Christian Coseru, Perceiving Reality: Consciousness, Intentionality, and Cognition in Buddhist Philosophy.
Reviewed by

Rick Repetti


This work focuses on a narrow Buddhist epistemological tradition that begins with the Abhidharma philosopher Vasubandhu’s analyses of perception and is developed by Dignāga, Dharmakīrti, Kamalaśīla, and Śāntarakṣita. Coseru explains how Buddhist epistemology evolved in dialogue with competing conceptions internal to Buddhism and against orthodox Indian philosophies, particularly Nyāya and Mīmāṃsā. Coseru’s main argument is that although widespread interpretations of Buddhist epistemology are foundationalist, a more useful way to understand it is as a form of phenomenology consistent with enactivism and a (causal) naturalism based in descriptive accounts of cognition. Coseru engages his analysis with contemporary Western philosophical concerns in philosophy of mind and language, cognitive science, and enactivism.


philosophy; book review; philosophy of perception; phenomenology; mind; consciousness; reflexivity; naturalism; intentionality; enactivism; cognitive science; epistemology; Nyāya; Mīmāṃsā; Abhidharma; Yogācāra; Madhyamaka

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Philosophy in Review
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC