The history of Buddhist logical and epistemological theories constitutes an interesting study for Buddhist religious scholars and philosophers.
This volume contains scholarly essays, presented at a seminar, that makes an in-depth study of Buddhist logical theory in the background of Buddhist epistemology. Scholars from different parts of the world combine historical and philological scholarship with philosophical acumen and linguistic insight to examine the issues relating to problems of inductive logic and the problem of meaning and universals. They also address the crucial question regarding the relevance of logical theory to Buddhism, especially to the philosophical soteriology such as Madhyamika. Using both Tibetan and Sanskrit texts to delve deep into the logical issues and philosophical questions, they focus attention on two crucial philosophical concepts: trairupya, or the triple character of the evidence, and apoha — its meaning as “exclusion”. They examine the contributions of Buddhist scholars of yore in this regard, such as that of the Buddhist master Dinnaga and his general theory of inference, and in particular, his Hetucakradamarti, a study of propositions; Dharmakirti, particularly his theory of inference and definition of “points of defeat”; besides antaraksita and Ratnakirti.
The volume, offering original perspectives based on detailed study of ancient texts and their interpretations will prove an informative source for scholars of theology particularly those involved in Buddhist religion and philosophy.
About the Author
Bimal Krishna Matilal (1935-1991) was an eminent Indian philosopher. The upadhi (degree) of Tarkatirtha (master of Logic) was awarded to him in 1962. Matilal secured a Fulbright Fellowship and completed his Ph.D. under Ingalls on the Navya Nyaya doctrine of negation, between 1962 and 1965. During this period he also studied with W.V.O. Quine. Subsequently, he was a professor of Sanskrit at the University of Toronto, and in 1977 he was elected as Spalding Professor at Oxford University, succeeding Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and R.C. Zaehner.
For the first time in recent history, seventeen scholars from all over the world (India, Japan, Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States) collaborated here to produce a volume containing an in-depth study of Buddhist logical theory in the background of Buddhist epistemology. The Tibetan tradition identifies this important chapter in the history of Buddhist philosophy as the pramana school. It owes its origin to the writings of the great Buddhist master, Dinnaga (circa CE 480- 540), whose influence was to spread far beyond India, as well as to his celebrated interpreter of seventh century CE, Dharmakirti, whose texts presented the standard version of the school for the later Buddhist and non-Buddhist authors for a long time.
The history of Buddhist and Indian logical and epistemological theory constitutes an interesting study not only for the Buddhist scholars but also for philosophers as well as historians of philosophy in general. Each author of this anthology combines historical and philological scholarship with philosophical acumen and linguistic insight. Each of them uses original textual (Tibetan or Sanskrit) material to resolve logical issues and philosophical questions. Attention has been focused on two crucial philosophical concepts: trairupya (the “triple” character of evidence) and apoha (meaning “exclusion”). Broadly, the issues are concerned with the problems of inductive logic and the problem of meaning and universals. Besides, some authors address themselves to the general question: why and in what sense does logical theory become relevant to Buddhism, especially to the philosophical soteriology such as Madhyamika?
Almost all the essays presented here were part of a seminar at Oxford organized by Bimal K. Matilal under the auspices of the International Association for Buddhist Studies in August 1982. Only two papers were written for the conference but not officially presented because the authors were unable to attend.
The Editors would like to thank Dr. Mark Siderits for preparing the index for this volume.