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

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OUP USA, Oct 18, 2012 - Philosophy - 356 pages
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.


Taking the Structure of Awareness Seriously
2 Naturalizing Buddhist Epistemology
3 Sensation and the Empirical Consciousness
4 Perception Conception and Language
5 An Encyclopedic and Compassionate Setting for Buddhist Epistemology
6 Perception as an Epistemic Modality
7 Foundationalism and the Phenomenology of Perception
8 Perception SelfAwareness and Intentionality
9 In Defense of Epistemological Optimism

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About the author (2012)

Christian Coseru is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the College of Charleston

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