# [Advaita-l] Re: Women and Vedas

Sat Apr 8 02:59:19 CDT 2006

```Vidyasankar ji is right (not that I am worthy to judge),

it is meaningless to ask for a "proof" of a "proof", or to ask for
evidence supporting evidence. Evidence is something that stands by
itself. so is a proof. In pure language, proofs exist only in
mathematics. In science, only evidence exists, and "overwhelming
evidence" is usually called proof, but this is still only an
approximation. The reason is that most of mathematics assumes axioms
and a proof is within the axiomatic framework, and therefore
unquestionable. The field that questions and refines the axiomatic
frameworks themselves is known as Meta-mathematics, and is usually
itself referred to as Mathematics also.

The goal of science is like the goal of Meta-mathematics, to FIND a
consistent set of axioms that form a framework in which we can use
evidence to arrive at proofs.

In the context of vedAnta, one can debate whether "pramANa" is used to
mean "proof" or "evidence". If it is the former, then one can conclude
that pramANas are assumed to lie within a given axiomatic system and
within that framework are self evident and unquestionable. But if it
is the latter, then the claim to authority is somewhat weaker. In that
case, while the evidence itself is unquestionable, the axiomatic
system itself is open to questioning, and so there is a possibility
that the conclusion that should be drawn from the evidence adheres to
an axiomatic system that is yet to be discovered. I don't know if I
have been able to convey the subtle difference.

I am not sure if ancient Indian philosophy distinguished between
"evidence" and "proof", and if so, in what way. Perhaps sanskRtagya
members can shed some light.

> Since we are throwing in words,
>
> I think the closest english word for pramANa is "evidence", sometimes
> it is also used for "proof". That's how we learnt it in Hindi atleast,
> our IDs were called "pramANa patra"s
>
> --