Omniscience and the Rhetoric of Reason - Praise

Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla on Rationality, Argumentation, and Religious Authority

“Modern scholars have interpreted arguments given by classical Indian logicians in terms of either the Aristotelian syllogism or modern mathematical logic, neither of which has proved satisfying. Sara McClintock's choice to present Indian Buddhist arguments from the perspective of the New Rhetoric provides a more illuminating and faithful representation. Her accurate and smooth English renderings of the difficult passages of Buddhist logicians will draw the admiration of students of Indian logic, and her treatment of the theme of omniscience will reward all students of Indian religions.”—Shoryu Katsura, Ryukoku University, Kyoto

“Sara McClintock breaks new ground in the much-discussed relationship between rationality and religion. The study is an excellent example of critical philology combined with a stunning capacity of answering in clear and philosophically informed ways the question of what does it all mean?”—Ernst Steinkellner, University of Vienna

"Sara L. McClintock’s Omniscience and the Rhetoric of Reason is a philosophical discussion of a curious Buddhist question: Does a buddha know everything at all times, have the ability to know anything they wish, or simply know all that is necessary for liberation? McClintock’s masterful exploration is built around two important eighth-century Indian Buddhist philosophical works: Śāntarakṣita Tattvasaṃgraha and Kamalaśīla’s commentary on it. She nimbly draws out the twists and turns of their argumentation and their shifting definition of omniscience, and formulates a compelling theory of reason as rhetoric. Even logic, she argues, is designed to persuade, and thus every argument has to be understood in relation to its intended audience. The study is an elegant exposition of what happens when a tradition that prides itself on rational argument inherits a wildly irrational doctrinal position and uses it to defend and advance the tradition."—Buddhadharma