Phenomenology 2005

Volume 1, Issue Part 2, 2007

Selected Essays from Asia Part 2

Zhihua Yao
Pages 741-756

Dharmakīrti and Husserl on Negative Judgments

Dharmakīrti’s theory of negative judgments grew out of extensive discussions and debates on the cognition of nonexistent objects (asad-ālambana-vijnāna) among various Buddhist and Indian philosophical schools. As is well-known, a similar debate on the objectless presentations (gegenstandslose Vorstellungen) happened in the early development of phenomenology and analytic philosophy. Among various opinions on this controversial issue, I find that Dharmakīrti and Husserl hold similar views. Both of them have less interest in redefining the ontological status of non-existent objects than Russell and Meinong. Rather they engage themselves in analyzing the experiential structure of negative cognition and come up with a similar conclusion that negative judgments presuppose affirmative perceptions. This study will enrich our understanding of both thinkers.