The relation between meditation and analytic philosophy

Authored by: Marie Friquegnon

Routledge Handbook on the Philosophy of Meditation

Print publication date:  May  2022
Online publication date:  May  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367647469
eBook ISBN: 9781003127253
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter relates Western analytic philosophy to Indian meditation practices, and argues that there are, at least from the Indian philosophical side of the issue, not only no conflicts between the two approaches, but a great potential synergy between them. Indeed, in a number of Indian contemplative traditions, philosophical analysis is not only helpful to the contemplative path, but meditative experience is also seen as necessary to fully integrate philosophical comprehension into – and transform – one’s psychological, experiential, cognitive, affective, and conative landscape entirely, culminating in the summum bonum of enlightenment. While this chapter references some of the other Indian and non-Indian philosophical-contemplative traditions, its focus is not only on the Buddhist tradition, but more particularly on that subset of Buddhism revolving around the philosophy of the 8th-century ce Indian Buddhist philosopher and advanced yogi, Santaraksita, whose biting analytic arguments resemble those of Zeno of Elea, who advanced reductio ad absurdum paradoxes against common sense and naïve realism in defense of Parmenides’s rejections of pluralism, time, and change. Santaraksita uses a similar approach, but to pave the way for accessing deeper, enlightening insights through meditation. Santaraksita’s masterful philosophical and contemplative integration exemplifies the potential for synergy between the two approaches.

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