Tag: Pragmatism

BuddhismPhilosophy

A Buddha Land in This World (New Book)

My new book, A Buddha Land in This World: Philosophy, Utopia, and Radical Buddhism, has just been published. Here is the abstract/back cover blurb: In the early twentieth century, Uchiyama Gudō, Seno’o Girō, Lin Qiuwu, and others advocated a Buddhism that was radical in two respects. Firstly, they adopted a more or less naturalist stance with respect to Buddhist doctrine and related matters, rejecting karma or other supernatural beliefs. And secondly, they held political and economic views that were radically anti-hegemonic, anti-capitalist, and revolutionary. Taking the idea of such a “radical Buddhism” seriously, A Buddha Land in This World: Philosophy,...
Philosophy

Some Remarks on Truth and Justification

The notion of truth is probably one of the most central notions in science and philosophy, if not in humanity’s engagement with the world in general, but it is also a somewhat problematic notion that is prone to confusion. And consequently, not all talk about “truth” is really about truth. A couple of years ago, I wrote a paper titled “Recognizing ‘Truth’ in Chinese Philosophy” on the difficulty of recognizing concepts of “truth” and philosophical theories about truth in non-Western philosophy, focusing on ancient Chinese philosophy. I argued there and elsewhere that the ancient Chinese didn’t have theories of truth,...
Philosophy

Dao and Second-Order Consequentialism

After king You of Zhou fell in love with Bao Si he exiled his wife, Queen Shen. The disgraced Shen family retaliated in 771 BCE by attacking and killing king You. The Zhou dynasty never recovered – although nominally it remained in power for another five centuries, this period was characterized by failing authority and nearly continuous war. Perhaps not coincidentally, this was also the most fruitful period in the intellectual history of China and is commonly recognized as the Golden Age of Chinese philosophy. Confucius, Mencius, Mozi, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, and many other of China’s most famous philosophers lived...
Philosophy

Skepticism, Pragmatism, and Zebras

In 1970 Fred Dretske published a paper about a fairly technical issue in epistemology, In that paper he gave a “silly example” (his words) to illustrate some point about skepticism. Imagine that you take your kid to the zoo to see the zebras. Now, how do you know that the animals you are looking at are zebras? Dretske points out that most of us wouldn’t hesitate to say that those animals are zebras: We know what zebras look like, and, besides, this is the city zoo and the animals are in a pen clearly marked “Zebras.” Yet, something’s being a...