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Brains, Buddhas, and BelievingThe Problem of Intentionality in Classical Buddhist and Cognitive-Scientific Philosophy of Mind$
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Dan Arnold

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231145473

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231145473.001.0001

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Indian Arguments from Practical Reason

Indian Arguments from Practical Reason

Mīmāṃsakas and Mādhyamikas Contra Cognitivism

(p.199) 6 Indian Arguments from Practical Reason
Brains, Buddhas, and Believing

Dan Arnold

Columbia University Press

This chapter completes the case for thinking that the foregoing project of Dharmakīrti is vulnerable to the same kinds of arguments that have been leveled against the physicalist cognitivism of thinkers like Dennett and Fodor. It approaches this point by developing arguments from some first-millennium Indian interlocutors of Dharmakīrti and his school. In particular, the arguments ventured by Mīmāṃsakas and Mādhyamikas exemplify basically the same reasoning. The chapter advances a cogent critique of physicalism—notwithstanding that in targeting Dharmakīrti, these classical Indian critics were not arguing against a physicalist. That such arguments have purchase against both physicalists like Fodor and idealists like Dharmakīrti suggests that the seemingly sharp divergence between the projects of these thinkers belies the significance of their shared presuppositions: that causal efficacy is the criterion of the real, and that everything about the mental can therefore be explained in terms of efficient-causal interactions among particulars. In some Mīmāṃsaka arguments for the eternality of language, and in some Mādhyamika arguments concerning the nature and limits of causal explanation, we see cogent challenges to precisely these presuppositions.

Keywords:   Dharmakīrti, Buddhism, physicalism, cognitivism, Mīmāṃsā, Mādhyamika

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