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A Comparative Study on The Theory of Cognition (Parijnan) Referring

to the Major Schools in Western Philosophy and Buddhism

Kazal Barua
Theory of cognition occupies the most significant part in the history of philosophy. The
enquiries into the world and the reality, the correlation between man and nature, matter and
consciousness, search for the primordial substance have always haunted the human intellect
since antiquity. Since then philosophers have pondered and attempted to comprehend and
interpret this fundamental question of philosophy from various viewpoint. Diversity in
debates and methods of explicating the issue gave rise to various philosophical schools and
doctrines such as sensualism, empiricism, rationalism, materialism and so forth that are
broadly categorized into two: Idealism and Materialism. Philosophers belonging to these
schools offered diverse theoretical-cognitive models.
Among the ancient Indian philosophical schools, Buddhism has widely and profoundly
discussed on the issue. Debates also took place among the major schools and sub-schools of
Buddhism such as Theravda, Sarvstivda, Dsantika, Sautrantika and so forth.
Investigating the explanations suggested by the major schools of the western philosophy as
well as those of Buddhism, this discussion offers a comparative interpretation on the theory
of cognition.
Keywords: Theory of cognition, Western philosophy, Buddhism.