Article

WHY IDEAS ON IDEAS MATTER: EARLY BUDDHISM AND PROCESS PHILOSOPHY ON IDEATION

The formation of ideas is a universal characteristic of humankind. However, the nature of ideation and the ensuing convictions is fraught with ontological and ethical implications. This article seeks to explore the issues of ideation and establish the implicit substance-based ontology that accompanies it from a Buddhist and Whiteheadian perspective. The early Buddhist sutras identify extreme positions as resulting in unbeneficial practices and conceptions. These findings are correlated with Alfred North Whitehead’s criticism directed towards substance orientated epistemology. Both Buddhism and Whitehead share the conviction that absolute or essentialist claims are suspicious, and they both attempt to create a scheme of presuppositions and language that better appropriate lived human experiences. The Buddha, as with Whitehead, explored new modes of terminology to sidestep such reified understandings of nature. The article concludes with some advantages of event-based ontology that envisions the actuality of the universe as consisting of events and experience as opposed to substance.

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