By Jay L. Garfield
This quantity collects Jay Garfield's essays on Madhyamaka, Yog-ac-ara, Buddhist ethics and cross-cultural hermeneutics. the 1st half addresses Madhyamaka, supplementing Garfield's translation of primary knowledge of the center method (OUP, 1995), a foundational philosophical textual content through the Buddhist saint Nagarjuna. Garfield then considers the paintings of philosophical opponents, and sheds very important gentle at the relation of Nagarjuna's perspectives to different Buddhist and non-Buddhist philosophical positions.
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Extra info for Empty Words: Buddhist Philosophy and Cross-Cultural Interpretation
The Dharma itself And the conventional truth Will be contradicted. The opponent opens the chapter by claiming that if the entire phenomenal world were empty nothing would in fact exist, a conclusion absurd on its face and, more important, contradictory to fundamental Buddhist tenets such as the Four Noble Truths (24: 1-6) as well as to conventional wisdom. The implicit Dependent Arising and the Emptiness of Emptiness 35 dilemma with which Nagarjuna confronts himself is elegant (24: 6). For as we have seen, the distinction between the Two Truths, or two vantagepoints—the ultimate and the conventional—is fundamental to his own method.
And how would one defend such metaphysical extravagance? ) The source of the error has yet to be identified and examined. And here is where Nagarjuna's insight can be applied. Nagarjuna pointed out, as Hume would some sixteen centuries later, that while regularities are to be found in nature, and while explanation must exploit regularities, appeal to some occult causal nexus joining explanans to explanandum, or predecessor event to successor event is both otiose and ultimately incoherent. But it is this misguided, unreflective image of such a "cement of the universe" that holds the natural order together, and at that in very thin mortar joints, that underlies causal reificationism.
And does the skeptic of owe us some account of why the practice of exploiting regularities in nature for the purposes of explanation is itself justified? There is a point to this objection, and the skeptical response illuminates the structure of the enterprise. It may indeed be that the skeptic unwittingly dogmatizes. But if she or he does, that fact will emerge and be treatable by subsequent skeptical therapy. Skeptical analysis may well be interminable analysis. But that does not undermine its utility.