Perceiving Reality

Perceiving Reality : Consciousness, Intentionality, and Cognition in Buddhist Philosophy

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Combining insights from Buddhist phenomenology and epistemology, but also drawing on the work of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, and recent work in analytic philosophy of mind and phenomenology, Coseru defends the view that perception is a direct mode of apprehension that is intentionally constituted and, under certain circumstances, represents a type of implicit knowing that precludes the possibility of error.

The book's main focus is a range of arguments advanced by two prominent Buddhist philosophers, Santaraksita and Kamalasila, in defending the role that a particular understanding of the structure of awareness must play in settling epistemological disputes. What is significant about these arguments is that they provide a model for integrating the phenomenological and cognitive psychological concerns of Abhidharma traditions within the dialogical-disputational context of Buddhist epistemology.
Taking as point of departure the classic debate between Buddhists philosophers and their opponents, Perceiving Reality examines the function of perception as a source of knowledge and its relation to language and discursive thought, and provides new ways of conceptualizing the Buddhist defense of the
reflexivity thesis of consciousness - namely, that each cognitive event is to be understood as involving a pre-reflective implicit awareness of its own occurrence.

Coseru advances an innovative approach to Buddhist philosophy of mind in the form of phenomenological naturalism, and moves beyond comparative approaches to philosophy by emphasizing the continuity of concerns between Buddhist and Western philosophical accounts of the nature of perceptual content and the character of perceptual consciousness.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 163 x 236 x 31mm | 702g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0199843384
  • 9780199843381
  • 2,830,326

Table of contents

Abbreviations ; Chapter 1: Introduction ; Chapter 2: Methodological and Metatheoretical Considerations ; 1. Doctrine and Argument ; 2. Reason and Discourse Analysis ; 3. Cognition as Enactive Transformation ; 4. Phenomenological Epistemology and the Project of Naturalism ; Chapter 3: Sensation and the Empirical Consciousness ; 1. No-self and the Domains of Experience ; 2. Two Dimensions of Mind: Consciousness as Discernment and Sentience ; 3. Attention and Mental Proliferation ; 4. Cognitive Awareness and Its Object ; Chapter 4: Perception, Conception, and Language ; 1. Shared Notions about Perceptual Knowledge ; 2. Debating the Criteria for Reliable Cognition ; 3. Cognitive Aspects and Linguistic Conventions ; 4. Epistemology as Cognitive Event Theory ; Chapter 5: An Encyclopaedic and Compassionate Setting for Buddhist Epistemology ; 1. The Definition of Purpose: Dependent Arising and Compassion ; 2. Mapping the Ontological and Epistemological Domains ; 3. Perception and the Principle of Clarity ; Chapter 6: Perception as an Epistemic Modality ; 1. "Conception Free" as a condition of "Perceptual Knowledge" ; 2. Perception, Conception, and the Problem of Naming ; 3. Cognitive Errors and Perceptual Illusions ; Chapter 7: Foundationalism and the Phenomenology of Perception ; 1. Intrinsic Ascertainment and the "Given" ; 2. Particulars and Phenomenal Objects ; 3. Foundationalism and Its Malcontents ; 4. Naturalism and Its Discontents ; 5. Beyond Representation: An Enactive Perception Theory ; Chapter 8: Perception, Self-Awareness, and Intentionality ; 1. Reflexivity and the Aspectual Nature of Intentional Reference ; 2. Knowledge, Phenomenal Objects, and the Cognitive Subconscious ; 3. Phenomenology and the Intentionality of Perception ; Chapter 9: In Defense of Epistemological Optimism ; 1. A Moving Horizon ; 2. Embodied Consciousness: Beyond "Seeing" and "Seeing As" ; 3. Epistemic Authority Without Manifest Truth ; Bibliography
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Review quote

A well-crafted and important work, a work that will without doubt influence the discussion of Buddhist epistemology, and the analysis of the relation between Buddhist thought and phenomenology for years to come. * Mind *
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About Christian Coseru

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, College of Charleston
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