The Soteriological Import of Nagarjuna's Refutation of Reality
Nagarjuna's conclusion in the MMK – a statement of thorough ontological disestablishment with soteriological implications – is not logically warranted, especially given his method. Naturally, this paper will focus on both his method and his conclusion, emphasizing the main paradox of Madhyamaka philosophy. However, that focus will be framed by an interpretation of the central argument in the MMK that all things are empty, incorporating some objections regarding this claim that Nagarjuna attempts to dispel in the VV and using this interpretation to make sense of the “positive tetralemma,” a verse in the MMK in which four seemingly contradictory options are all affirmed. After this elaboration of what the MMK purports to have accomplished, the method will be logically examined and then critiqued showing that on this interpretation, acceptance of emptiness requires a leap which is either a hasty generalization or a petitio principii. Other interpretations have encountered similar issues with Nagarjuna's arguments, and the conclusion of this paper suggests that the thrust of Nagarjuna's argument comes from its soteriological implications, not, as is often assumed in such philosophical analyses, its logical ones.
|< Prev||Next >|