This conference will explore the different ways that Buddhist scholastic traditions (Sarvāstivāda, Madhyamaka, Yogācāra, Pramāṇavāda) engaged with the issue of “conceptuality” and “non-conceptuality” in their analyses of mind, perception, thinking, and insight. In exploring this topic, participants are invited to focus on one or more key terms or notions, such as saṃjñā, manovijñāna, manas, vitarka/vicāra, manojalpa, prajñapti, and pratyakṣa, as well as pairs like vikalpa versus nirvikalpa (or avikalpaka), svalakṣaṇa versus sāmānyalakṣaṇa, dravya-svalakṣaṇa versus āyatana-svalakṣaṇa, and so on. Finally, participants are encouraged to address the relevance of these notions in the light of contemporary philosophical discussions of conceptual and non-conceptual perception and experience.
Panel 1 — 4 to 7 pm: Conceptuality and Experience Chair: Robert Sharf (UC Berkeley)
Dan Arnold (University of Chicago): “Perception and the Perceptible: Candrakīrti on the Difference an Adjective Makes”
Evan Thompson (University of British Columbia): “What’s In a Concept? Conceptualizing the Conceptual in Buddhist Philosophy and Cognitive Science”
Sonam Kachru (University of Virginia): “Who’s Afraid of Non-Conceptual Content? Rehabilitating Dignāga’s Criterion for what is Perceptually Evident”