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Faith and Philosophy

Volume 16, Issue 4, October 1999
Theistic Philosophy in Hinduism and Buddhism

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Displaying: 1-11 of 11 documents

1. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
José Ignacio Cabezón Incarnation: A Buddhist View
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As is the case with many of the more classically theistic religions, Mahāyāna Buddhism has attempted to elaborate doctrines of incarnation. This paper will first examine the philosophical / doctrinal context in which such doctrines are elaborated by offering a brief overview of Buddhism’s repudiation of theism. It then discusses both denaturalized / philosophical and naturalized / narrative versions of the doctrine of incarnation as it is found in both the exoteric and the tantric (esoteric) traditions of the Mahāyāna texts. It concludes with a defense of the coherence of the docetism found in such texts.
2. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Roger R. Jackson Atheology and Buddhalogy In Dharmakīrti’s Pramānavārttika
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This article seeks to clarify the relation between arguments for atheism and descriptions of the summum bonum in Indian Buddhism, through the analysis of one influential text. I begin by noting that a number of writers have detected a tension between, on the one hand, Buddhist refutations of the existence of “God” (īśvara, ātman, puruşa) and, on the other, Buddhist (especially Mahāyāna) claims about the nature of the ultimate (nirvāna, buddha, dharmakāya), which often appears to have God-like qualities. I then turn to a locus classicus of Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy of religion, the Pramānasiddhi (“Establishment of Authority”) chapter of the Pramānāvarttika (“Commentary on Authority”) of Dharmakīrti (7th century CE). After briefly introducing Dharmakīrti and the Pramānasiddhi chapter, I examine first the chapter’s atheological passages, which include a systematic attack on a Hindu (Nyāya) “argument from design” and a number of important claims about the implausibility of any permanent “spiritual” principle. The arguments are complex and varied, but most turn on the crucial Buddhist assumption that a permanent entity is by definition incapable of interaction with the impermanent, hence utterly unsuitable as a cause or effect. I then examine the chapter’s buddha logical passages, which tend to stress that a Buddha is defined above all by his knowledge of what is to be avoided and adopted by those intent on freedom, i.e., his knowledge of the four noble truths. The Buddha thus described is less notable for his transcendental nature than for his wise, compassionate, and skillful engagement with the world and its creatures---hence less obviously Mahāyānist than the Buddha described by those who articulate a “three-body” (trikāya) theory. I note by way of conclusion that, though Dharmakīrti’s buddhalogy did not prove as influential as his atheology, the juxtaposition of the two reveals an overall metaphysical consistency, in which axiomatic assumptions about permanence, impermanence, and deity are in harmony rather than tension.
3. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Paul J. Griffiths What Do Buddhists Hope For from Antitheistic Argument?
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This essay begins by distinguishing an argument’s validity from its cogency, and emphasizing the importance for understanding particular philosophers of knowing how they saw both matters (I). It then gives an introduction to the views of Moksākaragupta, an Indian Buddhist philosopher, on both these matters (II-III), and an analysis of his rebuttals of arguments for God’s existence, and his arguments against the possibility of God’s existence (IV). It concludes by showing that these arguments, though taken to be valid byMoksākaragupta, were not intended by him to be persuasive; it suggests, also, that this is a typical feature of such arguments.
4. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Francis X. Clooney The Existence of God, Reason, and Revelation In Two Classical Hindu Theologies
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This essay introduces central features of classical Hindu reflection on the existence and nature of God by examining arguments presented in the Nyāyamañjarī of Jayanta Bhatta (9th century CE), and the Nyāyasiddhāñjana of Vedānta Deśika (14th century CE). Jayanta represents the Nyāya school of Hindu logic and philosophical theology, which argued that God’s existence could be known by a form of the cosmological argument. Vedānta Deśika represents the Vedånta theological tradition, which denied that God’s existencecould be known by reason, gave primacy to the revelatory texts known as the Upanisads, and firmly subordinated theological reasoning to the acceptance of revelation. Jayanta and Deśika are respected representatives of their traditions whose clear, systematic positions illumine traditional Hindu understandings of “God” and the traditional Hindu debates about God’s existence and nature. Attention to their positions highlights striking common features shared by Hindu and Christian theologies, and offers a substantial basis for comparative reflection on the Christian understanding of God’s existence and nature, and the roles of reason and revelation in knowledge of God.
5. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Keith Yandell God and Other Agents In Hindu Monotheism
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Having shown that Ramanuja and Madhva are indeed monotheists, I argue that (i) they differ concerning the relationship between God, the original Agent, and human agents created by God; (ii) that this difference involves in Madhva’s case there being only one agent and in Ramanuja’s case both God and created persons being agents, and (iii) since both positions require that created persons be agents, Madhva’s perspective is inconsistent and Ramanuja’s is not.
book reviews
6. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Michael Bergmann God and Inscrutable Evil: In Defense of Theism and Atheism
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7. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Elizabeth Radcliffe Religion and Faction in Hume’s Moral Philosophy
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8. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Simon J. Evnine God Without the Supernatural: A Defense of Scientific Theism
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9. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Thomas D. D’Andrea Dialectic and Narrative in Aquinas: An Interpretation of the Summa Contra Gentiles
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10. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Patricia Sayre Fact, Value, and God
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11. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Index of Volume 16, 1999
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