remember the paper by Graham Priest, called Structure of Emptiness? Cite:
"S'u-nyata-, in the sense we are going to understand it here, is simply
the doctrine that /every/ entity that exists has relational existence.
There is no entity that has intrinsic existence.
I cannot think of any Western philosopher who has endorsed exactly this
view, but it is orthodox in Maha-ya-na Buddhism. A canonical defence of
the view was provided by Na-ga-rjuna, the second century Indian
philosopher, particularily in his text /Mu-lamadhyamakaka-rika-/. In
this text, Na-ga-rjuna goes through all the things that one might think
to have self-existence, and argues that they do not. Many of the
arguments employed concern the kind of thing in question, such as
matter, time consciousness. But some of the arguments are quite general.
Here is one such argument from Chapter 5 (or at least, my interpretation
of it --- interpreting Na-ga-rjuna is always a sensitive issue).
Take an object that one might suppose to have self-existence. Since the
argument is quite general, /anything/ will do, but for the sake of
illustration, suppose we take Aristotle. Aristotle had various
properties: having certain parents, being born in Stagrya, being called
'???????????', and so on. Now, to be Aristotle is to be the bearer of
those properties. Any entity which bore (related to) those properties
would /be/ Aristotle. Aristotle, then, does not have self-existence: to
be (identical to) Aristotle is to be related to those properties in that
That's just terrible rubbish. He hasn't apparently read
/Mu-lamadhyamakaka-rika-. /Na-ga-rjuna says:
/"If we cannot find an entity with an essence, that does not prove the
non-existence of such entities. Some say that an entity that changes is
"To say "it is" is to be attached to essentialism. To say "it is not" is
to lapse into nihilism. Therefore, judgments of "it is" or "it is not"
are not made by the wise."
The author terribly misrepresents Na-ga-rjuna. I don't know why. This is
so obvious, it's not about Buddhism anymore. It's just about reading the
damn work you're writing about. Any academic should have done better.