Moonshadows: Conventional Truth in Buddhist Philosophy

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Oxford University Press, Dec 24, 2010 - Religion - 272 pages
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The doctrine of the two truths--a conventional truth and an ultimate truth--is central to Buddhist metaphysics and epistemology. The two truths (or two realities), the distinction between them, and the relation between them is understood variously in different Buddhist schools and is of special importance to the Madhyamaka school. The fundamental ideas are articulated with particular force by Nagarjuna (2nd--3rd century CE) who famously claims that the two truths are identical to one another, and yet distinct. One of the most influential interpretations of Nagarjuna's difficult doctrine derives from the commentary of Candrakirti (6th century CE). While much attention has been devoted to explaining the nature of the ultimate truth in view of its special soteriological role, less has been paid to understanding the nature of conventional truth, which is often described as "deceptive," "illusion," or "truth for fools." But conventional truth is nonetheless truth. This book therefore asks, "what is true about conventional truth?" and "What are the implications of an understanding of conventional truth for our lives?"

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1 An Introduction to Conventional Truth
Authority regarding Deceptive Reality
3 Pr257sangika Epistemology in Context
Models of the Conventional in Tsongkhapas Account of Madhyamaka
Why the dGag Bya Matters So Much to Tibetan M257dhyamikas
6 Can a M257dhyamika Be a Skeptic? The Case of Patsab Nyimadrak
7 Madhyamaka and Classical Greek Skepticism
8 The Two Truths about Truth
10 Is Everything Connected to Everything Else? What the Gop299s Know
11 Carnaps Pragmatism and the Two Truths
12 The Merely Conventional Existence of the World
Two Models
14 Ethics for M257dhyamikas
References and Abbreviations

9 How Far Can a M257dhyamika Buddhist Reform Conventional Truth? Dismal Relativism Fictionalism EasyEasy Truth and the Alternatives

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About the author (2010)

The Cowherds are scholars of Buddhist studies from the United States, Great Britain, Switzerland, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. They are united by a commitment to rigorous philosophical analysis as an approach to understanding Buddhist metaphysics and epistemology, and to the union of philology and philosophy in the service of greater understanding of the Buddhist tradition and its insights. They are: Georges Dreyfus, Bronwyn Finnigan, Jay L. Garfield, Guy Martin Newland, Graham Priest, Mark Siderits, Koji Tanaka, Sonam Thakchoe, Tom Tillemans, and Jan Westerhoff.

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