Acquiring the Notion of a Dependent Designation: A Response to Douglas L. Berger

Philosophy East and West 61 (2):365-367 (2011)
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Abstract

In a recent issue of Philosophy East and West Douglas Berger defends a new reading of Mūlamadhyamakakārikā XXIV : 18, arguing that most contemporary translators mistranslate the important term prajñaptir upādāya, misreading it as a compound indicating "dependent designation" or something of the sort, instead of taking it simply to mean "this notion, once acquired." He attributes this alleged error, pervasive in modern scholarship, to Candrakīrti, who, Berger correctly notes, argues for the interpretation he rejects.Berger's analysis, and the reading of the text he suggests is grounded on that analysis, is insightful and fascinating, and certainly generates an understanding of Nāgārjuna's enterprise that is welcome ..

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Jay Garfield
Smith College

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