Emptiness Appraised: A Critical Study of Nagarjuna's Philosophy. By David F. ¯ ¯ Burton. Richmond: Curzon Press, 1999. Pp. xv þ 233. Reviewed by William Edelglass Emory University An oft-quoted Buddhist adage urges the practitioner to test Buddhist teachings with analytic reasoning. The teachings should not be accepted dogmatically, many Buddhist traditions emphasize, but tested as gold is analyzed to determine its true value. In his carefully argued book Emptiness Appraised: A Critical Study of Nagarjuna's ¯ ¯ Philosophy, David Burton, who informs the reader that he is undertaking his study as a Buddhist seeking to understand the tradition to which he is committed, has sought ´¯ to put Nagarjuna's philosophy of emptiness (sunyata) to the test of critical reason. ¯ ¯ ¯ The result, according to Burton, is a resounding failure: Nagarjuna's arguments, he ¯ ¯ claims, are generally fallacious, and their most significant conclusions philosophically untenable. Burton describes his project as twofold: the ``ascertainment'' and ``appraisal'' of ´¯ Na ¯ rjuna's philosophy of sunyata. By giving a thorough exposition of Nagarjuna's ¯ga ¯ ¯ ¯ ´¯ understanding of sunyata Burton ambitiously hopes to resolve debates between the ¯ many competing interpretations of Nagarjuna's thought. Although his
Philosophy East and West – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jun 10, 2003
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