Tsong kha pa and the Foundations of Rationality Open Access

Falls, Edward Ray (2010)

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Abstract

Abstract
Tsong kha pa and the Foundations of Rationality
By Edward Ray Falls

The aim of this dissertation is to explore the issue of the foundations of rationality as this arises in connection with Tsong kha pa's Svatantrika-Prasangika distinction. Tsong kha pa's distinction between Svatantrika and Prasangika methodologies presupposes that some modes of apprehension are infected with a problematic kind of conceptual structuring while other modes of apprehension are not affected by that particularly problematic type of conceptual structuring. Because of this situation, the Prasangikas' approach to reasoning with realists presents a feasible therapeutic technique. Prasangikas proceed by drawing the realists' attention to the mere existents which both sides are capable of apprehending and which both sides are willing to concede as indeed being legitimate entities. Both sides are capable of apprehending mere existents because realists and their Madhyamika interlocutors each rely on the same nonproblematic types of conceptual structuring for some of their perceptual experiences. Having established what exists through these reliable modes of apprehension, Prasangika-Madhyamikas next demonstrate that there are no intrinsically existent entities lurking among the mere existents which both they and their realist opponents accept. The Svatantrika approach, on the other hand, is problematic because Svatantrikas attempt to reason with realists by conceding at the start that there are indeed intrinsically existent entities. In the course of developing this interpretation, the author resists ontological and epistemological interpretations of Tsong kha pa's Svatantrika-Prasangika distinction, critiques several contemporary defenses of the Svatantrika position, and responds to the suggestion that Tsong kha pa's view is hopelessly circular.

Tsong kha pa and the Foundations of Rationality
By
Edward Ray Falls
M.A.
Advisor: John D. Dunne, Ph.D.
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the
James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies of Emory University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
in Religion
2010

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Introduction

1
Reason and Irrationalism
5
History of Philosophy and Apprenticeship
7
Fusion Philosophy and the Problem of Hermeneutic
11
Distance
An Important Caveat on My Use of the Terms
23
'Svātantrika' and 'Prāsaṅgika' and Other Grouping
Expressions
Chapter Overview
24
1 Svātantrika Ontological Commitments
31
Tom Til emans and Chizuko Yoshimizu on Tsong kha
32
pa's View
Georges Dreyfus and Helmut Tauscher on Tsong kha
36
pa's View
José Ignacio Cabezón on Tsong kha pa and Rong
41
ston pa
A Criterion for Realism
46
Siderits on Madhyamaka and the Realism/Anti-
48
Realism Debate
A Critique of Siderits' and Til emans' Use of 'Realism'
57
and 'Anti-Realism'
2 Mādhyamikas and the Myth of the
68
Given
The Given as the "Necessary Ontological Correlate
71
to Foundationalism"
Inferential Justification, Entitlement, and Reformed
74
Empiricism
The Subtle Object of Negation
85

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