How Can Buddhists Prove That Non-Existent Things Do Not Exist?

In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-Being: New Essay on the Metaphysics of Non-Existence. Oxford, UK: (forthcoming)
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Abstract
How can Buddhists prove that non-existent things do not exist? With great difficulty. For the Buddhist, this is not a laughing matter as they are largely global error theorists and, thus, many things are non-existent. The difficulty gets compounded as the Buddhist and their opponent, the non-Buddhist of various kinds, both agree that one cannot prove a thesis whose subject is non-existent. In this paper, I will first present a difficulty that Buddhist philosophers have faced in proving that what they take to be non-existent does not exist. I will then survey two main solutions that they have provided. Those 'solutions' may not solve the problem or solve the problem but creates other problems. I will not survey the Buddhist treatment of the problem of proving about non-existence in order to present a new solution that we have yet to see. Instead, I will articulate a problem about non-existence that is unique to Buddhist philosophers. I will do so in order to present an interesting puzzle about non-existence that has largely escaped attention in the 'Western' literature.
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