Saturday, 15 November 2014

Logic and retraction

A question one asks is - How could this be true? That is not a shrug warding off credulity but a genuine one that seeks to find a reason for the truth of something. You are looking for a way to see the truth in it. You trust the proposer but doubt the proposal. In advaita this doubt is amplified because of the S.O.P. of attribution and retraction.

from Method of Vedanta by Swami Satchidanandendra:
No objects are seen in waking and dream in the absence of consciousness. Therefore it is logical to say that without consciousness such objects would not exist.
(Brh.Bh. II.iv.7 ie. Bhaskara’s commentary on the Brahma-Sutra)

This runs counter to the thesis of the unknown object (ajnanatta satta) or the idea that a real object is one which can be unknown. An unreal object only ‘exists’ while it is taken up by the mind and not otherwise. cf. unknown object

The other element which makes one wary is the expression logical. In advaita it is the logical that keeps you pinned to Maya. The logical is about the subject/object dyad and that is what is to be transcended. That theory of knowledge expressed by the citation from Bhaskara is what is to be transcended. An attribution followed by retraction.

It is also the case when I checked on the section pg. 470 ff. on Bhaskara the Swami had much to disagree with and so quoting him may be an ironic nod. But that is to anticipate as I am just now at pg. 99.

Correction 20/11/14: The citation above is not the work of Bhaskara but from the commentary by Sankara on the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad. The Bh stands for Bhasya. Bh at the front of an abbreviation stands for a work of Bhaskara’s. The Idealist interpretation which I took from it is one which is sometimes offered as Advaitic. The suggestion is there certainly but should I think be resisted. My follow up post on the citation in its true location Analogy as Approximation will deal with its ontological import.


skholiast said...

One is reminded of Heidegger's writing Being with the strikethrough, or of Levinas' gnomic "For the saying is both an affirmation and a retraction of the said." (Otherwise than Being p44)

ombhurbhuva said...

That saying of Levinas sounds like a nod to the apophatic, or the neti, neti of the Upanishads. I find that the gnomic can be more instructive than the discursive. You have to rise to it and still not be sure of it.