13. Between the Horns of Idealism and Realism

The Middle Way of Madhyamaka

  1. Steven M. Emmanuel
  1. Graham Priest

Published Online: 5 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118324004.ch13

A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy

A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy

How to Cite

Priest, G. (2013) Between the Horns of Idealism and Realism, in A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy (ed S. M. Emmanuel), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324004.ch13

Author Information

  1. University of Melbourne, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 MAR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470658772

Online ISBN: 9781118324004

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Keywords:

  • conventional reality;
  • idealism;
  • Indian Buddhist tradition;
  • Madhyamaka;
  • philosophy;
  • realism;
  • ultimate reality

Summary

This chapter illustrates realism vs. idealism. For a start, one can be an idealist or a realist about many different kinds of things: abstract objects, the future, and social dynamics. The debate between idealists and realists about the world is well known in the Asian philosophical traditions. The one that will concern us here is the Indian Buddhist tradition. In this, there were realists and idealists; but there was also one very important and influential school of Buddhists - Madhyamaka - which was neither realist nor idealist, but which went between the horns of the two positions. There are two realities, an ultimate reality and a conventional reality.