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Mark Siderits’ How Things Are: An Introduction to Buddhist Metaphysics (Oxford University Press, 2022) is a wide-ranging survey of how Buddhist philosophers think about the nature of the world. The book takes readers through topics such as the well-known claim that there is no self, in addition to issues involved in causation, consciousness, and the metaphysics of time. Siderits argues that, as mereological nihilists, Buddhists deny the existence of conventional persons as well as the more ontologically robust self. He shows how their sparse ontology makes use of causation as the central explanation for the wholes that ordinary people mistakenly take to exist. Throughout the book, Siderits makes connections between seminal analytic thinkers like Russell and Frege as well as more contemporary work in metaphysics. Written for philosophically-trained readers, the book emphasizes reconstruction of the arguments for important Buddhist metaphysical ideas, grounded in references to particular texts, thinkers, and traditions.
Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit works of philosophy in Indian traditions, in the areas of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras & Stuff.
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