Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Science and Spirituality in Modern India

Expand Messages
  • akshaypeshwe@ymail.com
    I think that, when one speaks of Indian science and Western science , it is like speaking of Indian cuisine and Western cuisine . To be sure, Indian
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 1, 2011
    • 0 Attachment
      I think that, when one speaks of 'Indian science' and 'Western science', it is like speaking of 'Indian cuisine' and 'Western cuisine'. To be sure, 'Indian cuisine' refers to cuisine native to India, but much more. In fact, there are so many differences between Brahminical cuisine and French cuisine that one might be tempted to call in an investigation à la Indian religion and Western religion. ;) Hence the question of the characteristics of 'Indian gravitation' would be like that of 'Indian boiling'.

      --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "kannan7s" <kannan7s@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      >
      > I have difficulty understanding references to "Indian science" and "western science" in any manner other than meaning to say, "Western science refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in the west, while Indian science presumably refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in India."
      >
      > But the article seems to imply something else. "What are the characteristics of Indian science?" it asks.
      >
      > How is this different from demanding to know, "What are the characteristics of Indian gravitation?"
      >
      > The question does not make sense to me.
      >
      > Kannan
      >
      >
      > --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "kalawar" <kalawar@> wrote:
      > >
      > > I found the following article thought provoking. Its reference to David Arnold and Deepak Kumar (British Imperial Science) is interesting with its allusion to how western science as it was diffused into India was of non-theoretical nature, with the core knowledge producing factor (theory building) being retained in western europe.
      > >
      > > http://samvadindia.com/sspirituality/free/makarand.pdf
      > >
      > > The spirituality aspect is not as deftly explicated, signalling a rich area of work to be done, perhaps?
      > >
      >
    • kalawar
      To your point, what is science? would it help if one were to say: - problem solving techniques used in India and problem solving techniques used in Europe are
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 1, 2011
      • 0 Attachment
        To your point, what is science?

        would it help if one were to say:

        - problem solving techniques used in India and problem solving techniques used in Europe are different in the steps they follow as well as their end result? thereby dropping the word science?

        - in the science as practiced by Newton a universal hypothesis is developed based on a few specific observations, the hypothesis is tested and a more robust hypothesis (theory?) is born.

        - in the science (if one can call it that?) as practiced by the cow / sheep herds of Uttaranchal they come up with a series of if / then rules to help them navigate back to their villages after dark from their mountainside pastures using sunset location and star maps (which may be embedded in verse form), much like sailors. The outcome of the process is a set of heuristic rules to solve a specific problem, not to develop a universal theory. the process followed to arrive at the rules would be one of iterative trial and error i.e. hypothesis and then testing.

        does any of the above help with the question not making sense?

        --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "kannan7s" <kannan7s@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        >
        > I have difficulty understanding references to "Indian science" and "western science" in any manner other than meaning to say, "Western science refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in the west, while Indian science presumably refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in India."
        >
        > But the article seems to imply something else. "What are the characteristics of Indian science?" it asks.
        >
        > How is this different from demanding to know, "What are the characteristics of Indian gravitation?"
        >
        > The question does not make sense to me.
        >
        > Kannan
        >
        >
        > --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "kalawar" <kalawar@> wrote:
        > >
        > > I found the following article thought provoking. Its reference to David Arnold and Deepak Kumar (British Imperial Science) is interesting with its allusion to how western science as it was diffused into India was of non-theoretical nature, with the core knowledge producing factor (theory building) being retained in western europe.
        > >
        > > http://samvadindia.com/sspirituality/free/makarand.pdf
        > >
        > > The spirituality aspect is not as deftly explicated, signalling a rich area of work to be done, perhaps?
        > >
        >
      • Arun
        ... Is there any difficulty in 17th century science (European) and modern science ? Only if the focus is solely on the end product, and not on the entire
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 1, 2011
        • 0 Attachment
          >
          > I have difficulty understanding references to "Indian science" and "western science" in any manner other than meaning to say, "Western science refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in the west, while Indian science presumably refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in India."
          >

          Is there any difficulty in "17th century science (European)" and "modern science"? Only if the focus is solely on the end product, and not on the entire ecology of science practice.
        • kalawar
          so is the process of developing heuristics, and socializing for wider application in form of verses and stories (with the process of socializing the heuristic
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 2, 2011
          • 0 Attachment
            so is the process of developing heuristics, and socializing for wider application in form of verses and stories (with the process of socializing the heuristic neutralizing individual cognitive biases but retaining social and cultural biases), science?

            - if yes, then science has been practiced in India, and it does not require Christian underpinning?

            - is the process of natural science apparently based on Christian underpinnings different from the heuristics development process practiced in India?





            --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "Arun" <macgupta123@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > >
            > > I have difficulty understanding references to "Indian science" and "western science" in any manner other than meaning to say, "Western science refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in the west, while Indian science presumably refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in India."
            > >
            >
            > Is there any difficulty in "17th century science (European)" and "modern science"? Only if the focus is solely on the end product, and not on the entire ecology of science practice.
            >
          • kannan7s
            ... Yes, I get this -- that it is the ecology of science practice being referenced and that the focus should not be solely on the end product. Well, what is
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 7, 2011
            • 0 Attachment
              --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "Arun" <macgupta123@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > >
              > > I have difficulty understanding references to "Indian science" and "western science" in any manner other than meaning to say, "Western science refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in the west, while Indian science presumably refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in India."
              > >
              >
              > Is there any difficulty in "17th century science (European)" and "modern science"? Only if the focus is solely on the end product, and not on the entire ecology of science practice.
              >


              Yes, I get this -- that it is "the ecology of science practice" being referenced and that the focus should not be solely on the end product.

              Well, what is the "ecology of science practice" that has prevailed in India in the past 1000 years? Is the knowledge production that has happened in India of the same variety as that which occurred in Europe? What assures you that the knowledge production in India is "science" or "Indian science"? Not long ago, we were assured that Hinduism was an Indian religion.

              If the goat-herd in Uttaranchal can find his way home because he knows the position of a hillock relative to some star he recognizes in the sky, I don't see how that is "Indian science." A Swiss goat-herd may do the same thing and he would not be producing or practicing "Swiss science" because of it.

              Of course, India and Indian traditions have produced knowledge over the centuries; but calling the process 'science' or 'Indian science' assumes a-priori that the process was in fact science (still speaking about the 'ecology of the process' not the end-product).

              If anything, the type of knowledge that Indian traditions may have discovered ahead of other cultures and Europe may be the 'brahma-vidya' referenced in many Indian traditions. Is 'brahma-vidya' science? It may be. It may also be something well 'beyond science'. I don't know. Perhaps the attitude of investigation needed to acquire such knowledge is what we may call 'scientific'. I can see that.

              But I don't see why the label 'science' (or "Indian science") is needed to make all learning or all forms of knowledge-production legitimate. It may be that some 'science' has occurred in India. But assuming a-priori that the ecology-of-science-practice in Europe was also present as an Indian avatar in India may be similar to identifying (a-priori) all those religions in India.

              Kannan
            • kalawar
              so is the trial and error process by which a) a heuristic is developed and shared (as a verse or a story and whether in switzerland or india) by shepherds /
              Message 6 of 11 , Jun 8, 2011
              • 0 Attachment
                so is the trial and error process by which a) a heuristic is developed and shared (as a verse or a story and whether in switzerland or india) by shepherds / goatherds and b) a compass is developed (including some intermediate steps of developing theory / model of earth's magnetic fields) different - so that one is science and the other is not? Both solve the same problem with a key difference: the heuristic solves the problem for a specific local area, the compass is more generalized / non local in its application.




                --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "kannan7s" <kannan7s@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                >
                > --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "Arun" <macgupta123@> wrote:
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > >
                > > > I have difficulty understanding references to "Indian science" and "western science" in any manner other than meaning to say, "Western science refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in the west, while Indian science presumably refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in India."
                > > >
                > >
                > > Is there any difficulty in "17th century science (European)" and "modern science"? Only if the focus is solely on the end product, and not on the entire ecology of science practice.
                > >
                >
                >
                > Yes, I get this -- that it is "the ecology of science practice" being referenced and that the focus should not be solely on the end product.
                >
                > Well, what is the "ecology of science practice" that has prevailed in India in the past 1000 years? Is the knowledge production that has happened in India of the same variety as that which occurred in Europe? What assures you that the knowledge production in India is "science" or "Indian science"? Not long ago, we were assured that Hinduism was an Indian religion.
                >
                > If the goat-herd in Uttaranchal can find his way home because he knows the position of a hillock relative to some star he recognizes in the sky, I don't see how that is "Indian science." A Swiss goat-herd may do the same thing and he would not be producing or practicing "Swiss science" because of it.
                >
                > Of course, India and Indian traditions have produced knowledge over the centuries; but calling the process 'science' or 'Indian science' assumes a-priori that the process was in fact science (still speaking about the 'ecology of the process' not the end-product).
                >
                > If anything, the type of knowledge that Indian traditions may have discovered ahead of other cultures and Europe may be the 'brahma-vidya' referenced in many Indian traditions. Is 'brahma-vidya' science? It may be. It may also be something well 'beyond science'. I don't know. Perhaps the attitude of investigation needed to acquire such knowledge is what we may call 'scientific'. I can see that.
                >
                > But I don't see why the label 'science' (or "Indian science") is needed to make all learning or all forms of knowledge-production legitimate. It may be that some 'science' has occurred in India. But assuming a-priori that the ecology-of-science-practice in Europe was also present as an Indian avatar in India may be similar to identifying (a-priori) all those religions in India.
                >
                > Kannan
                >
              • vnr1995
                The problem is: fallacy of equivocation. For instance, the word science is multivocal. In one sense, it is theoretical knowledge and refers to what we call
                Message 7 of 11 , Jun 8, 2011
                • 0 Attachment
                  The problem is: fallacy of equivocation. For instance, the word 'science' is
                  multivocal. In one sense, it is theoretical knowledge and refers to what we
                  call natural sciences today. In another sense, it is any human knowledge,
                  and refer to natural sciences as well as skills such as participating in an
                  online forum, herding goats, singing poems, strategy consultants selling
                  maxims like "be brief and succinct", etc. One need to go beyond the usage
                  of the word 'science'; instead, one should spell out what makes whatever was
                  (is?) produced in India is human knowledge. Otherwise, it doesn't go
                  anywhere.


                  On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 11:44 AM, kalawar <kalawar@...> wrote:

                  >
                  >
                  > so is the trial and error process by which a) a heuristic is developed and
                  > shared (as a verse or a story and whether in switzerland or india) by
                  > shepherds / goatherds and b) a compass is developed (including some
                  > intermediate steps of developing theory / model of earth's magnetic fields)
                  > different - so that one is science and the other is not? Both solve the same
                  > problem with a key difference: the heuristic solves the problem for a
                  > specific local area, the compass is more generalized / non local in its
                  > application.
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "kannan7s" <kannan7s@...>
                  > wrote:
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "Arun" <macgupta123@>
                  > wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > >
                  > > > > I have difficulty understanding references to "Indian science" and
                  > "western science" in any manner other than meaning to say, "Western science
                  > refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in the west,
                  > while Indian science presumably refers to a scientific theory or scientific
                  > knowledge produced in India."
                  > > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > Is there any difficulty in "17th century science (European)" and
                  > "modern science"? Only if the focus is solely on the end product, and not on
                  > the entire ecology of science practice.
                  > > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Yes, I get this -- that it is "the ecology of science practice" being
                  > referenced and that the focus should not be solely on the end product.
                  > >
                  > > Well, what is the "ecology of science practice" that has prevailed in
                  > India in the past 1000 years? Is the knowledge production that has happened
                  > in India of the same variety as that which occurred in Europe? What assures
                  > you that the knowledge production in India is "science" or "Indian science"?
                  > Not long ago, we were assured that Hinduism was an Indian religion.
                  > >
                  > > If the goat-herd in Uttaranchal can find his way home because he knows
                  > the position of a hillock relative to some star he recognizes in the sky, I
                  > don't see how that is "Indian science." A Swiss goat-herd may do the same
                  > thing and he would not be producing or practicing "Swiss science" because of
                  > it.
                  > >
                  > > Of course, India and Indian traditions have produced knowledge over the
                  > centuries; but calling the process 'science' or 'Indian science' assumes
                  > a-priori that the process was in fact science (still speaking about the
                  > 'ecology of the process' not the end-product).
                  > >
                  > > If anything, the type of knowledge that Indian traditions may have
                  > discovered ahead of other cultures and Europe may be the 'brahma-vidya'
                  > referenced in many Indian traditions. Is 'brahma-vidya' science? It may be.
                  > It may also be something well 'beyond science'. I don't know. Perhaps the
                  > attitude of investigation needed to acquire such knowledge is what we may
                  > call 'scientific'. I can see that.
                  > >
                  > > But I don't see why the label 'science' (or "Indian science") is needed
                  > to make all learning or all forms of knowledge-production legitimate. It may
                  > be that some 'science' has occurred in India. But assuming a-priori that the
                  > ecology-of-science-practice in Europe was also present as an Indian avatar
                  > in India may be similar to identifying (a-priori) all those religions in
                  > India.
                  > >
                  > > Kannan
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • kanaadaa
                  The fallacy of equivocation disappears when one begins to work scientifically, or adopt science as a method. Then it becomes a series of actions, with the best
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jun 9, 2011
                  • 0 Attachment
                    The fallacy of equivocation disappears when one begins to work
                    scientifically, or adopt science as a method. Then it becomes a series
                    of actions, with the best available tools at hand. That way the
                    goatherd in Bellary, the shepherd in the Alps, and the natural
                    philosopher at Oxford can be evaulated using the same scale. Evidence,
                    hypotheses, theories, formulas/laws, artifacts and the rest, even what
                    we call physics, chemistry or biology, are all products of doing
                    science. Scientists themselves work with an operational definition, and
                    aren't looking to define any entity in terms of words going beyond those
                    that describe actions.

                    Quoting Dr. Mano Singham,
                    ------------------------------------------------------------------

                    For example, if you ask a non-physicist to define 'mass', you will
                    usually get some variation of 'it is the amount of matter present in an
                    object.' This intuitive definition of mass may give a serviceable
                    understanding of the concept that is adequate for general use but it is
                    too vague for scientific purposes. It could, after all, just as well
                    serve as a definition of volume. A definition that is so flexible that
                    it can apply to two distinct concepts has no scientific value. But an
                    operational definition of mass is much more precise and usually
                    involves describing a series of operations that enable one to measure
                    the quantity. For mass, it might be involve something like: "Take an
                    equal arm balance and balance the arms with nothing on the pans. Then
                    place the object on one pan and place standardized units of mass on the
                    other pan until balance is achieved again. The number of standardized
                    units required for this purpose is the mass of the object on the other
                    pan." For volume, the operational definition might be: "Take a
                    calibrated measuring cylinder with water up to a certain level and note
                    the level. Then immerse the object in the water and measure the new
                    level of the water. The difference in the two level readings is the
                    volume of the object." We thus see that, unlike the case with intuitive
                    definitions, there is a clear difference between the operational
                    definitions of mass and volume.

                    <http://blog.case.edu/singham/2005/10/17/the_different_use_of_terminolog\
                    y_in_scientific_and_political_debates>
                    ------------------------------------------------------------------

                    I have a hypothesis that human
                    beings by default learn scientifically, with learning being what Baalu
                    describes as the way an organism makes its environment habitable. This
                    is v.v.weak, and would collapse if it were used to answer a question
                    like, "How did Ramanujan learn mathematics?" But it would work well if
                    we tried to answer/analyse a question such as, "Why can't Indians be
                    taught to be secular/adopt a scientific temper/honest and so on..."
                    In the RRI 2009 debate between Ghent Group and Vanaik/Chandhok, the
                    latter repeatedly flipped, then floundered and finally flopped in trying
                    to make a case for their "secularism". Every time they were challenged,
                    Vanaik/Chandhok came up with definitions and on being challenged to
                    engage with the implications of such a definition they were forced to
                    come up with another wrinkle.

                    The practice of science need not lead to uncovering of sufficient
                    evidence, hypotheses, and theories and bodies of theories. There is no guarantee, and when immediate goals are realized grand theories may never emerge. The bushmen of the Kalahari have over 1000s of years of practicing science compiled a staggeringly complex body of knowledge on living and survival with minimal impact on their environment being able to meet the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter and also expressing themselves artistically. Considering the amount of time they have for leisure, well over eight hours a day, theirs must be the most evolved culture today. Whether we would like to live like that is another matter. I am not sure if a Bush(wo)man has ever taken an IQ test, but I assume if they did, they wouldn't do too well.

                    --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, vnr1995 <vnr1995@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > The problem is: fallacy of equivocation. For instance, the word 'science' is
                    > multivocal. In one sense, it is theoretical knowledge and refers to what we
                    > call natural sciences today. In another sense, it is any human knowledge,
                    > and refer to natural sciences as well as skills such as participating in an
                    > online forum, herding goats, singing poems, strategy consultants selling
                    > maxims like "be brief and succinct", etc. One need to go beyond the usage
                    > of the word 'science'; instead, one should spell out what makes whatever was
                    > (is?) produced in India is human knowledge. Otherwise, it doesn't go
                    > anywhere.
                    >
                    >
                    > On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 11:44 AM, kalawar <kalawar@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > so is the trial and error process by which a) a heuristic is developed and
                    > > shared (as a verse or a story and whether in switzerland or india) by
                    > > shepherds / goatherds and b) a compass is developed (including some
                    > > intermediate steps of developing theory / model of earth's magnetic fields)
                    > > different - so that one is science and the other is not? Both solve the same
                    > > problem with a key difference: the heuristic solves the problem for a
                    > > specific local area, the compass is more generalized / non local in its
                    > > application.
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "kannan7s" <kannan7s@>
                    > > wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "Arun" <macgupta123@>
                    > > wrote:
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > I have difficulty understanding references to "Indian science" and
                    > > "western science" in any manner other than meaning to say, "Western science
                    > > refers to a scientific theory or scientific knowledge produced in the west,
                    > > while Indian science presumably refers to a scientific theory or scientific
                    > > knowledge produced in India."
                    > > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Is there any difficulty in "17th century science (European)" and
                    > > "modern science"? Only if the focus is solely on the end product, and not on
                    > > the entire ecology of science practice.
                    > > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > Yes, I get this -- that it is "the ecology of science practice" being
                    > > referenced and that the focus should not be solely on the end product.
                    > > >
                    > > > Well, what is the "ecology of science practice" that has prevailed in
                    > > India in the past 1000 years? Is the knowledge production that has happened
                    > > in India of the same variety as that which occurred in Europe? What assures
                    > > you that the knowledge production in India is "science" or "Indian science"?
                    > > Not long ago, we were assured that Hinduism was an Indian religion.
                    > > >
                    > > > If the goat-herd in Uttaranchal can find his way home because he knows
                    > > the position of a hillock relative to some star he recognizes in the sky, I
                    > > don't see how that is "Indian science." A Swiss goat-herd may do the same
                    > > thing and he would not be producing or practicing "Swiss science" because of
                    > > it.
                    > > >
                    > > > Of course, India and Indian traditions have produced knowledge over the
                    > > centuries; but calling the process 'science' or 'Indian science' assumes
                    > > a-priori that the process was in fact science (still speaking about the
                    > > 'ecology of the process' not the end-product).
                    > > >
                    > > > If anything, the type of knowledge that Indian traditions may have
                    > > discovered ahead of other cultures and Europe may be the 'brahma-vidya'
                    > > referenced in many Indian traditions. Is 'brahma-vidya' science? It may be.
                    > > It may also be something well 'beyond science'. I don't know. Perhaps the
                    > > attitude of investigation needed to acquire such knowledge is what we may
                    > > call 'scientific'. I can see that.
                    > > >
                    > > > But I don't see why the label 'science' (or "Indian science") is needed
                    > > to make all learning or all forms of knowledge-production legitimate. It may
                    > > be that some 'science' has occurred in India. But assuming a-priori that the
                    > > ecology-of-science-practice in Europe was also present as an Indian avatar
                    > > in India may be similar to identifying (a-priori) all those religions in
                    > > India.
                    > > >
                    > > > Kannan
                    > > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                  • Arun
                    All knowledge is not science. E.g., mathematics is distinct from science. Knowledge of how-to - hunting, gardening, music, sculpture & painting, farming,
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jun 12, 2011
                    • 0 Attachment
                      All knowledge is not science. E.g., mathematics is distinct from science. Knowledge of "how-to" - hunting, gardening, music, sculpture & painting, farming, horse-riding, etc., is not science.

                      Human knowledge production has definitely occurred in India. Mathematical knowledge has definitely been produced in India. One can say that scientific knowledge (in the pre-Keplerian sense) has been produced in ancient India. As to whether scientific knowledge (in the post-Keplerian sense) has been created in ancient India, that one can debate.
                    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.