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Buddhism As Philosophy: An Introduction (Ashgate World Philosophies Series) Hardcover – March 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0754653684 ISBN-10: 0754653684

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Product Details

  • Series: Ashgate World Philosophies Series
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing (March 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754653684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754653684
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,434,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark Siderits is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Illinois State University, USA.

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Customer Reviews

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This book clarifies the concepts in a very clear way.
Koolcat
This is a superlative work on the philosophical underpinnings of this, the most philosophically oriented of religions/spiritual practices.
K. Kehler
If you have an interest in these topics, look inside, start reading and buy it if you like what you see.
Josh R.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By K. Kehler on July 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a superlative work on the philosophical underpinnings of this, the most philosophically oriented of religions/spiritual practices. Buddhism is interesting to many people and many writers, but my experience has been that many writers who write books on Buddhism tend to produce vague and prolix and -- especially -- horrifyingly unclear works. That is, these books are filled with jargon and vacuous, if not downright meaningless, platitudes. Therefore it is with gratitude that one turns to Siderits' excellent and lucid work. Siderits is obviously trained in Buddhist thought, but perhaps more uniquely for a Buddhist, he is also trained in Western (largely analytical) philosophy. Here he brings these two tradition together in an uncommonly interesting dialogue. There is no doubt that this fine book will save you a great deal of time and energy, if you want the philosophical rudiments of Buddhism laid out in one volume. It will render many lesser works redundant and disposable. It is not an easy read, but that's because of the complexity of the topics treated (from Buddhist ethics and the non-self doctrine, through to the denial of physical objects and the doctrine of emptiness), and not because Siderits is unclear, for he is exceptionally clear. This, then, is a most enjoyable, lucid and important introductory work, certain to appeal to all kinds of readers, though it's carefulness and thoroughness will put off lazy New Agers. Let me conclude with a quotation that gives you a sense of his lucidity as a writer:

"The view that all things are empty, or devoid of essence, is definitive of philosophical Mahayana. In the last chapter we examined how Yogacara tried to defend this doctrine by giving it an idealist reinterpretation.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Josh R. on September 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
Mark Siderits' Buddhism as Philosophy tackles Buddhist ideas, arguments and texts from a philosophical point of view. As the author points out, Buddhism has a long history of argument and debate, and holds that reason underpins the path to individual salvation, unlike in the West. Buddhism inherited and built upon Indian philosophy, since Ancient India developed a philosophical approach as robust as Ancient Greece's. Philosophy here means using logic and analysis to investigate premises, conclusions and determine the soundness & cogency of rational arguments (as opposed to strongly held core values, which it is sometimes taken to mean in a religious or popular context).

Siderits evaluates arguments for suffering and cessation of suffering, non-self, ethical arguments derived from non-self, reductionism, emptiness, representationalism, impressions-only and Buddhist logic. He cites plenty of original sources, but takes the time to explain the Buddhists' arguments in clear and engaging ways. He explores other (non-Buddhist) Indian schools of thought, including one in-depth Hindu school that argued directly against Buddhism for the existence of persons and real wholes. In doing so, this book pinpoints some of the hot-button issues of Ancient Indian philosophy and manages to explain a good deal of the Indian analytic approach and even Indian logic.

Another reviewer pointed out that this book isn't "spiritual" in a sense (no focus on loving-kindness or meditation). Siderits addresses this clearly: "To study Buddhism as philosophy means primarily studying texts... We will say very little about the Buddhist practice of meditation, and nothing at all about such lay Buddhist devotional practices as stupa worship" (p. 11).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dan on February 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author presents Buddhism as a test of philosophic ideals and definitions. Highly instructive, excellent depth, and the book stays on message from cover to cover.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Koolcat on May 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a student of Buddhism for some time now but never understood the reasoning behind some of the core tenets. This book clarifies the concepts in a very clear way. You will come to appreciate the Buddha's genius by reading this book carefully. The author has done a phenomenal job in explaining. I am now looking forward to reading the author's other books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. B. Dawson on May 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As one who has been meditating for more than 30 years, I've picked up bits and pieces of Buddhist doctrines, symbols, rituals, and beliefs. Some concepts, though, have eluded me. Namely, "anatta" (the absence of selfhood), karma, and reincarnation have been particularly stubborn concepts for me to get my Western mind around. Mark Siderits' book has done a terrific job of unwrapping of Buddhist thought in a way that has helped me -- finally -- come to grips with some of the many seemingly paradoxical assumptions that form the bedrock of Buddhist practice. Best of all, this is no dry or academic exercise in formal philosophy. While it's solidly grounded in the best philosophical methodology, it's a very readable and compelling book, one that anybody with an interest in Buddhism will gain much from.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Zimmerman on April 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been teaching Buddhism as philosophy for twenty years, during which time I searched diligently for a volume like this, so I am very happy that it is finally showed up. Siderits has done a great service to all philosophers interested in Buddhism, and in particular all philosophers interested in teaching an undergraduate courses (or for that matter a graduate course) on Buddhism as philosophy. Siderits leads the reader through the thicket of (often ancient) Buddhism arguments. The effort involved in his study of these matters must have been considerable. I am grateful for what he has accomplished in this volume. This text would be excellently paired with Jay Garfield's remarkable translation and interpretation of Nagarjuna's The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way.
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