The Denial of the World from an Impartial View

Contemporary Buddhism 17 (1):49-61 (2016)
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Abstract

The Buddhist denial of the world seems hard to defend if it is confronted with empirical data. Surveys on subjective life satisfaction consistently report that the majority is satisfied with their lives. Is the desire to escape from the cycle of rebirth a sign of risk-aversion or even irrationality? How would an impartial observer evaluate the world? An impartial view is achieved by interpreting the surveys on life satisfaction as probability distributions for life’s risks and chances. It turns out that there is no indisputable metric for measuring risks and no reliable forecast. Given this uncertainty the denial of the world cannot easily be dismissed as being irrational.

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