Kant’s transcendental idealism and Vedism

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  • #14864
    Shanky Worker
    Participant

    In western philosophy of perception, transcendental idealism of Kant is the mid between indirect realism and idealism. In indirect realism our mind interacts only with the sense data not directly with the external world. In transcendental idealism we include even space and time as intuitions of the mind but there is an objective external reality. In what way Vedism different from transcendental idealism? From what I know you include other higher consciousnesses as well, like Lord Shiva as time and Mother Durga as space.

    Thank you Prabhuji

    #14865
    Ashish Dalela
    Keymaster

    Kantian idealism was an attempt to salvage modern science from Hume’s critique where he argued that the speculative laws and concepts of science are not necessary. For a concept or law to be true, it must be sufficient and necessary. Hume had argued that if you can explain the observed data with some concept and law, then it can be considered sufficient. However, it is still not necessary. Kant tried to establish necessity by saying the concepts used in science are synthetic a priori categories, which means that they are hardwired in our minds as the only possible way to look at reality.

    This is actually a false idea because there are many ways to describe reality. Our minds are not hardwired to look at the world in one particular way. The ideology of particles and forces, which Kant was trying to defend with his idealism, is especially false because nature is governed by demigods, not by mathematical laws. There are many ways to look at reality, and our minds can be conditioned by sattva, rajas, or tamas. Everyone doesn’t see reality in the same way, so our minds are synthetic but that way of looking at reality is not a priori. It is also acquired over lifetimes, so we can call it a posteriori. Hence, the essential proposition of Kantian Idealism is false. There is no universalism of “science”, there are many ways to describe reality with partial successes, and most ways are false.

    There is a sense in which Kantian idealism has some truth to it, namely, that what we see is shaped by our ideology or mentality. We cannot see everything. And what we see, is perverted by our mentality. Our minds are in a sense a mirror. However, this mirror is not always clean. This is why we talk about cleansing the mirror of the mind. Kantian Idealism is the claim that our minds are pure and perfect, and every mind is pure and perfect, so the categories by which it sees are pure and perfect.

    Kantian Idealism and other empiricist approaches in the West have been attempts to move away from the Christian idea that all the children of Adam and Eve are inherently sinful, that they are incapable of knowing reality, and therefore, they must have blind faith in prophets. To establish science as the human endeavor to understand reality (as opposed to the understanding given by prophets and scriptures), they had to overcome the problem of sin in Christianity. To say that humans can know the truth, they had to say that we are pure and perfect, so we can also know. Hence, Locke talks about the mind as a “blank slate”, not a sinful or dirty slate. Kant similarly talks about an a priori mind, which means that the mind does not need to change its ideas in order to know.

    Vedic philosophy rejects the a priori and blank slate conceptions of the mind. The mind is dirty. But we don’t need blind faith in the scriptures. We use a process of purification to get to the a priori and blank slate status. This is called cheto darpan marjanam. It is the first step. Once you purify the mind, then you can know empirically and rationally. If you don’t do that, then there is no knowledge.

    Western thinking is caught between two opposites. On the natural science side, they claim that the mind is already pure and perfect, so it can know the truth, there is only one true way to know, to establish the universality of truth. On the social science side, they claim that the mind is depraved, violent, and selfish, so it has to be controlled by force through the laws of carrots and sticks. Neither side talks about the purification of the mind such that (a) you don’t know unless you purify, and (b) since the mind can be purified, hence, everyone doesn’t need to be controlled by carrots and sticks.

    For the Vedic system, knowledge is not a “consensus” among people. Some people know and some don’t. We go to those who know, and we don’t measure truth by its popularity among the ignorant. As to those who know vs. don’t know, there are descriptions and measures by which everyone can judge who truly knows, whose mind is purified of depravity, violence, and selfishness, to approach them. They can teach a person the nature of the truth, and how to realize it by practice.

    The key source of differences is that Vedic philosophy is not a response to a problem created by some other philosophy, unlike Western philosophy and science which are responses to the problems created by Christianity. The opposite of a false idea is not a true idea. The material world is opposites and each opposite is false. To get to the truth, we have to discard all these oppositions.

    #14877
    shashank shastry
    Participant

    Thank you Prabhuji, you have clearly pointed out the differences.

    #14879
    shashank shastry
    Participant

    PS: I usually use my alias accounts for forums. Back then I logged in with that account. I tried changing my name under the profile section, but it wouldn’t save the changes. I have now signed in with my official account.

    #14880
    Ashish Dalela
    Keymaster

    No worries. Hackers are always trying new things, to gain access into someone’s account and modify what they have written. Preventing modification of profile is an easier to way to remain secure than to validate (as most websites tend to do) by sending an email to validate the new email, sending warning emails to old email that their email has been changed, and so on. Those things are cumbersome.

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