Ruminations on Vedic Philosophy

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There is No Answer to Bad Questions

There is a widespread myth that all questions must be answered. Practical experience, however, shows that most questions go unanswered. Then the cynic says: Truth cannot be known. In this post, I will analyze this myth, to update it to something precise: All good questions can be answered and there is no answer to bad …


Quantity and Quality Notions of Truth

What is truth? Some people say that truth means existence. If a tree exists, then it is true. But it also means that if you think that the tree doesn’t exist, that thought is also true, because your thought exists. To allow for the distinction between truth and existence, we have to invoke meanings. The …

Computing Logic Physics

The Laws of Nature in Vedic Philosophy

Modern science uses two kinds of laws—these are called “conservation laws” and “predictive laws”. A conservation law states what cannot happen, and a predictive law states what must happen. For example, the law of conservation of energy says that if two particles collide then the sum of their energies cannot increase or decrease. The conservation …

Logic Philosophy

The Nyāya Philosophy of Presence and Absence

The Nyāya system of philosophy describes a category called abhāva or ‘absence’ and then explains how bhāva or ‘presence’ manifests from the absence. This is a very long discussion in Nyāya Sutra (which I’m translating presently) and has many nuances. It is hard to capture all these details here, but I thought that instead of …

Logic Mathematics Philosophy

The Sāńkhya Theory of Five Elements

This post elaborates on the Sāńkhya theory of the five “gross” elements. The theory is rather complicated, and not well-understood today. One primary source of confusions is a comparison between the Sāńkhya elements and the Greek elements going by the same name. This post will hopefully illustrate how the Sāńkhya elements are deeply enmeshed with …