Crushing the Categories



Jan Westerhoff

The Vaidalyaprakaraṇa provides a rare glimpse of the sophisticated philosophical exchange between Buddhist and non-Buddhist schools at an early stage and will be of interest to scholars of Buddhist thought, classical Indian Philosophy, and the history of Asian thought.

Belonging to a set of Nāgārjuna’s philosophical works known as the yukti-corpus, the Vaidalyaprakaraṇa is noteworthy for its close engagement with the Hindu philosophers. It refutes the sixteen categories of the Nyāya school, which formed the logical and epistemological framework for many of the debates between Buddhist and Hindu philosophers.

The Sanskrit original of the Vaidalyaprakaraṇa long lost, the author translates the text from Tibetan, giving it an extensive analytical commentary. The aim is twofold: to investigate the interaction of the founder of the Madhyamika school with this influential school of Hindu thought; and to make sense of how Nāgārjuna’s arguments that refute the Naiyāyika categories are essential to the Madhyamika path in general.

book information
  • Hardcover
  • 346 pages, 8.25 x 9.25 inches
  • $59.95
  • ISBN 9781949163001
  • ebook
  • 346 pages
  • $29.99
  • ISBN 9781949163018
about the author
Crushing the Categories

Jan Westerhoff is University Lecturer in Religious Ethics at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, and a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Originally trained as a philosopher and orientalist, his research concentrates on philosopohical aspects of the religious traditions of ancient India. His publications include Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka: An Introduction (2009), The Dispeller of Disputes: Nagarjuna’s Vigrahavyavartani (2010), Reality: A Very Short Introduction (2011), and Madhyamaka and Yogacara: Allies or Rivals? (2015).

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