[Advaita-l] RE: logic and Shastra

Aditya Varun Chadha adichad at gmail.com
Fri Jul 8 05:09:15 CDT 2005


Just a belated side note:

That anumAna is dependant on pratyaksha is not only accepted as true
in the 'formal logic systems' staying within which you want to arrive
at brAhmaN, this fact constitutes the very basis of formal logic
itself. Particularly, the process of 'anumAna' is referred to as
"modus ponens" in formal logic.
it states that given: 

1. A is true (pratyaksha) 
2. A implies B (again a 'fact' that is known or pratyaksha)
one can conclude that:
    B is true.

This process is a necessary part of logical inference and also the
very building block of anumAna.

In my opinion (which may be incorrect and I request you to correct me
if so), Sruti is more like an axiom system than a set of 'theorems'
that can be proven or disproven. Although it may be possibile to
refute the consistency of Sruti by showing that the 'axioms' within
Sruti lead to conflicting inferences as inferred through anumAna
(highly unlikely), one can never 'Prove' the 'Correctness/Truth of
Sruti' using logic or anumAna alone, one can only verify its internal
consistency (which itself may be an endless process). This is because
Sruti itself is a collection of 'pratyaksha' facts (pratyaksha to
ancient jnAnis) that were intended to be 'accepted' as true for use in
subsequent anumAna about questions of dharma and moksha.

>From this angle, the work of Sankara (or the pantheons of any of the
other schools of thought) can be seen as the use of this axiom system
(Sruti) to arrive at subtle 'truths' about complex concepts such as
brAhmaN. Note that even Sankara's work can only be verified as
consistent with the Sruti axiom system, but the 'truth' of Sruti
itself cannot be concluded. That can come only if the mind accepts
Sruti somehow, but surely this acceptance can only come as a result of
something outside the Sruti and anumAna system itself.

In particular, this acceptance can come from phenomena such as:

1. the gradual conditioning of the mind through the verification
(against pratyaksha) of Sruti and anumAna through their repeated use
as a system of inference.

2. a direct 'perception' of 'ultimate' reality which validates the
'truth' of Sruti (axioms).

in fact, formal logic itself proves something that indicates something
like 'ultimate reality is not provable through logic alone' (refer to
Godel's incompleteness theorem for second order logic)

Given all this, logic (anumAna) is nevertheless a valuable tool for
the strengthening of one's faith in the axioms (Sruti) through the
repeated verification of the facts implied by Sruti through the
pratyaksha and anumAna cycle.

By assuming that logic alone is the scale of verification, we would
trap ourselves in the same dogmatism that we ascribe to 'blind faith',
because this is no more than 'blind faith in logic'.

A U M. 

Aditya Varun Chadha
adichad at gmail.com
Mobile: +91 98 400 76411
Home:  +91 11 2431 4486

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