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Jayatilleke, K. A. D. K. N. (1961) The Epistemological Basis of the Thought of the Pali Canon, With Special Reference to the Nikayas. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis attempts an historical and philosophical evaluation of the Early Buddhist attitude to the problems of knowledge. Since this attitude is mainly a product of a product of a criticism, acceptance and synthesis of ideas derived from several different stream of thought, a detailed survey of the relevant historical background seemed desirable. The first three chapters attempt to assess the nature and impact of this background. The first illustrates the origins of reasoning in Vedie thought and the early interest in the problem of knowledge. The second shows how the Materialists were critical of authority and urged perception or verifiable inference as the only means of knowledge or denied even this. The third reveals the presence of an influential sceptical movement, which doubted the possibility of knowledge on rational or pragmatic grounds. It shows the emergence for historical reasons of different kinds of logic and certain epistemological theories among thesceptics, Ajivikas and Jains. The fourth chapter deals with the Buddhist analysis and criticism of authority. The next Illustrate the kinds of reasoning prevalent at this time and the Buddhist criticism of them. Ch. VI shows how an analytical find critical outlook leads to greater precision in the use of language and a theory of meaning. Ch.VII seeks to define the nature of the logic of the four alternative possibilities and the theory of truth as found in the Canon. In Ch.VIII is discussed the problem as to whether the Buddhist criticism of authority and reason was consistent with the attitude to authority and reason within Buddhism. Ch. IX shows that perception(sensory and extra-sensory) and inductive reasoning based on it were the recognised mans of knowledge. This was supported by an empiricist theory of causation. It is seen that Buddism is a form of Empiricism, which nevertheless recognised its limitations.(The Appendix was necessitated by a problem in Ch.IV).

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:23

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