15. Reason and Experience in Buddhist Epistemology
- Steven M. Emmanuel
Published Online: 5 FEB 2013
Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy
How to Cite
Coseru, C. (2013) Reason and Experience in Buddhist Epistemology, in A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy (ed S. M. Emmanuel), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324004.ch15
- Published Online: 5 FEB 2013
- Published Print: 25 MAR 2013
Print ISBN: 9780470658772
Online ISBN: 9781118324004
- Buddhist epistemology;
- direct experience;
The Sanskrit philosophical idiom, in which Buddhist epistemology finds its most elaborate expression, contains one distinctive term, anubhava, for the concept of “experience” and several terms that closely approximate the concept of “reason.” This chapter explores how the relation between direct experience and discursive modes of knowing is articulated in Indian Buddhism. It starts with a brief overview of canonical and Abhidharma perspectives on the scope of epistemological reflection. It then evaluates the well-known Madhyamaka skepticism about the possibility of conceptually articulating our specific modes of being in the world. The chapter concludes with an examination of Dignāga and Dharmakīrti's accounts of the relation between observation and inferential reasoning. Given the modern audience for this essay, adopting a constructive, rather than merely critical and exegetical approach seems not only appropriate but also timely.