Saturday, 14 July 2018

Vaidya on Anupalabadhi


I spent about one and a half hours reading this interviewhindu syllogisms
and that I suppose gives me the right to comment on it. I have, so to speak, paid my way – the way of the internet savant.

I’ve said this before about Sanskrit and Sanskritism. Poetry is what is lost in translation. If a philosophical text cannot be translated it is not philosophy. Philosophy is what is retained in translation. Do you really have to know French to understand the ‘evil demon’ hypothesis? Does not knowing German put the ‘thing in itself’ out of your reach?

I went to India in 2018 to speak to some very respected Mīmāṃsā scholars who debated in Sanskrit aspects of Mīmāṃsā theory of knowledge (pramāṇa). My hope is that by talking to these learned scholars who train in Sanskrit for most of their lives from a very young age, I might figure out more about the nature of non-apprehension (anupalabadhi).

Vaidya might well have read about the non-apprehension of existence in Sartre’s Being and Nothingness pub.1943 (Chap.1:Section 2) (find the book at:
being and nothingness

I have an appointment with Pierre at four o'clock. I arrive at the cafe a quarter of an hour late. Pierre is always punctual. Will he have waited for me? I look at the room, the patrons, and I say, "He is not here." Is there an intuition of Pierre's absence, or does negation indeed enter in only with judgment? At first sight it seems absurd to speak here of intuition since to be exact there could not be an intuition of nothing and since the absence of Pierre is this nothing. Popular consciousness, however, bears witness to this intuition. Do we not say, for example, "I suddenly saw that he was not there." Is this just a matter of misplacing the negation? Let us look a little closer.
Further on in his masterly exposition:
This figure which slips constantly between my look and the solid, real objects of the cafe is precisely a perpetual disappearance; it is Pierre raising himself as nothingness on the ground of the nihilation of the cafe. So that what is offered to intuition is a flickering of nothingness; it is the nothingness of the ground, the nihilation of which summons and demands the appearance of the figure, and it is the figure-the nothingness which slips as a nothing to the surface of the ground. It serves as foundation for the judgment-"Pierre is not here." It is in fact the intuitive apprehension of a double nihilation.

There are differences to the anupalabadhi pramana but the core intuition is there. The central point of claiming anupaladhi (non-apprehension of existence) as a pramana is that it is a valid means of knowledge that cannot be reduced to any other.

I see that I have come to the end of a page which is quite enough for now. I might have more to say on Vaidya on the topic of disjunctivism (argument from illusion) later.

One thing else: the example given of anupalabadhi – ‘the pot is not on the floor’ only goes on all fours if you have the background knowledge of the universal presence of an earthen water pot on every Indian floor in olden times. Its not being there is an immediate knowledge.

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