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Relativism in Buddhist Philosophy: Candrakirti on Mutual Dependence and the Basis of Convention

Chapter


Abstract


  • In this chapter1 I consider what it means for knowledge to be conventional (samvrti), approaching the question through the lens of the Indian Buddhist philosopher Candrakirti (c. 580-660CE). Candrakirtis work is important not only because of its centrality in the Madhyamaka canon and the Tibetan commentarial tradition, but also because it appears during what may be termed the "epistemological turn" in Indian philosophy.2 During this period the Buddhist logicfan and epistemologist Dignaga (c.480-540 CE), followed by his successor Dharmakirti (c. 600-660 CE), enunciated the first systematic theory of knowledge to appear within Buddhist thought. For this reason, from the time of Dignaga onwards, we see a growing tendency within Madhyamaka philosophy to frame discussions about the nature of reality in accordance with the epistemological lexicon popularized by Dignaga and his successors.3 Candrakirti's work, then, provides a way to enter into Buddhist debates about the nature and possibility of knowledge.

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Walsh, E. (2015). Relativism in Buddhist Philosophy: Candrakirti on Mutual Dependence and the Basis of Convention. In K. Tanaka, Y. Deguchi, J. L. Garfield & G. Priest (Eds.), The Moon Points Back (pp. 220-244). New York, United States: Oxford University Press.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9780190226862

Book Title


  • The Moon Points Back

Start Page


  • 220

End Page


  • 244

Place Of Publication


  • New York, United States

Abstract


  • In this chapter1 I consider what it means for knowledge to be conventional (samvrti), approaching the question through the lens of the Indian Buddhist philosopher Candrakirti (c. 580-660CE). Candrakirtis work is important not only because of its centrality in the Madhyamaka canon and the Tibetan commentarial tradition, but also because it appears during what may be termed the "epistemological turn" in Indian philosophy.2 During this period the Buddhist logicfan and epistemologist Dignaga (c.480-540 CE), followed by his successor Dharmakirti (c. 600-660 CE), enunciated the first systematic theory of knowledge to appear within Buddhist thought. For this reason, from the time of Dignaga onwards, we see a growing tendency within Madhyamaka philosophy to frame discussions about the nature of reality in accordance with the epistemological lexicon popularized by Dignaga and his successors.3 Candrakirti's work, then, provides a way to enter into Buddhist debates about the nature and possibility of knowledge.

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Walsh, E. (2015). Relativism in Buddhist Philosophy: Candrakirti on Mutual Dependence and the Basis of Convention. In K. Tanaka, Y. Deguchi, J. L. Garfield & G. Priest (Eds.), The Moon Points Back (pp. 220-244). New York, United States: Oxford University Press.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9780190226862

Book Title


  • The Moon Points Back

Start Page


  • 220

End Page


  • 244

Place Of Publication


  • New York, United States