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

Paperback | July 15, 2015

byChristian Coseru

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What turns the continuous flow of experience into perceptually distinct objects? Can our verbal descriptions unambiguously capture what it is like to see, hear, or feel? How might we reason about the testimony that perception alone discloses? Christian Coseru proposes a rigorous and highlyoriginal way to answer these questions by developing a framework for understanding perception as a mode of apprehension that is intentionally constituted, pragmatically oriented, and causally effective. By engaging with recent discussions in phenomenology and analytic philosophy of mind, but also bydrawing on the work of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, Coseru offers a sustained argument that Buddhist philosophers, in particular those who follow the tradition of inquiry initiated by Dignaga and Dharmakarti, have much to offer when it comes to explaining why epistemological disputes about theevidential role of perceptual experience cannot satisfactorily be resolved without taking into account the structure of our cognitive awareness.Perceiving Reality examines the function of perception and its relation to attention, 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 apre-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 Westernphilosophical accounts of the nature of perceptual content and the character of perceptual consciousness.

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From the Publisher

What turns the continuous flow of experience into perceptually distinct objects? Can our verbal descriptions unambiguously capture what it is like to see, hear, or feel? How might we reason about the testimony that perception alone discloses? Christian Coseru proposes a rigorous and highlyoriginal way to answer these questions by devel...

Christian Coseru is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the College of Charleston.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9.09 × 6.1 × 0.98 inPublished:July 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190253118

ISBN - 13:9780190253110

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Table of Contents

AbbreviationsAcknowledgments1. Introduction: Taking the Structure of Awareness Seriously2. Naturalizing Buddhist Epistemology2.1. Doctrine and Argument2.2. Reason and Conceptual Analysis2.3. Interpretation and Discourse Analysis2.4. Cognition as Enactive Transformation2.5. Logic and the Subjectivity of Thought2.6. Phenomenological Epistemology and the Project of Naturalism3. Sensation and the Empirical Consciousness3.1. No-self and the Domains of Experience3.2. Two Dimensions of Mind: Consciousness as Discernment and Sentience3.3. Attention and Mental Proliferation3.4. Cognitive Awareness and Its Object4. Perception, Conception, and Language4.1. Shared Notions about Perceptual Knowledge4.2. Debating the Criteria for Reliable Cognition4.3. Cognitive Aspects and Linguistic Conventions4.4. Epistemology as Cognitive Event Theory5. An Encyclopedic and Compassionate Setting for Buddhist Epistemology5.1. Dependent Arising and Compassion5.2. Mapping the Ontological and Epistemological Domains5.3. Perception and the Principle of Clarity6. Perception as an Epistemic Modality6.1. The Conditions for Perceptual Knowledge6.2. Perception, Conception, and the Problem of Naming6.3. Phenomenal Content, Phenomenal Character, and the Problem of Reference6.4. Cognitive Errors and Perceptual Illusions7. Foundationalism and the Phenomenology of Perception7.1. Intrinsic Ascertainment and the "Given"7.2. Particulars and Phenomenal Objects7.3. Foundationalism and Its Malcontents7.4. Naturalism and Its Discontents7.5. Beyond Representation: An Enactive Perception Theory8. Perception, Self-Awareness, and Intentionality8.1. Reflexivity and the Aspectual Nature of Intentional Reference8.2. Phenomenal Objects and the Cognitive Subconscious8.3. The Intentional Structure of Awareness8.4. An Epistemological Conundrum: Explaining the Subject-Object Relation9. In Defense of Epistemological Optimism9.1. A Moving Horizon9.2. Embodied Consciousness: Beyond "Seeing" and "Seeing As"9.3. Epistemic Authority Without Manifest TruthBibliography

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"The insights of [Coseru's] phenomenological interpretation of Buddhist theories of perception and self-awareness allow these ancient ideas to become live options for current debates in the philosophy of mind. Moreover, the ample references to empirical research lay the groundwork for furtherBuddhist engagement with the scientific study of consciousness and cognition." --Philosophy East and West