Philosophy East and West, vol. 64, no. 3 (2014)

Remembering Professor David Jinadasa Kalupahana

Professor David Jinadasa Kalupahana (1936–2014)
Asanga Tilakaratne, 520

David Kalupahana and the Field of Early Buddhism
Wimal Dissanayake, 523


Out of the Ge-stell?: The Role of the East in Heidegger’s das andere Denken
Lin Ma, Jaap van Brakel, 527

Heidegger has notoriously named the essence of the technological world the Ge-stell (framework, enframing). Here, we reveal that yet another term, Gestellnis, figures in some of his writings from the 1970s. According to Heidegger, as the essence of the Ge-stell, Gestellnis shows a way toward the fore-garden of Ereignis (appropriating event). In opposing the Ge-stell mode of comportment toward beings, Heidegger glimpses the promise of the other thinking, which seems to be useless from the perspective of traditional metaphysical thinking. In characterizing this mode of thinking, he resorts to Zhuangzi’s parables of uselessness (wuyong 无用). One way of stepping out of the Ge-stell is to make central the comportment toward beings as embodied in non-metaphysical art. Heidegger designates this as das andere Denken (the other thinking). In charting this course, Heidegger turns toward ancient Asian traditions insofar as they remain uncontaminated by current planetary-interstellar world conditions, which for him epitomize the absence of the dichotomy of appearance and essence. From Heidegger’s standpoint, before the Western tradition gains maturity through its own self-transformation, the allegedly inevitable event of East-West dialogue can only be anticipated. However, at the ontic level East Asian sources have undeniably played a role in his search for ways out of the Ge-stell.

Self and the Dream of the Butterfly in the Zhuangzi
Kai-Yuan Cheng, 563

This essay offers a new interpretation of the butterfly dream in the Zhuangzi, which has been the focus of vigorous inquiries and heated debates in recent years. The novelty of this attempt lies in identifying a line of reasoning in the “Qiwulun” chapter that embodies a deep puzzle about the nature of self and in unpacking how the butterfly dream passage at the end of that chapter addresses the puzzle in question. Such a reading is cast within a larger context of the Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi, where death is a major theme. The idea of interpreting the butterfly dream in connection with the issue of death is not new. However, this idea has never been made sufficiently clear. An attempt will be made to provide a sensible and plausible reading of the butterfly dream that it is hoped will be relevant and beneficial to contemporary philosophy of self and death.

The Buddhist Paradox of the Liar: A Quinian Defense of the Doctrine of Expedient Means
Edward Fried, 598

Here, a central tenet of Mahāyāna Buddhism, the doctrine of expedient means, is defended in light of the Quinian doctrine of ontological commitment. The need for such a doctrine arises because of significant disparities between Mahāyāna Buddhist teachings and those of Theravāda Buddhism, which are historically prior. In particular, the Lotus Sūtra deploys the doctrine to explain why the Buddha had taught multiple vehicles (ways to enlightenment) when there is in fact only one, the Buddha’s own way. It is argued here (1) that at least some Buddhist apologetics have been directed toward defending the Buddha against an accusation that he lied; (2) that the Lotus Sūtra does not deny that the Buddha lied, but rather that he spoke a falsehood; and (3) that although it is unclear whether the Buddha can be defended against an accusation of lying, it is provable that he spoke no falsehood in preaching multiple vehicles. The proof depends on the logical regimentation of Mahāyāna and Theravāda views as formal languages with disparate discriminative resources. On this basis strict limits can be derived for the number of vehicles to which the users of each language are ontologically committed. The upshot is that the Mahāyāna Buddhist can claim that her theory supersedes the earlier teachings without having to deny the truth of those teachings; they were true because they were assertible in the theory of enlightenment in which they were originally presented.

The Creation of the Human Being in Thomas Aquinas and Mullā Ṣadrā
Reza Rezazadeh, 639

The creation of the human being is an issue that has arisen from time to time in both Western and Eastern philosophy/theology. Aquinas (1225–1275) from the West and Mullā Şadra (1572–1640) from the East both challenged the previous alternative theories, and they rejected the preexistence of the human soul in its creation. However, they presented two different theories about the creation of human beings that are rooted in their diverse metaphysical principles. Aquinas held that the human soul is corporeal in its createdness, in the sense that the soul is neither eternal nor preexistent. It comes new into existence through creation by God. However, Şadrā thought/proved that the human soul is corporeal in existence and spiritual in subsistence.

Shimmering Reality: The Question of Metaphysical Relativity in Mystical Theology
Patrick Laude, 649

How can the Absolute conceivably be side by side with the existence of “non-absolute” realities given that such a “co-existence” would perforce imply some sort of “relationality” between the former and the latter, and thereby run contrary to the notion of an unconditionally free and necessary ab-solutum? This is the main question pondered in this essay through a liminal survey of some of the most rigorous concepts of the Absolute provided by a cross-religious spectrum of metaphysical teachings that include Śaṅkara’s Advaita, Nāgārjuna’s Madhyamaka, Kashmiri Śaivism, and the Sufi school of “Unity of Being” (wahdat al-wujūd). Śan. kara provides a fitting starting point for this analysis of the ontological status of “other-than-the-Ultimate” when characterizing Māyā as “neither real nor unreal” in his Crest Jewel of Discrimination. These perplexing words will be used as keys to argue that wisdom and mystical traditions tend to assign an ambiguous ontological status to phenomenal realities. Furthermore, it is proposed here to show that each of these traditions does emphasize one of the two aforesaid characterizations in its approach to the mystery of universal metaphysical relativity, or universal existence: neither “being” (or real) nor “nonbeing” (or unreal).

Sinologism in Language Philosophy: A Critique of the Controversy over Chinese Language
Ming Dong Gu, 692

Sinologism is basically a cultural unconscious in China-West studies predicated on an inner logic that operates beyond our conscious awareness but controls the ways of observing China and producing China scholarship. Its logic has exerted a profound impact on studies of Chinese language and writing. Since medieval times the difference between Chinese and Western languages has been viewed as a conceptual divide that separates Chinese and Western traditions. It has motivated scholars to generate a considerable array of ideas, views, and arguments on Chinese language and writing. These dazzling views operate on the logic of Sinologism: conditions of Chinese language are to be investigated from the Western linguistic point of view, and the nature of Chinese writing is to be determined in terms of Western alphabetic languages. This article reexamines the enduring controversy over the nature of Chinese language, especially writing, with the aim to see why the long-lasting debates have come to no satisfactory conclusion. By demonstrating how the epistemology and methodology predicated on phonocentrism and logocentrism in Western metaphysics have evolved into the logic of a language philosophy that manages to misunderstand and misrepresent Chinese language, especially writing, it explores how we can move out of the war of discourse and come to an adequate understanding of the true nature of Chinese language. It suggests that to be self-consciously aware of the hidden logic of Sinologism is the sine qua non for going beyond the war of discourse over Chinese language.

Brahmānubhava as Überpramāṇa in Advaita Vedānta: Revisiting an Old Debate
Alan A. Preti, 718

This article revisits a debate about the nature and function of anubhava or intuition in Advaita Vedānta. In their presentation of Indian thought to the West, neo-Vedāntins such as Vivekananda and Radhakrishnan emphasized intuitive experience as a unique means to brahmajñāna, or Brahman-realization. In so doing, they distanced themselves from the tradition’s emphasis on the role of scripture in revealing Brahman. Detractors claim that such an account misrepresented Śaṅkara’s epistemology and led to a facile characterization of Advaita as a form of mysticism. It is argued here that the issue rests upon a confusion about the function of anubhava, and an understanding is proposed of intuition as a distinctive mode of cognition that mitigates the neo-Vedāntin claim that it is an independent means to brahmajñāna, yet that does not undermine the common view of Advaita as a system of thought whose fundamental claims about the nature of reality can be realized only in mystical experience.

The Ideal State for Humans in Xunzi
Doil Kim, 740

Here, attention is given to a cluster of terms that Xunzi uses in his understanding of the ideal state for humans and that reveal their internal relations. The cluster includes zhi 治, li 理, he 和, and yi 一. The kind of ideal state for humans that Xunzi envisions is finally explained on the basis of the relations among these terms. Li especially comes under close scrutiny. A new interpretation of li is offered by revealing its holistic nature. In relation to this nature, an ethical and political requirement in Xunzi’s thought is extracted from a relevant notion, da li 大理. Also, the substantive content of the ideal state is elaborated by examining other relevant terms such as lun 倫 and fen 分. Finally, the relation of the cluster of terms to the notion that has been traditionally considered central to early Confucian thought, yi 義, is examined. Briefly stated, the aim here is to bring to light the conceptual map of a cluster of terms that converge on the idea of the ideal state for humans, which is central to Xunzi’s ethical and political thought.

Textual Pragmatics in Early Chinese Madhyamaka
Hans-Rudolf Kantor, 759

Academic studies of Chinese Buddhist views of language generally focus on issues such as paradox, contradiction, and the limits of expression and thought. However, such studies seldom seem to focus on the fact that many Buddhist texts deliberately use an ambiguous mode of linguistic expression, one that actually constitutes their compositional patterns and is designed to enhance and promote the Mahāyāna Buddhist soteriological goal, namely liberation from suffering via detachment from falseness. In fact, many of the treatises and exegetical commentaries of the Chinese masters develop a textual pragmatics rooted in the ambiguous and paradoxical rhetoric of early Madhyamaka scriptures translated by Kumārajīva (344–413). This essay discusses the philosophical and soteriological significance of such a linguistic-textual pragmatics as we find it in the early Chinese Madhyamaka scriptures.


“Self-Restriction” and the Confucian Case for Democracy
Joseph Chan, 785

Sages and Self-Restriction: A Response to Joseph Chan
Stephen C. Angle, 795

Reply to Stephen C. Angle
Joseph Chan, 798


On the Muslim Question by Anne Norton
Shabbir Ahsen, 800

Shizi: China’s First Syncretist by Paul Fischer
Andrew Meyer, 803

Les corps dans le Taoïsme ancien: L’infirme, l’informe, l’infâme by Romain Graziani
Haun Saussy, 805

Exploring the Bhagavad Gītā: Philosophy, Structure and Meaning by Ithamar Theodor
Hamsa Stainton, 807

The Dysfunction of Ritual in Early Confucianism by Michael David Kaulana Ing
Paul Nicholas Vogt, 812

Dubious Facts: The Evidence of Early Chinese Historiography by Garret P. S. Olberding
Kirill Ole Thompson, 816


The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989 ed. by Alexandra Munroe
Laura Specker Sullivan, 820

Pilgrimages to the Ancient Temples in Nara [Koji junrei] by Watsuji Tetsurō
Laura Specker Sullivan, 821

Dukhovnaya kul’tura Kitaya: Entsiklopediya by Institut Dal’nego Vostoka RAN
Alexander Lomanov, 822