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Title: Problems arising from a comparison of Buddhist theories of causation with British empiricist ones
Author: Gupta, Rita
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1971
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This thesis seeks to examine to what extent certain Buddhist theories of causation are comparable with the causal theories of some British empiricist philosophers. The thesis starts with an introduction. Its first chapter critically analyses Hume's causal theory, while the second points out that its similarity with the causal theories of Buddhist logicians such as Santaraksita and Kamalasila. Both Hume and these logicians criticised the concepts of causal efficacy and production, and analysed causal connections merely as relations of unvarying sequence. The third chapter critically analyses Mill's causal theory (and, to a certain extent, that of Berkeley), indicating that cause' is a collective name for a complex set of conditions. The fourth chapter points out that the Buddhist 'Theravada' and 'Sarvastivada' schools anticipated Mill's theory of the multiplicity of conditions. Moreover, the 'Sarvastivadins' introduced concepts similar to that of Mill's 'negative conditions'. We also tried to compare and contrast Russell's theory of 'functional interdependence' with Buddhist causal theories. In addition, we suggested that by different devices the Buddhist philosophers and Mill saved themselves from the inconguity of admitting any arbitrary sequence as a causal sequence. Chapter V tries to prove that the Buddhist formula of the 'twelve-membered dependent Origination' contains the incipient attempts of analysing causation only in terms of 'necessary and sufficeint conditions. Chapter VI shows that the concepts of causation and production are co-extensive. Thus there is a dilemma of explaining causation without production. Realization of this probably led the 'Madhyamika' philosophers to deny causation from the Absolute standpoint. Chapter VII points out that the absence, in Buddhist philosophy, of any distinction - corresponding to that made by some recent Western philosophers - between reasons for actions and causes does not invalidate our comparative study. The appendix to chapter I reiterates Hume's thesis, viz., that causes and effects are not related by logically necessary connections, pointing out that its validity is not disapproved by the recent theories of some philosophers, e.g., Blanshard and Kneale.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy Of Religion