Here is the Table of Contents for the latest issue of Comparative Philosophy (issue 3:1)
Comparative Philosophy 3:1 (2012): 1-2.
Kristie Dotson (Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, USA):
“How is this Paper Philosophy”
Comparative Philosophy 3:1 (2012): 3-29.
This paper answers a call made by Anita Allen to genuinely assess whether the field of philosophy has the capacity to sustain the work of diverse peoples. By identifying a pervasive culture of justification within professional philosophy, I gesture to the ways professional philosophy is not an attractive working environment for many diverse practitioners. As a result of the downsides of the culture of justification that pervades professional philosophy, I advocate that the discipline of professional philosophy be cast according to a culture of praxis. Finally, I provide a comparative exercise using Graham Priest’s definition of philosophy and Audre Lorde’s observations of the limitations of philosophical theorizing to show how these two disparate accounts can be understood as philosophical engagement with a shift to a culture of praxis perspective.
Key Words: professional philosophy, diversity, culture of justification, culture of praxis, exceptionalism, sense of incongruence, Audre Lorde, Graham Priest, Anita Allen, Gayle Salamon
Special Topic: Dharmakīrti’s Philosophy in Buddhist Tradition and Contemporary Philosophy
Lajos L. Brons (Researcher, Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nihon University / Center for Advanced Research on Logic and Sensibility, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan):
“Dharmakīrti, Davidson, and Knowing Reality”
Comparative Philosophy 3:1 (2012): 30-57.
If we distinguish phenomenal effects from their noumenal causes, the former being our conceptual(ized) experiences, the latter their grounds or causes in reality ‘as it is’ independent of our experience, then two contradictory positions with regards to the relationship between these two can be distinguished: either phenomena are identical with their noumenal causes, or they are not. Davidson is among the most influential modern defenders of the former position, metaphysical non-dualism. Dharmakīrti’s strict distinction between ultimate and conventional reality, on the other hand, may be one of the most rigorously elaborated theories of the opposite position, metaphysical dualism. Despite this fundamental difference, their theories about the connection between phenomena and their noumenal causes are surprisingly similar in important respects. Both Dharmakīrti in his theory of ‘apoha’ and Davidson in his theory of ‘triangulation’ argued that the content of words or concepts depends on a process involving at least two communicating beings and shared noumenal stimuli. The main point of divergence is the nature of classification, but ultimately Dharmakīrti’s and Davidson’s conclusions on the noumenal – phenomenal relationship turn out to complementary more than contradictory, and an integrative reconstruction suggests a ‘middle path’ between dualism and non-dualism.
keywords: Dharmakīrti, Donald Davidson, apoha, triangulation, reality, meta-ontology, subjectivity, metaphysical dualism
Jeremy E. Henkel (Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Wofford College, USA):
“How to Avoid Solipsism While Remaining an Idealist: Lessons from Berkeley and Dharmakīrti”
Comparative Philosophy 3:1 (2012): 58-73.
This essay examines the strategies that Berkeley and Dharmakīrti utilize to deny that idealism entails solipsism. Beginning from similar arguments for the non-existence of matter, the two philosophers employ markedly different strategies for establishing the existence of other minds. This difference stems from their responses to the problem of intersubjective agreement. While Berkeley’s reliance on his Cartesian inheritance does allow him to account for intersubjective agreement without descending into solipsism, it nevertheless prevents him from establishing the existence of other finite minds. I argue that Dharmakīrti, in accounting for intersubjective agreement causally, is able to avoid Berkeley’s shortcoming. I conclude by considering a challenge to Dharmakīrti’s use of inference that Ratnakīrti, a Buddhist successor of Dharmakīrti, advances in his “Disproof of the Existence of Other Minds” and briefly exploring a possible response that someone who wants to advocate an idealist position could give.
keywords: Berkeley, Dharmakīrti, Ratnakīrti, idealism, solipsism, philosophy of mind
Howard J. Curzer (Professor, Department of Philosophy, Texas Tech University, USA):
“Benevolent Government Now”
Comparative Philosophy 3:1 (2012): 74-85.
Mencian benevolent government intervenes dramatically in many ways in the marketplace in order to secure the material well-being of the population, especially the poor and disadvantaged. Mencius considers this sort of intervention to be appropriate not just occasionally when dealing with natural disasters, but regularly. Furthermore, Mencius recommends shifting from regressive to progressive taxes. He favors reduction of inequality so as to reduce corruption of government by the wealthy, and opposes punishment for people driven to crime by destitution. Mencius thinks government should try to improve the character of the population by preventing or relieving poverty, by setting a good example, and by teaching people to respect and care for each other. He considers a government to be legitimate only if it has the support of the people. His recommended foreign policy is approximately the same as his recommended domestic policy: set a good example and enhance the material wellbeing and moral values of one’s own people so that they will enthusiastically support their country, while foreigners will long to immigrate. These are policies of today’s left. Mencius was a radical reformer in his own day. His description of benevolent government shows that he is an extreme liberal by contemporary standards, too.
Key Words: Mencius, benevolent government, liberal, conservative, regulation, taxation, punishment, legitimacy, civil liberties, foreign policy