Buddhist response to Western ontology

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby kirk5a » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:28 pm

contemplans wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
contemplans wrote: in order for anything to be actually in existence,

What is an example of something actually in existence?


The keyboard of your computer.

Ok. So what are you saying are the logically necessary steps, starting with keyboard, and working back to God?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1744
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby contemplans » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:10 am

A long to get in all the people. :smile:

Cittasanto wrote:Where is the Keyboardness of the Keyboard? That has causes and conditions for it to be called a keyboard and it is a keyboard because it fulfils certain requirements, which involve the coming together of parts.


The keyboardness of the keyboard is its form -- its shape, color, smell, and such like. I am in no way stating that such a thing as a keyboard is without causes or conditions. Those causes and conditions are exterior to it. So something outside of it caused it to be. We know what these causes and conditions are.



perkele wrote:I don't get it. Hylomorphism, actuality, potentiality, ... For me those are just a bunch of lofty words. I don't see how they apply to reality. ... In this case, however, I don't see how "actuality", "potentiality" etc. point to something that is to be experienced.


A piece of silver is potentially a coin. It is actually a piece of silver (in whatever shape it would be). When it is struck to make a coin, that is not actually a coin. ANother more "living" example is the acorn. The acorn has within itself teh potential to be an oak tree. It is actually an acorn, but when that potentiality is actualized, it will be an oak tree. All causation and change we experience is due to this process of actualizing of potentialities. They may seem like lofty words, but the concept is right before your eyes at every moment. It is an observation from the senses.

perkele wrote:You (or those philosophers and thinkers you refer to) speak very much in riddles to me.


It riddled me before I studied it. After you understand the terminology, which I admit is a bit jargony, then most of the concepts are quite within everyday experience. To a non-Buddhist, saying fermentations bubble up in the mind and that we are constantly fabricating, that would be confusing for those who aren't acquainted, but does that deminish the value of the teaching?

I don't see that it gives me any clear understanding.


It gives a clear (or better) understanding of the process of causation.

In the temporal sense I don't see what's wrong with infinite regress, and I gather you don't see it either (although it's not completely clear, would be nice if you could confirm or deny that).


Those things within an accidently ordered series can regress to infinity.

But as others have pointed out such an idea holds no water, because existence does not seem to be ultimately good.


If existence does not seem to be ultimately good, then why does the Buddha take as an ultimate good happiness. There must be something more to that state than mere chance. He didn't pick it out of a hat and say, "I am going to strive for this." He saw that as a central goal of his life, and a central goal to share with his followers. If it isn't an ultimate good, then he was less of a teacher than Buddhism teaches.

tiltbillings wrote:
contemplans wrote:reasoned that in order for anything to be actually in existence, not just a particular version of us at a given moment, it had to have an ultimate source which is pure existence,

It is an interesting line of reasoning, but it is one that really does not tell us anything useful. It certainly has no empirical, experiential, basis. It is naught more than a mental construct.


If there is no value in mental constructs, then why have a path? As for empirical, experiential, value, it has as much value as the doctrine of karma.

tiltbillings wrote:Poor Aristotle. And how does this pure actuality actually function? Sadly, for something to be, to be actual, to exist, it must undergo a process, which means there will have to be an infinite number of pure actualities that lead up to the final existent actuality, and then when the final actuality ceases to exist, what happens to the pure actuality? Goes to pure actuality heaven?


No, you are misunderstanding the theory. For something to COME TO BE, it must under process. When it is actual, it just is. For something to be pure actuality, it undergoes no change nor process, nor coming to be. It just is. It has nothing it is that could be something else. This is probably as hard to understand as the state of Nibbana, since the decription of Nibbana is very similar to this. We are composed of what is, and what could be. The only way you can have more than one is if there is something else that is potentially something else. Pure actuality is only one, without any succession, because succession and multiplicity are signs of potentiality, of something which could have been something else. In the world of senses, all things could be something else. This is why Nibbana is a goal outside of the sense sphere.

tiltbillings wrote:It obviously is not the answer, in that it can explain nothing in a meaningful way.


Many people have and do derive meaning from it. It has affected dramatically Greek, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religions, as well as numerous schools of philosophy, all of which are significant influences in world history. A great number of humans historically. Either I am doing a bad job describing it, or you don't understand the concepts.


tiltbillings wrote:
That is the crux of the debate. But if one posits that it isn't pure actuality, then they need to have an explanation for why anything exists at all.

No you don't. One might want to explain why anything exists, and then come up with something like a god notion as an explanation, but then then same question gets leveled at the god notion, why does god exist? Given that a god notion tends to be highly incoherent (and that has to do with the fact that god notions are really nothing more than grand extensions of one's self notion), so , given that god notions tend to be highly incoherent, best not to bother. Taking the universe as it, as it is found to be, without layering upon it unnecessary, indemonstrable notions such as "pure actuality" aka god, would be a far better way to go.


The logic leads to pure actuality. The Judeo-Christian traditions took this and applied it to their religious structure, but Aristotle got to God without the influence of these religions, i.e., he was in a polytheistic culture. God is not brought in, and the logic supplied, but the logic leads to the concept of pure actuality, and those who already believed in monotheism have made use of the logic. You can ignore all the Christians, Jews, and Muslims and still get to pure actuality with Aristotle's reasoning.


Kim O'Hara wrote:Putting that much more simply: Aristotle came up with an unsupported theory which contemplans likes. That doesn't mean it bears any relationship whatsoever to an accurate description of what exists, why it exists or how it exists.
And this post is another attempt to restart the debate with relocated goalposts.


The goalposts are still there -- western ontology. I am at the goal waiting for your kick.
User avatar
contemplans
 
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:10 pm

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby contemplans » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:18 am

kirk5a wrote:Ok. So what are you saying are the logically necessary steps, starting with keyboard, and working back to God?


The keyboard is part of a series of causes in which there is no explanation why anything within the series exists, since nothing in the series can give rise to itself. We merely move things around and reform them. Since all these things depend on one another to come to be, there must be something which does not come to be to explain the existence of anything. This is fleshed out in the longer article on page 5.
User avatar
contemplans
 
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:10 pm

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:45 am

contemplans wrote:The keyboardness of the keyboard is its form -- its shape, color, smell, and such like. I am in no way stating that such a thing as a keyboard is without causes or conditions. Those causes and conditions are exterior to it. So something outside of it caused it to be. We know what these causes and conditions are.

so I have had a black and a white keyboard which one wasn't a keyboard?
I have also had soft rubber keyboard which could be rolled up and a hard plastic one which was split in two, aswell as rectangle ones, which is not a keyboard?

contemplans wrote:
kirk5a wrote:Ok. So what are you saying are the logically necessary steps, starting with keyboard, and working back to God?


The keyboard is part of a series of causes in which there is no explanation why anything within the series exists, since nothing in the series can give rise to itself. We merely move things around and reform them. Since all these things depend on one another to come to be, there must be something which does not come to be to explain the existence of anything. This is fleshed out in the longer article on page 5.


I think you will find there is an explanation, the Key board came to be due to a need to write something so that it could be legible by all and no need to train scribes and/or good penmanship, and also for speed, it is quicker to type something out than it is to consistently write something.

science has also given a good explanation of how the materials came about.

In my mind I see god as the self creator laced within this first replu (to me) so what need would god have to give rise to itself?
Also, I see in the second reply (to Kirk5a) a non existent so how would something that "does not come to be" explain the existence of something that has come to be?

this also reminds me of a sutta or two but I shall wait for your response to decide which is more apt. and one has already been used (Brahmas delusion)
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5687
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby contemplans » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:21 am

BTW, I am not trying to be lengthy, but I want to answer any questions anyone has to be aboveboard.

Cittasanto wrote:so I have had a black and a white keyboard which on[c]e wasn't a keyboard?
I have also had soft rubber keyboard which could be rolled up and a hard plastic one which was split in two, aswell as rectangle ones, which is not a keyboard?


Well taking your statement, they are keyboards. Humans all look different, but we are all of the human species.

Cittasanto wrote:I think you will find there is an explanation, the Key board came to be due to a need to write something so that it could be legible by all and no need to train scribes and/or good penmanship, and also for speed, it is quicker to type something out than it is to consistently write something.


Yes, I don't deny that. That description explains why humans made keyboards, it doesn't explain why the things which make up keyboards, or the humans that formed them, even exist. We don't actually make keyboards, but take things which already exist and reform them.

Cittasanto wrote:science has also given a good explanation of how the materials came about.


No, science has given a good explanation of how materials can be remolded an manipulated, and the laws of that. Science has not and does not explain why anything exists. It takes it for granted, and the honest scientists admit this. Most naturalist scientists are materialistic, nihilistic, and usually atheistic. There is nothing beyond this world for them. No Nibbana either. That's another debate for another board, but they cannot logically prove that.

Cittasanto wrote:In my mind I see god as the self creator laced within this first replu (to me) so what need would god have to give rise to itself?


If this god was given rise to by itself or another, if that was possible, it wouldn't be god. I am describing something which just is.

Cittasanto wrote:Also, I see in the second reply (to Kirk5a) a non existent so how would something that "does not come to be" explain the existence of something that has come to be?


"Does not come to be" means that it doesn't undergo "becoming" or "birth". It other words it doesn't change from one thing to another.

Cittasanto wrote:... and one has already been used (Brahmas delusion)


If we are to take the Buddha's description of Brahma as puffed up god who will undergo rebirth, then this is not what I am talking about.
User avatar
contemplans
 
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:10 pm

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:28 am

Greetings,
contemplans wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:... and one has already been used (Brahmas delusion)


If we are to take the Buddha's description of Brahma as puffed up god who will undergo rebirth, then this is not what I am talking about.

What are you talking about then?

A puffed up God who defies the Buddha's maxims that all things are not self, that all formations are impermanent, and that by virtue of their impermanence, all formations are unsatisfactory?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14611
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:41 am

contemplans wrote:If this god was given rise to by itself or another, if that was possible, it wouldn't be god. I am describing something which just is.


Just is, just like the rest of us then, I guess that makes us all gods.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1863
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Kenshou » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:53 am

The thing that strikes me is that, even if you have a metaphysical explanation for things that makes sense to you personally, that makes no steps towards actually showing that it is true. I question the apparent obligation to have an explanation. Maybe we can't always get what we want.

Science doesn't explain why things exist. Because it can't yet, that information is out of our reach right now. And maybe it will always be, who knows, but better to recognize a lack of information upon which to base such an explanation, than to simply make stuff up and go with it because it feels sensible.

It just doesn't offer anything of value, aside from a bit of diversion, and maybe some warm fuzzy feelings as a result of thinking you've got everything all figured out.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:58 am

I have only replied to what i felt worth while as the bulk of the middle seamed like semantics.
Cittasanto wrote:so I have had a black and a white keyboard which on[c]e wasn't a keyboard?
I have also had soft rubber keyboard which could be rolled up and a hard plastic one which was split in two, aswell as rectangle ones, which is not a keyboard?

there is no once [c] please don't alter the statement you quote, the mistake isn't in that word, and you completely changed the question!
wasn't should be isn't.
it is common to note the change and if I had not noticed this there could of been further misunderstanding.
Well taking your statement, they are keyboards. Humans all look different, but we are all of the human species.


however, your responce only covers half of the questions, the second question (the one not about colour) actually changed the shape, colour, hardness and texture of the keyboard!

Yes, I don't deny that. That description explains why humans made keyboards, it doesn't explain why the things which make up keyboards, or the humans that formed them, even exist. We don't actually make keyboards, but take things which already exist and reform them.


but you ignored that in the initial response!

No, science has given a good explanation of how materials can be remolded an manipulated, and the laws of that. Science has not and does not explain why anything exists. It takes it for granted, and the honest scientists admit this. Most naturalist scientists are materialistic, nihilistic, and usually atheistic. There is nothing beyond this world for them. No Nibbana either. That's another debate for another board, but they cannot logically prove that.


buddhism has causality! everything has a cause and even a cause has a cause.

but I was not referring to the particles, atoms etc, rather how oil metal... came to be. This is an example why a first cause is not discernible.

"Does not come to be" means that it doesn't undergo "becoming" or "birth". It other words it doesn't change from one thing to another.

no it doesn't! does not come to be, would mean does not exist/does not happen, I myself do not come to be a hippo overnight...
however this phrase is found within the early sources i.e., not only the pali, but it is always given a qualifier/context based on causality to my knowledge.

If we are to take the Buddha's description of Brahma as puffed up god who will undergo rebirth, then this is not what I am talking about.

although it seams like what you are talking about.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5687
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:02 am

Kenshou wrote:The thing that strikes me is that, even if you have a metaphysical explanation for things that makes sense to you personally, that makes no steps towards actually showing that it is true. I question the apparent obligation to have an explanation. Maybe we can't always get what we want.

Science doesn't explain why things exist. Because it can't yet, that information is out of our reach right now. And maybe it will always be, who knows, but better to recognize a lack of information upon which to base such an explanation, than to simply make stuff up and go with it because it feels sensible.

It just doesn't offer anything of value, aside from a bit of diversion, and maybe some warm fuzzy feelings as a result of thinking you've got everything all figured out.


Well said!
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1863
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:04 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Kenshou wrote:The thing that strikes me is that, even if you have a metaphysical explanation for things that makes sense to you personally, that makes no steps towards actually showing that it is true. I question the apparent obligation to have an explanation. Maybe we can't always get what we want.

Science doesn't explain why things exist. Because it can't yet, that information is out of our reach right now. And maybe it will always be, who knows, but better to recognize a lack of information upon which to base such an explanation, than to simply make stuff up and go with it because it feels sensible.

It just doesn't offer anything of value, aside from a bit of diversion, and maybe some warm fuzzy feelings as a result of thinking you've got everything all figured out.


Well said!

agreed
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5687
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:15 am

:goodpost:

Concurrence abound...

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14611
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:37 am

retrofuturist wrote:Concurrence abound...


A rare occurrence.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1863
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:45 am

Greetings,

And since "Western ontology" is a branch of "metaphysics", it seems the "Buddhist response to Western ontology" is right there in Kenshou's post.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14611
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby SDC » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:56 am

Bravo to contemplans in this thread; newer member with lots of opposition but kept a great attitude. :clap:
User avatar
SDC
 
Posts: 965
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm
Location: North Jersey

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:05 am

Greetings,

SDC wrote:Bravo to contemplans in this thread; newer member with lots of opposition but kept a great attitude. :clap:

Indeed. It's rare that a theist can survive 100+ posts on a Buddhist forum without lapsing into the offense of proselytization.

Well done contemplans.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14611
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:09 am

contemplans wrote:A piece of silver is potentially a coin. It is actually a piece of silver (in whatever shape it would be). When it is struck to make a coin, that is not actually a coin.
Then a keyboard is not actually a keyboard.

The acorn has within itself teh potential to be an oak tree. It is actually an acorn
Not really. An acorn is not a singular thing; rather, it is always composite thing. Each bit of the acorn would have to be actual actualities following your logic.

contemplans wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
contemplans wrote:reasoned that in order for anything to be actually in existence, not just a particular version of us at a given moment, it had to have an ultimate source which is pure existence,

It is an interesting line of reasoning, but it is one that really does not tell us anything useful. It certainly has no empirical, experiential, basis. It is naught more than a mental construct.
If there is no value in mental constructs, then why have a path? As for empirical, experiential, value, it has as much value as the doctrine of karma.
Sadly, you do not really understand the Dhamma in this. First of, there is nothing wrong with mental constructs, as long as they are seen for what they are. The idea of an “ultimate source” is a mental construct that has no empirical basis.

Kamma, on the other hand, refers to the ethical conditioning based upon choice, which is something that is, in fact, workable empirically.

tiltbillings wrote:Poor Aristotle. And how does this pure actuality actually function? Sadly, for something to be, to be actual, to exist, it must undergo a process, which means there will have to be an infinite number of pure actualities that lead up to the final existent actuality, and then when the final actuality ceases to exist, what happens to the pure actuality? Goes to pure actuality heaven?


No, you are misunderstanding the theory. For something to COME TO BE, it must under [sic] process. When it is actual, it just is.
Just is what? The problem with this anemic philosophy is that is really does not account for the fact that each bit of the process must be a complete actuality, otherwise how could it exist? And certainly the process by this line of reasoning is god's doing, which makes my point, using Freser’s statement, about the god's responsibility for the end product.

For something to be pure actuality, it undergoes no change nor process, nor coming to be.
Then it cannot be the cause of anything else, nor could it be caused.

It just is. It has nothing it is that could be something else. This is probably as hard to understand as the state of Nibbana, since the decription of Nibbana is very similar to this.
No nibbana is not. Nibbana is not a thing, as has been carefully pointed out to you using the suttas. Nibbana has not a thing to do with what you are talking about.

Pure actuality is only one, without any succession, because succession and multiplicity are signs of potentiality, of something which could have been something else. In the world of senses, all things could be something else. This is why Nibbana is a goal outside of the sense sphere.
This is something you do a lot, which is conflate, without justification the Buddha’s teaching with your Christian stuff, but there is no justification for it. Actually, nibbana is not a goal outside the sense sphere.

tiltbillings wrote:It obviously is not the answer, in that it can explain nothing in a meaningful way.


Many people have and do derive meaning from it. It has affected dramatically Greek, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religions, as well as numerous schools of philosophy, all of which are significant influences in world history. A great number of humans historically. Either I am doing a bad job describing it, or you don't understand the concepts.
Yes, significant influence on world history: massive death and human agony in the name of the “pure actuality.” Also, that Greek, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religions found such an idea as being meaningful, does not mean it is true


tiltbillings wrote:
That is the crux of the debate. But if one posits that it isn't pure actuality, then they need to have an explanation for why anything exists at all.

No you don't. One might want to explain why anything exists, and then come up with something like a god notion as an explanation, but then then same question gets leveled at the god notion, why does god exist? Given that a god notion tends to be highly incoherent (and that has to do with the fact that god notions are really nothing more than grand extensions of one's self notion), so , given that god notions tend to be highly incoherent, best not to bother. Taking the universe as it, as it is found to be, without layering upon it unnecessary, indemonstrable notions such as "pure actuality" aka god, would be a far better way to go.


The logic leads to pure actuality. The Judeo-Christian traditions took this and applied it to their religious structure, but Aristotle got to God without the influence of these religions, i.e., he was in a polytheistic culture. God is not brought in, and the logic supplied, but the logic leads to the concept of pure actuality, and those who already believed in monotheism have made use of the logic. You can ignore all the Christians, Jews, and Muslims and still get to pure actuality with Aristotle's reasoning.
But why would I want to do Aristotle's reasoning when it has no empirical basis and leads to incoherence?

The logic leads to pure actuality.
Only if one uses certain base assumptions.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19165
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Paradise

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby perkele » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:41 am

contemplans wrote:
perkele wrote:I don't get it. Hylomorphism, actuality, potentiality, ... For me those are just a bunch of lofty words. I don't see how they apply to reality. ... In this case, however, I don't see how "actuality", "potentiality" etc. point to something that is to be experienced.


A piece of silver is potentially a coin. It is actually a piece of silver (in whatever shape it would be). When it is struck to make a coin, that is not actually a coin. ANother more "living" example is the acorn. The acorn has within itself teh potential to be an oak tree. It is actually an acorn, but when that potentiality is actualized, it will be an oak tree. All causation and change we experience is due to this process of actualizing of potentialities. They may seem like lofty words, but the concept is right before your eyes at every moment. It is an observation from the senses.


Okay, I agree that this usage of actuality/potentiality makes some sense. However, you were also and most importantly talking about "pure actuality". Where is this "pure actuality"? Why do you readily explain the trivialities but not the difficulties?

contemplans wrote:
perkele wrote:You (or those philosophers and thinkers you refer to) speak very much in riddles to me.


It riddled me before I studied it. After you understand the terminology, which I admit is a bit jargony, then most of the concepts are quite within everyday experience. To a non-Buddhist, saying fermentations bubble up in the mind and that we are constantly fabricating, that would be confusing for those who aren't acquainted, but does that deminish the value of the teaching?

Point granted with reservations. Not everything that sounds intellectually appealing is full of wisdom.

contemplans wrote:
But as others have pointed out such an idea holds no water, because existence does not seem to be ultimately good.


If existence does not seem to be ultimately good, then why does the Buddha take as an ultimate good happiness. There must be something more to that state than mere chance. He didn't pick it out of a hat and say, "I am going to strive for this." He saw that as a central goal of his life, and a central goal to share with his followers. If it isn't an ultimate good, then he was less of a teacher than Buddhism teaches.

The Buddha did not equate happiness with being. You are contorting the whole argument.
Happiness can of course be seen as ultimately good, which is actually rather trivial. That has nothing to do with an ultimate cause of existence or with "pure actuality"/"pure being" etc.


I don't expect anymore that you will really give an answer to anything in this regard.

But nevertheless it has been an interesting discussion at times.
:anjali:


Goofaholix wrote:
Kenshou wrote:The thing that strikes me is that, even if you have a metaphysical explanation for things that makes sense to you personally, that makes no steps towards actually showing that it is true. I question the apparent obligation to have an explanation. Maybe we can't always get what we want.

Science doesn't explain why things exist. Because it can't yet, that information is out of our reach right now. And maybe it will always be, who knows, but better to recognize a lack of information upon which to base such an explanation, than to simply make stuff up and go with it because it feels sensible.

It just doesn't offer anything of value, aside from a bit of diversion, and maybe some warm fuzzy feelings as a result of thinking you've got everything all figured out.


Well said!

+1
perkele
 
Posts: 345
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:37 pm

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:51 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

SDC wrote:Bravo to contemplans in this thread; newer member with lots of opposition but kept a great attitude. :clap:

Indeed. It's rare that a theist can survive 100+ posts on a Buddhist forum without lapsing into the offense of proselytization.

Well done contemplans.

Metta,
Retro. :)
He may not be hard core proselytizing, but he certainly is evangelizing.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19165
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Paradise

Re: Buddhist response to Western ontology

Postby Sherab » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:40 am

contemplans wrote:To answer Goofaholix, tiltbillings, Sherab, and others participating:

The topic is ontology, the study of being. Western ontology asks the questions concerning existence. The doctrine given called hylomorphism teaches that there is actuality, what is that which is in existence, and potentiality, what is a reference to potentially in existence, either the potential to be altogether, or the potential to be different than what you are. From this reasoning, which is very sound, Aristotle and those who followed him, reasoned that in order for anything to be actually in existence, not just a particular version of us at a given moment, it had to have an ultimate source which is pure existence, with no admixture of potentiality, no possibility that it could be anything other than what it is. In the Christian context we call this principle God. If you don't like that word for some reason, then the principle is also called pure actuality. The basic reasoning is that none of us have within ourselves to give rise to our own selves, that is, we are not self-caused. Therefore we are caused by another. Nowhere, however, within that chain of causes is there any explanation for existence itself, since all the causes are merely in process of actualizing what is potential. It is only outside of that causal chain that we come to an explanation, which Aristotle called Pure Actuality. So either pure actuality is the answer, or it isn't. That is the crux of the debate. But if one posits that it isn't pure actuality, then they need to have an explanation for why anything exists at all. I am just supplying to robust argument. I didn't come up with it, but I am convinced that it is sound and true.

I wish you all well. :anjali:

So does this principle create? If it does, then the creation is purposeless. If it does not, then it has no relevance whatsoever to the existence of this world since it is apart from this world. If it has no relevance whatsoever to this world, why bother with it?
User avatar
Sherab
 
Posts: 163
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:53 am

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 13 guests