Buddhist reductionism

Mark Siderits
Philosophy East and West
Vol.47 No.4 Oct 1997
Pp.455-478
Copyright by University of Hawaii Press


. There has been much recent discussion concerning the relation between Parfit's Reductionism and the view of persons to be found in early Buddhism and Abhidharma. Some have claimed that Parfit is wrong to see in the Buddhist position an important anticipation of his own view-since the Buddhist view is not, as he supposes, Reductionist, but rather Eliminativist.[1] Others suggest that while certain of the Abhidharma schools might have held a Reductionist position, early Buddhism may defensibly be interpreted as Non-Reductionist in character.[2] It is something of a cliche among scholars of Buddhist and comparative philosophy that contemporary philosophical discussions would be enriched through greater familiarity with the Buddhist philosophical tradition. If such claims are to be taken seriously, then we should at least be clear about how the Buddhist philosophical problematic maps onto contemporary discussions. Further, we need to demonstrate, through concrete case studies, that Buddhist resources can facilitate genuine progress on current disputes. I shall here propose a taxonomy of views on persons and personal identity that I believe helps clarify the relations among the various Buddhist and contemporary positions on these issues. I shall also seek to show that when we develop a taxonomy that accommodates both traditions, certain of the currently held positions come to appear more plausible. We might do well to begin with a general characterization of reductionism.[3] This is widely held to be, first and foremost, a view about what belongs in our ontology. To be a reductionist about things of kind K is, on this view, to hold that while it is not wholly false to claim that there are Ks, the existence of Ks just consists in the existence of certain other sorts of things, things that can be described without asserting or presupposing that Ks exist. Thus a reductionist about mobs would maintain that while mobs may be said to exist in a sense, the existence of a mob is really nothing over and above the existence of certain particular persons behaving in certain ways at a certain place and time. The characteristic reductionist "just consists in" clause is often explicated in terms of the "complete description" test: that we could give a complete description of all the facts about reality without ever mentioning Ks. Thus, suppose that last night a mob set fire to government buildings in the capital. Our reductionist about mobs would claim that we can exhaustively describe this event just by describing certain particular facts about the particular people in that mob, and without ever mentioning the mob. Since the mob's action of setting fire to those buildings just consists in certain individual actions, nothing is omitted from our description when we describe those individual actions and say nothing of a mob engaging in arson.[4] And, claims the reductionist about mobs, if we can give a complete description of reality without either asserting or implying that mobs exist, mobs are thereby shown to be ontologically superfluous, and thus have no place in our ultimate ontology. When reductionism is seen in this way, non-reductionism is then readily characterized as the view that things of kind K do belong in our ultimate ontology--that there is nothing that Ks "just consist in," since Ks are ontologically primitive. (Hence a non-circular analysis of "K" cannot be given.) But the third possible view about Ks, the eliminativist view, is not so easily captured on a purely ontological approach to the issue. For then the eliminativist about mobs would seem to be one who proposes that we eliminate mobs from our ontology altogether, and it is far from clear how this position would differ from that of the reductionist about mobs. It is only when we bring in the semantic dimension of the issue that these two types of positions can be clearly distinguished. To say, for instance, that organic chemistry may be reduced to quantum mechanics is to make a certain claim about the relation between two theories: talk of covalent bonds may be systematically replaced by talk of certain quantum mechanical states, so that the latter theory is thought to explain the predictive success of the former. By contrast, the demonic-possession theory of disease does not reduce to the germ theory, for there is no way systematically to translate talk of being possessed by a certain demon into talk of bacterial or viral infection.[5] Thus it is that we take a reductionist stance toward the covalent bond, but an eliminativist stance toward disease-causing demons. The term "covalent bond" is now revealed to refer to certain distinctive sorts of quantum mechanical phenomena. So while a complete description of reality need not mention covalent bonds (whereas it would have to mention such things as quantum shifts), we may tolerate talk of such things just because the term is a useful way to refer to a certain class of quantum phenomena in which we take an interest. With demons, though, things are quite different. When we come to accept the germ theory of disease, it becomes apparent that our former talk of being possessed by demons cannot be seen as just a rough-and-ready way of referring to bacterial or viral infection. For one thing, demons are thought to have properties, such as malicious intent, that could not be explained on the assumption that they just consist in masses of microscopic replicators. For another, a given kind of demon was thought to be responsible for what we now consider to be essentially unrelated diseases (the viral versus bacterial pneumonia problem). Whereas the covalent bond is a posit of a useful though subsumed theory, the demon is a posit of a discredited theory; hence all talk of demons is to be eliminated. Distinguishing between reductionism and eliminativism requires introduction of the semantic dimension. But this complicates matters significantly. For success at translating between one theory and another is something that admits of degrees. Consider the terms "sunrise" and "sunset," which are intermediate between the case of the covalent bond and that of the disease-causing demon. We might have thought, when we transferred allegiance from the geocentric model to the heliocentric model of the solar system, that these terms were ripe for elimination. Yet they survive. Had we expected otherwise, this would have derived from the notion that their meanings seemed inextricably bound up with the now discredited geocentric theory. Instead, these terms exhibited sufficient semantic flexibility that we could retain them while suppressing the implication that the astronomical phenomena are explained by the sun's motion around the earth. This semantic shift was not accompanied by a shift in supposed referent: we take the Ptolemaic astronomers to have been referring to the same thing we refer to with these terms. We can imagine circumstances under which something similar might have occurred with our talk of demons (and as did happen with "humor") . What this suggests is that reductionism and eliminativism represent the ends of a continuum, with a middle range of cases in which it may be indeterminate whether the entities of the old theory are being reduced to, or eliminated in favor of, the entities of the new theory. But as is often the case with sorites phenomena, the existence of such an intermediate gray area need not count against there being a real distinction to be drawn between reductionism and eliminativism. Characterized semantically, then, non-reductionism about Ks will be the claim that Ks will be mentioned in our final theory about the ultimate nature of reality. Both reductionists and eliminativists deny this claim, but they disagree over whether continued talk of Ks will have any utility in the light of our final theory. The eliminativist, of course, proposes eliminating all talk of Ks, both in our final theory and in its ordinary language adjuncts. It might be thought, then, that the reductionist sees matters thus: while the term "K" is in principle eliminable from our language (since we can give a complete description of reality without mentioning Ks), its continued use is both tolerable (because of translatability), and of some utility given our interests. Now I believe this is an accurate portrayal of the reductionist position, but there are those who would dispute this. Some draw a distinction between strong and weak reductionism. The strong reductionist (or "conventionalist") is said to subscribe to the eliminability thesis, while the weak reductionist does not. A weak reductionist about Ks maintains that Ks have a kind of "conceptual priority" such that, although a noncircular, nontrivial analysis of the term "K" can be given, some of the concepts occurring in the analysis will be adjectival on "K," in the way in which "citizen" is adjectival on "nation."[6] Thus the weak reductionist denies what the strong reductionist affirms: that Ks are ontologically parasitic on, or logically constructed out of, more particular things; that we believe Ks to exist only because of the way in which we talk (hence the label "conventionalist" for strong reductionism). I have already indicated that I find this distinction problematic. It is not clear to me that so-called weak reductionism is properly characterized as a kind of reductionism at all. But further discussion of this point must await an examination of the reductionist, non-reductionist, and eliminativist approaches to the concepts of a person and personal identity, to which we now turn. Parfit's general account of Reductionism (1984, pp. 210-214) provides a convenient starting point for this examination. Parfit characterizes Reductionism about persons as the view that the existence of a person just consists in the existence of a brain and body, and the occurrence of a series of interrelated physical and psychological events. Given the reductionist force of this "just consists in," all of the facts to which the existence of a person is here being reduced--the existence of a particular brain, the occurrence of a certain psychological event, the holding of causal relations between a particular psychological event and certain other physical and psychological events, and so forth--will allow a completely impersonal description, that is, a description that neither asserts nor presupposes that this person exists. Hence the Reductionist view of the identity over time of persons: that this just consists in more particular facts, facts that can be described in a thoroughly impersonal way. (This general schematism is fleshed out by neo-Lockeans with purely psychological facts, by others with facts about the body or the brain; hence there are two possible Reductionist approaches to personal identity.) There are also two possible Reductionist views about what a person is: that a person just is a particular brain and body and a series of interrelated events, and that a person is an entity that is distinct from a brain and body and such a series of events. To those familiar with the Buddhist problematic, this will sound rather like the question whether a person is identical with or distinct from the five skandhas (bodily constituents, feelings, perceptions, volitions, and consciousnesses). And since the standard Buddhist response to this question is that the person is neither, one might be inclined to wonder how much affinity there is between Reductionism and any Buddhist view. Our puzzlement is heightened when Parfit also tells us that on the "distinct entity" view that he prefers, not only may persons be said to exist, they may also be said to be the subjects of experiences, the owners of their bodies, and the like. And yet all Reductionists, we are told, deny the Non-Reductionist thesis that a person is a separately existing entity, that is, an entity whose existence is distinct from that of a brain and body and a series of interrelated events. Is Parfit's preferred form of Reductionism coherent? Indeed it is. The key to understanding the view may be found in this passage: Even Reductionists do not deny that people exist. And, on our concept of a person, people are not thoughts and acts. They are thinkers and agents. I am not a series of experiences, but the person who has these experiences. A Reductionist can admit that, in this sense, a person is what has experiences, or the subject of experiences. This is true because of the way in which we talk. (1984, p. 223) The implication, of course, is that we conceive of persons as existing distinct from their experiences, and so forth, only because of the grammar of our language. A person is not in fact an entity that exists separate from a particular body, and so forth; our belief that they are is merely an artifact of our language, yet it is not entirely wrong to continue to speak of persons in this way. What is at work here is the tension characteristic of all reductionisms between a deflationary tendency that seeks to diminish the significance accorded the things being reduced, and a felt need not to sever all connections with existing practices. Since persons are not to be found in our ultimate ontology, the continued existence of a person cannot have the kind of importance it is commonly thought to have. Yet since our ordinary ways of conceiving of persons are not wholly mistaken, we may expect that at least some of the normative weight that we now invest in persons will be preserved in the more particular facts to which the existence of persons is to be reduced. Reductionism is a middle path between the extremes of Non-Reductionism and Eliminativism. A Non-Reductionist need not maintain that persons are separately existing entities. Parfit distinguishes between two versions of Non-Reductionism: the view that persons are separately existing entities (such as Cartesian Egos) and the view that while we are not separately existing entities, the existence of a person involves a further fact, over and above the "more particular facts" of the existence of a brain and body and the occurrence of a series of interrelated physical and psychological events. The classic expression of the first version in the Western tradition is, of course, Descartes' conception of the "1" as a thinking substance; Swinburne (1984) represents a more recent formulation. (This type of view is also well represented in the Indian tradition, for example in the Nyaya theory of the atman and the Samkhya theory of purusa.) The basic idea here is that the human being (and possibly other life-forms as well) is a complex system consisting not only of those things, such as body parts and mental events, that are ordinarily observable through sense perception and introspection, but also containing some one entity that constitutes the essence of the system, that one part the presence of which is required in order for the system to exhibit the properties that we ascribe to persons; it is the continued existence of this entity that constitutes personal identity over time. While this type of view is relatively familiar, the "further fact" version of Non-Reductionism seems rather more puzzling. Here we appear to have a reluctance like that of the Reductionist to posit extra entities, together with the insistence that certain key facts about persons cannot be accounted for in terms of more particular, wholly impersonal facts. In the Western tradition, Reid, Butler, and more recently Chisholm have put forward views that might be interpreted as of this sort. But in each of these cases there are also elements that seem to suggest a belief in persons as separately existing entities.[7] And it is not difficult to see why clear-cut instances of this position might be hard to come by, since if it is true that persons exist and it is also the case that the concepts of person and personal identity are simple and unanalyzable, we should expect there to be some distinct entity the existence and persistence of which explain these singular facts about persons and their identity over time. The Vatsiputriyas or Pudgalavadins of the Buddhist tradition do, though, represent a clear instance of this type of Non-Reductionism; this is precisely the force of their claim that the person (pudgala) is, while existent, neither identical with nor distinct from the skandhas.[8] Parfit does not himself discuss Eliminativism, so to see where this fits on the philosophical terrain we need to turn to those authors, namely Giles and Stone, who advance this view as the Buddhist response to Parfit's Reductionism. Unfortunately, Giles is not especially helpful, apparently falling prey to some serious terminological confusion. He begins by distinguishing between reductionism and eliminativism through the use of an example from philosophy of mind, the dispute between identity theorists and eliminative materialists. And he notes the characteristically eliminativist tenor of the latter's claim that folk psychology is so hopelessly confused as to defy translation into any scientific discourse, and so should be abandoned. Yet he goes on to propose that we call Eliminativist the early Buddhist anatman theory (as well as Hume's Treatise position), despite the fact that on that view we will, "on pragmatic grounds, continue to permit the use of the language of personal identity" (1993, p. 176). But if talk of persons and their identity over time has some utility (as all Buddhists in fact maintain), then our theory of persons cannot be a candidate for utter elimination. He also takes the Milindapanha denial that the person is identical with the psychophysical complex as a whole to be a rejection of Reductionism. But Reductionists do not claim that a person is identical with a certain sum of impersonal elements; instead they claim that the existence of a person just is the occurrence of certain impersonal elements. While Giles sees the importance of the Buddhist theory of two truths, he fails to see how it may be used to mark the difference between "is identical with" and "just is." Stone (1988) is more helpful. Eliminativism is to be distinguished from Reductionism not in terms of the denial of a self (both agree that we are not "something extra") or in terms of the denial that persons are to be found in our ultimate ontology (both deny that persons have this privileged status), but rather in terms of the question whether the attitudes we ordinarily take toward ourselves and others are at all coherent. The Non-Reductionist claims that such things as prudential concern, anticipation, regret, responsibility for past deeds, merit, and the like all require that there be something extra, over and above body and brain, and so forth. The Reductionist denies that there is this something extra, but holds that such attitudes may still be rational (even if their scope is somewhat altered when we come to accept Reductionism). The Eliminativist agrees with the Reductionist that we are not something extra, but also agrees with the Non-Reductionist that our attitudes toward persons are coherent only if we are something extra. Prudential concern, hopes, fears and regrets, judgments of responsibility, merit, and praise and blame--all these are irrational. And since Locke is right to see the forensic elements as central to the concept of a person, it follows that all talk of persons is deeply incoherent. In place of the mildly dismissive Reductionist attitude toward persons--as "mere constructions" out of more fundamental entities--we find in Eliminativism an outright rejection of all that persons are thought to be. Like the demons believed in by our ancestors, persons are posits of an utterly misguided theory. Like Giles, Stone identifies the Buddha as an Eliminativist. As will already be evident, I believe this is mistaken. But it may prove worthwhile to examine why some might see early Abhidharma as Eliminativist rather than Reductionist. First we need to see how the taxonomy we have developed so far might need adjustment in order to accommodate the Buddhist problematic, and so we turn to an examination of some representative early Buddhist and Abhidharma texts. When this is done we will return to the question of reading Buddhism as Eliminativist. One passage in the early Buddhist text Milindapanha[9] clearly exhibits signs of Reductionism. The text as a whole is in the form of a dialogue between the Buddhist monk Nagasena and a king, Milinda by name, who seeks to enhance his understanding of Buddhism by asking Nagasena a series of probing questions concerning the system. The passage in question opens with Milinda asking whether adult and infant are the same person or distinct persons. Nagasena replies that they are neither the same person nor distinct persons,[10] and asks Milinda's view. The king replies that adult and infant are distinct persons. This answer is rather surprising, since throughout the work Milinda tends to represent the commonsense view of things, and most people would judge the adult Milinda to be the same person as the infant Milinda. But it appears from the context as if in this case the king is not to serve as representative of our commonsense intuitions, but is rather expressing a certain understanding of the Buddha's teachings on persons. The king has already learned through his discussions with Nagasena that the person is made up of five skandhas, none of which exists continuously throughout the course of a lifetime, and thus that the person is devoid of a self. He now reasons that since none of the skandhas that made up the infant is present in the adult, adult and infant must be distinct persons. He supposes, that is, that personal identity over time requires the continued existence of some one entity through the distinct stages in the life of a person; since the skandha analysis reveals the absence of any such entity, it follows that personal identity does not extend over any substantial portion of a lifetime. Anyone who has taught the early Buddhist argument for nonself (anatman) from the impermanence of the skandhas will recognize this response, since it is quite common for students to understand the Buddhist teaching in just this way. But Nagasena makes it clear through a series of reductios that Milinda has reasoned incorrectly. By the same reasoning, it would follow that there are no mothers or fathers, no educated persons, and no one who deserves punishment for past crimes. A mother, for instance, is a person who conceives, bears to term, and then gives birth. But the skandhas making up the woman who conceives are no longer present, for example, in the woman carrying a second-trimester fetus. By Milinda's reasoning, then, the woman who gives birth is not the same person as the woman who conceived, or the woman who bore the fetus, and so is not a mother. Milinda agrees that these results are unacceptable, and asks Nagasena how he views the matter. Nagasena replies that adult and infant are the same person. This would appear to contradict his earlier response, that adult and infant are neither the same person nor distinct persons. But Nagasena goes on to explain that those skandhas making up the adult have as their causal antecedents the skandhas that made up the infant; impermanent elements existing at distinct times are collected together--that is, make up a person--when they bear the right sorts of causal relations to one another. This is illustrated with the example of the one light that shone all night. If a lamp were to be lit in the evening and burned continuously until the morning, we would agree that there was one light--one source of illumination--that shone all night. Yet it is agreed that that which actually illuminates at any one moment during the night, namely a flame, is numerically distinct from that which illuminates at any other moment. This follows from the physics of flames, for a flame is a collection of fire atoms (by classical Indian physics) or incandescent hydrocarbon molecules (by our physics), these entities undergoing constant replacement. Yet we do not, for all that, say that there were many distinct lights illuminating the room over the course of the night; it is not incorrect to say that there was just one light shining all night. This, explains Nagasena, is because the flame at 4:00 A.M. has as its remote causal antecedent the very first flame in the series, that which occurred when the lamp was lit at 9:00 P.M. As long as the right conditions obtain, a given collection of fire atoms will, in going out of existence, cause a new collection to come into existence. Whenever distinct flames form such a causal series, this may be referred to as one continuously existing light. Earlier, Nagasena told Milinda that the name "Nagasena" is a mere convenient designation for a causal series of sets of impermanent skandhas. So here he might say that the expression "one light that shone all night" is a convenient designation for a causal series of collections of fire atoms. In the Nikayas, the canonical literature of early Buddhism, "chariot" was the stock example of a convenient designation. In the Abhidharma literature we find such other instances as "forest," "village," "oven," "head hair," and "army." To call "forest" a convenient designation is to say approximately the following: given the regular occurrence in the world of certain sorts of clusterings of trees, and the nature of the interests we have in such clusterings, it has proven advantageous that we have a single term that may be used to refer to such clusterings, and thus avoid the prolixity involved in referring to the individual trees and their relations to one another. The concept of a convenient designation plays a key role in a two-part strategy for undermining belief in a self. First it is argued, through the use of the skandha analysis, that there is no empirical evidence for the existence of an entity having the properties of a self: continued existence throughout a lifetime, being the subject of experience, performing the executive function, and the like. Then it is argued that our belief in a self is generated by our use of such convenient designations as "person, " the personal pronouns, and personal names, in conjunction with the misguided acceptance of a naive semantic realism that takes the meaningfulness of a word to require the existence of some entity bearing that word as its name. Thus, since all of our ways of conceptualizing persons may be accounted for without supposing there to be anything more to the existence of a person than just a complex causal series of impermanent collections of skandhas, and there is no empirical evidence for the existence of anything other than the skandhas, we have no reason to believe that the existence of a person involves anything other than impersonal phenomena in a complex causal series. It is possible to see the strategy that Parfit employs in defense of Reductionism as proceeding along similar lines. For Parfit first argues (1984, pp. 223-228) that we do not have the sort of evidence that would support the claim that we are separately existing entities. He then proceeds to try to show, through the use of various puzzle cases, that personal identity over time is subject to the same sorts of sorites difficulties as are heaps, clubs, and nations. And since most of us are willing, when confronted with such difficulties, to say that heaps, clubs, and nations are said to exist only because of the way that we talk, this suggests that Parfit sees "person" as a kind of convenient designation. If such a reading is correct, then this parallel counts as evidence in support of the claim that early Buddhism and Abhidharma are Reductionist. But Nagasena's use of the notion of a convenient designation brings out something else as well. While the Milindapanha does not employ the doctrine of the two truths, this passage nicely illustrates the tensions that led to the development and articulation of this device in the Abhidharma. The doctrine of the two truths distinguishes between what is called conventional (samvrti) truth and ultimate (paramartha) truth. A statement is said to be conventionally true if it conforms to common sense, that is, if it is in accordance with conventionally accepted linguistic and epistemic practices. If we use "conceptual fiction" to refer to whatever is thought to exist only because of our use of a convenient designation, then "ultimate truth" may be defined as follows: a statement is ultimately true if and only if it corresponds to the facts and neither asserts nor presupposes that conceptual fictions exist. Given a sufficiently restrictive ultimate ontology, it will then turn out that most statements that are conventionally true are ultimately false. It thus becomes necessary to explain why most such conventionally true but ultimately false statements appear to have utility for human practice. The explanation is simply that while certain of the entities quantified over in such a statement do not exist, it is possible systematically to replace all talk of such entities with talk of entities that do ultimately exist, thereby arriving at a statement that is ultimately true, that is, that does correspond to facts the constituents of which belong to our ultimate ontology. Thus, most conventionally true but ultimately false statements are amenable to full translation[11] into ultimately true statements; all that is lost in such translation is the misleading implication that conceptual fictions exist.[12] This device allows us to resolve the seeming contradictions in Nagasena's position. When he claims that adult and infant are neither the same person nor distinct persons, he is stating what he takes to be an ultimate truth. Since persons are conceptual fictions, any claim concerning the identity over time of a person must be ultimately false. His assertion that adult and infant are the same person he takes to be only conventionally true. Likewise Milinda's assertion that adult and infant are distinct persons Nagasena claims to be conventionally false. For it is our conventional practice to refer to infancy and adulthood as merely two stages in the life of one continuous person. And a whole host of other customary practices involves this as presupposition, for instance the notion that as adults we are obligated to care for our aged parents because they cared for us as infants. But the conventional truth that I am the same person as the child pictured in a certain old photograph may be accounted for in terms of facts about a complex causal series of collections of skandhas, just as the conventional truth that there was one light that shone all night may be accounted for in terms of the facts about a causal series of collections of fire atoms. We may eliminate all talk of such conceptual fictions as persons and enduring lights, yet preserve the underlying truths that such statements are attempting, in their rough-and-ready way, to assert. I think we can now see why early Buddhism and Abhidharma have often mistakenly been seen as Eliminativist. The error arises through attending solely to what is said at the ultimate level of truth, and failing to appreciate the relation between the ultimate and conventional levels of truth. Eliminativism is not simply the view that talk of persons may in principle be eliminated. Both Reductionist and Eliminativist maintain that ultimately there are no persons. But the Eliminativist urges in addition that the claim that there are persons be seen as conventionally false as well, since the Eliminativist maintains that our commonsense theory of persons is incoherent, or at least so misleading as to be more troubling and confusing than theoretically useful.[13] By contrast, the Reductionist holds that while unquestioning adherence to the commonsense theory of persons does result in misguided views about how we should live our lives, the theory does have its uses, which fact requires explanation; hence it is conventionally true, though ultimately false, that there are persons. Like Milinda's wrong view about adult and infant, the reading of early Buddhism as Eliminativist results from the failure to consider the semantic dimension of the dispute. I claimed earlier that a reductionist about things of kind K sees much of our talk of Ks as not wholly incorrect. The doctrine of the two truths gives us one way of understanding what this "not wholly incorrect" might come to: ultimately false, since "K" is a mere convenient designation and Ks are not in our ultimate ontology; but still conventionally true, since talk of Ks both has utility given our interests and customary practices, and may systematically be replaced with talk of entities that are in our ultimate ontology. There are those, however, who, while describing themselves as reductionists, would resist this assimilation, since they have serious reservations about the notion of an ultimate ontology. This is clearly so for those so-called "weak" Reductionists, such as Shoemaker and Brennan, who deny that talk of persons is eliminable from our discourse, and deny that persons are logically constructed out of more particular and completely impersonal things. But this might also be true of a "strong" Reductionist like Parfit, who seems somewhat reluctant to commit himself to any one ultimate ontology.[14] Now such reluctance may reflect nothing more than a rhetorical strategy designed by Parfit to appeal to the widest possible audience. But it might instead come from the belief that any ontology must always be provisional, forever open to revision in the light of future experience and future changes in human interests and practices. I would maintain, however, that reductionism requires minimally that the notion of an ultimate ontology be held to be coherent, something to whose attainment we may at least sensibly aspire. For the normative force of reductionist claims requires ontological backing.[15] The reductionist's strategy is to persuade us that Ks have less importance than we are wont to believe, by first convincing us that Ks are really just constructions on more primitive entities. And the notion of relative primitiveness at work here makes sense only on the assumption that there is such a thing as the ultimate ontology. Parfit first argues that we are not what we believe (separately existing entities), and then uses this result to support his claims concerning rationality and morality. The effectiveness of such a strategy depends on the implicit premise that persons would not have the sort of rational and moral significance ordinarily ascribed to them unless they were themselves ultimately real entities. Indeed, the theory of two truths, and the view of ontology that that theory implies, are admirably suited to express the points that Parfit seeks to express--for instance, by claiming that the facts of personal identity over time and the separateness of persons are "less deep" on the Reductionist view, and so lack the rational and moral significance we tend to give them (e.g., 1984, p. 337). For the metaphor of depth may be replaced along the following lines: a fact is "less deep" just in case a statement expressing that fact is conventionally but not ultimately true. But to say this is just to say that some of the entities referred to in that statement are not ultimately real, are not to be found in our ultimate ontology. That the account of persons developed in early Buddhism and Abhidharma is meant to have normative force is clear. Liberation from the cycle of rebirth is said to result from the realization that there is no self, and that the continued existence of a person just consists in a complex causal series of collections of physical and psychological elements. And liberation involves the rejection of that mode of life typical of the "householder, " with its characteristic attachments to home, family, and occupation as ongoing enterprises, as well as its characteristic concern for one's prospects upon rebirth. All such attachments and concerns are to be replaced by a way of life marked by equanimity, spontaneity, and the developed capacity to feel sympathetic joy at the welfare of all. The sorts of significance that we ordinarily attach to our life projects and our situation beyond this life are undermined by the truth about what we ultimately are. Buddhism is often said to be a kind of middle path between two extremes. A number of different pairs of opposing extreme views are identified in the tradition, but one such pair is frequently singled out for special emphasis, namely that of eternalism and annihilationism. Eternalism is the view that there is an eternal self, and thus that rebirth is transmigration. Annihilationism is usually portrayed as the view that the self ceases to exist at the end of a single lifetime. Eternalism is said to have the normative consequence that since one will deserve the karmic fruits reaped in the next life from one's present deeds, we all have a reason to act in accordance with the karmic moral rules. Annihilationism, by contrast, is said to result in a radical antinomianism: since there can be no karmic retribution beyond this present life, one has no reason to act morally where doing so involves sacrificing one's own immediate gratification. Both views are, the Buddhist claims, false because of their shared presupposition that a self exists. Yet some of the normative consequences of eternalism must be preserved, since belief in the karmic moral order is required if persons are to progress toward enlightenment. The middle path between eternalism and annihilationism thus consists of a demonstration that rebirth is compatible with the nonexistence of the self. Since the continued existence of a person in one life just consists in the obtaining of appropriate causal connections among various physical and psychological events, the continued existence of a person over several lives is likewise possible in the absence of an enduring self, provided the right sorts of causal connections obtain between lives. And our alleged ability to recall events from past lives presumably shows that such connections do obtain. Thus to the extent that one is justified in feeling concern for what happens to oneself in the later stages of this life, concern is equally justified with respect to one's future lives. Annihilationism wrongly assumes that only the continued existence of a self could give one a reason for self-interested concern, yet this is clearly false in the case of a single lifetime. As the life of the enlightened person demonstrates, one can know that there is no self yet not lose oneself in a "solipsism of the present moment."[16] While enlightened persons do not exhibit self-interested concern in the same way and to the same extent as the unenlightened, they do appear to be motivated by considerations concerning how their present acts will affect them in the future. Parfit describes three possible views about what it is rational for an agent to seek: (1) the classical self-interest theory (S), according to which we as rational agents should ultimately be governed by a temporally neutral bias in our own favor; (2) the extreme claim (E), that if Reductionism is true then we have no reason to be concerned about our own futures; and (3) the moderate claim (M), that if Reductionism is true, then the causal connections obtaining between different stages in our lives give us some reason to be concerned about our own futures. Parfit claims that since Reductionism is true, S is false; but he also asserts that both E and M are defensible.[17] Clearly, this dispute does not map perfectly onto the Buddhist problematic of eternalism, annihilationism, and a middle path between them. I would claim, however (though I cannot argue at any length for this here), that the Buddhist discussion of eternalism and annihilationism suggests that M should be accepted and E rejected. Like annihilationism, E appears to be motivated not by Reductionism but by Eliminativism. The Reductionist would agree that since there are ultimately no persons, such anticipatory attitudes as dread and such retrospective attitudes as regret cannot rationally be justified at the ultimate level of truth.[18] But persons are conventionally real: the practice of speaking of ourselves as persons has greater overall utility than the available alternatives.[19] And so, certain person-involving attitudes may turn out to be rationally justifiable at the conventional level of truth. Consider this analogy. Most of us would agree that a city just consists in certain buildings, streets, persons, and so forth, arranged in certain characteristic ways; strictly speaking there are no cities. Still, given the utility of the convenient designation "city," a certain degree of civic pride may be justifiable. The overweening pride of civic chauvinism is ruled out, since it seems to require that one think of the city as a separately existing entity. But urban aggregations themselves have some degree of utility, and this is enhanced by the behavior that results when their inhabitants exhibit some appreciation for the character of the particular aggregate in which they reside. Thus the practice of encouraging civic pride has a consequentialist justification. By the same token, the practice of thinking of ourselves as persons can be expected to have significant utility. Much of this stems from its facilitating such person-involving attitudes as anticipation and regret. Suppose that I, realizing that the action I now contemplate will result in future pain for me, am deterred through anticipating that I shall experience pain. Now there is no further fact that makes it the case that the person who will feel that pain will be me; this fact just consists in the obtaining of certain relations among certain purely impersonal present and future entities and events. I do nonetheless have a special reason for refraining from the action, namely the fact that this is (typically) the best way to insure that that future pain does not occur. Because pain is bad, we all have a reason to try to prevent its occurrence; and in general I am better positioned than anyone else to prevent my own future pains. Existential dread may be unjustifiable, but a moderate degree of concern over one's anticipated future pain does have considerable utility. Buddhist Reductionism thus has significant normative consequences. I claimed above that such consequences require ontological grounding, hence that reductionism is to be construed as a thesis about our ultimate ontology. It would be fruitful to examine how the Buddhist Reductionist proposes to determine the contents of our ultimate ontology. It is striking, for instance, that while sorites-induced difficulties are crucial to Parfit's argument against further-fact Non-Reductionism, sorites paradoxes play no role whatever in the arguments used to support Buddhist Reductionism. Indeed, the Indian tradition overall has no Chariot of Devadatta problem to answer the Ship of Theseus puzzle. Instead, in the texts of early Buddhism there is the expectation that we will simply agree that chariots are ultimately unreal, once it is pointed out that a chariot is an assemblage of parts. In later Abhidharma texts we can discern an argument against the existence of wholes in general, but this argument makes no use of the boundary-setting difficulties that the admission of partite entities presents us with. I would suggest, though, that this is not because Indian philosophers were simply ignorant of sorites phenomena. Rather, those Indian philosophers, the Naiyayikas, who championed the existence of wholes went to extraordinary lengths precisely to insulate their doctrine of complex substances from problems of indeterminacy. Thus, Nyaya maintains that the addition or subtraction of a part from a given substance results in the destruction of that substance and the coming into existence of a new substance. And likewise for change in the arrangement of the parts, and for such qualitative changes as change of color, taste, odor, texture, and the like.[20] This position obviously rules out many of the sorts of spectra of indeterminacy that would otherwise plague the champion of complex substances. I know of no Nyaya text explicitly linking this position with the intention to avoid such difficulties. But I find it hard to imagine what else might motivate the adoption of such a counterintuitive view, particularly on the part of the eminently sensible Naiyayikas. In any event, the Buddhist Reductionist was not given the opportunity to exploit sorites difficulties in arguing against persons and other such wholes; those difficulties had been anticipated by the opponent. Now it would still be open to the Buddhist Reductionist to use sorites difficulties to argue against the existence of persons, since if these are to explain personal identity over time then they must be thought of as complex substances that endure through replacement of parts, qualitative change, and the like. (Nyaya accounts for personal identity over time by means of the continued existence of an impartite self, not through the continued existence of a person.) But rather than pursuing this strategy, they seek instead to show that partite entities in general must be thought of as mental constructions and are thus not ultimately real. But then the ultimate point of the sorites strategy as wielded by the reductionist about Ks is precisely to show that the Ks in question are just the result of human conventions, are a mere mental fabrication.[21] For genuine vagueness induces bivalence failure at many different levels: not only is there a gray area where one may say of a given number of grains of sand neither that it is nor that it is not a heap; it is also indeterminate just where this zone of indeterminacy begins and ends in the heap spectrum. Genuine vagueness is thus not the result of mere ignorance, something that could always be overcome by one sort or another of precisification. And for the metaphysical realist, it is inadmissible that mind-independent reality should in itself be the source of such indeterminacies. If mind-independent reality is to be the final arbiter of the truth of propositions, then reality itself must be fully determinate; any failures of bivalence in our theory about the world can only result from that theory's not having carved up reality at its joints--from our having used concepts and categories not wholly derived from the nature of mind-independent reality. To the metaphysical realist, sorites phenomena can only indicate an element of mental construction; it is this that makes such phenomena useful for reductionist purposes. The Buddhist Reductionist simply cuts to the chase--avoids discussing sorites phenomena and proceeds directly to the notion of mental construction. The Buddhist Reductionist argument against the existence of real wholes--that is, for the conclusion that the partite is mentally constructed-is relatively simple and straightforward. Suppose we agree that the parts of, for example, the chariot are themselves real. If, in addition to the chariot parts, the chariot itself is thought to be real, then it cannot be said to exist distinct from the parts given that these are related to one another in the manner that results from their assembly. For there is no evidence for the existence of a chariot that is not just evidence for the existence of one or more chariot parts and their assembly relations; a distinct chariot is a superfluous posit. But neither can it be said that a real chariot is identical with the assembled chariot parts. For the chariot may be said to have n parts, while the assembled parts may not be said to have n parts--they can only be said to be n in number. And if both chariot and parts are real, then the chariot must be either identical with or distinct from its parts. Those such as the Pudgalavadins who claim that the whole is neither identical with nor distinct from the parts are easily convicted of logical incoherence.[22] There still remains the possibility that the chariot is real while its parts are unreal. But the chariot is itself a part of a larger whole, namely the universe; if only wholes are real, there can only be one real thing. There would then arise seemingly insuperable difficulties in trying to account for the apparent utility of the myriad distinctions we routinely draw. We must conclude that only impartite entities are ultimately real; the partite is mentally constructed out of those impartite entities that regularly co-occur in ways that have a high degree of saliency for sentient systems like ourselves. This is the reasoning behind the development of the various dharma theories of the Abhidharma schools. The dharmas are those entities that are contained in our ultimate ontology; and the argument tells us that they must be impartite. But this does not result in the sort of simpleminded Democritean atomism that one might expect. The universally agreed upon definition of a dharma is: that which bears its own essential nature (svabhava). The basic thinking here is that all partite entities must borrow their essential properties from parts: the characteristic shape of the chariot is a function of the shapes of its parts, its utility as a means of transport is a function of various interrelations among its parts, and so forth. Thus, whatever does not borrow its essential properties from other things, but instead bears that nature as its own, must be ultimately real and not a mere mental construction. This approach has some important advantages. It gives a useful way to extend the partite/impartite distinction beyond what is spatially extended to those psychological events that make up the so-called nama skandhas. It thus becomes possible to think of a particular pain sensation, for instance, as impartite, and a complex emotional episode like an occurrence of jealousy as partite. It likewise opens the way to analyzing physical objects not into aggregates of indivisible atoms with determinate size, but rather into bundles of simple property particulars.[23] Most importantly though, the svabhava criterion of dharma-hood yields a uniform way of telling whether something is ultimately real or merely a mental construction: is it analytically findable, or does it dissolve upon analysis? Thus Buddhaghosha tells us that head hairs are mere conceptual fictions since they can be analyzed into color, shape, solidity, and smell; a particular smell, on the other hand, presumably remains as the terminus of any analysis, and is thus a dharma.[24] To borrow a Russellian distinction, conceptual fictions can be known by description, whereas dharmas can only be known by acquaintance. A description, of course, utilizes a combination of two or more concepts. Thus an element of aggregation must enter into the constitution of that which is represented as one thing yet can be known by description. And combination or aggregation is a mental contribution; all that is ever actually given in experience is co-occurrence. In pure acquaintance, on the other hand, the mind is wholly passive and receptive to the given. That which bears its own essential nature is free of all taint of mental construction; that which borrows its essential nature from what is other can only be a conceptual fiction, the product of an inveterate tendency of the mind to construct unreal aggregates. This view depends, in the end, on the soundness of the Abhidharma argument described above for the conclusion that wholes are unreal. And some find that argument unpersuasive. It should be recalled, though, that sorites arguments can always be constructed to try to show that a given sort of partite entity is conceptually constructed. And there is some reason to believe that such attempts will generally be successful. It is, for instance, relatively easy to show that complex organisms cannot be ultimately real, given the many indeterminacies that arise in connection with their continued existence as their parts are replaced. There is also a problem in supposing that a given organism has a determinate species membership, given that our species concepts are themselves fluid and responsive to a variety of pragmatic pressures. Indeed, philosophical discussions of "natural kind" terms tend to overlook the actual practice of biologists, chemists, and physicists in their use of these classificatory devices--not to describe unalterable regularities in nature, but to express those idealizations of observed tendencies that are necessary for purposes of theory construction. The actual data of the natural sciences provide fuel for countless sorites arguments against the ultimate reality of the various entities posited by mature sciences. Possible-worlds machinery yields another rich vein of sorites arguments, since this allows us to construct spectra of indeterminacy across worlds for any partite entity. Thus there appears to be some reason for the Reductionist to embrace the sort of ultimate ontology described in the Abhidharma dharma theories. There is, though, one final step in the development of Buddhist Reductionist thinking about our ultimate ontology. This step seems not to have been taken by any of the classical Abhidharma schools, but only appears with the rise of Yogacara-Sautrantika in the work of Dinnaga. It is the claim that what is ultimately real is just the svalaksana, the ineffable pure particular. This radical nominalism results from the realization that the same considerations that militate against the existence of partite entities apply with equal force to allegedly real universals and resemblances. The relation between a universal and its instances turns out to be just as problematic as that between a whole and its parts. And the universal is just as much the product of the mind's tendency to posit a one when it has collected together the many. Of course the Buddhist nominalist is faced with the daunting task of explaining the efficacy of our discursive practices, given that at least some of the terms of a language must be general.[25] But the Yogacara-Sautrantika responds to this challenge with the theory of apoha, according to which the meaning of "cow" is "not non-cow." Here the "not" is to be read as exclusion negation and the "non" as choice negation. The resulting formal model, and the psychological machinery that is said to instantiate the model, are together designed to explain how a speaker can learn to use "cow" to refer to just those particulars that other speakers of the language agree in calling cows, given that there is no cowness universal inhering in, or real resemblance shared by, those particulars. At this point, those with Reductionist inclinations might begin to balk at the price being asked of them: an ultimate ontology of ineffably unique pure particulars, a two-level truth theory, and a radically nominalistic semantics. It must be borne in mind, though, that Reductionism is espoused because of its normative consequences, which require ontological grounding. And the notion of ontological grounding at work here is in turn based on metaphysical realist presuppositions. Coming to know the truth about what we are is supposed to change our views about how to live our lives precisely because we take "truth" to be correspondence to mind-independent reality. We will be inclined to transform our habitual modes of conduct only to the extent that we find them to stem from beliefs contaminated by elements of mental construction--by styles of thought that leave the mind free to project its desires onto the world. Reductionists must be metaphysical realists, and as metaphysical realists must seek to purge all elements of mental construction from their ultimate ontology. Buddhist Reductionism is consistent and complete Reductionism. NOTES An earlier version of this essay was read at the East-West Philosophers' Conference of the Australasian Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, held at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, 12-15 August 1994. I wish to thank the following for helpful comments on prior drafts: David L. Anderson, Kenton Machina, Roy Perrett, C. Ram-Prasad, and Liane Stillwell. 1.See Stone 1988 and Giles 1993. Parfit now calls the Buddha's view "Eliminative Reductionism, " which he distinguishes from his own view, now called "Constitutive Reductionism" (1995, pp. 16f). For reasons that will become evident below, although I once described the view of early Buddhism and Abhidharma as a form of eliminative reductionism, I now see this as a mistake. 2.Duerlinger (1993) represents both Vatsiputriya and Prasangika Madhyamaka as holding Non-Reductionist positions. His evident sympathy for Candrakirti's views would seem to suggest that he takes at least the Prasangika position on persons to be a defensible interpretation of the Buddha's view. 3.I shall use "Reductionism" to refer to the view of persons and personal identity developed in Parfit 1984, and "reductionism" to refer to any theory that attempts to reduce entities of one sort to entities of a distinct sort. As shall soon become clear, not every reductionist about persons is a Reductionist. 4.It might be thought that this commitment to the possibility of a completely "im-mob-ish" description places a severe constraint on the reductionist, in that such a description will necessarily omit just those elements that distinguish mob behavior from the behavior of individuals and small groups. But this is not so. Once we know all the facts about all the thoughts, feelings, and actions of each individual, we will have captured all the ways in which the actions of each affected the behavior of other individuals in the mob. 5.At least not on any known version of the demonic-possession theory. If, however, such a theory had posited distinct types of demons for vital and bacterial pneumonia independently of the development of the germ theory, we might be more inclined to look for translation rules. 6.Noncircularity is obtained through the use of a "Ramsey sentence" approach. See Shoemaker and Swinburne 1984, pp. 99 f. 7.Swinburne (Shoemaker and Swinburne 1984, p. 27) represents all three authors as further-fact theorists. Noonan (1989, p. 19) takes them as representative of what he calls the Simple View, which is a form of the separately-existing-entity thesis. 8.See Kathavatthu, pp. 1-71, Abhidharmakosabhasya 9, pp. 462463. 9.While the Milindapanha appears to have been written during the period of Buddhist scholasticism (the Abhidharma period), and thus not during that phase of the Buddhist tradition commonly identified as the era of early Buddhism, the text appears sufficiently free of commitment to partisan Abhidharma scholastic positions as to seem better classified as early Buddhist. The episode in question is at 11.2.1. 10.This is the most natural reading of the Pali, namely as denying both numerical identity and numerical distinctness, qua persons, of adult and infant. This and similar passages are, however, sometimes translated more simply by the phrase "neither the same nor different," which is then interpreted (e.g., by Collins [1982])as involving an equivocation: neither qualitatively identical nor numerically distinct. Such a reading misses the connection between these passages and the Buddha's treatment of the "indeterminate questions" (avyakrta), which he compares to such questions as, when a fire has gone out, in which of the four possible directions it has gone. One may sensibly deny that the fire has gone in any of these directions without equivocating on "gone to the north, " and so forth. On the avyakrta as involving bivalence failure, see Ruegg 1977. 11. The notion of full translatability is somewhat problematic, since the full expression, in the privileged discourse, of certain conventional truths would seem to require strings of indefinite if not infinite length, and it is far from clear that such a string could count as a translation. In defense of the claim of full translatability, it could be said that our inability to produce or comprehend indefinitely long strings is a "mere practical difficulty, " that is, only reflects human limitations and so does not represent a shortcoming in the analysis itself. 12. It might appear unduly harsh to call all statements employing convenient designations false, rather than just potentially misleading. The Buddhist reductionist agrees that such convenient designations as "house" and "forest" are relatively innocuous. Our use of the term "person," though, regularly leads to the most dire consequences. Parfit makes a similar point about the term: "Though we need concepts to discuss reality, we sometimes confuse the two. We mistake conceptual facts for facts about reality. And in the case of certain concepts, those that are most loaded with emotional or moral significance, we can be led seriously astray. Of these loaded concepts, that of our own identity is, perhaps, the most misleading" (1995, p. 45). Parfit merely refrains from taking the next step: declaring all employment of the concept useful but false. 13. Of course the Eliminativist cannot claim that it is conventionally false that there are persons, since the theory of persons is, as things now stand, accepted by common sense. Eliminativists can only advocate that the "folk theory" of persons be excised from our common sense, and that our language be correspondingly revised. They do so on the grounds that acceptance of the theory leads to beliefs, desires, and actions that presuppose we are something extra; since we are not something extra, practical reason informed by this theory will inevitably encounter insuperable difficulties. See Stone 1988, pp. 525-530. 14. This reluctance might be another factor that has led some to see sufficiently great differences between Parfit's Reductionism and the early Buddhist position as to classify the latter as Eliminativist. Early Buddhism (as well as Abhidharma) seems quite prepared to say what should go in our ultimate ontology--and that persons are not to be found there. This is not tantamount to Eliminativism, but the apparent contrast with Parfit's view might have led some to see it as such. 15. It might be wondered whether, for example, the reduction of organic chemistry to quantum mechanics actually carries any normative weight. But the relative status of the disciplines of physics and chemistry seem to derive at least in part from the possibility of such reduction. The prestige of physics appears to stem in some measure from this notion that it approaches more closely to a grasp of reality undistorted by the limitations imposed by such factors as the scale of our sensory apparatus or our ability to track only so many particulars at once. 16. Here is further evidence that the Extreme view E (see below) is inconsistent with Reductionism: the Extremist seems to hold that while I have no reason for concern about my future, I do have reason for concern about my present state. Presumably this is because that future person will not be me, but the present person is me. But it is ultimately false that that future person is not me and that the present person is me. Ultimately there are no persons. If there are any facts that explain the rationality of my concern for persons, these facts are only visible at the conventional level of truth. 17. Parfit's view may have changed. He writes (1986, pp. 836-837) that while it is, on the Reductionist view, irrational to view personal identity as what matters, it is rational to care about the causal connections obtaining between, say, a person and that person's Replica. This would appear to rule out E as well as S. He does not, however, give any argument against E. 18. Stone's (1988) argument for Eliminativism depends crucially on the claim that such attitudes are incoherent in the absence of the further fact that Non-Reductionism requires, hence that our theory of persons is incoherent given that there is no such further fact. 19. For the Buddhist Reductionist the utility of the conceptual fiction of persons is, in the final analysis, soteriological: it is because we think of ourselves as persons that we seek to avoid suffering and thus are disposed to enter the Path to nirvana. See Collins 1982, p. 152. In this respect Buddhist Reductionism resembles those Idian Non-Reductionist systems (such as Samkhya and Advaita Vedanta) that take liberation from suffering as the primary goal. Such systems commonly posit knowledge of self as necessary for liberation, but then worry that the self, as subject of knowledge, cannot take itself as object of knowledge. The paradox is resolved by claiming that the self comes to know itself indirectly, namely by overcoming the error of misidentifying with some inappropriate category. Ignorance thus plays a crucial role in the soteriologies of these systems as well. 20. See Ramaiah 1978, pp. 61-90. 21. So Horgan (1994), for instance, after arguing that genuine vagueness is logically incoherent and hence impossible, seeks to reconcile this with the evidence for widespread vagueness in the empirical world, by claiming that while vagueness is impossible in mind-independent reality, it actually occurs in thought and language, where it possesses some utility and where the deleterious effects of its logical incoherence may be contained through various insulating strategies. This position seems to stem from a view that has long been advanced by Kenton Machina. 22. See Katthavatthu, pp. 3-71. Also see Ruegg 1977, pp. 34-36. 23. This would appear to have been the tack taken by certain Sautrantikas in their account of the rupa dharmas. See Vijnaptimatratasiddhi 14, where the opponent is a realist who rejects atomism yet holds that there are rupa dharmas. Vasubandhu's arguments against this position in verse 15 make clear that the view in question analyzes physical objects into bundles of property-particulars devoid of substrate. 24. Visuddhimagga XI.88. 25. Indeed given that the svalaksana or pure particular is radically momentary, all the terms of a language will have to be general. For then a svalaksana is simply too evanescent to be dubbed. What we actually succeed in referring to through, for example, the use of a demonstrative, is always a series of "resembling" particulars. There can be no "logically proper names." REFERENCES Abhidharmakosabhasyam of Vasubandhu. 1975. Edited by Prahlad Pradhan. Patna: K. P. Jayaswal Research Institute. Brennan, Andrew. 1988. Conditions of Identity: A Study of Identity and Survival New York: Oxford University Press. Collins, Steven. 1982. Selfless Persons. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Duerlinger, James. 1993. "Reductionist and Nonreductionist Theories of Persons in Indian Buddhist Philosophy." Journal of Indian Philosophy 21: 79-101. Giles, James. 1993. "The No-Self Theory: Hume, Buddhism, and Personal Identity." Philosophy East and West 43: 175-200. Horgan, Terrence. 1994. "Robust Vagueness and the Forced-March Sorites Paradox." Philosophical Perspectives 8, edited by James E. Tomberlin (Atascadero, California: Ridgeview): 159-188. Kathavatthu. 1961. Edited by Kassapa, Bhikkhu Jagadosa. Bihar Government: Pall Publication Board. Translated as Points of Controversy by T. W. Rhys Davids. London: Pall Text Society, 1915. Milindapanho. 1972. Edited by R. D. Vadekar. Bombay: Bombay University Publications. Translated as The Questions of King Milinda by T. W. Rhys Davids. Sacred Books of the East, vols. 35, 36. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1890. Noonan, Harold. 1989. Personal Identity. London: Routledge. Parfit, Derek. 1984. Reasons and Persons. New York: Oxford University Press. -----. 1986. "Comments." Ethics 96: 832-872. -----. 1995. "The Unimportance of Identity." In Identity, edited by Henry Harris, pp. 13-45. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ramaiah, C. 1978. The Problem of Change and Identity in Indian Philosophy. Tirupati: Sri Venkateswara University Press. Ruegg, D. Seyfort. 1977. "The Uses of the Four Positions of the Catuskoti and the Problem of the Description of Reality in Mahayana Buddhism." Journal of Indian Philosophy 5: 1-71. Shoemaker, Sydney, and Richard Swinburne. 1984. Personal Identity. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Siderits, Mark. 1987. "Beyond Compatibilism: A Buddhist Approach to Freedom and Determinism." American Philosophical Quarterly 24: 149-159. Stone, Jim. 1988. "Parfit and the Buddha: Why There Are No People." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 48:519-532. Unger, Peter. 1979. "Why There Are No People." Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4, edited by Peter French, Theodore Uehling, and Howard Wettstein (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press): 177-222. Vijnaptimatratasiddhi of Vasubandhu. 1980. Edited and translated by K. N. Chatterjee. Varanasi: Kishor Vidya Niketan. Visuddhimagga of Buddhaghosha. 1950. Edited by Kosambi and Warren. Harvard Oriental Series, vol. 41. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Translated as The Path of Purification by Bhikkhu Nanamoli. Berkeley: Shambala, 1976.