Buddhist ‘Foundationalism’ and the Phenomenology of Perception


This essay, which draws on a set of interrelated issues in the phenomenology of perception, calls into question the assumption that Buddhist philosophers of the Dignāga-Dharmakīrti tradition pursue a kind of epistemic foundationalism. It is argued that the embodied-cognition paradigm, which informs recent efforts within the Western philosophical tradition to overcome the Cartesian legacy, can also be found—albeit in a modified form—in the Buddhist epistemological tradition. In seeking to ground epistemology in the phenomenology of cognition, the Buddhist epistemologist, it is claimed, is operating on principles similar to those found in Husserl’s phenomenological tradition.