Christopher Rahlwes

Christopher Rahlwes: “Nāgārjuna’s Negation”

Check out graduate student Christopher Rahlwes’ recent article in The Journal of Indian Philosophy, “Nāgārjuna’s Negation.”


The logical analysis of Nāgārjuna’s (c. 200 CE) catuṣkoṭi (tetralemma or four-corners) has remained a heated topic for logicians in Western academia for nearly a century. At the heart of the catuṣkoṭi, the four corners’ formalization typically appears as: A, Not A (¬A), Both (A &¬A), and Neither (¬[A∨¬A]). The pulse of the controversy is the repetition of negations (¬) in the catuṣkoṭi. Westerhoff argues that Nāgārjuna in the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā uses two different negations: paryudāsa (nominal or implicative negation) and prasajya-pratiṣedha (verbal or non-implicative negation). This paper builds off Westerhoff’s account and presents some subtleties of Nāgārjuna’s use of these negations regarding their scope. This is achieved through an analysis of the Sanskrit and Tibetan Madhyamaka commentarial tradition and through a grammatical analysis of Nāgārjuna’s use of na (not) and a(n)- (non-) within a diverse variety of the catuṣkoṭi within the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā.

Rahlwes, Christopher. Nāgārjuna’s Negation. J Indian Philos (2022).

2022 Ruth Garrett Millikan Graduate Fellowship Winners

Congratulations to Mengyu Hu and Chris Rahlwes, who are both recipients of the 2022 Ruth Garrett Millikan Graduate Fellowship!

This summer, the fellowship will support Chris’s dissertation research on “Absence, Difference, and Denial: An Analysis of Negation” in the work of Nagarjuna and Zhuangzi, and Mengyu’s dissertation research on meta-semantics and mixed disjunctions.

The Ruth Garrett Millikan Graduate Research Fellowship was created in 2017 with an endowment by some beneficent anonymous donors and continues to be augmented by generous gifts from admirers, friends and colleagues of Professor Emerita Ruth Garrett Millikan, one of the world’s most distinguished philosophers, and a cherished member of UConn’s philosophical community. To support the fellowship fund, please visit the UConn Foundation.

Congratulations Mengyu and Chris!