The Moon Points Back

The Moon Points Back

The Moon Points Back

The Moon Points Back

Synopsis

The Moon Points Back comprises essays by both established scholars in Buddhist and Western philosophy and young scholars contributing to cross-cultural philosophy. It continues the program of Pointing at the Moon (Oxford University Press, 2009), integrating the approaches and insights of contemporary logic and analytic philosophy along with those of Buddhist Studies in order to engage with Buddhist ideas in a contemporary voice. The essays in the volume focus on the Buddhist notion of emptiness (sunyata), exploring its relationship to core philosophical issues concerning the self, the nature of reality, logic, and epistemology. The volume closes with reflections on methodological issues raised by bringing together traditional Buddhist philosophy and contemporary analytic philosophy. The Moon Points Back demonstrates convincingly that integration of Buddhist philosophy with contemporary analytic philosophy and logic allows for novel understandings of and insights into Buddhist philosophical thought. It also shows how Buddhist philosophers can contribute to debates in contemporary Western philosophy and how contemporary philosophers and logicians can engage with Buddhist material.

Excerpt

It is apparent to those who have paid attention to developments in both traditions, that the contemporary Anglophone Western philosophical tradition and the Buddhist philosophical tradition have a lot to say to one another. Their central concerns overlap sufficiently to determine a domain of shared interest; their histories and idioms are distinct enough that each has something to learn from the other about that domain. the contributors to this volume are committed to advancing the dialogue between these two traditions that is now well underway.

This volume is a successor to Pointing at the Moon (D’Amato, Garfield, and Tillemans 2009), which collects essays directed specifically at the interface of contemporary logic and analytic philosophy and Buddhist philosophy. That volume addresses a wide range of topics at this interface, deploying a common analytic methodology. the present volume, many of whose contributors also contributed to the previous volume, focuses more specifically on the Buddhist concept of emptiness—primarily, though not exclusively as it is deployed in the Madhyamaka tradition—exploring its implications for contemporary philosophy and the ways that contemporary philosophy can illuminate classical texts and problems in the Buddhist tradition.

Emptiness—roughly, the lack of essence, or substance, in things—is one of the central conceptions in Mahāyāna Buddhist metaphysics, and represents one of its distinctive contributions to world philosophy. Following Nāgārjuna (second to third centuries CE), Mādhyamikas argue that the . . .

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