Was the Buddha an Anti-Realist?

Douglass Smith


In the present article I look at some claims that a form of anti-realism about separate material and mental things can be found within early Buddhism. We will see that while such claims bear a certain prima facie force, particularly when isolated to particular passages in the Canon, taken in a broader context they become less convincing. In contrast I will suggest that in the service of his ethical system the Buddha propounded an incomplete or inchoate metaphysics, but one with at least the suggestion of realism.

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