Chapter

In Defense of Epistemological Optimism

Christian Coseru

in Perceiving Reality

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199843381
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979851 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199843381.003.0009
In Defense of Epistemological Optimism

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This chapter offers a justification for taking Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla as representative figures of the Buddhist epistemological project, and raises certain questions about methodology in the study of Non-Western philosophical traditions. One of the key issues addressed is whether there can be any real, lasting progress in using Western concepts and categories to illuminate non-Western thought, given that Western philosophy itself is in a process of constant transformation. It also considers whether adopting a naturalist paradigm, specifically in examining the Buddhist response to the mind-body problem, better showcases argumentative strategies based on the seemingly intractable evidence of non-ordinary cognitive events. Recognizing that any work of interpretation is contingent upon the theoretical and cultural presuppositions of its age, the chapter concludes by advancing an innovative way of conceiving of the relation between knowledge claims and authority, without commitment to a notion of manifest truth.

Keywords: comparative philosophy; embodiment; reductionism; mind-body problem; emergence; causal explanation; neurophenomenology; manifest truth; non-ordinary cognition

Chapter.  13363 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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