PHIL PAPER

PHIL PAPER - Question Explain and evaluate the Buddhist...

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Question: Explain and evaluate the Buddhist theory of no-self (anatman) [using the ideas of dependent origination and annihilationism/eternalism for further analysis] Buddhism’s teachings of the “Middle Way” can often be misunderstood and viewed as an equivocal philosophy as it explains its theories regarding those of self and human behavior with an abstract and indefinite point of view. The religion falls in between two theories of eternalism and annihilationism, and its rejection of the extremities of both philosophies results in this conceived “middle” and neutral path. Through one of the religion’s main doctrines of Dependent Origination, Buddha is able to provide evidence for the dismissal of eternal and annihilist views and draw up the Buddhist plan that will lead followers to attain eventual truth, nirvana and freedom. By the refuting of these two concepts, the philosophy of the “Middle Way” arises and brings to light its essential theory of no-self or anatman to escape reincarnation and lead to the ultimate cessation of human suffering. Annihilationism is a theory that rejects the ideas of reincarnation and the existence of an afterlife, believing that the self ceases to exist as a sequential result of death and that life’s continuation without a tangible entity is a physical impossibility. While annihilationism follows a more scientific philosophy, the spiritual ideas of eternalism explain that the soul continues on forever and lives on in a persistent existence of immortality. Buddha denies these two ideas on one important basis that both are characterized by their arbitrary and unpredictable natures. Buddha’s doctrine of Dependent Origination explains that everything follows the law of cause- and-effect and that nothing can be created without a prior cause or ended without further effect, leaving no exceptions for random arising. Annihilationism violates this idea since its scientific implications show that the metaphysical nature of the universe with elements such as molecules
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and atoms are arbitrarily assigned their functions with unknown or non-existent cause. Since the theory of dependent origination also permits any random cessation of an object or entity, the death of our physical bodies should not be the absolute termination of our existence and should
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PHIL PAPER - Question Explain and evaluate the Buddhist...

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