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Emptiness Appraised: A Critical Study of Nagarjuna's Philosophy (Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism) Hardcover – June 22, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0700710669 ISBN-10: 0700710663 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism
  • Hardcover: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (June 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700710663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700710669
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,695,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By "dougyt" on February 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I found this a rather disappointing read as, although the author has a wealth of scholarship, he seems to misconstrue Nagarjuna's basic position. In particular, he equates the conventional (i.e. empirically real) with the absolute (i.e.necessary but not apprehensible) levels of reality, possibly due to the potential linguistic ambiguity in having at least two very distinct senses in which the word "real" is being used.
To do this, though, is to discard one of the fundamental aspects of Nagarjuna's system, namely that there are 2 forms of reality - phenomenal reality against noumenal reality, and that they are not equivalent, but that both are void of self-nature. By equating them and then taking Nagarjuna's view of the lack of self-nature of the empirically real, the author reaches the conclusion that Nagarjuna's philosophy entails absolute nihilism.
Nagarjuna's philosophy does entail a certain amount of idealism in the Kantian sense, in that we can never know the world as it is in itself, but only know it (as an apprehensible object) as it appears to us. The philosophical standpoint of the author appears to be one of philosophical realism based on the Nyaya worldview. The Nyaya system of debating entails advancing a thesis against an opponent's thesis, and so Nagarjuna's approach doesn't fit in with the Nyaya mode of argumentation, as Nagarjuna is quite at pains to avoid presenting ANY metaphysical thesis. I think that the author of this book has misunderstood sunyavada on account of his realist tendencies.
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