- Dear all,
I read an Italian translation of Bart Kosko's book Fuzzy Thinking: The New Science of Fuzzy Logic. He says that he prefers the Buddha's A AND not-A to Aristotle's A OR not-A. Do you know if there are some Suttas or passages in Pali Canon where Lord Buddha exposed any such logic theory?
Thank you very much,
Inviato da Yahoo! Mail.
La casella di posta intelligente.
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- --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Antonella Comba <tapkina@...> wrote:
>Thinking: The New Science of Fuzzy Logic. He says that he prefers
> Dear all,
> I read an Italian translation of Bart Kosko's book Fuzzy
the Buddha's A AND not-A to Aristotle's A OR not-A. Do you know if
there are some Suttas or passages in Pali Canon where Lord Buddha
exposed any such logic theory?
> Thank you very much,I remember reading this book in High School, before I had much
interest in Buddhism. It'd be very interesting to read it again
after having several years of reading and practice.
You might get a shorter, better answer, but you've touched on an
interesting topic for me, so forgive my verbosity.
In my opinion, the "A AND not-A" kind of teaching is more something
that evolved out of the teachings over time, and not something you
will find directly. I'll try to trace that evolution.
Most directly, the Buddha lists logic among his criteria for
rejection in the Kalama Sutta.
"don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by
At least in Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation, Logical conjecture" is
what is used here. Some of our Pali scholars might be able to give
us a better sense of the word that's used.
As the Sutta reveals, the Buddha generally avoids using logic to
make arguments, preferring instead to show how certain views are
helpful or destructive to the individual.
The Buddha essentially takes any view - views of a self are the
prime example - and rather than logically demonstrate why views
are "wrong," will always demonstrate that they ultimately lead to
more suffering. This is how he always defeats wandering ascetics
bent on arguing the Buddha out of a job. (By the end of the sutta
you will always find them taking refuge!)
In the Maha-Nidana sutta (MN 15) the Buddha illustrates four self
views. Form and finite, form and infinite, formless and finite,
formless and infinite. Lest you think what remains is "I have no
self", the Buddha rejects this view in the Sabbasava Sutta, MN 2,
along with "I have a self."
There are no views that can remain that comform to any kind of logic
at this point.
Now, I actually doubt Bart Kosko had much familiarity with the
Canon. I am more inclined to believe that he is getting this idea
more from Mahayana.
Rather than something "not to be relied upon," logic becomes more of
an adversary. Specifically it shows up in Zen's use of koans.
Koans deal with getting one in touch with the unconditioned -
Nibbana - by circumventing logic in a direct and experiential way.
(Rather than all that tedious business about getting rid of
defilements, in the Zen view of things).
The koan "mu" is essentially a direct encounter with the "yes/no"
duality. This is a direct experience of "A equals Not A." The
student is forced to confront the limitations of their own dualistic
thinking by "explaining" mu to the teacher.
The initial breakthrough is a flash of insight that can only be
verified by somebody who has experienced the same thing, and cannot
be explained logically. Thus arises the whole bizarre and beautiful
canon of Zen teachings which are "dark to the mind, bright to the
This touches on one of my favorite topics which is the precedent for
Zen and mahayana teachings in the Pali Canon. (Probably mine main
drive for studying the Canon).
For exploring this topic in more detail, there is a recorded
dialogue between Ajahn Amaro and Joseph Bobrow entitled "Not Two,
Not Even "One": Non-Duality in Theravada and Zen Buddhism"
Found here: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks-sati.html
(scroll down a bit to get to it).
Also Ajahn Amaro's "Small Boat, Great Mountain." Which I haven't
quite read yet [bottomn of page for PDF]
- Dear Tapkina, DaveK and friends,
I am also interested to read passages in the Pali Tipitaka containing
such "logical expressions" too. As Dave pointed out, Kosko probably
come across them from Mahayana literature, in particular the
Madhyamaka philosophy, which is formulated at the time when the
development of Buddhist logic reached its peak.
I find "A OR not-A" an exclusive statement, as in either this or that
and nothing else. On the other hand, I find "A AND not-A" an inclusive
statement. Philosophically, "A AND not-A" statements are often used to
explain about Buddhist concepts, such as nibbaana, su~n~nataa, by the
--- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Antonella Comba wrote:
He says that he prefers the Buddha's A AND not-A to Aristotle's A OR
not-A. Do you know if there are some Suttas or passages in Pali Canon
where Lord Buddha exposed any such logic theory?