gimme hammers tongs & wedges: Hegelian stranglehold on the historiography of Buddhist thought by Richard K. Payne

Richard K. Payne

Along with the other problems of the treatment of Buddhist thought as philosophy—an increasingly popular intellectual pastime it seems—the Hegelian historiography of philosophy still acts as “an intellectual style” of thinking about the history of philosophy, a style persistent and widespread enough to apparently be largely invisible. Since Hegel the history of philosophy has frequently been written in terms of abstracted “positions” and the relations between those described in terms of the inadequacy of one being overcome by the next. The dialectic dynamic of thesis, antithesis and synthesis constitutes a narrative structure and in doing so creates the appearance of causality. (on the implication of causality by narrative structuring, see Richard K. Payne, “The Path from Metaphor to Narrative” [yes, that is an intentional pun] Pacific World, third series, no. 16 (2014), 29–48.) Hegel’s concept of this pattern as constituting a three part progression of Geist as a transhistorical phenomenon…

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