ABOUT THE BOOK:
Winner of the 2013 Toshihide Numata Book Prize
Through a careful exploration of the philosophical prblems commonly faced by the seventh-century Indian Buddhist thinker Dharmakirti and twenty-first-century philosophers such as Jerry Fodor and Daniel Dennett, Dan Arnold seeks to advance an understanding of both first-millennium Indian arguments and modern debates in philosophy of mind. The issues center on what modern philosophers have called intentionality fact that mental events are about (or mean, or represent) other things. Tracing an account of intentionality through the arguments of Dharmakirti and some of his contemporaneous Indian critics, as well as Kant, Wilfrid Sellars, and John McDowell, Arnold shows how seemingly arcane arguments among first-millenium Indian thinkers can illuminate matters still very much as the heart of present-day philosophy.
He wants to look arguably the dominant trajectory of Indian Buddhist philosophy-that stemming from Dharmakirti (c. 600-660 C.E.)-through the lens of central issues in contemporary philosophy of mind. He suggests that there are indeed important respects in which Dharmakirti's project is akin to those of contemporary cognitive-scientific philosophers-and that this is so much the worse for Dharmakirti. We can learn much, both about Dharmakirti and about contemporary philosophy of mind, by appreciating that (and how) some of Dharmakirti's central positions are vulnerable to arguments.
"Arnold is one of our leading scholars of Indian thought, ....... an important work of philosophy that offers arguments aimed simultaneously at classical Buddhist thinkers and at important contemporary physicalists." –CHARLES GOODMAN, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"The book is strong both philosophically and philologically, with Arnold’s characteristic erudition, analytic rigor, interpretive sensitivity, and enthusiasm evident throughout. Brains, Buddhas, and Believing is clearly intended to provoke discussion, and the book’s claims and arguments deserve such discussionwithin and across the multiple scholarly fields Arnold targets." –RICHARD NANCE, H-BUDDHISM
"An openly critical, highly refreshing, and thought-provoking engagement with historical forms of Buddhist thought that takes them seriously as philosophy. The work is elegantly written and remarkably accessible given its difficult subject matter." Toshihide Numata Book Prize Citation
"Those engaged by the philosophical dimensions of Buddhism-and-science discourse are in for a reat." - Choice
"[The book] admirably shows how the philosophical views of Dharmakirti and others are not just exhibits in the Indian Wing of the Museum of the History of Ideas, but positions that are of considerable importance in our attempts of addressing contemporary philosophical problems." –JAN WESTERHOFF, Religions of South Asia