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2021, Vol., No.29

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  • 1.

    A Buddhist Critique of the So-called “Dignity of Life” and “Death with Dignity” from the Perspective of Temporality

    Yao-ming TSAI | 2021, (29) | pp.9~30 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This study, drawn from Buddhist scriptures known as the Āgama-sūtras, critically investigates “dignity of life” and “death with dignity” from the perspective of temporality. The analysis starts by defining and clarifying some key concepts such as dignity, life, and death. This is followed by a critical examination of the appropriateness of connecting dignity either with life or with death. A point that should be emphasized is that although the concept of dignity can play a significant role in the social and cultural categories experienced in a temporal context, it encounters enormous difficulties in the category of the process of life-and-death devoid of temporality. If the phrases “dignity of life” and “death with dignity” are taken for granted, then the fallacy of misplaced categories of terminological application can be committed, and therefore the correlated discourses of bioethics or thanatology may be deceptive or misleading. I argue that the process of life-and-death is, first and foremost, neither about dignity nor about indignity, but about entrapped suffering and the cessation of the entrapped suffering. The critical insight of this study may not only be able to open the mind of the students of philosophy to tackle difficult situations in life-and-death, but also serve as a guideline in the future studies related to philosophy of life-and-death.
  • 2.

    The Criticism of Pudgala and Ontological Metaphor in The Madhyamakāvatāra

    Kim, Hyun-gu | 2021, (29) | pp.31~55 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This paper aims to reveal that viewed through the lens of ontological metaphor, the gap between language and daily experience accounts for category errors, and suggests that ‘the denying a self of persons’ (pudgalanairātmya) argument, in the Madhyamakāvatāra, is itself a category error. Candrakīrti, in the Madhyamakāvatāra, redefines the pudgala as a fictional self by referring to the ‘parable of carts’ in Questions of Milinda, in which the self is understood to be a collective concept. This collective concept is considered to be a ‘category error’ because it attempts to quantify and hold non-existent objects as real. Category errors are actually a type of cognitive error, and the reason we have trouble with this error is because we believe that verbal expressions are real. Candrakīrti analyzes the five aggregates of clinging of self, as language expressions, in his criticism of the pudgala, by considering the relationship between carts and their accessories. This analysis reveals the non-substantial characteristics of self, but still does not systematically present the process of how cognitive errors come to be constructed. Therefore, the path of cognitive error is structured, according to Candrakīrti, through the process of denying that the self is a person. This structuralization draws on the theory of ‘metaphor’ which is based on a philosophical position called ‘experientialism’ and they explain it as a feature of our own understanding of self-concept as reality. In this case, metaphor is not used as a rhetorical device, but as a way of understanding oneself and the world in which we are forced to experience mental phenomena in relation to our understanding of general objects. This understanding reveals our general tendency to project our perception of physical objects onto abstract concepts and mental phenomena. This means that abstracted concepts and mental phenomena can only be conceived and experienced from the perspective of understanding physical objects.
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