Free Will, Agency, and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy


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Journal of Indian Philosophy. In recent years, scholars have become increasingly interested in reconstructing a Buddhist stance on the free will problem. Since then, Buddhism has been variously described as implicitly hard determinist, paleo-compatibilist, neo-compatibilist and libertarian. Some scholars, however, question the legitimacy of Buddhist free will theorizing, arguing that Buddhism does not share sufficiently many presuppositions required to articulate the problem.

This paper argues that, though Buddhist and Western versions of the free will problem are not perfectly isomorphic, a problem analogous to that expressed in Western philosophy emerges within the Buddhist framework. This analogous problem concerns the difficulty of explaining karmic responsibility in a world governed by dependent origination. This paper seeks to reconstruct an approach to free will consistent with Madhyamaka philosophy and, in so doing, to demonstrate that the mutual exclusivity of positions such as hard determinism and libertarianism is, from the Madhyamaka perspective, merely superficial.

By building on the perspectivalist theory advanced by Daniel Breyer, it is clear that a Madhyamaka stance on free will demands the wholesale abandonment of perspectives, such that the idea of any one solution as definitive is disavowed. Taken to its logical conclusion, therefore, perspectivalism entails the relative truth of perspectivalism itself. I would also like to thank Jan Westerhoff, Richard Gombrich and the anonymous reviewer s for helpful comments on this manuscript. On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Open Access. First Online: 14 August Download to read the full article text. Compliance with Ethical Standards Conflict of interest On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. Google Scholar. Walshe, W. Iida, S. Bhattacharya, V. De Jong. Brill: Leiden, May, J.

MacDonald, A. Journal of Indian Philosophy , 13, , Vaidya, P. Mithila Institute: Darbhanga, Oldmeadow, P. Crosby, K. Kern, H. Reeves, G. Secondary Sources Adam, M. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 33 1—2 , — Batchelor, S. Secular Buddhism: Imagining the dharma in an uncertain world. Berger, D. Philosophy East and West, 60 1 , 40— CrossRef Google Scholar. Philosophy East and West, 61 2 , — Boisvert, M. Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Breyer, D. Freedom with a buddhist face. Sophia, 52, — Burton, D.

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Curzon: Surrey. Collins, S. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Conze, E. Buddhist thought in India. Cowherds, The. Moonshadows: Conventional truth in Buddhist philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Creel, A. Contemporary philosophical treatments of Karma and Rebirth. Neufeldt Ed. Dennett, D. Freedom evolves. It also tackles an ambitious range of material without sacrificing serious philosophical engagement and appropriate contextualization.

Asian Philosophy. Asian Philosophy Indian Philosophy. Phillips and N. Ramanuja Tatacharya Ganeri The review is quite favorable, and we have no desire to dispute his kind words. Theism in Asian Philosophy In C. Taliaferro, V.


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Goetz eds. This paper examines of the intersection of theism and philosophy in classical Indian thought, focusing on the rational theology of Nyaya and the revealed theology of Vedanta. I also consider anti-theistic arguments, primarily by classical Buddhists.

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad's delightful and challenging little book does not fit easily into the standard categories available for academic excursions into philosophy. While Ram-Prasad does try… Read more Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad's delightful and challenging little book does not fit easily into the standard categories available for academic excursions into philosophy. Theistic Indian Philosophy.

Christopher Bartley - University of Liverpool

In classical India, debates over rational theology naturally become the occasion for fundamental questions about the scope and power of inference itself. This paper calls attention to, and provides analysis of, a number of key nodes in these debates, particularly questions of inferential boundaries and whether inductive reasoning has the pow… Read more In classical India, debates over rational theology naturally become the occasion for fundamental questions about the scope and power of inference itself.

This paper calls attention to, and provides analysis of, a number of key nodes in these debates, particularly questions of inferential boundaries and whether inductive reasoning has the power to support inferences to wholly unique entities like God. There are some tantalizing suggestions that Pyrrhonian skepticism has its roots in ancient India. Influenced by these gymnosophists, Pyrrho is said to have adopted the practices of suspending judgment on matters of belief and cultivating an indifferent composure amid the vicissitudes of ordinary lif… Read more There are some tantalizing suggestions that Pyrrhonian skepticism has its roots in ancient India.

Influenced by these gymnosophists, Pyrrho is said to have adopted the practices of suspending judgment on matters of belief and cultivating an indifferent composure amid the vicissitudes of ordinary life. Such conduct, and the attitudes that it embodied, became inspirations to later skeptical thinkers. It is a fact that practices of the sort attributed to Pyrrho are richly evident in a number of ancient Indian philosophical and ascetic movements.

On this basis, attempts have been made to determine the identity of these gymnosophists and, further, to pinpoint the dialectical tropes within Pyrrhonism that may have their basis in Indian thought. But despite these attempts, and in the absence of any new discoveries, these suggestions will likely remain just that. The paucity of the historical data and the problematic nature of the data itself prevent us from reconstructing a solid bridge between ancient India and Greek skepticism that may serve as the basis of robust historical theorizing.

Classical India does, however, lay claim to a sophisticated and diverse culture of epistemological reflection, which includes a number of innovative skeptical thinkers deserving study on their own merits. This chapter is meant to provide such a study, or perhaps more accurately, a prolegomena for such. It will also be of interest to students of Western philosophy and religion who are interested in understanding both analogies and disanalogies within Indian thought. Keywords: Indian philosophy , agency , free will , darsana , self.

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Free Will, Agency, and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy Free Will, Agency, and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy
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Free Will, Agency, and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy Free Will, Agency, and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy
Free Will, Agency, and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy Free Will, Agency, and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy
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