Naturalizing Buddhist Epistemology

Christian Coseru

in Perceiving Reality

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199843381
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979851 | DOI:
Naturalizing Buddhist Epistemology

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This chapter examines the main presuppositions that are implicit in any scholarly endeavour concerned with the analysis and interpretation of non-Western philosophical traditions: the method and style of argumentation, the theoretical intuitions that inform our argumentative strategies, and the issue of innovation (offering new solutions to perennial philosophical problems). It argues for the need to engage the arguments of the Buddhist epistemologists in ways that make their thought relevant to contemporary philosophical debates, and explores several ways of achieving that end. It thus identifies certain tensions in Buddhist philosophy, principally between doctrinal positions and open-ended argumentative strategies. In the course of this discussion, it also provides a critique of the classical theory of concepts, interprets the Buddhist epistemological program as system of pragmatic reasoning, and explores the tension between epistemic authority and the means by which such authority is to be ascertained. Lastly, it showcases the relevance of empirical research on perception to the Buddhist analyses of consciousness and cognition, and asks whether phenomenological naturalism offers a viable way of making the Buddhist project continuous with contemporary philosophical concerns.

Keywords: comparative philosophy; pragmatic reasoning; discourse analysis; active perception theory; philology versus philosophy; evidence; concepts; universals; Quine; Husserl

Chapter.  18954 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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