• Philosophy,  Religion

    Dreams, Misperceptions, Hallucinations, Illusions, and Ignorance

    All students of epistemology cite many categories of experience that are not knowledge, in order to distinguish them from knowledge. These categories are different in Western and Vedic systems of philosophy. In particular, in the latter, dreams are not considered false, although there are other categories that are false. This post discusses the difference between the various categories that are considered “not knowledge”.

  • Philosophy

    Knowledge by Reason, Experiment and Authority

    This is the transcript of the seventh episode of the Shabda Podcast. In this episode, we will talk about the problem of epistemology or how do we know. We will go over some historical material regarding the methods of knowledge prevalent in Western philosophy and then look at the same problem from the perspective of Vedic philosophy. At the risk of oversimplification, we can say that history of philosophy is the history of epistemology. Only when we can decide how we know, can we apply this method of knowledge to know. And when we know then we can talk about the reality that exists, and why that reality enables knowledge.…

  • Philosophy,  Religion

    The Epistemology of Happiness

    How do we know something to be true? This question has preoccupied philosophy for as long as we can remember. Many answers are offered to solve the problem, but each one suffers from a different problem. For example, reason is a useful method of knowing, but reason only compares a claim with the axioms or assumptions; how do you know that your assumptions are indeed correct? Sense perception too doesn’t certify our assumptions because the same perception can be explained by alternative assumptions. This post offers an introspective view of knowledge under which what convinces us of the truth is not reason or perception, but the happiness that we experience…

  • Overview,  Philosophy,  Physics

    Quantum Motion – Elevators vs. Escalators

    While going down in an elevator, it recently occurred to me that the elevator doesn’t move unless we indicate the floor it has to go to, quite different from an escalator which keeps moving regardless of whether anyone has anywhere to go to. This difference is a useful way to understand how quantum “motion” is different from classical motion. This post explains the difference using the elevator vs. escalator analogy. The motion of the elevator explicitly employs meaning and purpose, while the motion of the escalator doesn’t. The difference helps us see why addressing many scientific problems needs a revision to our analogies about nature, and what such analogical shifts…

  • Philosophy

    The Broken Watchmaker

    Even a broken watch tells the right time twice a day.  However, to know that the watch is broken, we must observe it when it tells the time incorrectly rather than when it tells it correctly. This analogy is a useful way to understand the problem in modern science, because clearly there are times in which science makes correct predictions. Those who argue that science works only look at science when it seems to work correctly. To know that they are looking at a broken watch, they would have to look at it when its predictions break down — either because the prediction isn’t there, or the prediction disagrees with observation.

  • Computing,  Mathematics,  Philosophy,  Research

    The Scientific Method – Does it Deliver Truth?

    The below is a modified version of a response I wrote recently on Google+ in response to a question about the conflict between reason and faith. The response is also detailed in my recent book Uncommon Wisdom. This essay will argue that the manner in which science has construed the use of reason (and experience) – i.e., the path to discovery – cannot deliver truth. There is, however, another notion about reason which works in conjunction with faith to verify rather than discover the truth. Faith and reason are contradictory when reason is defined as the method of truth discovery. But they are not contradictory when reason is used for verifying the truth. In this…

  • Philosophy

    A Solution to the Problem of Hallucination

    The problem in any kind of existence begins from a very old distinction between appearance and reality. Appearances are obviously how things seem to us in our perception although not everything that we perceive does really also exist. How things seem to us is a property of our perceptual apparatus—senses, mind, brain, etc. Reality, on the other hand, is supposed to be independent of this perceptual apparatus. Therefore, how do we know that what appears to us is also real? Could it be that we are hallucinating or dreaming and what appears to us does not in fact exist?