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date: 23 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The existence of the external world is a major contested issue among Buddhist and Brahmanical thinkers in the logico-epistemological period of Classical Indian philosophy (c.5th–12th century ce). Buddhist philosophers aligned with the idealist Yogācāra-Vijñānavāda tradition refuted external objects with different methods and arguments. Two philosophers who contributed significantly to the discussion are Vasubandhu (probably between 350 and 420 ce) and Dharmakīrti (between mid-6th and mid-7th century ce), who was one of the two main figures in the logico-epistemological or pramāṇa school. Vasubandhu’s refutation of external objects in his Viṃśikā Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiḥ has been interpreted as an argument from ignorance that external objects do not exist because there is no evidence for their existence. Dharmakīrti’s main arguments against external objects from Pramāṇavārttika and Pramāṇaviniścaya are different. Investigating them in light of his elimination of arguments from ignorance from his own and original logical theory offers new possibilities for appreciating his stance on idealism.

Keywords: Idealism, Vijñaptimātratā, Yogācāra, Vijñānavāda, Vasubandhu, Dharmakīrti, Buddhist epistemology and logic, pramāṇa, argument from ignorance, anupalabdhi.

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