First posted 10 Oct 2003
5 May 2017
SIPR Calcutta 2004 Abstract
Shedding some Localic and Linguistic
Light on the Tetralemma Conundrums
Author contact: (email
Numerous authors over the centuries have puzzled over what has been
called “the Buddhist paradigm of catuskoti.”
A classic example: the four statements, considered both mutually
exclusive and jointly exhaustive,
(i) the Tathagata exists after death;
(ii) the Tathagata does not exist after death;
(iii) the Tathagata both does and does not exist after death;
(iv) the Tathagata neither does nor does not exist after death.
We offer some linguistic gedanken-experiments illustrating everyday
situations in which appropriate analogues to these four statement-forms are
entirely plausible as mutually exclusive, or jointly exhaustive, alternatives; and
we offer a framework, based on the logical paradigms of locale theory, illustrating
how forms (iii) and (iv), in particular, need be neither contradictory, nor
paradoxical, nor even mutually equivalent.
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