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Re: Abt the ethical learning

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  • vnr1995
    ... I am seeing smoke nearby my office. I intuit that there must be fire. This is what Intuition is. That is, they are not theories, but products of out common
    Message 1 of 45 , Aug 1, 2007
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      > I think he was
      > only attempting to answer Balu's question on how did the writers of the
      > Gita arrive at those brilliant insights about society. His answer is
      > they got the insights by intuition and introspection.

      I am seeing smoke nearby my office. I intuit that there must be fire.
      This is what Intuition is. That is, they are not theories, but
      products of out common sense reasoning (not deductive, but of the sort
      If (P-->Q) and Q, then P). It might be the case that there is no fire,
      but that I am hallucinating.

      I was reading Nisargadatta's "I am that". His conversations contain
      many hypotheses (and our daily conversations contains many
      hypotheses). What is important wrt Nisargadatta is this: his
      hypotheses (intuitive, because he has not developed them into
      theories) are born out of the simple truth that there is no agent.
      Based on the latter, he spoke of the idiocy of self-responsibility,
      and societies built on such models.

      In order to have insights about some thing, one need not to do
      surveys. Based on the claims Indian traditions made about human
      psychology, even an illiterate can make claims about the nature of
      society, morality, etc.

      But the question is not how they arrived at them, because the methods
      used do not determine the truth of their insights.

      This forum is always prone to these kind of discussions: especially,
      many bring in claims like "method kind of determines the truth;
      heuristic kind of determines truth". Saying that X depends on Y is one
      thing; providing warrants, proofs, that X depends on Y is yet another
      thing. But the latter is lacking.
    • kanaadaa
      ... Avinash- your reply ... No Arun isn t saying so. As your own reply explains Arun s point below... ... Even if Apollo or Zeus don t exist, those who
      Message 45 of 45 , Aug 9, 2007
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        --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, avinash jha
        <kalisaroj@...> wrote:
        > --- macgupta123 <macgupta123@...> wrote:
        > > What kind of knowledge?
        > >
        > > If you claim it is scientific knowledge, then the
        > > theorem is:
        > > if we want to consider the Gita to be scientific
        > > knowledge,
        > > then we must validate it in a scientific framework.
        > >
        > > You could claim that it is knowledge about things
        > > outside the
        > > purview of science. Is it knowledge about things
        > > that exist? ...or is it knowledge of
        > > things that do
        > > not exist..
        > >
        > > The answer decides the framework.
        > >
        > > Best,
        > > -Arun
        > >
        Avinash- your reply
        > You are pretty much saying that science is knowledge
        > and knowledge is science.

        No Arun isn't saying so. As your own reply explains Arun's point below...

        > In your framework either it is " knowledge about
        > things that exist? (e.g., knowledge of cats) or is it
        > knowledge of things that do
        > not exist (e.g., knowledge of the tooth fairy or
        > Greek gods)." And, we know that tooth fairy and Greek
        > gods do not exist. So either there is science which is
        > knowledge; or their is talk about things that do not
        > exist, which is something else.

        Even if Apollo or Zeus don't exist, those who believe in them exist
        and become objects of study. The people/scholars who study the others
        who 'believe' in Zeus/Apollo/tooth-fairy have had to first of all had
        to create something called "belief" - a tendency or an attitude that
        results in certain predictable actions, and then compare these beliefs
        with their own - which they insist are based on what waas actually

        > So the question whether Gita contains scientific
        > knowledge is the same as whether Gita has any
        > knowledge at all. So, does Gita talk about things that
        > exist or does it talk about things that do not exist?
        > I do not know what is your answer but I think that it
        > talks about things that exist. How far it is true is
        > another matter. Science also talks about things that
        > exist. I am not sure how far it is true. But I know
        > that physics has no clue to the things Gita is talking
        > about.

        Avinash - far from it. Arun is simply saying that you study the Gita
        either as a text that contains knowledge of things that exist or
        knowledge of things that do not.

        > If you agree with me you would say that Gita is
        > scientific, or at least Gita has scientific knowledge.
        > then you will have to change your notion of science,
        > since it would include the kind of knowledge contained
        > in Gita. Do you think that prevailing or conventional
        > view of science can accomodate Gita as science. Many
        > Indian writers (see Ramkrishna Mission publications in
        > particular) have done that. If a scientist espouses
        > this theory his or her utterances will be considered
        > strictly outside 'science'.

        How would you scientifically approach the Gita? One way that is quite
        popular is the pedant's way. After cutting out everything that can be
        credited to poetic exaggeration, you could have a field day with it.
        Visvarupa? There is no such thing, because there is no supreme being.
        Soul? There is no such thing. Rebirth? No. And then varna? Wow,
        there s something meaty to work on. So goes the popular "scientific"
        way. This method may be still popular, but a fair number of modern
        scholars - professed atheists - find there is little to be learnt from
        the approach, because this does nothing to explain the other entities
        that really exist. People reading the Gita, discussing its morality,
        acting upon it, being moved by it etc., These are all real, and it
        will not do dismiss them as delusion. The other approach (by no means
        a polar opposite) is to read into it, quantum mechanics, chaos theory,
        allegory - mind/body dualism,, evolution etc., and what have you - and
        hence to seek "scientific legitimacy" for the Gita. Needless to say
        neither camp has the fogiest idea of how the Gita has been studied and
        discussed over th centuries and today. So they lose all that rich
        data and are unable to sketch the phenomenon, and in the end aren't
        doing anything scientific at all.

        > When talking about things that exist and do not exist,
        > it is convenient to choose tooth fairy or Greek Gods.
        > Why not choose a little more challenging examples.
        > Does society exist, do medium sized-objects exist, do
        > quarks exist? Do human beings exist? Do they exist in
        > the same way as quarks exist? Do cultures exist? A
        > scientist may not have an answer to these questions (I
        > mean the natural scientist, we do not call social
        > scientist a scientist) but he won't be bothered and go
        > ahead and do his stuff. Social scientists or those
        > aspiring to build a social science of course will have
        > to engage with these questions. The point is that, let
        > alone Gita, even if you consider the possibility of a
        > social science, you will need to transform your notion
        > of science which stems from natural sciences of last
        > centuries. You cannot continue with the same ontology.
        > -avinash


        Rather than getting stuck in science as the word, why not simply look
        at science as a process - observe events or read about them, seek to
        repeat them, borrow theory from elsewhere, hypothesise, build theory
        test it, explain it, etc? One of the things science teaches us is to
        deal with objects, their effects, and traceable processes. Words by
        themselves mean nothing. So to answer you, the term society is a
        troublesome one for science. It's too large, too vague. Let us be
        clearer about what we want to study. Without that any answer to your
        question - Yes, there is some such thing as society. No there isn't -
        are both scientifically absurd. And certainly not on the same plane
        as saying No quarks don't exist, Yes they do.
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