Nihilist arguments in Gorgias and Nāgārjuna

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 31 (6):1085-1104 (2023)
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Abstract

This paper deals with an important strand of nihilistic arguments to be found in the works of two philosophers who have so far never been studied comparatively: the sophist Gorgias and the Buddhist monk Nāgārjuna. After having reconstructed Gorgias' moves in the first section of On What is Not (Sections 1-4), the paper shows how the nihilist arguments Gorgias uses mostly feature, under a new light, in the philosophy of emptiness developed by Nāgārjuna (Sections 5-8). The paper ends with a hermeneutical suggestion: that is, to replace traditional ‘sceptical’ interpretations of Gorgias and Nāgārjuna with an alternative one, which takes them as possibly committed to nihilism.

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References found in this work

Ontological Nihilism.Jason Turner - 2011 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 6:3-54.
On the Nihilist Interpretation of Madhyamaka.Jan Westerhoff - 2016 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 44 (2):337-376.
Zenonian Strategies.David Sedley - 2017 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 53.
Causation and emptiness in early madhyamaka.Mark Siderits - 2004 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 32 (4):393-419.

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