We (Yasuo Deguchi, Jay L Garfield, Graham Priest and Robert Sharf) will investigate the degree to which reality is inconsistent—the degree to which the world is fundamentally paradoxical, and can only be understood if we embrace contradictions, through taking seriously texts and insights of East Asian Philosophical traditions.
More specifically, we willo investigate accounts in Chinese Daoist and Chinese and Japanese Buddhist thought according to which reality is paradoxical, and which advocate the rational embrace of true contradictions, exploring and assessing the insights and arguments that lead to this conclusion, and demonstrating that this conclusion is the consequence of rational inquiry and not of mystical refusal of reason.
We will bring to bear the techniques of philological and hermeneutical research and of Western paraconsistent logic to understand and interpret the relevant Asian philosophical texts and ideas. We will thereby develop sound interpretations of these texts, and will us the insights derived from the Asian traditions to deepen Western metaphysical and logical speculation.
This study will undermine prejudices. First, it will undermine Western prejudices in favor of consistency. The recognition that contradictions may be true remains a minority view, and is resisted by an irrational commitment to consistency inherited from Aristotle. Second, it will undermine Western prejudices against Asian philosophy. Despite recent interaction between Western and Asian scholars, most Western philosophers still ignore Asian traditions. Finally, we will undermine the prejudice in Asian scholarship against the use of modern logic as an analytical tool and will enrich Asian philosophical studies with logical technique.
We will conduct three intensive seminars bringing small groups of scholars of Daoism, Chinese Buddhism and Japanese Buddhism together with us to explore these questions, and will produce one to three volumes of research.