[INDOLOGY] New book: The non-existence of the real world

Jan Westerhoff westerhoff at cantab.net
Fri May 15 15:39:20 EDT 2020

Dear Colleagues,
some of you may be interested in this book, which has just come out:

Jan Westerhoff:

The non-existence of the real world.

Oxford University Press, 2020, 384 pp,

ISBN: 9780198847915


While the book contains very few references to Indian philosophical
material (one, to be precise), it does attempt to provide a systematic
defence of some key positions of Madhyamaka thought and might, for this
reason, be of interest to some members of this list. Here is the blurb and
table of contents.

"Does the real world, defined as a world of objects that exist independent
of human interests, concerns, and cognitive activities, really exist? Jan
Westerhoff argues that we have good reason to believe it does not. His
discussion considers four main facets of the idea of the real world,
ranging from the existence of a separate external and internal world
(comprising various mental states congregated around a self), to the
existence of an ontological foundation that grounds the existence of all
the entities in the world, and the existence of an ultimately true theory
that provides a final account of all there is. As Westerhoff discusses the
reasons for rejecting the postulation of an external world behind our
representations, he asserts that the internal world is not as
epistemically transparent as is usually assumed, and that there are good
reasons for adopting an anti-foundational account of ontological
dependence. Drawing on conclusions from the ancient Indian philosophical
system of Madhyamaka Buddhism, Westerhoff defends his stance in a purely
Western philosophical framework, and affirms that ontology, and philosophy
more generally, need not be conceived as providing an ultimately true
theory of the world."

1: The non-existence of the external world
2: The non-existence of the internal world
3: The non-existence of ontological foundations
4: The non-existence of foundational truths

Very best wishes

Jan Westerhoff

JC Westerhoff
Professor of Buddhist Philosophy
Lady Margaret Hall
University of Oxford
Norham Gardens
Oxford OX2 6QA
United Kingdom

jan.westerhoff at lmh.ox.ac.uk

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