Comparative Philosophy, Vol 1, No 2 (2010)

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Graham Priest


In early Buddhist logic, it was standard to assume that for any state of affairs there were four possibilities: that it held, that it did not, both, or neither. This is the catuskoti (or tetralemma). Classical logicians have had a hard time mak­ing sense of this, but it makes perfectly good sense in the se­mantics of various paraconsistent logics, such as First Degree Entailment. Matters are more complicated for later Buddhist thinkers, such as Nagarjuna, who appear to suggest that none of these options , or more than one, may hold. The point of this paper is to examine the matter, including the formal logical machinery that may be appropriate.

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