Ankur Sethi

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  • in reply to: Shrila Madhvacharya’s concept of the sakshi #10121
    Ankur Sethi

    Thank you this was very illuminating.  I think you have presented this very clearly and these concepts of the difference between Vedic theism and modern theism is very well stated. And the differences between anti-atheism and theism. And also the idea of seeking Truth as a person is very well put.
    Regarding Truth as a person. You wrote “Truth is a person, and that person doesn’t force Himself on anybody. In the West, truth is an idea, and you cannot avoid truth. But in Vedic philosophy, truth is a person, and you can avoid that person if you want.”
    As you stated there is a fundamental difference on the nature of Truth. Is Truth a person or an  idea that the material world is discoverable by our logic and reasoning? If you say the Truth is a person then we must distinguish from a singular deity who is controlling access to the Truth. When someone is making a logical argument are they invoking this deity to perceive the Truth?
    Is it more correct to say the Absolute Truth is a person, or would you say Truth is a person?

    in reply to: Shrila Madhvacharya’s concept of the sakshi #10118
    Ankur Sethi

    In other words I think the atheistic challenge is: “You cannot perceive God because God is absolute truth and we cannot know truth. We only can share mutually agreed upon facts about the world. ”
    It is a foolish absolute negative claim about the absolute truth. It is slightly different from the absolute claim that God does not exist.

    in reply to: Shrila Madhvacharya’s concept of the sakshi #10117
    Ankur Sethi

    Thank you for your response and explaining these concepts.
    I think the discussion has gone a little far from the initial claim I am making or asking if Madhvacharya is making. And it is likely because I am using my terms too loosely.
    Can we determine truth?
    I believe this is counter to a paradigm in which we cannot know truth and need shared agreement over sense perception to function.
    Vedic philosophy does not have  “subjective” knowledge or “objective” knowledge. It only teaches ways to gain knowledge of the truth which culminates in realization of the truth. I was using the word “objective” as an opposite of “subjective” but I see you are correcting that.
    We accept that realization of the Absolute Truth is possible. This is the qualification of a realized soul. Qualifying that realization is interesting as you have explained regarding ignorance and illusion is interesting because we do not claim omniscience as a result of realization of the Absolute Truth.
    Does modern philosophy agree that we can perceive truth at all, what to speak of absolute truth?
    I think I can still say that if someone says we cannot determine truth, then why are they attempting a philosophical discussion?

    in reply to: Shrila Madhvacharya’s concept of the sakshi #10114
    Ankur Sethi

    Thank you, I appreciate what you are saying. I think I understand your point about objective knowledge.
    But does that perspective not lead to saying the world is illusory? Are you saying: you cannot know the world in truth because there are only indications, or pointers, as you said, to reality.  I think this was the point Madhvacharya was arguing against.
    You brought up examples of relatives truths that are impossible to know. I never claimed we can know all truth. The claim is that someone can experience truth. I also never claimed that such an experience can be proven to someone. But denying a person can experience truth because they cannot prove or demonstrate it does not seem correct. In fact a summary statement from Madhvacharya is that “inference can be used to correct our perceptions but never to totally negate them.”
    Madhvacharya felt that Shankara was using inference to negate correct perceptual truths.
    Further if we can experience absolute truth, then do we not experience objective truth? Self realization means knowledge of absolute truth, either through experience or through testimony of higher authorities. We understand there are varieties in the absolute truth and we cannot know more than a tiny fraction of it. Yet we can still experience the absolute truth. So therefore the soul can know at least some objective truth.

    in reply to: Does combination of atoms produce emergent properties? #10108
    Ankur Sethi

    Thank you for your detailed response. I am still not sure how we bring conscious experience to this argument.
    Is this a valid summary of your position? “Saying atoms produce wetness means that it necessarily includes a perception of wetness. ”
    In that case how about the quality of dissolving? The quality of water to dissolve another substance is an attribute of water. If someone says atoms combine and then this quality exists. Do we then say we cannot determine that water really dissolves unless we perceive it? It seems you are trying to bring a conscious experience of water to the argument and they are purposely avoiding that.

    in reply to: Does combination of atoms produce emergent properties? #10101
    Ankur Sethi

    Thank you for your very detailed answer.
    I appreciate the term semanticism.
    I am sure you understand the challenge that arguments are not framed in a way that discusses the conscious experience as primary. So part of the challenge is trying to bring the argument back to a problem in semantic and personal understanding which I see you are always doing because it is indeed essential. I very much appreciate that.
    So in this case of the argument in the video, the person refers to wetness and not taste. It is perhaps my mistake because I used the word “emergent” in the title of the post. I am not aware if that is a special term.
    But the person was not even referring to anything about consciousness in his argument. He only suggests that wetness comes automatically, and therefore, consciousness could as well. There are a lot of gaps in between something being wet and consciousness, but lets ignore those for now. Do we need consciousness or mind to explain the property of water being wet or lets say dissolving things?
    So before we even talk about consciousness, must we counter the claim that wetness comes automatically? Do we have to tie consciousness into this? Is the suggestion that wetness requires a conscious observer? I am asking because you referred to an article about the mind being emergent. But I think the example given is far away from that.
    So he will claim he is making a simple physical claim with nothing to do with the mind or consciousness.
    I appreciate the argument about the untenability in science and looking for philosophical consistency.

    in reply to: Shrila Madhvacharya’s concept of the sakshi #10085
    Ankur Sethi

    I was able to find an online text version of the article which I was quoting.

    in reply to: Shrila Madhvacharya’s concept of the sakshi #10083
    Ankur Sethi

    Thank you for your response. I see Wikipedia suggesting all “Vedanta schools of thought” and Upanishads have Idealist notions. Interesting the way western philosophical categories have been extended.
    Can you please clarify your sentence: “I have shown in many places earlier, that truth can never be objectively proven, so it is indeed subjective.”
    I wasn’t necessarily interested in objectively proving the truth. I understood the concept of the sakshi as follows which I am not sure is correct: “If objective knowledge exists, then a soul can determine it.” I do not see this as “proving” an objective truth.
    The summary article suggests that Madhvacharya uses the concept of the sakshi to determine an individual’s rejection of shastric interpretations or inferential conclusions that do not make sense. This relates to Shankaracharya’s rejection of perception and inference in determining truth. (And using inference to do so).
    Madhvacharya says the jiva’s arbitrate truth. Do you see Idealism as covering this position?
    As I understand this, absolute or even objective truth can be known and then it can be described. And certain types of testimony are apauresheya, which means they describe the Absolute Truth. They do not attempt to prove it, they describe it.
    The vedic epistemology says that accepting truth from a higher authority gives perfect knowledge. Such shabda does not need to be proven to an individual in order to be valid. So Madhvacharya suggests the soul can determine truth.

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