Philosophy

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Wittgenstein and Zen

John V. Canfielda1

a1 Erindale College, University of Toronto

Wittgenstein's later philosophy and the doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism integral to Zen coincide in a fundamental aspect: for Wittgenstein language has, one might say, a mystical base; and this base is exactly the Buddhist ideal of acting with a mind empty of thought. My aim is to establish and explore this phenomenon. The result should be both a deeper understanding of Wittgenstein and the removal of a philosophical objection to Zen that has troubled some people.