It Wasn’t Me: Reply to Karin Meyers

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 25, 2018

It Wasn’t Me: Reply to Karin Meyers

Rick Repetti
Kingsborough Community College
City University of New York

This is my reply to Karin Meyers, “False Friends: Dependent Origination and the Perils of Analogy in Cross-Cultural Philosophy,” in this Symposium. Meyers generally focuses on exegesis of what Early Buddhists said, which reasonably constrains what we may think about them if we are Buddhists. I agree with and find much value in most of her astute analyses, here and elsewhere, so I restrict my reply here to where we disagree, or otherwise seem to be speaking past, or misunderstanding, each other. In this regard, I focus on three of her claims. Meyers argues that (1) Buddhist dependent origination is not determinism; (2) attempts at naturalizing Buddhism threaten to run afoul of her hermeneutics; and (3) I seem to err on both fronts. However, I have emphasized that I am not a determinist, and I am not as concerned with what Buddhists did say about causation and agency. As a philosopher, I am mainly concerned with what philosophers can say about them. Thus, Meyers’s criticisms of my work seem predicated on interpretations of ideas I do not exactly espouse. Thus, the “Repetti” that Meyers primarily critiqued, as the title to this Reply (hopefully humorously) makes clear, wasn’t me! Whether I have failed to make my ideas clear, she has failed to accurately interpret them, or some combination of both, I am uncertain. Thus, I focus on trying to clarify those ideas of mine that Meyers seems to interpret in a way that I do not.
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2 thoughts on “It Wasn’t Me: Reply to Karin Meyers”

  1. I am a bit surprised about the pacing of the critique and its response. As far as I see, the critique by Karin Meyers was published on the 18th of October, and the response on the same day. Since we live in a world of fast-paced communication, and since this can get a bit heated under everybody’s time pressure, I just wonder whether there should not be a bit more time to let things settle. After all, what is discussed in this matter is important, but isn’t it also important to practice mindfulness with walking … along this discourse? Otherwise adrenaline could affect our (free?) choice of words.

  2. Achim, a clarification: Repetti was the editor of the symposium, so he read Karin Meyers article some time ago and then wrote his response. The publication date was therefore misleading!

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