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Book Review: "Empty Words: Buddhist Philosophy and Cross-Cultural Interpretation", by Jay L. Garfield
著者 D'Amato, Mario
掲載誌 Philosophy East and West
巻号v.53 n.1
出版年月日2003.01
ページ136 - 139
出版者University of Hawaii Press
出版サイト https://uhpress.hawaii.edu/
出版地Honolulu, HI, US [檀香山, 夏威夷州, 美國]
資料の種類期刊論文=Journal Article; 書評=Book Review
言語英文=English
ノートEmpty Words: Buddhist Philosophy and Cross-Cultural Interpretation. By Jay L. Garfield. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Pp. xiv + 306.
キーワードMadhyamika Buddhism; Yogacara Buddhism; Philosophy
抄録Jay Garfield is already well known for his important translation of and commentary on Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika (MMK),published under the title Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way (Oxford University Press, 1995). In Empty Words:Buddhist Philosophy and Cross-Cultural Interpretation,Garfield provides us with his interpretations of Buddhist thought,many of which informed or arose out of his work on the MMK. Empty Words is a collection of fourteen essays, of which eleven have been previously published,two are newly published,and one,jointly authored with Graham Priest,appears in the present issue of this journal. The work is divided into three parts:part 1 is composed of five essays on Madhyamaka, part 2 contains four essays on Yogacara, and part 3 has five essays on ethics and hermeneutics.
In part 1 Garfield presents interpretations of Madhyamaka thought based primarily on readings of Nagarjuna's MMK. These interpretations may be approached in terms of the following interlocking themes:Madhyamaka as skepticism,causality as regularities, and emptiness as paradoxical. In the first essay,"Epoche and Sunyata, " Garfield argues that the Prasangika-Madhyamaka tradition (namely,Nagarjuna and Candrakirti) is akin to the Western skepticism of Sextus, Hume,and Wittgenstein. But,Garfield adds, "these Buddhist skeptics, because of their cultural and philosophical contexts are a bit more explicit about certain features of the skeptical method than their European counterparts" (p. 5):they are more explicit in attempting to steer a course between the extremes of reificationism and nihilism. According to Garfield's reading,Buddhist skeptics seek to undermine the essentialist metaphysical presuppositions that reificationists affirm and nihilists deny,and in so doing to avoid falling into either position.
Garfield sees this skeptical method significantly deployed in Madhyamaka arguments against a view of causality as based on causal powers. While the reificationist argues that observed regularities in the world are explained through recourse to causal powers, the nihilist denies the existence of such causal powers, and hence denies the possibility of causal explanations. The Buddhist skeptic's response,in Garfield's view,is "rather than to understand regularity as vouchsafed by causation,to understand causal explanation as grounded in regularities" (p. 8); there are no occult causal powers, but only regularities, which "are explained by reference to further regularities" (p. 29). Hence,the Madhyamaka philosopher disavows the search for ontological foundations of the conventional.
It should be noted that Garfield's reading of the MMK's position on causality is not uncontroversial. Garfield posits that the text makes a distinction between causes (hetus) and conditions (pratyayas). According to Garfield,a cause is "an event or state that has in it a power ... to bring about its effect," while a condition is "an event,state,or process that can be appealed to in explaining another event,state,or process" (p. 27). Furthermore,Garfield posits that while Nagarjuna argues against the existence of the former,he argues for the existence of the latter. There is not a consensus among interpreters of the MMK,however,that Nagarjuna actually makes such a distinction between causes and conditions. According to many interpreters (in his commentary on the MMK,Garfield mentions Streng,Wood,and Tsong kha pa, for example),Nagarjuna simply takes causes as one of the four subsets of conditions, and argues against the existence of all four sets of conditions. In any case,Garfield acknowledges the "somewhat tendentious nature of the reading" (p. 262 n. 6),and I do not believe that these considerations should detract from taking Garfield's interpretation seriously as a possible refinement of a Madhyamaka position.
Garfield's view is that the crucial verse for interpreting Madhyamaka thought occurs at MMK 24.18,which he translates as follows:"Whateve
ISSN00318221 (P); 15291898 (E)
DOI10.1353/pew.2003.0003
ヒット数1350
作成日2003.10.17
更新日期2019.05.17



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