The Sense Madhyamaka Makes as a Buddhist Position: Or, How a ‘Performativist Account of the Language of Self’ Makes Sense of ‘No-Self’

  • Dan ArnoldEmail author


Revisiting the author’s characteristic line of interpretation of the Madhyamaka philosophy of Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti, this essay responds to critiques thereof by arguing for the sense Madhyamaka makes, on the author’s interpretation, as a Buddhist position. For purposes of the argument, it is allowed that especially on the author’s characteristic interpretation, Madhyamaka appears to have affinities with the “personalist” (pudgalavāda) doctrine long regarded by Indian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions as unorthodox. In particular, it is accepted that on this interpretation, Mādhyamika arguments to the effect that conventional truth cannot be explained away by any “ultimate” truth are tantamount to the view that a personal level of description cannot coherently be thought superseded by the kind of impersonal analysis typical of Abhidharma literature. The main burden of the essay is to explain the sense it makes to think this supposedly unorthodox embrace of the category person counts, in fact, as elaborating the tradition’s orienting no-self doctrine (anātmavāda).


Nāgārjuna Candrakīrti Madhyamaka anātmavāda pudgalavāda Self Person Reductionism Two truths 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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