Columbia University Press has contracted me to write a textbook for upper-level undergraduates taking a course in Buddhist philosophy in either a department of philosophy or a program of religious studies.
The task is to produce a book that takes Buddhism seriously on a philosophical level by studying its arguments with an eye to seeing which arguments hold up well and which fail to be fully convincing.
The principal sources of information on the issues that were discussed will be Indian Buddhist treatises. Although all of what I propose to deal with has been discussed by Buddhists in the distant past, I plan to choose topics that have a universal appeal and that are still of philosophical interest today. While many of the arguments studied will have been made long ago, the plan is to illustrate them with examples that people living in today's world can readily find relevant. In short, an attempt will be made to make the case that if Buddhist philosophy was ever worth examining seriously to assess its merits and shortcomings, it still is. It must be explained at the outset how philosophical inquiry fits within the context of Buddhism as a whole.
A case must be made for the importance of systematic philosophical inquiry not merely as an adjunct to practice but as a form of religious practice that is designed to arrive at the kind of insight that is seen by Buddhists as necessary to become liberated from the mental and behavioral habits that prevent people from being contented.