Nagarjuna's Vigrahavyavartani is an essential work of Madhyamaka Buddhist philosophical literature. Written in an accessible question-and-answer style, it contains Nagarjuna's replies to criticisms of his philosophy of the "Middle Way." The Vigrahavyavartani has been widely cited both in canonical literature and in recent scholarship; it has remained a central text in India, Tibet, China, and Japan, and has attracted the interest of greater and greater numbers of Western readers.
In The Dispeller of Disputes, Jan Westerhoff offers a clear new translation of the Vigrahavyavartani, taking current philological research and all available editions into account, and adding his own insightful philosophical commentary on the text. Crucial manuscript material has been discovered since the earlier translations were written, and Westerhoff draws on this material to produce a study reflecting the most up-to-date research on this text. In his nuanced and incisive commentary, he explains Nagarjuna's arguments, grounds them in historical and textual scholarship, and explicitly connects them to contemporary philosophical concerns.
1. Introduction; 2. Text; 3. Commentary; 4. The status of the theory of emptiness; 5. The Madhyamaka dilemma; 6. The sound analogy; 7. The no-thesis view; 8. Epistemology; 9. Establishing the epistemic instruments; 10. The fire analogy; 11. The epistemic instruments as self-established; 12. Epistemic instruments and their objects; 13. The father-son analogy; 14. Summary; 15. Intrinsically good things; 16. Names without objects; 17. Extrinsic substances; 18. Negation and existence; 19. The mirage analogy; 20. Emptiness and reasons; 21. Negation and temporal relations; 22. Conclusion; BIBLIOGRAPHY