Derrida and Mādhyamika Buddhism : from linguistic deconstruction to criticism of onto-theologies

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International Philosophy Quarterly

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In the Derrida- Mādhyamika studies, there are still many other important parallels awaiting our discovery and exploration. Here, we propose to consider the relationship between linguistic deconstruction and ontotheological criticism in these two (anti) philosophical traditions. In the course of our inquiry, we will discover four important parallels in Derridean and Mādhyamika theories: (1) Both Derrida and the Mādhyamika thinkers develop deconstructive theories of meaning based on the similar ideas of différance and differentiam, and seek to nullify the logos and the Name of Non-Existence reified by Western idealists and Buddhist Essentialists; (2) both apply the same theories of meaning to deconstruct Matter and Existence, reified by Western materialists and Buddhist Realists; (3) both conceive of their double negation as an exercise of neither/nor logic and set forth their deconstructive formulas in similar terms of “tetrapharmakon” and “tetralemma” (catuskoti); and (4) both abolish their own tetrapharmakon and tetralemma, and embark on their self-deconstructive course along an aimless “supernumerary” and a linear “hexalemma”. While we examine these four parallels in the following sections, we shall also pinpoint the fundamental differences between the Derridean and the Mādhyamika theories and consider how these two deconstructive traditions lead to the end of philosophy.

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Recommended Citation

Cai, Z.-q. (1993). Derrida and Mādhyamika Buddhism: From linguistic deconstruction to criticism of onto-theologies. International Philosophy Quarterly, 33(2), 183-195.