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The Non-Existence of the Real World

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2022.05.07 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Jan Westerhoff, The Non-Existence of the Real World, Oxford University Press, 2020, 341pp., $93.00 (hbk) ISBN 9780198847915.

Reviewed by Sean M. Smith, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Jan Westerhoff’s most recent monograph is a densely argued and highly systematic attempt to undermine a number of realist convictions. In this book, we have four long chapters, each arguing for a brand of anti-realism beginning with the mind-independent external world (Ch.1), our introspective access to an inner world organized around a self with a continuous stream of conscious contents (Ch.2), ontological foundations (Ch.3), and fundamental truths (Ch.4). Each chapter is meticulously organized and full of arguments worthy of careful consideration.

Those familiar with Westerhoff’s work will be aware that he has made substantial contributions to our understanding of Indian Buddhism (Westerhoff 2018), especially Madhyamaka (Westerhoff 2009). This book is interesting in that its approach is clearly inspired by Westerhoff’s understanding…

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