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Additional info for Culture and Modernity: East-West Philosophic Perspectives (Studies in the Buddhist Traditions)

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Suppose, then, that the adherents of at least one of two such incommensurable schemes of thought and action are in fact provided in their own language-in-use with what is, so far as the genuinely bilingual -111translators can discern, an adequate representation of the rival point of view. They can now in some sense understand what it is that they reject, but that they must reject it remains the case, for what is now presented to them within the framework of their own standpoint as an alternative to their own theorizing on some particular subject matter will inescapably be judged false by the standards informing that framework.

A name suggests a way.... 4 This view of language, which Sprung ascribes to Madhyamaka Buddhism, seems to represent the consistent working out of the implications of a scheme in which pragmatic meaning is assumed to be primary. The Indian tradition of Vedic times postulated an ordered, threefold set of human aims (purusārtha), namely, artha (politico-economic), kāma (erotic-aesthetic), and dharma (ethical). These are ordered so that the ethical is the superior aim, whose fulfillment includes and transcends the other two.

For Aristotle and for Aquinas there are two ways of justifying first principles, and both of them involve analogous types of circularity. We may argue dialectically against opponents on the basis of prior common beliefs (what T. H. Irwin calls 'weak' dialectic); 9 but it is of course by virtue of the extent to which these beliefs already give expression to Aristotelian principles that the Aristotelian is able to use this kind of dialectical appeal successfully. And we may also argue, using what Irwin calls 'strong' dialectic, to a conclusion that without certain first principles the kind of objectivity and knowledge which the sciences provide cannot be had; but that objectivity and knowledge is already itself understood in a specifically Aristotelian way as both presupposing and employing formal and teleological principles -108alien to many rival modes of thought, including the dominant modes of thought of Western modernity.

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