Antifoundationalism and the Commitment to Reducing Suffering in Rorty and Madhyamaka Buddhism

Contemporary Pragmatism 7 (2):71-89 (2010)
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In his Contingency, Irony, Solidarity, Richard Rorty argues that one can be both a liberal and also an antifoundationalist ironist committed to private self creation. The liberal commitments of Rorty's ironists are likely to be in conflict with his commitment to self creation, since many identities will undercut commitments to reducing suffering. I turn to the antifoundationalist Buddhist Madhyamaka tradition to offer an example of a version of antifoundationalism that escapes this dilemma. The Madhyamaka Buddhist, I argue, because of his careful analysis into the unsatisfactory nature of existence, is motivated to adopt only identities that are committed to eliminating the suffering of self and others. Therefore, his compassion for others is not in tension with a commitment to private self-creation
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