Postmodern Epistemic Trends and the Dialectics of Nagarjuna’s Epistemology

  • S Lourdunathan Head & Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Arul Anandar (Autonomous) College, Karumathur, Madurai
Keywords: Postmodernism, Buddhism, epistemology, Sunyavada, nirmana, Sunyata


The dialectics of Nagarjuna‟s epistemology and the postmodern epistemic moorings suggest considerable similarities. Nagurjuna‟s epistemic positions such as Sunyavada, the idea of indeterminacy, not void, the debate between absolutism and relativism, understandings or concepts (nama and lakshana) as mind constructions (nirmana), suspension of absolute judgment in the act of knowing (Sunyata), non-contentiousness
(anupalambha) as the way of inquiry or right thinking, his metaphysics coupled with epistemic position namely the idea of pratityasamudpada, that everything is relational and only relationality contributes epistemic sensibility etc all stand in strong parallel to the postmodern epistemic positions as well their skeptical claims which include -the death of subjectivity and the erosion of objectivity, incredulity towards meta-narratives, the erosion of the centre/essence as authority of meaning or the death of the author, meaning as a matter of simultaneous presence (co-relationality) etc- all these markedly suggest a strong philosophical sense of epistemological parallels. By bringing together the dialectics of Nagarjuana i of the Madhyamika and some of the postmodern epistemic strands the present paper aims not only to defend a case of parallel positioning but all the more to sensitize the social affirmations embedded in both these trends of thought. Moreover, the rich territories of both Buddhism and Postmodernism, I believe, would as well open up further vital research inquires in their dialectics.

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