Advertisement

The Sense Madhyamaka Makes as a Buddhist Position: Or, How a ‘Performativist Account of the Language of Self’ Makes Sense of ‘No-Self’

  • Dan ArnoldEmail author
Article
  • 7 Downloads

Abstract

Revisiting the author’s characteristic line of interpretation of the Madhyamaka philosophy of Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti, this essay responds to critiques thereof by arguing for the sense Madhyamaka makes, on the author’s interpretation, as a Buddhist position. For purposes of the argument, it is allowed that especially on the author’s characteristic interpretation, Madhyamaka appears to have affinities with the “personalist” (pudgalavāda) doctrine long regarded by Indian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions as unorthodox. In particular, it is accepted that on this interpretation, Mādhyamika arguments to the effect that conventional truth cannot be explained away by any “ultimate” truth are tantamount to the view that a personal level of description cannot coherently be thought superseded by the kind of impersonal analysis typical of Abhidharma literature. The main burden of the essay is to explain the sense it makes to think this supposedly unorthodox embrace of the category person counts, in fact, as elaborating the tradition’s orienting no-self doctrine (anātmavāda).

Keywords

Nāgārjuna Candrakīrti Madhyamaka anātmavāda pudgalavāda Self Person Reductionism Two truths 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

References

  1. Anscombe, G. E. M. (1963). Intention. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  2. Anscombe, G. E. M. (1981). The First Person. Metaphysics and the philosophy of mind: The collected papers of G. E. M. Anscombe, Volume Two (pp. 21–36). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  3. Arnold, D. (2005). Buddhists, Brahmins, and belief: Epistemology in South in South Asian philosophy of religion. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Arnold, D. (2007). Review of Joseph Walser, Nāgārjuna in Context. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 75(3), 684–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arnold, D. (2010). Nāgārjuna’s ‘Middle Way’: A Non-Eliminative Understanding of Selflessness. Revue Internationale de Philosophie (Vol. 64, No. 253, pp. 367–395) (2010, No. 3).Google Scholar
  6. Arnold, D. (2012a). Brains, Buddhas, and Believing: The problem of intentionality in classical Buddhist and cognitive-scientific philosophy of mind. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Arnold, D. (2012b). The deceptive simplicity of Nāgārjuna’s arguments against motion: Another look at Mūlamadhyamakakārikā Chapter 2. Journal of Indian Philosophy 40/5, pp. 553–591.Google Scholar
  8. Baker, L. R. (1987). Saving belief: A critique of physicalism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bhattacharya, V. (Ed.). (1931). “The Catuḥśataka of Āryadeva: Sanskrit and Tibetan Texts with Copious Extracts from the Commentary of Candrakīrtti [sic]”, Part II—Viśva Bharati Series No. 2. Calcutta: Viśva Bharati Bookshop.Google Scholar
  10. Brandom, R. (2002). Heidegger’s Categories in Sein und Zeit. In Brandom, Tales of the mighty dead: Historical essays in the metaphysics of intentionality (pp. 298–323). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Carpenter, A. (2015). Persons keeping their Karma together: The reasons for the Pudgalavāda in early Buddhism. In: K. Tanaka, et al, (Eds.), The moon points back (pp. 1–44). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Collins, S. (1982). Selfless persons: Imagery and thought in Theravāda Buddhism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cousins, L. S. (1994). Person and Self. In: Buddhism into the year 2000: International conference proceedings (pp. 15–31). Bangkok: Dhammakaya Foundation.Google Scholar
  14. Coyne, R. (2011). A difficult proximity: The figure of Augustine in Heidegger’s path. Journal of Religion, 91(3), 365–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dreyfus, G. (1997). Recognizing reality: Dharmakīrti’s philosophy and its Tibetan interpreters. Albany: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  16. Ganeri, J. (2007). The concealed art of the soul: Theories of the self and practices of truth in Indian ethics and epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gold, J. (2014a). Paving the great way: Vasubandhu’s unifying Buddhist philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gold, J. (2014b). Review of Dan Arnold, Brains, Buddhas, and believing. Philosophy East & West, 64(4), 1054–1055.Google Scholar
  19. Goodman, C. (2012). Review of Dan Arnold, Brains, Buddhas, and believing. In: Notre Dame philosophical reviews. Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://tinyurl.com/8fdaymk.
  20. Haugeland, J. (2013). Heidegger on being a person. In J. Rouse (Ed.), Dasein disclosed: John Haugeland’s Heidegger (pp. 3–16). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and time, translated by John MacQuarrie and Edward Robinson. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  22. Kachru, S. (2015). Minds and worlds: A philosophical commentary on the Twenty Verses of Vasubandhu. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  23. Kapstein, M. (1987). Self and personal identity in Indian Buddhist scholasticism: A philosophical investigation. Ph.D. dissertation, Brown University.Google Scholar
  24. Kritzer, R. (2003). Sautrāntika in the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 26, 331–384.Google Scholar
  25. La Vallée Poussin, Louis, Ed. (1970). Mūlamadhyamakakārikās (Mādhyamikasūtras) de Nāgārjuna, avec la Prasannapadā Commentaire de Candrakīrti. Bibliotheca Buddhica, vol. 4. Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag. (Reprint.)Google Scholar
  26. Lang, K. (1986). Āryadeva’s Catuḥśataka: On the Bodhisattva’s Cultivation of Merit and Knowledge. Indiske Studier, VII. Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag.Google Scholar
  27. Lévi, S. (Ed.). (1925). Vijñāptimātratāsiddhi: Deux Traités de Vasubandhu. Paris: Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion.Google Scholar
  28. Lindtner, Chr. (1987). Nagarjuniana: Studies in the Writings and Philosophy of Nāgārjuna. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.Google Scholar
  29. Matilal, B. K. (1981). The central philosophy of Jainism (Anekānta-vāda). Ahmedabad: L. D. Institute of Indology.Google Scholar
  30. McDowell, J. (1998). Singular thought and the extent of inner space. In His meaning, knowledge, and reality (pp. 228–259). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Murti, T. R. V. (1960). The central philosophy of Buddhism: A study of the Mādhyamika System. London: George Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  32. Oetke, C. (1991). Remarks on the Interpretation of Nāgārjuna’s Philosophy. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 19, 315–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Oetke, C. (2003). Some remarks on theses and philosophical positions in early Madhyamaka. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 31, 449–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Robinson, R. (1957). Some Logical Aspects of Nāgārjuna’s System. Philosophy East & West, 6/4, pp. 291–308.Google Scholar
  35. Salvini, M. (2011). Upādāyaprajñaptiḥ and the meaning of absolutives: Grammar and syntax in the interpretation of Madhyamaka. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 39, 229–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Siderits, M. (2003). Personal identity and Buddhist philosophy: Empty persons. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  37. Siderits, M. (2007). Buddhism as philosophy: An introduction. Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
  38. Siderits, M. (2009). Is reductionism expressible? In M. D’Amato, et al, Eds., Pointing at the moon: Buddhism, logic, analytic philosophy (pp. 57–69). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Siderits, M. (2015). [Review of Tanaka, et al, eds., The Moon Points Back], Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Retrieved from January 31, 2016, from http://tinyurl.com/zgg8drj.
  40. Thompson, E. (2015). Waking, dreaming, being. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vetter, T. (1982). Zum Problem der Person in Nāgārjunas Mūla-Madhyamaka-Kārikās. In W. Strolz & S. Ueda (Eds.), Offenbarung als Heilserfahrung im Christentum, Hinduismus und Buddhismus (pp. 167–185). Freiberg: Herder.Google Scholar
  42. Vetter, T. (1992). On the authenticity of the Ratnāvalī. Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques XLVI/1, pp. 492–506.Google Scholar
  43. Walser, J. (2005). Nāgārjuna in context: Mahāyāna Buddhism and early Indian culture. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ye, S. (2011). Zhunglunsong: Fanzanghan Hejiao, Daodu, Yizhu [Mūlamadhyamakakārikā: New editions of the Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese versions, with commentary and a modern Chinese translation]. Shanghai: Zhongxi Book Company.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations