2 thoughts on “Edward Sapir on Unicorns

  1. This reminds me of how the ‘uni-coney’ or ‘Jackalope’ is an important feature of Tibetan Buddhist debating logic for demonstrating the ultimate emptiness and dependent origination of all phenomena and the rightness of Madhyamaka philosophy. ‘The horns of the rabbit’ is used as a paradigmatic case in certain formal debating proofs -

    “Pur-bu-jok posits as the definition of “sign”: “that which is set as a
    sign.”20 Lati Rin-po-che explains this definition to mean “that which is
    taken to mind as a sign.”21 Pur-bu-jok goes on to say, however,
    Whatever is either an existent or a nonexistent is necessarily a
    sign in the proof of something because whatever is either an
    existent or a nonexistent is necessarily set as a sign in the proof
    of that. This is because “horn of a rabbit” is set as the sign in
    “Such-and-such a subject is impermanent because of being the
    horn of a rabbit.” Clearly, anything may be taken to mind as a sign, however absurd it
    may be. What is set as a sign is not necessarily a “correct sign” (rtags
    yang dag).” – Katherine Manchester Rogers, 2009. ‘Tibetan Logic’. Snow Lion Publications: Ithaca, pp. 25-26.

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