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Pointing at the MoonBuddhism, Logic, Analytic Philosophy$
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Jay L. Garfield, Tom J. F. Tillemans, and Mario D'Amato

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195381559

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381559.001.0001

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The No-Thesis View: Making Sense of Verse 29 of Nāgārjuna’s Vigrahavyāvartanī

The No-Thesis View: Making Sense of Verse 29 of Nāgārjuna’s Vigrahavyāvartanī

Chapter:
(p.25) 3 The No-Thesis View: Making Sense of Verse 29 of Nāgārjuna’s Vigrahavyāvartanī
Source:
Pointing at the Moon
Author(s):

Jan Westerhoff (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381559.003.0003

This chapter addresses a more specific and more pointed instance of paradox at the bounds of expression, considering Nāgārjuna's remarks in the Vigrahavyāvartanī and the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā to the effect that neither he nor the Buddha asserts any thesis, has any view, takes any philosophical position. This, of course, sounds suspiciously like a thesis. Hence the paradox. It is argued that the resolution to the apparent paradox is achieved by the Mādhyamika through adopting a semantic distinction between assertions made with or without ontological import. Nāgārjuna and his Mādhyamika followers, on this account, endorse a theory of linguistic meaning according to which their assertions do not implicate the reality of referents of apparently referring expressions. Nāgārjuna denies making assertions with ontological import, having views about entities that exist on their own, etc., but is able to say these things without being self-refuting because of a view about language not shared by his non-Buddhist opponents.

Keywords:   Nāgārjuna, Vigrahavyāvartanī, Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, Verse 29, paradox

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