Ruminations on Vedic Philosophy

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Logic

The “God Has Many Names” Problem

There are many ways to demonstrate the problems of logic, set theory, and Gödel’s incompleteness. They are all different ways to look at the problem, to become convinced that there is a problem. One such problem is the statement that “God has many names”. These names are not synonymous. By assigning various names to God, …

Logic

The Drop in the Ocean Argument

All physical analogies fail to correctly describe Bhedābheda philosophy. One such analogy is a drop in an ocean. The Bhedābheda proponent says: The drop is distinct from the ocean and yet one with it. The reductionist’s counter to that claim is that if you remove all the drops, there will be no ocean; hence the …

Logic

​Why So Much Emphasis on Logic?

Most people at present assume that religion is independent of logic. They insist that claims of religion must be “logical”—i.e., follow the principles of identity, non-contradiction, and excluded middle. This attitude is predominantly Western because alternative logical systems have either been formalized (e.g., in Buddhism and Jainism) or used informally (e.g., in Zen and Taoism) …

Logic

Reasoning vs. Arguments

If we make a claim, its rationality can be judged by checking its consistency against our assumptions. Reasoning is the connection between my claim and my assumptions. If my claim is consistent with my assumptions, then it is well-reasoned. It may still not be true. To establish the truth, we must prove that my assumptions …

Logic

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 …

Logic

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 …