instruments give us access to epistemic objects precisely because they lack such nature, and that each has its appropriate sphere of use, simply because, relative to the standards appropriate to those spheres, each apprehends its respective object.
Keywords Prāsaṅgika  Epistemic instrument (pramāṇa)  Candrakīrt  Mādhyamika
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