"An Analysis of Madhyamaka Particle Physics"

What it is

It's a paper I wrote several years ago, when I was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, sitting for a Ph.D. in Buddhism. My advisor, Geshe Sopa, taught a seminar on Madhyamaka, the logic of the Middle Way between the extremes of permanence and nihilism, as taught by Nagarjuna and Tsongkhapa and many others. Tibetan Buddhist logic is the product of over 2000 years of steady and concerted scholarship at the monastic universities of India and Tibet. It describes the nature of phenomena using terms and metaphors rather different from those used by modern physicists. More to the point, it explores the realization that it speaks with metaphors and addresses the debate of ideas itself as part of the problem, in contrast to the Realist bent of modern science.

While Western physics describes matter and energy well, it doesn't really address the fundamental question of ontology, how things exist, nor does it deal with the nature of human perception as a determinant of the way things seem to exist to us. Buddhism offers a view of the world that is capable of explaining these things in one seamless paradigm, while western science is fragmented into ever more subdisciplines that are often at odds with each other.

 The paper is cut into little chapters linked in a row, just click the "Further" link at the bottom of each page, or come back here:

History of Madhyamaka
Logic's Point of Departure
The Lack of Being One or Many
The First Mode
The Second and Third Modes
To Be or Not To Be
The Eye of the Beholder
Autonomy vs. Consequence-Part One
Buddhism and Scientific Method
Atoms and the Mechanical Worldview
Wave Particle Duality
The Uncertainty Principle
Rough Interface
Instrumentalism vs. Realism
The Middle Way
Autonomy vs. Consequence-Part Two
The Roots of Buddhism and Science
The Mindless Brain
Paradigm Shift

The end notes page also has a list of works cited.

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Copyright © 2005 Dan Haig