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Deductionandreality_patrick D Bangert

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62 vistas279 páginasDeductionandreality_patrick D Bangert

logic of dignaga

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Patrick D. Bangert

Table of Contents

Lecture 1: The Basis of Mathematical Logic...................................................................... 5

1.1 Introduction to the Course......................................................................................... 5

1.2 What Is Real? ............................................................................................................ 8

1.3 The Historical Roots of Logic................................................................................. 10

1.4 What Is Logic? ........................................................................................................ 14

1.5 Axiomatics .............................................................................................................. 16

1.6 The Structure of Mathematical Logic ..................................................................... 18

1.7 Truth and Falsehood................................................................................................ 20

1.8 Logical Operations and Relations ........................................................................... 22

1.9 Conclusions............................................................................................................. 27

1.10 Appendix: The Dog-Walking Ordinance .............................................................. 29

Lecture 3: The Structure of an Axiomatic System............................................................ 30

3.1 Aristotle and His Followers .................................................................................... 30

3.2 The Axiomatic System............................................................................................ 34

3.3 The Model Concept for an Axiomatic System........................................................ 36

3.4 The Equivalence of Two Axiomatic Systems......................................................... 38

3.5 Consistency ............................................................................................................. 41

3.6 Independence .......................................................................................................... 42

3.7 Completeness .......................................................................................................... 43

3.8 Categoricalness ....................................................................................................... 44

3.9 Euclids Geometry in the Plane .............................................................................. 46

3.10 Conclusions........................................................................................................... 48

Lecture 5: Deduction......................................................................................................... 48

5.1 Primitive Terms of the Logic .................................................................................. 49

5.2 Basic Definitions in the Logic ................................................................................ 50

5.3 Axioms of the Logic ............................................................................................... 52

5.4 Basic Theorems....................................................................................................... 57

5.5 Syllogism and Proof................................................................................................ 58

5.6 Developing Mathematics from Logic ..................................................................... 60

5.7 Conclusions............................................................................................................. 61

Lecture 7: The Limitations of the Deductive Method....................................................... 62

7.1 Review .................................................................................................................... 63

7.2 Induction ................................................................................................................. 65

7.3 Algorithmic Thinking?............................................................................................ 67

7.4 Recursion ................................................................................................................ 69

7.5 Hilberts Problems .................................................................................................. 71

7.6 Gdels theorems .................................................................................................... 72

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7.7 Conclusions............................................................................................................. 77

Lecture 10: General Relativity.......................................................................................... 78

10.1 Aristotle, Galileo and the Birth of Science ........................................................... 79

10.2 The Newtonian Universe ...................................................................................... 81

10.3 What is Mass? ....................................................................................................... 84

10.4 Albert Einsteins Revolution................................................................................. 87

10.5 Special Relativity .................................................................................................. 90

10.6 General Relativity ................................................................................................. 92

10.7 The Nature of Space and Time ............................................................................. 97

10.8 Conclusions........................................................................................................... 99

Lecture 12: Quantum Theory.......................................................................................... 101

12.1 A Discrete Space-time?....................................................................................... 101

12.2 Postulates of Impotence ...................................................................................... 105

12.3 Unexplainable Experiments ................................................................................ 107

12.4 Quantum Theory ................................................................................................. 109

12.5 Uncertainty.......................................................................................................... 111

12.6 Schrdingers Schizophrenic Cat........................................................................ 112

12.7 Quantum Mechanics as a Proof for the Existence of God .................................. 114

12.8 Causality and Determinism................................................................................. 115

12.9 Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 117

Lecture 13: Quantum Mechanics and Ontology ............................................................. 117

13.1 The Infinite Potentiality of the Vacuum ............................................................. 117

13.2 Fundamental Particles Have a Size ................................................................. 120

13.3 The Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics ..................................... 122

13.4 Active Information and Non-locality.................................................................. 123

13.5 The Uncertainty Principle ................................................................................... 126

13.6 The Classical Limit ............................................................................................. 129

13.7 The Pauli Exclusion Principle............................................................................. 131

13.8 Other Interpretations ........................................................................................... 132

13.9 Unity of the Laws................................................................................................ 135

13.10 Conclusions....................................................................................................... 136

Lecture 15: Tibetan Buddhism I ..................................................................................... 137

15.1 The Four Noble Truths........................................................................................ 140

15.2 The Wheel of Life ............................................................................................... 142

15.3 The Six Realms of Existence .............................................................................. 144

15.4 The Twelve Stages of Life 1: Ignorance ............................................................. 147

15.5 The Twelve Stages of Life 2: Karma .................................................................. 148

15.6 The Twelve Stages of Life 3: Consciousness ..................................................... 149

15.7 The Twelve Stages of Life 4: Name and Form................................................... 150

15.8 The Twelve Stages of Life 5: Six Senses............................................................ 151

15.9 The Twelve Stages of Life 6: Contact ................................................................ 152

15.10 The Twelve Stages of Life 7: Feeling............................................................... 152

Lecture 17: Tibetan Buddhism II .................................................................................... 153

17.1 The Twelve Stages of Life 8: Attachment .......................................................... 153

17.2 The Twelve Stages of Life 9: Grasping .............................................................. 154

17.3 The Twelve Stages of Life 10: Existence ........................................................... 156

17.4 The Twelve Stages of Life 11: Birth................................................................... 157

17.5 The Twelve Stages of Life 12: Death ................................................................. 157

17.6 The Western Wheel of Life................................................................................. 159

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17.8 The Eightfold Path .............................................................................................. 163

17.9 The Concept of Guru........................................................................................... 166

17.10 Liberation .......................................................................................................... 168

17.11 Meditation ......................................................................................................... 168

17.12 Conclusions....................................................................................................... 170

Lecture 19: Dignaga and Dharmakirti ............................................................................ 170

19.1 Know, Do, Expect!.............................................................................................. 170

19.2 The School of Dignaga ....................................................................................... 173

19.3 Know the World.................................................................................................. 175

19.4 Reality is like an illusion..................................................................................... 176

19.5 Probabilistic Actions ........................................................................................... 177

19.6 Properties of Objects........................................................................................... 179

19.7 Deductions about Reality.................................................................................... 179

19.8 Conclusions......................................................................................................... 181

Lecture 21: The Nyaya-Bindu......................................................................................... 182

21.1 Perception............................................................................................................ 183

21.2 Inference.............................................................................................................. 186

21.2 Syllogism ............................................................................................................ 189

21.3 The World ........................................................................................................... 191

21.4 Knowledge .......................................................................................................... 193

21.5 Conclusions......................................................................................................... 194

Lecture 23: The Terms of the Nyaya-Bindu ................................................................... 196

23.1 Primitive Terms................................................................................................... 197

23.2 Some Definitions................................................................................................. 198

23.3 Some Axioms ...................................................................................................... 204

23.4 Conclusions......................................................................................................... 207

Lecture 25: Deducing the Nyaya-Bindu ......................................................................... 207

25.1 The Three-Aspect Theorem ................................................................................ 208

25.2 The Hetuchakra ................................................................................................... 210

25.3 Negation .............................................................................................................. 212

25.4 Syllogism ............................................................................................................ 217

25.5 Fallacies .............................................................................................................. 218

25.6 Conclusions......................................................................................................... 220

Lecture 27: Extending the Theory beyond the Nyaya-Bindu ......................................... 221

27.1 Dialetic ................................................................................................................ 221

27.2 Emptiness ............................................................................................................ 222

27.3 The Four Noble Truths........................................................................................ 225

27.4 Mahayana Buddhism: Enlightenment entails compassion.................................. 228

27.5 Mahayana Buddhism: Global selfishness is local altruism................................. 229

27.6 Circular Reasoning.............................................................................................. 230

27.7 Apoha .................................................................................................................. 230

27.8 Conclusions......................................................................................................... 230

Knowing the Instant Through Wisdom: A Systematization of the Nyaya-Bindu .......... 233

Abstract ....................................................................................................................... 233

1. Technical Vocabulary and Introductory Remarks. ................................................. 234

2. Correspondence between Logic the Statements of the Nyaya-Bindu..................... 241

3. Construction of the Logic and Correspondence to Reality ..................................... 245

4. Logical Systematization of the Nyaya-Bindu (Theorems) ..................................... 250

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A. Perception............................................................................................................... 264

B. Inference................................................................................................................. 265

C. Syllogism................................................................................................................ 268

Welcome to the USC on Deduction and Reality. I am Patrick Bangert and he is Paul Crowther. This

course is called Deduction and Reality: Bridging Science, Religion and Metaphysics. So its a very

big course in the sense that it encompasses a great deal of things. So, first of all, I would like to preset

these words from Lao Tse: The Tao that can be known is not the true Tao. The word that can be said

is not the true word. This is very true as concerns this course. Anything I will say is an approximation

to how things should be said and so I hope you will forgive me for explaining things as best as I can

which is not that well but I shall try. There is a website organized for this course: http://www.knottheory.org/usc. It doesnt look very good but it contains content; thats preferable. Here it is and you

can go and visit it at your leisure.

You probably want to know what this whole thing is about. Deduction and reality is a very big topic.

Reality; what is real? What is deduction? How can we approach reality by deduction? First of all, we

want to get an idea of something about reality which is not immediately obvious. Miyamoto Musashi

said: Perceive those things which cannot be seen. Do nothing which is of no use.

What do we want to do? We can approach the universe in many ways. One of them is the rational

approach to the universe. The universe has many components. How can we approach some of them?

We perceive things in front of us. Are they real? How can we make some sort of deduction about

reality and about the universe as a whole? Totality as such, can we approach it in a rational fashion?

How far is it possible to approach these things in rational fashion? What are the limitations of this

approach?

Now, of course, rationality has some sort of foundation from the mathematical angle, which I shall

present. Those foundations are logic and axiomatics. These two branches of mathematics are very

tightly interconnected but they are not the same. Thats one fo the points I want to bring out logic as a

method and not as truth in itself. And then to what extent is it useful and helpful?

You might think mathematics is all not useful. Well, it is and I shall try to change your opinion about

that to some extent. Is it helpful as well as useful to some extent? Can we gain some insight into the

universe? Yes and no. It can only bring you so far and there is some step of belief involved which

relates to the axioms of the system and this belief you must generate on your own or not as you

choose. So there are limitations to everything and certainly from the mathematical site. I am sure Paul

will tell us what the philosophers came up with.

Now as far as this is a course at a university there has to be, unfortunately, some component of

assessment. There will be lectures. Those are fun. You can attend them as you wish or not. As you can

see with the microphone in front of me we are recording the lectures. Those will be put on the internet

in the recorded fashion and the typed up fashion and so it is possible to be downloaded. One big reason

for this is that I know there are a lot of people interested in this and they are in many countries

distributed all round the world and they cannot be here. Thats one thing.

For assessment there will be three things: two essays and one exam. Two essays, one for each of us.

We have each produced a list of 8 topics twice over. So there is a first essay about the first half of the

course for each of us and a second essay about the second half, 8 topic for each of us, so 32 topics in

total. Those can be looked at on the website. For the first essay you choose whether you want to do one

on my list or his list and for the second essay you have to do an essay from the opposite list. So there is

one for each of us and you get fair distribution of marks from each of us. For the final exam, of course

it will be at the end of the semester and you need not worry about that now, there will be the same sort

of distribution there and so 50% of your grade will come from each of us.

There will be some required reading for the course. For the philosophical part, Paul assures me that the

textbooks he has picked out are good books as a whole. For mathematics such a book does not exist.

This is rather unfortunate especially because of the legal situation of photocopying things. I am not

allowed to photocopy for you. You must do it on your own. Even though the things get copied the same

number of times it turns out to be legal if you do it and not if I do it. This is one of the examples where

logic can no longer get to the answers. The first bit of required reading is right here. I was allowed to

photocopy this because I wrote it. There is no copyright. You can pick a copy at the end please. It

represents the combination of lot of research that we did a couple of last years ago about what

mathematics is about. That gives you a 7 page definition of what it is. I hope its at least a little bit of

fun to read. Certainly I had that in mind when I wrote it. Last point, I have already mentioned, there is a

website it will contain the transcripts of the lectures. The website most importantly for the moment

includes the essay topic. [addresses Paul Crowther] Is there anything you want to say on the game plan

before I begin?

Paul Crowther: Let me just say that Patrick will address the more formalised aspects of logic. On the

other hand, people who have tried to make sense of the universe as a whole have often made use of

deductive procedures in a less systematic way while still being systematic in another way. Einstein said

that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is so comprehensible. We are asking

the big questions and not just in the sense of the mystic ones but understanding the universe as a whole

and this is what the whole course is about. Patrick will give you logic and mathematics, I will give you

a particular tradition of philosophy, the so called rational philosophy. First, I will do some preparatory

work and then present arguments for the existence of God and other rational procedures and then I will

look at a series of particular rational philosophers.

Yes, certainly one theme is the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in describing the universe.

So what will I do in his lecture? Paul has given you an idea on what his part is. In the first four lectures,

I want to present to you logic as a branch of mathematics. What is it? What can it do? What are its

limitations? In the next three lectures, I will go through some axioms that have been used before to

describe reality: particularly quantum mechanics and general relativity. Dont be afraid I shall not use

any formulas for this, I shall just present to you what the underlying assumptions are. Then, in the final

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seven lectures, I will try to develop Tibetan Buddhism as an axiomatic system. This is somewhat new

and an experiment but not the transcendental part will be presented. Its Buddhism as a philosophy of

reality; not the whole meditation and chanting parts of it. If you are interested in that, I am also very

interested in that and we can talk about it, but not here. We should that in our own private time. What I

shall do is present the philosophy as reality and that differs substantially from the western tradition in

some cases and in some other cases it very remarkably similar. So that will be presented and, in my

opinion, that philosophy is very well amenable to mathematical discussion and thats why it is

presented.

[Reality is] a child which cannot survive without its nurse illusion.

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington

So let me begin with some background. Eddington is, if you dont know him, a very famous physicist

of the 19th century. He claims that reality needs illusion and of course this is one of the basic principles

of Buddhism.

What is real? That is a very crucial question for course on reality. We need to know what reality is?

Can we actually define reality? The complications with definition is that you define things in terms of

other things. And then those things have to be defined in terms of yet other different things. When do

you stop? Thats a crucial point that shall be addressed. You can approach reality in many ways and

pretty much every human being himself or herself will decide distinct method of reaching reality. There

are, in my opinion, two main extremes of doing things. One is the operational and other is the

transcendental. The operational method basically says we want things to be useful. We want to make

prediction on paper that in a way that can be tested in the laboratory. In other words, we want to make

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statements about perception. This is what natural sciences do. Then there is the transcendental approach

which, sort of says: I want to go to heaven after I die and I want to receive enlightenment and I have to

achieve this in some sort of intuitive approach which is certainly not based on logical scientific

measurable principles.

I think those are the main two methodologies by which one can approach reality. For me it will be the

main object of this course to discuss the operational approach by logic and mathematics and, starting

from a few little bits which we have to believe, how we can then develop the whole rest of the universe.

The transcendental approach is of course very much connected to the operational one, especially in the

Buddhist section that I will discuss later. First, because the actual practical Buddhist wants to gain

enlightment and this necessitates the transcendental meditational approach so it will come up many

times in the course. But the main thrust will be the operational deduction.

So what is reality? How can we achieve it? For example, is this table real? I can see it. I can touch it. If

I drop it, it hurts. So is it real? Fundamentally I have to make a decision whether I shall regard that

thing as real or not. It is not an a priori given, that it is real.

There is a famous skeptical argument of the brain in a vat. Imagine that what really exitst is not your

whole body but only your brain. In the laboratory, your brain is connected up to some machine. The

machine is very fancy. It can stimulate the brain exactly such a way that your sense perceptions, your

sight, your smell and all the other perceptions are controlled by the machine. It can therefore play a

kind of reality as a movie to you and because your sense perceptions are entirely controlled by the

machine, it is impossible for you to trust your sense perceptions alone to distinguish reality (that you

are a brain in a vat) from what is being played to you. Of course the machine doesnt exist, yet it can be

conceived. So the thought is: How can we distinguish it? The answer is that we have to make a

decision. Are we going to regard sense input as real or not? This is one of the axioms.

It will be one of the axioms in the Buddhist part that you must, or that we shall agree to, regard sense

perceptions as real. However what do you do if there are some defects? Say I am colorblind. I cannot

distinguish between green and red for example. Clearly in traffic thats a problem. But its still ok

because most people are not colorblind. So we have a sort of vote. Is that thing green or not? I disagree

with you but there are dozens of you. So I will basically take your word for it. This democratic

approach to reality fails in some circumstances. Imagine that you are a schizophrenic person. Most of

you should have seen A Beautiful Mind, right? The main character in A Beautiful Mind saw

people that were not real. How is he supposed to know that these people are not real? He sees them; he

can touch them; he can speak to them; they answer him. Everybody else, with exception of his

imagined people, can not see these people. Of course those people see themselves. So we can have a

vote in the class. He is lecturing, so all his students vote no, we dont see them. He votes we see them

and his extra people also vote yes. We have 30 against 4 and the class wins. Now lets say the

schizophrenic person imagines a big army full of people and he has a friend beside him. The friend

knows that they are not there but everyone in this huge collection sees each other of course. Now the

imagined collection of people votes that they see everyone else and they win in a democratic system.

Who shall we trust? Is my friend, who does not see everybody else, going to let all these votes count?

No because they are not there. But I see they are there. So we cannot really agree. At some point we

must make decision to believe.

So sense input is flawed. But we have to have some starting point and this is where the historical roots

of logic lie. Logic and deduction are, of course, very very old. However, the first actually recorded

system comes to us from a little piece of the Rhind papyrus, from Egypt about five thousand years ago

and it includes many mathematical formulae for calculating various things such as the volume of

pyramids. One of the problems it mentions is land surveying. This was a crucial problem for ancient

Egypt. If you remember your history, what happens in Nile Delta is that once a year the Nile brings a

big flood and deposits soil, which is rich in minerals for the plants, over the lands. Then the water

retreats again and because of the new fertile soil, Egypt became great civilization they were able to

grow lots of food, more then they needed. They could trade the grain to obtain money and power. Now

10

how did one farmer say: This is my land. Basically what they did was to use a post of wood or a

large stone to mark the boarders of their land. If a particularly big flood comes along, those marks are

lost. Thats a problem because then I can put my stone further away from where it was before thus

stealing land from my neighbor. That cannot be allowed. Of course Egypt is a big civilization. There

has to be some record of who owns how much. And then there has to be some method for going along

and measuring out this much and putting new markers on the ground so that I receive the 10 acres of

land that I used to own, not that I can somehow steal more or get less because someone else steals

something. So how to do this?

The most important point is that we agree. We must use one system of measurements of area.

Everybody involved, all the farmers and central administrators must agree to use one system of units so

that it it clear what an acre is. And everyone must agree on the rules of the measurement process. These

rules must be constructed in such a way that somebody else, later on, after the current people are dead,

can still apply the rules because my property gets inherited to my children who shall inherit it to their

children and the bureaucracy 200 years down the line must be able to follow the rules such that the 10

acres I own now shall remain 10 acres during my grand childrens life. So we must agree on the rule

and the results of the rule. The results of the rule must be uniform. The 10 acres of land here remain 10

acres over there and the rules must be able to be executed by people later on. This is the basic principle.

In ancient Egypt they used ropes with knots in them. From this knot to that knot is so units and you

measure it off. That is ok for the measurement of land.

But we want to discuss many more things. So we have to develop rules that are much more general.

Logic will get us much further than surveying land. It will be able to deduce many things from given

sets of assumption.

Aristotle constructed a system of logic( I prefer a system of logic and not the system of logic and

thats the main point later on) which contains three basic rules:

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1.

Anything is itself.

2.

Any statement has a truth value and this can be true or false.

3.

Rule 1 can be regarded as the definition of the verb to be: Anything, such as this table, is this table.

This statement is called the Law of Identity. It is a vacuous statement unless you consider it as the

definition of equality embodies by the verb to be.

Rule 2 is very important because statements could potentially be not true and false but something else.

One could, for instance, consider nonsense to be a valid truth value for sentences that do not conform

to the definitions of the terms. Alternatively, if we lack information, we could assign probabilities as

truth values.

Rule 3 is very crucial it is the most important one of the three. Any statement has one definite truth

value and that shall be very crucial in all systems of logic. Definiteness is the very essence of logical

deduction and if a statement could have two truth values at the same time then it would really mess the

system up.

There are many other system of logic possible. This is the first big message in this course. Logic is not

one thing it is many. You have to decide which logic you are going to use and this decision is

arbitrary. If, of course, what you want to do is lay down axioms about reality, about a physics

experiment and make deductions that are going to be the results of the future physics experiment, then

your choice of logic must be guided by these principles such as you want the results to be real

whatever that may mean.

12

In generating other logics, you have to modify the starting points of Aristotles system. The second rule

is the one most frequently denied by people introducing more truth values than two. You must decide

which logic to use based on the application you wish to follow. The choice is essentially up to you.

For thousands of years, geometry, starting with the Greek school around Euclid and Pythagoras, was

regarded to be true in the sense of absolutely corresponding to reality. There is one geometry that

guides the universe and thats it. Euclid wrote the book and that was the last word for a long time.

Surprisingly, from a modern point of view, Euclids work was used as a textbook ever since was it was

written up until about 50 years ago in high schools. This very popular book that enjoyed a monopoly on

the truth for a long time, was then shown to be wrong. Not only is it wrong in the claim that this

geometry corresponds to reality but it is also wrong in the sense that its theorems do not actually follow

from the assumptions it proposes. Mathematically it is a pretty bad book. The only reason that I

mention it here is because it has turned out to be so popular. Many mathematicians investigated

Euclids axioms and theorems got inspired by them, in particular by the errors in Euclids deductions. It

is fair to say that the investigation of the errors of Euclid has lead to a very large portion of modern

mathematics. The book had great influence not only on mathematics but also on philosophy.

Particularly Kant decided to build a whole system upon this and he regarded the geometrical axioms

that Euclid proposed as a priori truths.

What does a priori mean? It means: True before you do anything. It is supposed to be clear to you in

itself. Just by sitting on your chair and looking around you these truths are meant to be absolutely selfevident. They do not need a proof because they are so obviously true. But they do not need to be

assumed either because they are true. This is what Kant claims of the axioms of geometry.

Through the work of many mathematicians, it has been possible to construct many geometries, in fact

infinitely many geometries that are all consistent, all different from each other and all different from

13

Euclids one. So there are many geometries. If you then introduce the principle that you want this

geometry to correspond to the universe as a whole then you have to perform some sort of physics

experiment to see which one matches experimental evidence. Eddington actually did this experiment.

He went to a solar eclipse and measured the position of stars before and after the solar eclipse. The

observations revealed that the position changed. This was the first direct verification of Einsteins

theory of relativity and it showed that the space of our universe is curved. Curved space acts in a way

that parallel lines may intersect which contradicts one of Euclids assumptions and Eddington thus

showed that we live in a non-Euclidean universe. This makes Kants claim of a priori truth of Euclids

axioms doubly wrong. Not only are they not a priori true but they are not true of the universe at all.

What happens is that the gravitational attraction of the sun is so strong because it has so much mass

that it can bend light. We consider the rays of light as straight lines according to the general theory of

relativity. During a solar eclipse, I can look at a star which is just beside the solar disk and measure its

position. Then I wait until the sun has moved and I measure the position again. These two

measurements are found to differ and thus we conclude that the presence of the sun in the path of the

light has curved the path of the light so as to fool the observer into thinking the star was elsewhere.

Even though Euclids geometry is not true of the universe, it is possible to have Euclids geometry as a

perfectly acceptable mathematical system. It has axioms and it has theorems that you can deduce from

the axioms if you clean up the mess that Euclid made and its perfectly fine. You just must not claim

that it is real.

The same thing happens with logic. Over thousands of years, Aristotles system of logic was regarded

to be the system similar to Euclids geometry. Only recently, in the middle of the last century, some

mathematicians got together and decided to construct other systems of logic based on different

assumptions. This is a crucial thing to realize: Logic itself is based on assumptions.

14

Aristotles three rules are assumption of logic they define what that particular logic is. If you deny

one of them, introduce a fourth or make some other fundamental change, then you construct a different

system and this new system is perfectly acceptable. It has axioms and theorems that you can deduce

from them. You just must not claim that any of these systems correspond to reality. If you do, then you

have to form some sort of experiment.

Most of you have probably read some stories of Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective of the 19th

century. He says that: When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains,

however improbable, must be the truth. This is a very good statement of logic. In classical logic,

probabilities are not counted. Something is true or it is false. It is not more likely than something else.

If you have deduced that all these things are false then the negation of all these things must be true.

Logic is a method that begins from assumptions and obtains conclusions. Changing the method,

changes the conclusions. You must not claim that what logic produces is transcendent truth. The

assumptions are agreed to be true in the sense that the axioms have an associated truth value which is

equal to true. We must not say that the axioms are absolutely true of reality. Logic is then a method that

produces conclusions that are true in the same way that the assumptions are true based on agreement,

not on reality. The conclusions clearly depend on the premises or assumptions. We lay down some

premises that we agree to hold up, then we get conclusions and the truth values of the conclusions

depend integrally on the truth values of the premises.

Judging the actual truth of the premises is not within logic. No logic, no systems of axioms must claim

that its axioms are true of reality. That is a judgment that is outside of the system. If you want to claim

that your assumptions are true then you are in natural sciences or in philosophy but not within logic,

not within mathematics. Within mathematics the assumptions are agreed upon. We shall not make

claims of reality. For the mathematician, true is an operational word. It is always relative to a given

set of assumptions that are agreed upon. The set of assumptions are like a point of view. From a

different point of view (different assumptions), the same statement may have opposite truth values. For

the mathematician this is fine as the two statements can not be compared being true relative to different

15

basic rules. For the natural scientist this is a cause to abandon at least one of these two points of view as

unrealistic. If we claim that a statement is true of reality or of the universe, then we are making an

entirely different claim that has to be verified.

We must have premises. If we have no assumptions, we can do nothing. We take a statement that we

can prove mathematically from other statements. These statements are in turn proved by others.

Circular reason is not allowed as it is obviously senseless. So the circle must be broken somehow. It

can only be broken if we agree on one or more particular statements and accept them as basic to our

theory. Those are the premises of the system. We cannot do without premises.

1.5 Axiomatics

Axioms are formulated in terms of primitive terms. This is one more step towards being elementary. So

we have agreed now that we have to have premises. We have to have at least one statement that we

shall simply agree upon. This statement uses words or symbols. It has some content and we must also

agree what the objects that appear in the axiom are.

The terms used in stating the axioms are either primitive or defined in terms of primitives. Primitive

terms are terms which we use without definition, they are the analogue of axioms. I will give you an

example of an experiment that we did about a year and half ago of very large systems of axioms. The

English language has many words. All words in English language have definition in English. They are

given in a dictionary. If you do not know a word, you look it up. You read the definition to understand

what the words means. For this looking-up procedure to work, you need to know some words to begin

with. Otherwise you ca not read the definition and you do not understand the new word.

16

You do not have to know all the words definitions because you can deduce some of them from

context. So knowing some percentage of the words in the definition that you find in the dictionary is

enough to understand the new word. The dictionary we used for this is Websters dictionary; it contains

over 99000 words different words. The words used in the definitions are themselves defined in the

dictionary. We ask: What is the least number of primitives for the system? In other words: What is

the least number of words I must know in order to be able to learn all the other words? If we knew no

words, we could not learn any word but we also do not need to know all words as the purpose of a

dictionary would then vanish, so this number is not trivial. It turns out that from the system of more

than 99000 English words you only need to know 244 in order to learn all the others. This is an

enormous reduction of complexity. As all words can be understood in terms of the basic 244 words, we

could conceivably communicate using just these few words, the others are merely abbreviations of

collections (definitions) of the basic words. These basic words, whose meaning has to be fixed outside

the system, are called primitive terms.

Using this approach, it is possible to reduce a large complicated system to a small simple one. The

original one can be restored by applying some basic rules to the small one. The small system is called

an axiomatization of the original one and the rules to obtain the original from its axiomatization is

called logic. Clearly there can be all sorts of different rules of transformation depending on the

application and that is why there are many different logics and no logic is better than another.

This is simplification process is what I want to do in the Buddhist part of this series. There are

documents that have many statements about reality that are heavily interdependent. It will be our goal

to resolve some of these interdepencies and thus make it look much simpler.

Primitive terms are those terms we must agree on the meaning of. Axioms are statements in terms of

these primitive terms and we again agree to uphold them. In mathematics an example of a primitive is

set. Set theory is a very basic branch of mathematics that deals with discussion of collections of

things. The word set can not be defined without introducing other words. In set theory, it is agreed

17

that the word set shall be used and theorems proven about it but that its meaning is to be ascribed to

it outside of the system known as set theory.

Primitives are the substance in terms of which axioms are stated. One may view the axioms as relations

between the primitives, as rules by which we may modify collections of primitives or as definitions of

how the primitives act in a given situation but not as definitions of the primitives themselves. An axiom

might say: A table has a four legs. So table and leg are primitive terms of that system as well as some

number system that tells us what four denotes. The primitives gives us the substance of the theory

(the names of the objects which will appear) and the axioms tells about them.

The truth of axioms or the meaning of the premises is not to be questioned. We agree on them and that

is all. It is, of course, desirable to have few axioms as in the dictionary example. It is actually useful in

a very practical manner to say that these particular 244 words will enable you to learn the rest of the

language. In fact, language books that teach people English as a second language are actually based

upon lists of this kind.

Now of course we have in the back of our mind some theory that we want to obtain. We have to

construct primitives terms and axioms in such a way that we obtain what we want. Later on we shall

want to obtain Buddhist theory and we must find some primitive terms and axioms that would give it to

us.

Logic is used to systemize the whole endeavour. From a few basic things, we build up something large.

Together the primitives, assumption and logic will enable us to make conclusions; together they build

18

the very foundations of mathematics and of any axiomatic system. Of course, it is possible to have

many distinct sets of axioms that will give rise to the same theory.

Logic, starting from the axioms, gets to conclusions. But how does it do this? There are some actions

that logic has to perform upon the axioms to reach conclusions. There are two such rules in classical or

Aristotelian logic: Modus ponens and Substitution.

Modus ponens tells us that if we are given that if some statement is true then another one is true and we

have somehow determined that the first one is tue then we are allowed to deduce the second one. This

looks like a vacuous statement but it is not because this statement if A then B is a claim in the system,

it is possibly an axiom or a theorem depending on previously assumed axioms. So its a claim. It is not

necessarily actually true. But within the system it is a claim and we shall treat it as if it were true for

arguments sake. Then if we determine that A is true, then B is true. The statement if A, then B

simply connects the truth values of A and B, it makes no statement about the truth of A. If we find out

the truth of A by some means, then the truth of B is to be concluded. This is the rule of modus ponens.

If you have a long list of dependencies such if this then this then this then this and if the first one is

true, then you can deduce the last one. This is the essence of mathematical proof.

Substitution tells us that we may substitute a particular object for a general term in a logical deduction.

Suppose we have the following statement: For every table, the table has four legs. The rule of

substitution says that the general term table can be replaced by a reference to a particular individual

table we happen to consider and so will allow us to deduce that this table has four legs. From general

statements, we may deduce particular statements.

Those are the only two rules we need for classical logic. Put together some primitives, axioms and

these two rules of manipulating the axioms and they give us logic: mathematical logic. In the case of

Aristotle, the primitives are equal, true, negation and and. The axioms are: (1) A equals A, (2)

19

A is true or false, (3) A and negation of A can not both be true where false is defined as the negation

of true and or is defined as the negation of the negation of A and the negation of B. Already you can

see this is getting complicated without the use of symbols. Introducing symbols, we can shorten the tale

a great deal. They may look scary at first but they allow us to write complicated arguments in a neat

way so that we may better see if we are making any logical errors. Discovering logical errors while

using a language familiar to us from daily life is very difficult indeed.

An important fact is that any statement is a theorem if and only if it is a tautology. Recall that a

theorem is a statement which follows from the axioms by applying the rules of logic. A tautology is

any statement that is true, no matter if the statements involved in it are true themselves. An example is

A or the negation of A. As the statement A is allowed to either be true or false, one of the two

statements A or the negation of it must be true and hence this claim is always true, no matter what truth

value A has.

Saying that something is something else if and only if some condition is satisfied is a typical

mathematical way of saying that what preceeds the if and only if is the same statement as that which

follows it. The phrase if and only if is typically abbreviated by iff. So we can write a mathematical

theorem like this: A iff B. This means that A is true if B is true and only if B is true, i.e. if B is false, A

is also false. Thus the truth value of A must be equal to that of B whatever it may be. Therefore we can

say that A and B are the same statement with respect to truth content.

Whatsoever is descendent from the tree of cognition carries the dichotomy in it.

The Sefer Zohar

20

Logic enables us to deduce statements from premises while keeping the truth content of them constant.

Plato liked to believe that the universe is a poor reflection of the ideal universe in which all the ideas

that we use, such as tables, exist in the pure state. He claimed that this truth was absolute truth. Hilbert,

on the other hand, was a mathematician who made the opposite claim that mathematics is just

manipulating marks of ink on paper and has absolutely no connection whatsoever to reality. All you do

is you set up a few axioms, you mark down a few bits of ink on your paper and you make up a few

rules for transforming those marks of ink into other marks of ink. Applying the rules and seeing ever

more complex patterns of ink emerge is mathematics according to Hilbert. He was one of the best

mathematicians who ever lived and, of course, it is an extreme case but it deserves to be considered.

The possible truth values according to Aristotle are only two: truth and falsehood. Buddhism adds a

third: nonsense. Its possible to say true and false statements but also nonsense. Actually most things

according to Buddhism fall under the category of nonsense. The most popular statement that they

choose to exemplify nonsense is a flower in the sky.. A flower needs to be on the ground. It can not

be up in the sky and therefore that statement is nonsense. It is against the definition of what a flower is

to be in the sky.

Some logics add varying degress of may be. I can state that my car is on the parking lot. Bue I am not

exactly 100% sure. Somebody could have stolen from when I saw it last and I would not know. From

my point of view this statement has to be a probable statement with a certain, hopefully, high degree of

probability. Because of lack of information, this probability is necessarily less than 100%. That leads us

to fuzzy logic which is an engineering system that has been built quite recently and which incorporates

degrees of uncertainty because of lack of evidence.

Q: Is your car not definitely on the parking lot or off, why does it matter that you can not see it?

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That is the whole dispute. I am myself. You are a figment of my imagination. But even though I see

you, you might not exist. This is really quite difficult to determine. Is the statement true? What does

true mean? Is it true in an absolute way? Is there some God-like observer who determines what is true

and false and I am simple too stupid to find out? Or is only that true that I personally, as an individual,

determine to be true myself. This is of course the operational approach of engineering. Only those

things are true which I have observed to be true. I do not observe my car, therefore it is not necessarily

where I think it is. Even though some God-like being might exist who does see it. So this is a matter of

philosophy. You must decide whether you are going to allow the existence of absolute truth in the

absence of the possibility of verification or not.

Q: What exactly do you mean by nonsense, does it apply to the so-called logical paradoxes?

Nonsense refers to any statement which you cannot determine to have one definite truth value. A

statement essentially goes against the definition of the very thing, such as flower in the sky. It is

against the definition of a flower to exist without ground. Logical paradoxes will fall in that category.

For I am the first and the last. I am the honored and the scorned. I am the saint and the prostitute.

Nag

Hammadi

Now we start with the symbolism. If something is true then the negation of it is false. If something is

false then the negation of it is true.

A

T

F

-A

F

T

22

Now this table is called the truth table. A will be a symbol, a variable. It can be equal to any statement.

A is equal to green cheese is not allowed because it is not a statement which has a truth value. A

logical statement must make a claim. So A is equal to there is green cheese on this table is a valid

statement. It has to be a statement of a fact.

Any statement is either true or false according to Aristotles system. The negation is just the opposite.

We shall meet more complicated truth tables later on. But negation is actually the most complicated of

all logical operations. All the other ones are simple. Negation is like the complement of a set. Let us

say we have a set. The set is defined as the set of all people. With negation I want to say not people,

the set of all things that are not people. Taking the set of all things which are not in a given set is called

complementation. This already is complicated. The set of all people is well defined. There is a finite

number of people and the set of all people contains all of them. But what is not people? Not people is

everything minus a little bit, people. But what is everything? With respect to what am I to negate, from

what am I going to subtract people? With respect to what do we negate statements?

In the case of Aristotle, it is simple. There are two truth values and negation chooses the other one. As

soon as there are more than two things, we must be very careful with defining negation or

complementation, especially when it includes an infinite number of things such as everything.

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Russels paradox makes the problem with negation very apparent. We ask for sets of things and we ask

if the members of those sets can be members of themselves or not. For example the set of all teacups is

a set and clearly not itself a teacup and thus an example of a set which does not include itself. The set

of all non teacups is a set which is not a teacup and thus this is an example of set which does include

itself.

Being convinced that both self-inclusive and self-exclusive sets exist, we ask whether the set of all set

which are self-exclusive is itself self-inclusive. If it is self-inclusive then we get a contradiction because

the set has only such sets as members which are self-exclusive. So we think that it must be selfexclusive. If it is, then it can not include itself but it was defined as the set of all sets which are selfexclusive. So both possibilities lead to a contradiction and thus we have a paradox. This illustrates how

difficult the use of the operation of negation and the use of the word all can be. Much caution is

required in their use particularly if the set of everything with respect to which one negates is infinite.

I will not discuss this paradox further here. Much can be said and the resolution of Betrand Russel to

his own paradox is a three volume work. We will look at paradoxes to some extent in the exercises.

The resolution is that we agree, as an extra axiom of the system. We define that sets of objects are of

first type. Sets of sets of objects are of second type and so on. The axiom is that one must not

compare sets of different type. Thats an additional axiom of set theory that Russel introduced and with

that the paradox is resolved because the set of all sets is of higher type than the set itself.

A

T

F

T

F

B

T

T

F

F

A? B

T

F

F

F

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So A and B are two different statements. They can be true or false. There are two possibilities each.

And is a relation between two statements and it is going to be defined to be true only if both

components are true. If any one of them is false, then the combination is false.

A

T

F

T

F

B

T

T

F

F

A? B

T

T

T

F

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The relation or is slightly more complex from an everyday point of view. For example: Do you

want your coffee with milk or sugar? Is it acceptable to want both or not? Clearly it is ok to say I want

sugar. It is also clearly ok to say I want milk. But is it allowed in the system, if I view this on a strict

level, to say I want both milk and sugar. Well, that has to be agreed upon, if that is going to be allowed.

Is it an exclusive or which forces me to pick one but not both. It is an inclusive or which allows me

to choose both. In the truth table, you can see that we have defined an inclusive or.

A

T

T

F

F

B

T

F

T

F

A?

T

F

T

T

-B

F

T

F

T

A ? -B -(A ? -B)

F

T

T

F

F

T

F

T

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Two statements may be connected in the form if A, then B. If something is true then something else

must be true also. If A is true then the whole claim is true if and only if B is also true. If A is false

however, the whole statement is true regardless of whether B is true or false.

Q: Why?

You must not ask why? This is a definition of the concept if , then This is one of the crucial

things. You must not question its truth. It is simply a definition. The only reason we introduce the

arrow notation is to make writing simpler in the future. We do not need it as I am going to illustrate

below.

Consider negating B and combining it with A using the and relation. The results are shown in the

truth table. Lastly, negative this whole combination and we see that the truth values are exactly the

same as the ones for the arrow. As far as truth behaviour goes (and this is all we care about in logic),

those two operations are identical. In this way we may use the last column as a definition for the

dependence relation if , then Later we shall find it convinient to use the dependence relation

directly and this is why it is notationally nice to introduce here. From a fundmental point of view, it is

unnecessary as it is the same as a certain combination of negations and intersections. This is the

equivalence of two syntactically distinct statements. Syntactically distinct but still equivalent, that is

important. You can have many statements that look different but are actually the same.

1.9 Conclusions

Logic itself is based on assumptions. We must assume something. There are many distinct logics of

which I have presented the one that Aristotle invented. The consistency is the most important

characteristic. Consistency is the third Aristotle rule that nothing may have two truth values at the same

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time. If that were allowed, then your whole reasoning indefinite. But everything else, you are allowed

to deny. Even the statement that a is equal to a, you are allowed to deny. So, to sum it up, a logical

theory must have these things. It must have primitive terms. It must have axioms that are only stated in

terms of primitive terms. It must have a logic. In other words, a method to transform axioms into

conclusions and the correspondence to reality is something all together different. It is something

outside the system.

Q: What is the difference between Kants a priori truths and Aristotles logic axioms as presented here?

The difference is in belief not in content. I state the system and I say it is an assumption. We shall

simply agree upon axioms and take it from there. Kant says that the axioms are actually

transcendentally true of reality itself. That is, it is not an assumption to him but a statement of a

property of reality. For me, it is an assumption without claim at the truth. The content of the statements

is exactly the same, they differ in the extent to which they are claimed true of reality.

Q: Is Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory the most eligible one to describe Russells paradox?

There are many set theories. All set theories are created equal and there are no pigs amongst them that

are more equal than others. Even within the Zermelo-Fraenkel system there is a lot of dispute about

some of the axioms, particularly the axiom of choice. No set theory is more applicable than another.

Russells paradox occurs in almost all of them. That is to say in all set theories that have not been

patched by the theory of types which was Russells answer to his own paradox. In fact, Russells

paradox came up in the review of Freges book on set theory. So historically it can be viewed as a

direct attack on Freges particular version of set theory.

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The following selection makes the importance of clear expression in logical conversation very

apparent. It is taken from The Reader Over Your Shoulder: A Handbook for Writers of English Prose

by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge (Random House, 1979).

Councillor Trafford took exception to the proposed notice at the entrance of South Park: No dogs must

be brought to this Park except on a lead. He pointed out that this order would not prevent an owner

from releasing his pets, or pet, from a lead when once safely inside the Park.

The Chairman (Colonel Vine): What alternative wording would you propose, Councillor?

Councillor Trafford: Dogs are not allowed in this Park without leads.

Councillor Hogg: Mr. Chairman, I object. The order should be addressed to the owners, not to the

dogs.

Councillor Trafford: That is a nice point. Very well then: Owners of dogs are not allowed in this Park

unless they keep them on leads.

Councillor Hogg: Mr. Chairman, I object. Strictly speaking, this would prevent me as a dog-owner

from leaving my dog in the back-garden at home and walking with Mrs. Hogg across the Park.

Councillor Trafford: Mr. Chairman, I suggest that our legalistic friend be asked to redraft the notice

himself.

Councillor Hogg: Mr. Chairman, since Councillor Trafford finds it so difficult to improve on my

original wording, I accept. Nobody without his dog on a lead is allowed in this Park.

Councillor Trafford: Mr. Chairman, I object. Strictly speaking, this notice would prevent me, as a

citizen, who owns no dog, from walking in the Park without first acquiring one.

29

Councillor Hogg (with some warmth): Very simply, then: Dogs must be led in this Park.

Councillor Trafford: Mr. Chairman, I object. This reads as if it were a general injunction to the

Borough to lead their dogs into the Park.

Councillor Hogg interposed a remark for which he was called to order; upon his withdrawing it, it was

directed to be expunged from the Minutes.

The Chairman: Councillor Trafford, Councillor Hogg has had three tries; you have had only two

Councillor Trafford: All dogs must be kept on leads in this Park.

The Chairman: I see Councillor Hogg rising quite rightly to raise another objection. May I anticipate

him with another amendment: All dogs in this Park must be kept on the lead.

This draft was put to the vote and carried unanimously, with two abstentions.

Common sense is not what you need if youre going to find out anything worth knowing; it is

uncommon sense.

Prof. Z as quoted by Eric Temple Bell

30

Alexander Pope

This professor Z that has been quoted by Eric Temple Bell is a famous mathematician, who at the time

did not want to reveal his identity; that is why he is called professor Z. This is an opinion of very

qualified person. Bell himself is a famous mathematician. And it is true. This is what is going to apply

with logic because if you want to find out anything truly fundamental you have to modify, not the

super-structure, but the basics. So anything common you do not want you want to modify the very

fundamental assumptions of reality as a whole. Then you can find something really worthwhile.

Alexnder Pope was an English poet and his claim was that whatever is, is right. So he defines reality

as true or truth as that which is real. We can view this quote on a few different levels. We can treat

either truth or reality as previously defined or basic and then take Popes statement as a definition of

the other concept, i.e. a definition of a synonym for the previously known word, or we can view both

concepts as previously known and Popes statement as a claim for a theorem. Everything depends upon

the basis of the system.

Atistotle and his followers used what were in the last lecture called conceptual truths, which are

sometimes called a priori truths. What they are meant to be is that they are supposed to be self-evident.

In another words they are not in need of any logical proof. Logical proof in the mathematical sense is

only possible if you make certain assumptions. Any theorem that you may prove is true in relation to

the assumption and you must not question the assumptions, of course. But this is not what is meant by

self-evident. They mean self-evident in the sense that they are clear regardless of anything that you

might throw at them. There are true without any experience. Even if you are alive without sensory

input: no eyes, no ears and so on, you should be able to regard these statement as true. So we do not

look at reality or hear something and then make deductions from this and come to the conclusions that

such and such statements about reality is true. Conceptual or a priori truths are true totally independent

of any experience that we might have.

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A conceptual truth is not derivable from premises, it is a premise which is regarded to be true in and of

itself. If it were derivable from premises it would be proven in terms of them, i.e. it would be a

theorem. So it is not deductive. It is not inductive either. Induction is when I make a few experiences

and generalize those to all possible experiences of a certain type that I might possibly have. That is

induction but it is still based on some experience. I have to have made a certain few experiences before

I can induct to the general one. The conceptual truth is completely self-evident. Out of innate ideas this

statement is regarded to be true. Aristotle and his tradition have had a very profound influence on

mathematics as a whole. From the time Aristotle wrote it until approximately 1930 when a few

Hungarians came up with some more logics, Aristotles logic was regarded, even by mathematicians to

be the only single logic possible. This is a pretty major statement now that we know that there are

many logics, in fact an infinite number of logics.

For a long time and during the lifetime of most of the famous mathematicians you hear about, this was

not at all regarded to be such. They really thought that the logic of Aristotle was the single logic and

it was self-evidently true. With the advent of questioning logic, which came together with questioning

geometry, several schools of thought formed within mathematics. The mathematicians began to really

think about what truth actually is. For millenium we thought that the Aristotle was the answer. Now we

know that he is one answer among many. Somehow we must choose intelligently between them in

some fashion. We cannot choose logically because of course that is the very thing that we are trying to

choose.

There are two main schools of thought in mathematics which differ very extremely. The intuitionist

mathematicians are different from the philosophers who call themselves intuitionists. The intuitional

mathematicians are basically Platonists. They believe that a mathematical idea actually exists in a super

reality of ideas and exists in a pure state independently of us who are thinking about it and the way we

formulate it. The way we think about it is a poor mans version of the real idea that lives in the ideal

space. To sum it up, an intuitional mathematician, when he proves a theorem, makes a discovery. He

discovers something, which is true, which has already existed in this realm of ideas for all eternity until

this mathematician simply manages to discover it. In that sense mathematics is a science that discovers

things.

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On the other hand you have the formalist mathematician. This is David Hilberts school which

basically says that the axioms and the rules to transform axioms are nothing more than marks of ink on

paper. They have no meaning whtsoever. They have no relation to reality whatsoever. Questioning

their truth or their meaning is entirely senseless. We simply modify marks of ink into other marks of

ink and if you attach a meaning to this or if you claim any of this is true, you are no longer a

mathematician you have become a natural scientist or philosopher. From this point of view the

mathematician can never discover anything. He can only invent things and the only question of any

relevance is if such an invention is in any way useful. The question is it true? is totally irrelevant to

the formalist from the point of view of mathematics. If you want to apply any of these invented

mathematical concepts to the natural sciences, the question is it true? becomes very relevant. But as

far as mathematics in and of itself is concerned, for the formalist, it is invention entirely and, for the

intuitionist, discovery entirely. To this day, there exist these two schools and several others of medium

flavor and the mathematician has to choose to which school he or she belongs. It is up to you.

Personally I belong to the formalist school. I think that if you demand that things are true about the

reality, you are no longer doing mathematics, you have suddenly jumped to physics or to another

natural science. I do not believe that mathematical ideas exists in an ideal state. So I would say any

discovery I have made is not a discovery at all, it is an invention. I dream it up and it has its own

reality, within the minds of those who read about it. There are many others who are of the intuitional

variety. There can be many fights between these two schools but because they differ in fundamental

assumptions, it is not really fair to compare the two. That statement in itself is a formalists statement of

course because to the intuitionist the fundamental ideas which form the assumptions exists in a pure

state and so should be capable of comparison. This is why you can fight but you must not become

angry because the two are just different starting points for developing mathematics.

In the last lecture, four concepts were mentioned that Aristotle made to describe his metaphysics and a

long explnation was given of each. Form the point of view of mthematics we would have to regard

these four concepts as primitive terms. They essentially incapable of a definition within the system.

A definition can be given but that definition is necessarily outside of the system and so this definition

becomes a mere motivation for introducing that new term. We were given these terms, such as

33

substance and cause, and we understand to some extent what those mean. But this understanding is not

within the system. They are meta or outside the system, hence the term metaphysics.

Through natural things, we obtain physical powers; through abstract, mathematical and heavenly

things, we obtain transcendent powers.

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1510)

Agrippa already claimed that mathematical thinking and mathematical inventions are more important

than natural sciences. You can have some insight into the nature of reality that goes beyond sense

perception. Physics and chemistry and such of course deal only with things that we can perceive with

the senses and abstract mathematical and heavenly things can go beyond that and that is why they are,

in some sense, better. We shall meet the alchemists again later on, for the moment that is all I want to

say about them.

We know that we must have primitive terms from our previous discussions. Let us me make a

distinction. Primitives can come in three flavours. First of all they may be objects. Those are, if you

will, proper nouns. I can say table or set for example. Those are objects in and of themselves. They

can have a meaning. Of course the meaning is not within the system. But they are to be regarded as

things. Then there can be relations. These are also primitive terms. The relation between, for

example. In geometry, we have the relation between applied to three points. It is not, however, an

object. It requires objects to make sense. The third kind of primitive is an operation, for example,

negation. While a relation connects several objects, an operation changes one object into another one.

The operation of negation changes the statement A into the statement not A. Those are the three

kinds of primitive terms and, in general, we need all three of them to construct an axiomatic theory. In

34

other words, to make meaningful conclusions we have to have objects to talk about, a method to

change an object into another and a method to connect several objects together.

No. Once you have operated once, the result is a changed object. You may operate again but then this

operation is upon the changed object and not the operation. You may think that the usual law of double

negation, i.e. not not A is the same as A is an operation upon an operation but it is not. First you

operate upon A with negation and get the changed object not A then you operate again to obtain not

not A. It just so happens, because of the way not was defined that negating twice brings us back to

the starting point.

The axioms, which are the basic statements that we agree to be true for the system, are formulated only

using these primitives. So you have to somehow make sentences out of the primitives to form the

axioms. As an analogy consider the the English language. Objects are nouns, relations are verbs and

pronouns and operations are adjectives and adverbs. The axioms here are sentences that we agree are to

hold. As we know from grammar, we need nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives and adverbs to make

meaningful sentences.

All the words that appear in the axioms must be either primitives or other words that have been defined

in terms of the primitives. The primitives themselves have no definition. As we discussed in my last

lecture with the dictionary example, every word in the English language has a definition in terms of the

others words in the English language. But you must, at some point, pick a set of words that we simply

agree are known to be able to learn the others. Those few are incapable of a definition within the

system unless you allow circularity. Of course, circularity shall not be allowed because that would

remove any meaning from the system whatsoever. You must have a starting point. So primitives in

Aristotles case, for example substance and cause, are simply words. If we agree that they mean

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something we are outside of a logical system based on these words. If we define them in terms of other

words, some of these other words must be basic terms. The axioms that we formulate in terms of these

basic primitives are not conceptual truths. They are simply statements that we agree to be true; true as

parts of the system, not true absolutely or true of reality. Many mathematicians have regarded such

axioms to be conceptual truths. A long time ago, Euclid formulated his famous geometrical axioms. He

regarded them as conceptual truths and for thousands of years mathematicians followed along until

very recently this was shown to be wrong.

So axioms are regarded to be true, agreed to be true but they are not self-evidently true. In such a way

the axioms are like a rule of a game. Chess and the rules of chess are not true; neither are they false.

You simply agree to uphold them. If you cheat, if you disobey any rules of chess, you suddenly play a

different game. The new game you play is not true or false but it is contradictory to the original rules

laid down for the game called chess. If you disobey the rules of a game, you are playing a different

game; truth does not come into it. This brings us to an important point about fallacies. Many authors,

particularly philosophical authors, spend a great deal of time talking about fallacies obtaining

conclusions that do not follow from the axioms. A fallacy is a claim which does not follow from the

given axioms. It is thus the result of disobeying a rule of the game which the axiomatic theory

embodies. So from the mathematicians point of view a fallacy is simply ignoring or applying

incorrectly one of the rules of the game. That is all I want to say about them but in philosophical

textbooks you will find a lengthy discussions on various types of fallacy.

Axiomatic systems can have several properties. The five most important ones will be discussed here:

Equivalence, Consistency, Independence, Completeness and Categoricalness. The last two are really

the same property and equivalence is not a property of a single axiom system, it is a relation between

two of them.

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The formalist views axioms as sentences in terms of primitive terms and not as conceptual truths and

logic as a method to transform these statements into other statements called theorems. To the formalist,

this transformation process is mathematics.

If we want to talk about the axioms, we are doing metamathematics, i.e. going beyond the system

that is mathematics. You do metamathematics if you talk about primitives and axioms using normal

language. For example, if you write a book about it or explain concepts to others. When you read a

textbook about mathematics, there are lots of explanations about what the technical terms mean and

how the proofs are constructed. All of this is metamathematics. Only the actual symbols, formulae and

the derivations within the proofs are mathematics. All the rest is explanation. Of course the explanation

is crucial for understanding and communication but it is important to differentiate between the

substance and the presentation.

In theory you should not need all these explanations. The explanations are just there to expediate the

learning process of mathematics. It is not essential. That is why it is metamathematics. It gives these

basic terms, the primitives and the axioms some meaning and the axioms some truth. And this is called

a model.

A model is some object for which the primitives have a meaning and the axioms are true. An example

is Euclids geometry. Euclids geometry is an axiomatic system that has primitives such as point and

line, the relation of between and so on. It is a completely abstract system. You can deduce

theorems from the axioms and the difficulty arises from the fact that you have an intuitive

understanding of what these terms mean. That intuitive understanding of what a point and a line

are and what between means suggests some properties to you that may be true. It is from this

understanding that you can then try to prove such insight within the system. This is how mathematics is

actually done. We start with intuitive understanding and proceed to theorems. This object of intuitive

understanding is what we call a model. Space is a model for Euclids geometry. The term point has a

meaning in space, it is a particular location and all the other primitive terms obtain a physical meaning

in the model of space.

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The statement or axiom that three points may lie on a line and if they do then one point lies in between

the other two is a statement that is formulated in terms of the primitive terms. In our model, this

statement becomes true. In the axiomatic system it is a statement which is either an axiom or a theorem.

Neither of these are true, theorems are true in relation to the axioms which are just assumed. But in the

model the axioms and therefore the theorems become true.

The important thing to realize is that the idea of a model is based on the assumption that the physical

world or the universe around us behaves in a consistent way. There are no contradictions in reality.

Space itself, which we understand to be a model of Euclids geometry, does not contain

inconsistencies. We expect space not to contain contradictions either.

The object which makes a model need not be a physical object. If we have an axiomatic theory that

defines concepts such as zero and one we can use the system of natural numbers as a model for this

system. The axiomatic system is abstract, the model gives the basic terms arithmetical meaning. We

have an intuitive understanding of what a number is. We can count using our fingers.

Constructing a model has another few assumption that go into the process and that need not necessarily

be true. It is effectively going outside of mathematics into the realm of natural science. Modelling is no

longer mathematics in a strict sense. It is trying to make sense out of a formal system and there are

complications in this.

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Two systems of axioms are called equivalent if, in the one system, we can define the primitive terms of

the other system and prove its axioms. Take the primitive terms of system 1, construct definitions for

the primitive terms of system 2 in terms of these and then proceed to prove the axioms of system 2 as

theorems in system 1. If that is possible starting from either of the two systems, the are called

equivalent.

It is possible that two axiomatic systems have different numbers of primitive terms and different

numbers of axioms but are still equivalent. Starting from a given axiomatic theory, we can always

increase the primitives and axioms by adding defined concepts or theorems. This is not very

economical of course but the systems before and after this process are equivalent systems.

For practical and aesthetic reasons and interest in applications, it is desirable to have as few as possible

primitive terms and axioms. Clearly, if you have many primitive terms in one system and a few in the

other, equivalent one, you prefer the second one because it is simpler. Particularly in the case of

axioms, you prefer a system that has fewer of them. If you want to construct an application of the

axiomatic system, you need to apply the abstract mathematical theory to reality. You need to make a

model and an interpretation and that means that you need to believe that the axioms of your system are

true in this model. This is where an element of belief becomes necessary in order to make the

application of mathematics to reality. In order to use geometry in real life, you have to construct an

application of the theory by considering space to be a model for the theory. You have to believe that the

axioms of Euclids geometry are true in space and then you can apply it. Because you must generate

this belief, it is desirable to have few axioms because that means you have to believe in fewer things.

Your beliefs could be false. If you only have to believe two things it is better for you because the

chances of you being wrong are lower than if you have to believe in ten things. So this becomes an

issue of practicality.

Q: Can you give an example of how we can show the equivalence of two axiomatic systems?

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Let us say you have a book in English and you translate it to French. In English you have all the three

kinds of primitives or parts of speech and in French they also exist. It is our task to Somehow construct

the translation of the book in English into the book in French such that the French person understands

more or less the same things as the English person understands when he or she reads the book. If this is

done, then we can say the English book is equivalent to the French book via this translation

mechanism. Equivalence is about translation as in the case of languages.

Now there is one very important point here and that is the method by which you deduce theorems from

axioms and this is the one goes sort of beyond the language example. Not only have you got to be able

to translate primitives and prove axioms but the logic by which you proceed from axioms to theorems

must be the same one. This is a new insight since we have learned that there are many logics. We must

agree on a particular logic and must not say that that particular logic is true, we simply agree on it. The

logic itself is one of the axioms of the system!

If for example we have two axiomatic theories, one of which uses Aristotles logic in which a statement

can be only true or false and the other uses fuzzy logic in which a statement can have one of a large

number of truth values (degress of uncertainty or probabilities), then one can not translate one theory

into the other because information would be lost in the process.

The possible equivalence of theories of different numbers of primitives and axioms allows for three

characteristics which make mathematics an important endeavour: generality, simplicity and

applicability.

By generality I mean that it is possible to have one axiomatic system that has many interpretations and

models and therefore many meanings in the real world. Mathematics allows you to study one theory

and through that study understand many theories. Group theory is one axiomatic system of

mathematics based on a few axioms only. If you add axioms in addition to these, you get more

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specialized theories that are applicable in various diverse natural sciences and mathematics. If you

study only group theory, you will, in effect, study all these other systems also.

Simplicity comes in if you have several axiomatic systems all of which are equivalent. Some of them

have fewer axioms and fewer primitive terms than others. The one with the fewest is the simplest. By

methods of translation you can get from a complicated system to simple system. Of course, simpler

systems are easier to understand. Mathematics allows us to find a simple system from a complicated

one and then develop the theory from there.

Applicability arises from the fact that one can have many models for one system of axioms. If you

study the abstract properties of one system of axioms then you suddenly understand all models and

there can be many in many cases. And this is why in fact, mathematics is important. Because it allows

you to study one thing and understand many.

3.5 Consistency

Consistency is the prime property of an axiomatic system. If A is some statement which is a theorem (it

can be proven using the laws of the logic which you assume from the axioms which you also assume),

then it must not be true that the negation of A is also a theorem. Consistency means free of

contradictions. If it were true that both A and the negation of A were theorems, then the system is

called inconsistent.

If you have an inconsistent theory, a theory for which you can prove a statement and you can prove that

statements negation, you can conclude anything. Every possible statement is true if at any one point a

statement and negation of that statement are true within the system. To have a meaningful theory it

cannot be true that everything is true and so our theory cannot have inconsistencies.

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If you want to show that a system is inconsistent, it is very simple. You need to give an example of a

statement which is true and prove that its negation is also true. Then you have shown it is inconsistent.

Showing consistency however is not simple at all because saying that a theory in consistent is a

statement about all possible theorems. Inconsistency can be resolved by a specific single case but

consistency needs to be shown by considering all possible cases. A mathematical deductive proof of

consistency is only possible in a few very simple cases of axiomatic theories. It is generally agreed that

a consistency proof of a complicated axiomatic theory is done via construction of a model. This is not a

mathematical proof any more. It is an intuitionist proof to construct a model and then to make the claim

that nature is consistent. So for example, the consistency of Euclids geometry is proven by saying that

it is an axiomatisation of space itself. Space is a model of that theory, it is nature and nature is not

inconsistent, therefore the axiomatic system of Euclid is consistent. We have to generate some amount

of belief for this to happen and that is beyond mathematics.

3.6 Independence

One axiom is independent of the other axioms if it cannot be proven in terms of them. I make a series

of claims and if one of them can be derived from some of the others, it is a theorem and need not be an

axiom. It is said to depend upon these other statements. Of course, it does not destroy the theory if we

take this theorem as an axiom but we do not need to. It makes the theory more complicated to consider

it an axiom and simpler to consider it as a theorem. If a claim is made that does not depend on the

axioms of the system, it must be added as an axiom itself if we want it to hold. Such a claim is said to

be independent of the others.

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One can show that an axiom A is independent of the others mainly by three methods. First, one can

negate the axiom. That means that we construct a new theory identical to the old except that it does not

contain the axiom A but the negation of A. If we can then show that the theory is consistent, then we

have shown that A is independent of the other axioms because the consistency of the new system

showed that the statement A is not a theorem of the new system and hence not provable in terms of the

other axioms. Secondly, we can just remove it from the system and show that the theorems that we

obtain from the new system are different from the theorems we could prove in the old system. As

different theories emerge, it becomes clear that the axiom A was essential. Thirdly, we can construct a

model in which all of the axioms are true except A and then appeal to intuition, i.e. the intrinsic

consistency of the model.

It is important to show that the axioms are independent of one another because that shows that the

axiom system is particularly simple. Frequently not all axioms are independent in newly designed

systems and independence considerations serve to simplify these systems considerably. This simplicity

is not only aesthetically appealing but also makes the system easier to understand.

3.7 Completeness

Yamamoto Tsunetomo

A system is complete if every statement that makes sense in terms of the primitives is either provable

or disprovable. The truth value of every statement in the system is determinable by logical deduction

from the axioms. There are no uncertain statements possible in the system if it is complete.

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Saying a system is complete is the same as saying that it is impossible to introduce a further

independent axiom into the theory. Suppose we were to add a new axiom to our theory. As every

statement is either provable or disprovable, we can either prove or dispove this axiom making it

dependent upon the other axioms, i.e. making it a theorem. It is for this reason that such a system is

called complete. We can only add independent axioms if we also introduce further primitive terms

thereby enlarging the system.

Completeness is extremely difficult to prove for a particular axiomatic theory. It is only in a few special

cases that one can show completeness. More surprisingly, it is possible to prove that beyond a certain

complexity in the axioms, completeness is not possible. Most of the axiomatic theories in mathematics

are of a such a type, they can not be completed. This is the essence of Gdels theorem which will

concern us later.

Before we dispair at the difficulty, we should ask whether it is actually desirable for a theory to be

complete. If we have a complete axiomatic system we can prove everything. We cannot add anything

meaningful to the system without creating further basic terms for it. An incomplete theory is quite good

because it can form the common ground between lots of other theories that we can build up from it by

adding further axioms. This leads to the very desirable feature of many mathematical theories that by

studying them, we are actually studying many theories at the same time because they are all special

cases of the more general simpler theory at hand.

3.8 Categoricalness

Categoricalness is the same as completeness just a different point of view on the same theme.

Categoricalness involves the concept of an interpretation. Recall that a model is an object in which the

primitives have meaning and the axioms are true. Interpretations go only half way, we only want the

primitives to have meaning. The difference between a model and an interpretation is whether the

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axioms become true, they do in a model and the do not necessarily in an interpretation. Of course, just

like a model, an interpretation is no longer mathematics; it is metamathematics.

Two interpretations are called isomorphic when they act the same way. Consider Euclids geometry

again. It contained the concept of between. The relation of between is entirely meaningless until

you make an interpretation. Now between could mean many things. It could mean between in

space, between in time, or something entirly different such as a number is between two others if it

is smaller than one and larger than the other. You could have any sort of interpretation for what this

word between may mean. Two interpretations act the same way, if two objects which have a meaning

act the same way with respect to the relations and operations which also have some meaning. If you

can construct two interpretations, which do not act the same way, they are not isomorphic.

If all possible interpretations of an axiomatic system act in the same way, then we call the axiomatic

system categorical.

If a system is categorical, then it is complete. This is a simple statement which we can prove to be true

by an argument called proof by contradiction or reductio ad absurdum in Latin. It relies on the axiom

that a statement must have one truth value. We will assume that the theorem is false, derive a

contradiction and therefore are forced to conclude that the theorem is true. This is the essence of a

proof by contradiction. To begin we shall assume that our system is categorical but not complete. So

there exists a statement S which can not be proven or disproven but all interpretations of that statement

act the same way. So let us construct two interpretations. The first interpretation would be constructed

in such a way that it contains the statement S and the second interpretation such that it contains the

negation of S. But these interpretations are isomorphic by assumption. If these two interpretations act

identically, we cannot at the same time conclude that both S and the negation of S are true if we want to

remain consistent. Therefore only one of them can be true but this is a contradiction. Since we have a

contradiction, the initial assumption must have been wrong the assumption that a system could be

categorical but incomplete. Thus we conclude that a categorical system is also complete.

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Hamlet

But if we can imagine such spaces of other sorts [other than empirical observations confirm], it cannot

be maintained that the axioms of geometry are necessary consequences of an priori transcendental

form of intuition, as Kant thought.

Hermann von Helmholtz

Euclids geometry in the plane has the primitive objects: point, line, circle and right angle. In addition

we need some primitive relations and operations: congruent, intersect, lie and extend. We have an

intuitive understanding of what these terms mean but this is outside of the system. Then we get five

axioms:

1.

If you have two points, you can draw a straight-line segment in between them.

2.

If you have a straight line segment then you can extend it infinitely long.

3.

If you have a straight line segment you can draw a circle which has one of the end points of this

line segment as center and the length of this line segment as radius.

4.

All the right angles that you can possibly construct are congruent.

5.

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If you want to believe that this is true then you need to construct a model of the system, for example

your tabletop. Then these statements and terms may make sense.

The fifth axiom has caused much trouble for millenia. Many mathematicians have tried to prove that

the fifth axiom is not independent. Recently it was shown that it is possible to construct a consistent

geometry in which the fifth axiom is false. Parallel here is defined by drawing a third line across both

lines which are to be parallel and measuring the acute angles that this third line makes with the two

others. If and only if these angles are equal, the first two lines are called parallel.

For the mathematician both Euclidean geometry and non-Euclidean geometry are perfectly acceptable

systems. The existence of non-Euclidean geometry merely proves that the axioms of Euclidean

geometry are not conceptual truths as Kant and many before and after him claimed. This was a

revolution in thinking that can not sufficiently be appreciated in these days of free sceptical thought and

it is for this reason that I included the quote by Helmholtz, who was a great physicist during this

revolution, at the start of this section.

What is of interest to practical people is which geometry corresponds to the universe in which we live.

For this we must perform an experiment. A measurement have made in 1916 or so that determined that

Einsteins theory of general relativity applies to the universe in which we live by determining that two

parallel lines do intersect. Euclids theory is wrong in the space which we live.

Hilbert was able to prove that the this system is categorical and therefore complete. You can easily see

that the axioms are independent. Every one of the axioms uses different primitives and can therefore

not possibly be proved from the others. The axioms are consistent by way of the model of planar space.

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3.10 Conclusions

The primitives in the axioms are given to you. No claims of meaning and no claims of truth are made.

We must agree on them; they are given. A logic must be assumed also since there are many logics. If

you wanted to deduce theorems you must state explicitly as an assumption which logic you shall use. It

is therefore also given. Consistency is the absolute prime requirement. If you can deduce both a

theorems and its negation every other possible statement can be derived from that. Everything in your

theory is true and therefore your theories are effectively meaningless. So you must have consistency.

Independence assures simplicity. It simply says that you have not assumed a number of unnecessary

statements. It is desirable but not logically necessary. The Euclidean geometry in the plane satisfies all

of these requirements. It is complete, consistent and all of its axioms are independent.

Lecture 5: Deduction

The ignorance and afflictions of the beginning, abiding place and the immovable wisdom that comes

later become one.

Takuan Soho

Last time we discussed what sort of properties we might desire of a system of axioms. Lets for the

moment assume that we have such axioms and that we have such primitive terms. How do we make

conclusions? What we want to study is the method of deduction.

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Deduction really is a method to proceed from axioms that weve agreed upon to theorems. The

difference between theorems and axioms is that the theorems can be proven in terms of the axioms by

these methods of deduction. Methods of deduction themselves are axioms we agree upon with the

method and then the theorems are true relative to the axioms and the method. So we just need a method

and this method well call logic but the method is pretty arbitrary as well. The method itself has

primitive terms such as true and it has some axioms such as modus ponens. We agree simply that we

shall uphold those things.

Any system of axioms can be slightly changed (different axioms, different primitive terms) and yet the

set of the theorems is the same. One axiomatization and a second axiomatization might be the same

theory. And its true for logic. There exist several distinct axiomatizations for the same logic and

secondly, there are many different logics.

So in this lecture I want to present one logic, a very particular logic, which is slightly different from

any logic that you will find in any textbook. This is my own, private version of logic. I have made

certain slight changes because I shall have to use those later on in the Buddhist part of it. So, Ill

introduce a few primitive terms to this logic.

There will be only one actual primitive object and it is nonsense, symbolised by N. Its called

nonsense, its not actually nonsense. Its a primitive object and we shall simply agree that this is an

object. In everyday colloquial terms, nonsense is a truth value of a sentence. If I say a sentence, in my

theory, it will have three distinct truth values: true, false, and nonsense. But we shall see later on that

true and false dont have to be primitive terms, we can define truth and falsehood as modifications of

nonsense. So in the beginning there is chaos and order shall be deduced from it.

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There is only one operation and it is for all, and its symbolized by ? . It is an operation that we put in

front of a variable and then the statement shall go for all x such that something, then something else

holds true. Basically, for all denotes that whatever follows it is a variable. For example, in

arithmetic you might say for all x, x+1 is something or other.

There are two binary relations that are considered primitive here. The first one is neither-nor, so if

you have two statements and you say neither this, nor that is true, thats a binary relation between

these two things. If we say neither A, nor B, we will symbolise this as A? B. We shall find out that

we can define and and or, and all the other ones in terms of this. And there is a second binary

relation, is, symbolised by ? . Is in this sense is equality between objects and membership between

objects and sets. I am a member of the set of all people is one instance of is. And I am a member

of myself is another meaning of is as being an equality between objects, if I regard myself as an

object. Thats all we need and we shall see later on that we can get very far using just this.

Now, we can define some basic concepts that we all know already in terms of all this. Well define

truth (symbolised by T) to be neither nonsense nor nonsense; N ? N. This is a definition. Neither, nor

is basic, nonsense is also basic. So I just define the symbol T as neither N nor N. In colloquial terms

that makes sense: If I say, two things that are complete nonsense and I negate both of them, then the

result is true. The standard example from the Buddhist philosophy is the flower and the sky, which is

nonsense because the essence of a flower requires that it be on the ground. If I negate this and I say that

the flower is not in the sky, then it is perfectly acceptable. So, if you will, the conjunctive negation of

two nonsensical things is a truth. And I shall define falsehood (F) as to be neither-nor of two truths; T

? T. The two Ts are not statements, they are truth itself. Later on we will get to a state where we can

actually put statements into this and we can say: Neither this statement, nor that statement. But for

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the moment we say: neither truth, nor truth, and its not the statement that is true but its truth itself

as a value. That means we have three truth values now.

Ive tried to make what I mean by nonsense plausible by saying that a statement, which doesnt make

sense, such as a flower in the sky, is a sentence which is nonsense. And if I take two such statements

and I say that this statement of nonsense is not the case, then that shall be true. This is just motivation

outside the system. Within the system, the symbol N is undefined. As far as the system goes T is just

these three symbols: N ? N. T is nothing more than an abbreviation for the symbol string N ? N. But

the motivation comes from not nonsense is true.

We can define the not of a statement as neither that statement, nor itself. That is, we define A by A

? A. This is why Ive chosen neither, nor as a basic term, negation can be defined in terms of it. If I

take the operation of not as primitive, then I have to take another operation, such as and or or as

primitive also because not is unary in the sense that it operates only on one statement. I need to be

able to connect things, I need a binary relation. So, I could take not as primitive, as well, if you like,

but then I need some sort of a relation to connect two objects. If I just assume a binary relation, thats

not good enough, yet. I need to assume a negative binary relation to be able to get negation out of it and

all the other binary relations such as and/or. So a negation is neither a statement, nor itself.

You can define and as neither the negation of this, nor the negation of that, which means that the

combination of the truth must be true, which is and or in symbols we use A ? B for A ? -B. Or is

just the other way around-neither this, nor that but the negation of this, therefore this is the usual

meaning of or. If any one of them is true, then the collection is true. In symbols again A ? B for (A ?

B).

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Then you can define if and then, so a sort of a deductive statement, and that will be defined in

terms of and and negation; A ? B for (A ? B). And then we will define identity, as well, to be

if/then both ways. So if A, then B and at the same time if B, then A, then both A and B imply

each other and therefore we will regard them to be the same thing; A ? B for (A ? B) ? (B ? A). But

thats again just a definition.

This One is capable both of this and that. Choose, and what thou choosest shall be thine.

D. A. Freher

We have defined T and F in terms of N and the relation ? . We still need to declare how the relation ? is

going to act when faced with two truth values. This is going to be our first axiom and we will call it the

axiom of action. As we have three truth values, there are nine different constructs to discuss. From

colloquiual use, it does not matter in which order we say neither, nor and so we will assume that

A? B and B? A are the same no matter what A or B are.

Furthermore we shall demand that F? F is T, this fixes the number of truth values to three. We could

have introduced many more truth values using further construction like we have used for T and F but

we make this declaration in order to fix this number at three. We call this the closure axiom. As we

have fixed three combinations and demanded symmetry, there are three more combinations to fix. We

agree that T? F is F as neither, nor is clearly violated because we have a truth. The combination T? N

is F for the same reason. The remaining combination F? N is N because the first statement satisfies the

construct and so we would have to make our decision based on the second, this however is nonsense

and so the judgement can not be made making the entire combination nonsense.

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Having motivated the action of neither, nor from ordinary use, we can draw up a table of truth values

for two statements and insert our definitions into them. Note that because we have defined and and

all other usual concepts in terms of ? , we can derive all of their actions from the postulated actions of

? . In the following table, the first two columns merely enumerate the possible truth values of two

statements A and B. The third column gives our assumed actions and the other columns can be deduced

from the third column by means of the definitions presented above. The third column is thus an axiom,

the rest of the table is a theorem.

A? B

F (definition)

F (action axiom)

F (action axiom)

F (symmetry)

T (closure axiom)

N (action axiom)

F (symmetry)

N (symmetry)

T (definition)

A? B

A? B

A? B

A? B

Our second axiom is the axiom of well-definedness and that says that every statement has exactly one

truth value. We may not have more. That was effectively assumed when constructing the table because

these statements A and B that I conjuncted together by and, or, identity and so on, were assumed

to have one truth value. This is a classic axiom as we do not want some statement to be both true and

false for instance. In order to obtain a meaningful theory each statement has to have one definite truth

value.

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Then there is one axiom of deduction called modus ponens, this is the old axiom and it will be the

same here. You have two premises, one premise is if A then B, and you have a second premise,

which is A, then you are allowed to deduce that B. So you must begin with two premises. The entire

statement if A, then B is a premise. You also assume A and if you have that, then you may deduce

that B. This rule is absolutely essential. It will form the basis of all mathematical proof. Because this

if, then construction is not itself an implication yet. We understand it in our minds as an implication

but that is only because we think about it in the system of English language. We do not think about it in

terms of the system itself. In terms of the system itself this if-then construction is just a more

complicated neither-nor statement but the neither-nor is a primitive thing. We are not supposed to

understand what that actually is because it is nothing. It is just something that we have marked down on

paper. Just because we think about it in terms of everyday language, this if A, then B becomes

something of meaning. So we have to develop a rule that will allow us to transform these marks of ink

if you remember back the Hilbert statement. These marks of ink and this mark of ink to that one. That

is a rule of transformation. Effectively, it is modus ponens that ascribes a meaning to if-then. It has no

meaning before that. Only through the additional axiom of modus ponens does the statement if-then

obtain a meaning.

We have now declared axioms for the neither, nor relation and have given a few basic definitions.

Assumptions for the action of the operation for all and the relation is have yet to be stated.

Axioms of quantification deal with the operation for all. The for all primitive is a quantifier. It

says that for all things, such and such a thing holds. We have a statement, such as: Chairs in this room

are black. I can close this statement by saying that: For all chairs in this room, the chairs are black.

If I attach this quantifier for all in front of a statement, it is called closed and the entire statement is

known as the closure of the original open statement which was chairs in this room are black.

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First axiom: Every closure of any tautology is a theorem. If we have a tautology that means that

whatever the truth values of the variables in that statement are, the entire statement itself is always true.

So even if the individual bits are false, or nonsense, or true it does not matter, just by the form of the

statement of suitable ands and ors and ifs, in between, make the entire statement always true. That is a

tautology. And if I now attach a for all in front of that tautology, it is a closed statement and we shall

agree that all such closures are theorems.

Second axiom: Quantifiers commute. If I say for all A for all B such a thing holds, it is the same if I

say for all B for all A such a thing holds. That is true for ordinary language as well. If you remember

back in the first lecture, you read the dog walking ordinance. The whole problem there was formulating

a single sentence to mean exactly what they wanted. In other words, to do with your dog whatever you

want outside the park. Inside the park, if you have a dog with you, then you must have it on a leash. But

if you want to formulate that in terms of a short, nice and neat sentence that means precisely that and

nothing else, the order of the words was very important. Just by shifting the order of the words, the

meaning changed. In this case, we explicitly agree that the order of the words for all with each other do

not matter. That is the second axiom.

The third axiom concerns the distribution of these quantifiers; [? a (A ? B)] ? [(? a A) ? (? a B)]. So if

I say for all a and then some complicated system follows, I agree that I can distribute the for all a

into the individual components of any if-then clause. Again, this is just transformations of marks of ink

to others. But the meaning of course is that this for all a applies to the entire statement if A, then B

and then of course in colloquial terms for all a applies to both A and B, which is denoted by that.

Technically, two more axioms are needed but we will not discuss them here.

Of course, you have mathematical statements that say for all but much more interesting are

mathematical statements that say there exists. Let us see what we can do with that. Well, we can

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define there exists in terms of for all. Let us look at this. The symbol ? means there exists. We

define ? by taking ?a A as an abbreviation for [(? a) A]. In words, there exists an a such that A is

an abbreviation for it is not true that for all a, A is false. This makes intuitive sense as meaning

exactly what we usually mean when we claim that something exists.

For all chairs in this room the chairs are green is false for every single one of them. In other words,

the negation is true for all chairs and so there exists a chair in this room such that the chair is green is

false; there exists none. If I say for all chairs in this room the chairs are black is true and its negation

false for all chairs and thus it is true that there exists a chair such that the chair is black in this room.

That is the meaning of there exists.

Now we will define what equal means. Remember, we had the definition of identity before; the

identity of two truth values. That is not the same as equality of two objects. This sign here, the three

lines (?), means logical identity as we had before. Now we will define the two horizontal lines (=),

meaning equality. x = y is going to be our new abbreviation and it means x equals y. It is an

abbreviation for ? z [(z ? x) ? (z ? y)]. This is the first time that we see this symbol of is appear.

Remember that is is a primitive term in this system and logical identity has been defined. In ordinary

language, if it is true for all objects z and the statement z is an x and z is a y are logically identical,

then x and y are equal.

Usually we regard set as an undefined term but we can define the term set in our new scheme. The

string of symbols ? x [(x ? y) ? (x = y)] means y is a set. If we translate this into normal language

we are saying that y is a set if it is not true that for all objects x, the statement that x is a y is logically

identical to the statement x is equal to y. If y is a set, then the elements of y belong to y but are not

equal to it. Thus the original string of symbols is true. If y is not a set and thus an object, then any any

object x is either a y or not. If it is a y then saying that it is and saying that it is equal to that y are

logically identical statements. As this is true for all objects x, the original string of symbols is false.

Thus this definition of set matches what we usually mean by a set.

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Using all this we can define two particular sets: ? is the set of all elements x such that x = x and ? is

the set of all elements such that x ? x. The first set is clearly the set of all objects also known as the

universal set and the second set is the set of no objects, the empty set.

There are several axioms of membership which guide the action of the relation is but we shall not go

into them here.

I just want to illustrate some statements that one can prove from the axioms. These are all tautologies

so if you want to check any of them, all you need to do is investigate the truth value of the construct for

all possible truth values of the individual variables. It will emerge that they are always true, i.e.

tautologies and thus theorems.

A is identical to A; A ? A. Aristotle had us assume this and we can derive that now from the definition

of what we mean by identical and all the truth values.

A or not A; A ? A. So we are saying that either the statement is true or its negation is true. In twovalued logic where we just have T and F as truth values, this is obvious but it is nice to see that we can

retain this here even though we have three truth values.

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It is not true that a statement and its negation are both true; (A ? A). So the negation is necessarily

different from the statement itself.

Now the funny thing happens. Ordinarily, in ordinary two-valued logic, minus minus A is A. And A

reduces to A and A and A or A. These are the same. That is normal. But this statement here is

untypical. In fact, here it is explicitly not the case, that the double negation is the statement itself

because double negation of nonsense is truth.

Normally we would also have that the negation of the negation of a statement ( A) is identical to that

statement. However this is false in our new system as the double negation of nonsense is false and not

nonsense. Furthermore, two important laws of ordinary logic have to be modified slightly. Usually we

have that A ? A ? A and also that A ? A ? A but both are false here but can be rescued if we change

them to A ? A ? A and A ? A ? A.

Two theorems of implication are obvious but very important: If both A and B hold, then A alone holds

((A ? B) ? A) and if A holds then A or B holds (A ? (A ? B)). They are clear but note the importance

of the and in the first statement and the or in the second. The first is basically going from a general

statement to a specific statement. This might be that chair is black and that chair is black and that chair

is black and then we can deduce that any particular one is black. And the reverse if you will is true, if

you know that a particular is true, then that particular or something else is true. So I know that that

chair is black, therefore, that chair is black or that bag is gray.

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Now we come to possibly the most important statement for logic from the point of view of developing

the rest of mathematics; syllogism. Syllogism allows you to prove things in the ordinary fashion.

Philosophy deals a great deal with syllogism and I am sure you will hear much more about it. But this

is what a mathematicians view of syllogism is: [(A ? B) ? (B ? C)] ? (A ? C). It is a tautology and

thus a theorem of logic. Translated into words it means that if A, then B is known and in addition if B,

then C is also known then we know that if A, then C. If this chair is in this room, then it is black and if

this chair is black, then it has been painted; therefore if the chair is in this room, then it has been

painted.

So basically syllogism means, if I have lots of statements that each share the last one of the previous

statement and the first one of the following statement, then I can cancel out all the middle ones. And

this is what gives you mathematical proof. You begin from a premise and start deducing. When you get

to the end, the proof may be very long. It is the syllogism that allows you to then cut the body of the

proof and state the theorem by saying if premise, then conclusion without having to repeat the whole

proof in the middle. This is the absolutely crucial theorem of logic, which allows mathematics to be

constructed in a short space.

To finish any proof, we need modus ponens. We have established, through syllogism, some statement

if A, then B but we want to prove that B is true. Modus ponens will allow us to do so if we can show

that A is true. Syllogism allows you to cut the complications, modus ponens subsequently allows you

to actually draw practical conclusions. So the practise of mathematical proof centers around syllogism

and modus ponens.

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We can define numbers now. 0 is a concept that we shall identify with the empty set. The natural

number P is defined as some set from which we can obtain the number P-1 by removing one element.

So the number 1 is the set of all sets such that when one element is removed, we obtain the number

0, i.e. the empty set. In this way, the number 1 is the set of all sets of a single member. In this way,

we have a definition of all the natural numbers. This is a rigorous definition of natural number and was

the first such definition in the history of mathematics.

Using the concept of natural numbers, we define finite to be all those sets which are natural numbers.

Every member of a natural number is finite, everything else is infinite and therefore we can prove, that

the set of everything is infinite. The universal set of all those things that are equal to themselves is not

itself a natural number, therefore it is infinite according to this definition of finite.

We can define what addition between natural numbers is by adding successive 1s to it. I have

defined here-if I remove an element, I get to the one previous, then I can also add one. This is the

successor idea. If I want to add 4 and 5, I start with 5 and I add 1 successively to it. The number 1 is

defined as all sets, which have one element, so I add numbers, I do not add sets.

You can divide numbers. The ratio x/y is a relation. We define it as a relation between two numbers, z

and w so that zy = xw true. So we define division as a relation between two numbers. This gets you the

rational numbers. All the ratios, all relations between two numbers, we will define as a rational

number.

You cannot take powers of rational numbers and get rational numbers back, square roots for example.

2 is a rational number, as well as being a natural number but the square root of 2 is neither rational

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nor natural, so you are lead to define the concept of real number. You define a real number to be the

set of all rational numbers smaller than some given one.

If you do the same sort of thing for subtraction instead of division and roots, then you get negative

numbers. And now, after you have done negative numbers, you do it again for roots and that gets you

complex numbers. Now we have all the numbers that you want.

We shall define now the limit of a function. We know what a real number is now that we have defined

this. The limit of a function f(x) as the variable x, coming from negative infinity, approaches some

point x = y is a real number. This real number, z say, is defined as the number z such that for every

positive real number z there exists a number y with y < y such that f(x) z < z for any x in the

interval y to y. The number z measures how far off the number z is from the limit and we are saying

that for each accuracy requirement we can always find some interval (y to y) in which the

approximation is good enough. In terms of limits, one can define a derivative and an integral. So we

have shown that we can get at least as far as calculus starting only with logic.

5.7 Conclusions

We had four primitive terms to start with. We have had nonsense, which was a truth value; we have

had for all, which was a unary operation; neither-nor, which was a binary relation and is which is

another binary relation. We know to some extent what those mean in ordinary language.

We have seen that we can define numbers, limits, derivatives and sets. Effectively you can derive and

define the entire body of mathematics on these 4 primitive terms and their axioms. The entirety of

mathematics can be built up on the basis of these four words.

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You can of course add more things to the theory, more axioms, more primitive terms, to specialize that

theory. As I said, you can develop the entire body of mathematics on the basis of these terms. You may

want to be more specialized. You may want physics out of this scheme, in which case you have to add

some primitive terms such as matter, for instance, and introduce some axioms of how these things are

going to behave. Then you can deduce some other theory. But we can see from this that actually

mathematics, being a huge body of knowledge can be enormously simplified to four things, but those

things are primitive to the system. If you now want to say that any statement of mathematics is true,

then you have to make a model of the system. Exactly what a model is we discussed last time. You

have to attach a meaning to these four things and you have to attach a meaning to axioms in the real

world and then see if they work. But as a system, this is self-contained. These words do not have an

intrinsic meaning, the axioms do not have an intrinsic meaning either, and you can derive everything!

This is what is meant by the simplicity of mathematics. It means that you can define everything in

terms of very few primitive things. This is the beauty of logic. You have a few basic principles and you

can derive so many things.

You students of today know too much. Leave your books aside for a moment and start to think for

yourselves.

Martinus Veltmann

Martinus Veltmann is the guy who won the noble prize in physics 3 or 4 years ago and few months

after that I had a long talk with him and one of the main things he said; a piece of advice to everyone

who wants to become a scientist or find out new things is that actually having a lot of knowledge,

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reading a lot of books, knowing what this person has written and that person said is actually quite

negative for development of new ideas. Because you tend to ignore a lot of things if you know too

much. He said it in different words and this is a paraphrase of a conversation we had that you should

aim to read as little as possible before you have not had time to think about it yourself; that way you get

original ideas more easily. This is one opinion. I happen to share this opinion. Your opinion might be

different.

7.1 Review

So let me recap a little bit in what I said in the last three lectures. You should know that four primitive

terms give rise to all of mathematics. In terms of four things that we do not define you can define

everything else. And that is one crucial thing: Four, of course, is few and that is the point of the

exercise. Then we have the 11 axioms that describe how these terms are supposed to act. Nine of them

are very technical. I illustrated them because I wanted to show you what a real logic, a powerful logic

that is actually capable of expressing the entire body of mathematics looks like. You do not need to

know these things. It was for illustration only. That you know that it is possible and I wanted to show

you what the details are so that you believe me and it is not just some hand waving.

The one axiom you do need to know is modus ponens. Remember, if we know that if A then B and we

also know A then we are allowed to deduce B. That was one of the axioms we had and this is very

important because it will form the root of logical deduction. The second principle you should know is

syllogism. Syllogism, as I illustrated last time, is not an axiom. It is a theorem that you can prove in

terms of the axioms. But the axioms were abstract; it was difficult to understand exactly what they do.

Syllogism is very beautiful. It is an extremely simple principle. All you have is if you have A then B

and you also have if B then C then you are allowed to deduce if A then C. It is syllogism that provides

the basis for all of mathematical proof. Those two principles are the crucial ones. The other ones were

illustrations.

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Now one of the main points I tried to emphasize all the time is if you want to use a deductive method, a

logical method to describe reality you have to agree on some basic terms (agree, not define) and you

also have to agree on some axioms of how these primitive terms act (again agree; not claimed to be

true) and so there is a slight quantum leap here. You have to get reality and systematize it by

introducing primitive terms, introducing axioms and those are by agreements only. They have no

intrinsic meaning; they have no intrinsic truth; you inject that. So there is a quantum leap involved in

describing reality by deductive means and it is essentially one of belief.

If you want to say that your system of physics or chemistry is true of reality as such you have to believe

in the axioms of that physics or chemistry. You can verify to some extent that these axioms are true of

reality by performing experiments. But there are two catches with experiments. Firstly, every

experiment has an error. You can never measure anything exactly with a real apparatus. Secondly, you

have to interpret the experimental measurements you get. Again you have to basically believe that the

error you get is negligible and you have to believe that your interpretation of the measurements of the

results of your experiments are what you initially wanted. So even in the exact sciences like quantum

mechanics or general relativity where we can measure things accurate to many decimal places still

involve, on a fundamental level, some element of belief and this belief is no different than the belief in

a personal creator God. The object of the belief is different. It is now the axioms of physics, axioms of

mathematics and the other one is religion but it is of the same nature. You will simply have to agree for

yourself to believe in it and you cannot really communicate that belief to other people. There is an

emotional difference. Of course in the modern age a lot of people have turned atheistic for similar

reasons. They abandoned their original belief in the light of scientific evidence.

Consistency was the prime requirement of a logical theory. Consistency means that you cannot have

contradictions. You cannot have statements that have two truth-values simultaneously. All the other

properties such as completeness are less important than this. If you have inconsistencies then your

theory makes no definite statements; it makes only vague ones and then your theory is not really useful

at all; certainly not for describing reality. And this comes into what was said in the last lecture about

Hegel; you might see inconsistencies, some contradictions in your theory, but eventually, as you

cognize more and more properly, these inconsistencies must be resolved. You merely regard them as

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contradictions because of some limitations: either your experiment is flawed or you have not thought

about it for a long enough. But actually nothing is really contradictory.

Now, this whole innovation that there can be more than one logic; that logic is capable of doing many

things with the exceptions of this initial step, this initial quantum leap of having to believe in axioms,

that was a real revolution. For millennia since Aristotle laid down his logic of three basic rules it was

always claimed that these axioms are self-evident. So people have claimed that these axioms are true of

reality and that they are clearly so. So you do not need evidence for them. They are perfectly obvious to

be true and the realization that they need not be obviously true and therefore you must have belief in

them was a revolution in thinking.

So for many millennia, this was true. This is the deductive method. So we agree on axioms, we agree

on rules of logic. By combining them we can get theorems; statements that are true relative to our

belief in the axioms.

7.2 Induction

Induction is basically the opposite of deduction. It is opposite to, in particular, the rule of substitution.

The rule of substitution was: If you have a general law such as for all chairs in the room those chairs

are black, we can substitute in for the variable (for all chairs), any particular one and still obtain a true

statement. So we can proceed from a general law to a particular specific case and that is called the law

of substitution.

Induction is exactly the opposite. We perceive a few specific cases: This chair is black and that chair

is black. Then we induce, we make the leap of saying that this property is true for all chairs. This is in

essence one of the basic principles of an experimental science. You can never observe everything and

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you can never observe anything for all time. You can only observe particular thing for a particular

period of time. You can do it a few times with different objects but then you eventually have to say that

you will make the general statement that for all objects a certain property is true. And this is called

induction. So we obtain a general law from a few particular cases.

Of course this is not logical. Logical would be if you have a general law, you get to a particular case.

You already know that for all objects this rule holds. So then saying for such particular objects the

rule holds is logical; however saying that for these three objects the rule holds therefore it holds for

all is not logical anymore. This is a separate system. It is inductive and it does not follow from logic at

all.

This is essentially a problem of negation. Consider a statement such as for all such things some

property is true. If I want to show that this statement is false, all I need to do is demonstrate a single

object which does not have this property. It could be that for some the statement holds but since there

exists at least one object for which that property is not true the statement for all is false. Now I want to

prove that the statement is actually true. Then I have to consider all objects. It is no longer enough to

supply a few for which the property is true, I have to look at all of them. Now if I make the claim that

for all chairs in the room that are black that is fine because there are finite number of them. I can walk

through the rows and look at every single chair. If I say for all chairs on earth, they are black, that is

still ok. There are many of them. It would be impractical to look at every one of them. But I could do it

because there are a finite number of them. You could actually conceive of traveling through the world.

But there are many statements that we can make that are infinite in nature such as every number is

prime. That is clearly a false statement. You can specify a number such as 4, which is not prime since

it is divisible by 2. Another example is every even natural number is the sum of two prime numbers.

This is known as Goldbachs conjecture and was first proposed by Goldbach to Euler in a letter in

1742. To this day it is unknown whether this statement is true and it is thought that this might be an

example of an true but unprovable statement (recall the necessary incompleteness of mathematics).

Nevertheless, it has been checked up to very large numbers and found to be true for all checked

numbers. It is however obviously impossible to check all numbers as there are an infinite number of

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them, so finding a proof for this claim is a substantially different task than proving it wrong because it

makes a claim about an infinite number of things.

There is in mathematics a concept, which is called proof by induction. This is a misnomer because

proof by induction is not at all inductive. It is deductive. Proof by induction proceeds as follows: (1)

You want to prove some statement about a collection of things (such as Goldbachs conjecture for all

even natural numbers) and these things can be ordered in a very definite way (there is a smallest even

natural number and the relation of smaller than can distinguish all the objects under consideration).

(2) First, you illustrate that the statement is true for the simplest case (the number 2 in Goldbachs

case). (3) Then we assume that the statement is true for some arbitrary case and proceed to show that it

must then be true for the next one. This third and last step is the most important one because proves the

claim. We have illustrated the claim for the simplest case, thus by part three, we can get the next case

and so on. In a deductive way, we have been able to prove the claim about a potentially infinite

collection of objects. Crucial for this procedure was the requirement that an ordering of all the cases

was possible and that there was a simplest case. I just present this to make clear that proof by induction,

which is a popular technique in mathematics, is not inductive but deductive as proof by induction does

not look at a few particular cases and makes the claim that it is true for all. By introducing a hierarchy,

it is actually possible to look at all cases. This method essentially looks at all the cases. It is only in an

experimental science where we can only look at a finite number of things because of practical

limitations that we really use the inductive law.

An algorithm is some mechanical method for a task you might want to do. In other words, you can

build the machine to do that task; in most cases a computer. It is a definite step-by-step procedure and it

does not involve thinking. First you do this, then you do this, then follow these other steps and then

there is some condition about when we can stop. That is an algorithm.

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Do we think in terms of algorithms? Deduction is algorithmic. You have a specific point of beginning,

the primitive terms and the axioms, and there are rules for proceeding from the axioms to theorems.

Those are the laws of logic. There is no statement made about reality, there are no statement made

about particular cases and so on. This is all you have: the axioms and the laws of the logic and

therefore there is an algorithm to proceed from this to theorems.

method that says if you observe a particular case you are now allowed to conclude some general

statement. You cannot teach a machine to induce anything because induction basically is the creation of

new concepts. You observe a few particular cases; you then have to think about what the common

element between these cases is. If we look at these four different chairs, they are different. One is

located to my left; one is located to my right. So there are differences between them. There are also

similarities. They have the same shape. They have the same color. But I have to use my brain to

observe what the differences are and what the similarities are. And then I can state some universal law

that all such objects have. In the very definition of all such object such as chairs, I have already used a

kind of inductive law. I have to have a some idea of what it is to be a chair. This is a chair, but that is

also a chair and it looks very different. Here you can move the seat, here you cannot. This has armrests

and that does not. So there are very crucial differences between these two types of chair yet it still

makes perfect sense for me to call both of them chair and all of you understand what I mean by the

concept chair. This is effectively inductive. It is extremely difficult in the experience of many computer

scientists to teach a machine to look at a picture of something and say what it is. It is extremely

difficult for a machine to distinguish between some object and a chair and it will, in many cases, get it

wrong. The concept of a chair is very flexible for the human mind and yet in most cases, a human will

have no problem distinguishing chairs from non-chairs. If however, you are asked to define precisely

what a chair is in such a way that a machine can tell if a given picture contains a chair or not, the task is

extremely difficult.

It is my opinion that the fact that the human brain, at least at the moment, is more effective than any

computer is that the human brain is capable of thinking inductively and that the computer is

intrinsically, fundamentally incapable of induction. The artificial intelligence community has tried for a

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long time to build a machine that can think and it has failed miserably so far. Admitedly they have not

had as much time as humans have had to evolve but the artificial intelligence effort, I believe, will meet

some fundamental obstacles. Humans also think deductively in addition to inductively of course

7.4 Recursion

A set of objects is called recursively enumerable if you can list all the elements. Complicated words for

simple concepts such as a set of all chairs is of course recursively enumerable because you can

actually obtain each particular chair and put them in a row. This does not mean that every recursively

enumerable set is finite because the listing proceedure does not necessarily have to terminate, it just has

to exist. This particular illustration was a finite set but the set of all natural numbers for instance is also

recursively innumerable. 0 is a natural number so is 1 and 2 and so on. So it is recursively innumerable.

We can list all the elements. The essential requirement here is that the listing does not need to finish.

There simply needs to be a procedure that if you were willing to wait enough it would eventually get

there.

We call a set recursive if we can test for membership. So given a particular chair, can you test if it is a

chair? Yes of course we can and so the set of all chairs is recursive. We can test if a particular thing is a

chair. So the set of chairs is both recursive and recursively innumerable. We can list all of them and

given a particular one we can test if it belongs to it. Now if we have a membership test, we have a

method to list all objects. So if a set is recursive, it is recursively innumerable. All you need to do for

this is to list everything (all objects possible) and for each thing test if it is a member of that set or not

but this listing procedure is perfectly definite. It never finishes of course. But that does not matter. We

have a definite method.

The important thing is that this does not hold in reverse. The existence of recursively innumerable sets,

which are not recursive, is a fundamental stumbling block of the deductive method. There exist sets for

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which we can list the elements but we cannot, for a particular case, test if it belongs to the set or not. If

this set is finite, of course you can list everything and having finished the list for a particular object

now you can check if that is in that list or not. So a recursively enumerable set which is not recursive, is

therefore necessarily infinite. So the listing procedure is not allowed to finish for such sets and I will

illustrate to you an example of such a set.

The example I will give you is important enough in its own right but there exist many more sets for

which this is true and this is, in effect, the essential difference why induction and deduction are so

different.

The set of all theorems is recursively enumerable. You begin with the axioms the rules of logic. That is

base case. The rules of logic are rules by which you can combine the axioms together to make

theorems. That is a perfectly definite algorithm producing a theorem from the axioms. It is a perfectly

mechanizable method to produce theorems.

However, the set of all theorems is not recursive. If I claim that some statement is a theorem this

statement can only be illustrated to be a theorem if I produce a proof. If proofs were capable of

mechanization, mathematicians would be out of the job. It is extremely difficult, in general, to prove a

theorem and there are many cases of statements, which are thought to be true and have not yet been

proven in spite of many attempts to do so. In other words, the set of non-theorems is not recursively

enumerable. There exist no definite step-by-step method to obtain false statements. Because we have

begun from assuming a number of axioms to be true in the system, we have loads of logic that allows

us to combine them to obtain further statements which are true in the system. We do not have a method

to combine particular cases of false statements to obtain further false statements. Therefore we have an

algorithm to specify all theorems even though there are an infinite number of them. You will eventually

reach your particular theorem but just not in any sort of realistic time scale. You will reach a large

number of really simple theorems first. But the set of non-theorems is not listable.

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One can prove that if both the set and its complement are both listable then both of those sets are

recursive, in other words there exist a membership test. But in this case, the set of theorems is listable

and the set of non-theorems is not listable. Therefore you can conclude that membership is not testable.

In other words, for a particular claim it is not possible, by a mechanizable method, to detect if that

claim is true.

The existence of sets which are recursively enumerable but not recursive (as just illustrated by the set

of all theorems) forms the basis of all mathematical undecidability results. These are theorems stating

that a certain question can not be decided algorithmically and has far ranging practical consequences.

The set of theorems and the set of non-theorems are asymmetrical. One of them has a method to list all

elements and one does not and it is this asymmetry that gives rise to a certain number of statements in

mathematics, which cannot be decided at all. A particular case of all of such a statement is important

for our study of logic.

know what it means.

Henri

Poincar

The quote illustrates what David Hilbert wanted to do prove theorems without understanding what

they meant. He wanted to formalise mathematics totally so that it becomes a process of transforming

marks of ink on paper into others by some definite rules. As we shall see, this wish can not be fullfilled

on very fundamental grounds.

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At the International Mathematical Congress in Paris in 1900, Hilbert gave a talk in which he proposed

twenty-three problems that he considered to be important at that time. This talk was extremely

influential, it is probably the most well-known speech in the history of mathematics. These problems

have been listed all over the place and many many people have tried to solve them and so they have

become famous. A number of them have been solved, but there are still problems on this list, which are

to this day unknown and which have existed before that list was called into existence for a couple of

centuries.

One of them, the second problem, demands: To prove that they [the axioms of mathematics] are not

contradictory, that is, that a definite number of logical steps based upon them can never lead to

contradictory results. It is unknown, for the moment, whether or not the axioms of mathematics are

consistent. Hilbert obviously wanted to know whether this is true or not as he wanted a complete

formalisation of mathematics, so he proposed it as a problem. If they were inconsistent, mathematics

would have to be reformulated. If they were consistent, all would be well. It will, however, turn out that

this question can not be answered by any method presently known or ever to be invented. This

effectively destroys the entire program. In other words, you have this system of axioms for all of

mathematics but there exists no way within that system to prove it is consistent.

Just a little anecdote Since it was in 1900 that 23 extremely influential problems were proposed, in

the year 2000 some people got together and proposed a new list of problems. There only seven of them

now. The Clay Institute of mathematics listed seven problems which you are now supposed to solve for

the new century, of course not forgetting that you havent solved them for the last century yet. The new

list is shorter and it has an additional incentive if you solve any one of these problems, you get a

million dollars! You probably also get a Fields medal, which is the mathematicians equivalent of the

Nobel price, because these problems are very difficult indeed and people have been trying to solve

them for a long time.

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Epimenides

Kurt Gdel, solved the second problem in 1931 and it comes in two stages. The first Gdel theorem

says this: All powerful and consistent axiomatic systems contain unprovable statements. So, you

remember, completeness was defined as all statements can be either proven or disproven. The first

theorem therefore says that if the system is consistent and powerful, then it contains unprovable

statements, i.e. it is incomplete. By powerful I mean the system contains arithmetic. If you have a very

simple system, such as A = A and nothing else, then it is consistent because it is so simple. But if it is

powerful enough, if it contains the natural numbers, then it is necessarily incomplete.

The first Gdel theorem says this: Any axiomatic system, which is powerful enough to define

consistency, can not be used to prove its own consistency. Again, for really simple systems no

questions arise. If you have a system in which you ca define what it means to be consistent (a statement

and its negation cannot be simultaneously true), then you cannot prove, within that system, that it is

consistent.

These two theorems taken together make up the second revolution in logic. The first revolution, if you

remember, was that you have to simply agree on the axioms (that axioms are not self-evident). The

second revolution says that some things are unknowable.

Let us consider an example of how such an unknowable statement is constructed. Consider simply

replacing the alphabet with numbers: A = 1, B = 2, C = 3 and so on. By the time you get to the end, you

can say the open brackets is 27, the closed bracket is 28, and so on. In that way, you can number all of

the typographical symbols that we use to write on paper. Any text, including Shakespeare, can now be

transferred into one big number.

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What we really want is a numbering system that can be inverted. We want to label a huge document by

a single integer in such a way that we can reconstruct the document from that integer. If we simply

wrote down the digits, this would not be possible. For example, if you came across the digits 11, you

would not know whether AA was meant or K. Such ambiguities have to be prevented. Gdel

devised the following method. What you do is to count the letters through by prime numbers: 1, 3, 5, 7,

9, 11 and so on. You raise these primes to the power of the digit associated with that letter. If your

sentence begins with A then the first number is 11. If you then have a B, you use 32. Finally you

multiply all these numbers. Then you get one big, huge number that specifies one of Shakespeares

plays. It is an enormous number. Individual words have the same number, but you obtain the number

for the whole document by multiplying those together as well. And because of the way you construct

this (no need to understand exactly how this is done) it is possible not only to go from a text to the

number but it is also possible to go from the number back to the text. So there exists a one-to-one

correspondence between this enormous number and the original text. And this is important. You can go

back.

This brings us to the point of self-reference. Epimenides, who was from Crete, said: All Cretans are

liars. If he tells the truth, he is not, and if he lies, then he is telling the truth. In other words, this

statement is a paradox. This is a paradox because for two reasons. First, you use the word for all

somewhat indiscriminately and secondly you have self-reference. If I say this sentence is false, then

the self-reference becomes immediate. The sentence immediately refers to itself. The self-reference in

the Epimenides paradox is one step removed because he says all Cretans are liars but he himself is one

of them. So there is a reference to himself and there is a reference to some sort of universality, the for

all. Indiscriminant use of such words usually ends up in paradox. And this is why we want to study a

little bit self-reference now.

We have discovered that we can translate statements of mathematics into numbers. But mathematics

includes the study of numbers and a much more. We will not worry about the much more but it

includes numbers and that is important. In other words, you have transformed statements of

mathematics into particular objects with which mathematics deals. You can use mathematics to then

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operate on itself or to talk about itself. So we can get some self-reference. This is the particular case of

self-reference that we want to look at.

The sentence with number X is not provable within the system. The number of this statement can be

constructed by the above method and it is this number which we call X. So this sentence essentially

says: I can not be proven within the system. All that has gone before is to illustrate how exactly a

mathematical statement can say I meaningfully. Effectively this is the mathematical analogue of the

Epimenides paradox.

Now you ask: Is this sentence with the number X provable or not? If it is provable, then the sentence

with number X is not provable. Therefore you have a contradiction. A consistent theory does not allow

contradictions, so the conclusion must be that your theory is in fact inconsistent. You can resolve a

paradox by saying that you can allow things to be both true and false at the same time. So the system is

inconsistent. Because we want a consistent system, we cannot allow the conclusion that this statement

is provable. Therefore it is not provable.

If it is not provable, it is true because that is exactly what it says. So it is not provable but it is true and

therefore the system is incomplete. This proves the first Gdel theorem: A powerful consistent system

is incomplete. The fundamental conclusion is that truth and provability are different things. There exist

things that are true but not provable. However, all things that are provable are true in relation to the

axioms.

We have a claim: If the system is consistent, then it is incomplete. We have proven that. If, by some

hook and crook, we were also able to prove that the system is consistent, then by modus ponens, we

can conclude that the system is actually incomplete. The first statement is just an implication if-then.

We do not know if this, therefore we also do not know then that. But we do know that the

implication as such holds. If we also found out that the antecedent is actually true, then the conclusion

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of the implication must also be true. Let us imagine that we have a system which is definitely known to

be consistent, therefore it is also definitely known to be incomplete. What can we do with this? Let us

consider the same sentence: The sentence with number X is not provable. This is not provable, of

course, because the system is consistent. But not provable makes it true.

The trick comes in this: If we do not know that the system is consistent, the deduction that the

statement is actually true can only be made outside the system. It is true but we cannot get to the

conclusion that it is true by using that system of deduction. The human brain is capable of making this

conclusion but by using symbols on paper it is not possible to deduce it. It must be so as this is exactly

what the sentence claims it is not provable within this system. However, if the system is actually

consistent, if we have a proof of consistency, then it is true actually in the system and therefore it is

provable in the system. Thus we obtain a contradiction. This shows the second theorem: Consistency

of a system powerful enough to define consistency cannot be established within that system. So I have

illustrated a particular example of a sentence which is not provable in the system but is provable, and

therefore a contradiction, therefore we cannot have consistency established within the system itself.

You cannot make a system complete by adding new axioms to it. If you add a new axiom to it, the

system becomes more powerful. It contains everything that it contained before and it contains new

things. Therefore, there will always be some statements which cannot be proven. We have illustrated

one but if you add axioms to get rid of this particular one you can always get new ones. You can prove

the consistency of a system only by relation to another system. I can prove the consistency of this one

in terms of the consistency of that one but I cannot prove the consistency of any one of these

absolutely. This is exactly the same thing as the fact that I can only prove the truth of theorems in

relation to the assumed and believed truth of the axioms. I can only prove the consistency in this case

of a system, based on the assumed and believed consistency of another system. You can never actually

prove the consistency of a system in itself if it is powerful enough.

The two Goedel theorems are a special case of undecidability. There exists a sentence for which we

cannot decide if it is true or it is false within the system. So this sentence is undecidable. And this is a

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particular case of the fact that not all recursively enumerable are recursive. The set of all theorems is

recursively enumerable as we have seen but there exists a particular statement, the sentence with

Goedel number X, that is not provable within the system. This sentence is undecidable. Therefore,

there does not exist a membership test for the set of all theorems. However, there exists a perfectly

definite way to list theorems; logic. So we have seen by this example that there exist sets which are

listable, but which cannot be tested for membership. This is the fundamental reason why there are

certain things in mathematics that are fundamentally undecidable.

7.7 Conclusions

Let me sum up not only this lecture, but also the previous three. Primitive terms and axioms have a

meaning and they have a truth but all of this is outside of the system. You, as a person, may attach

meaning to terms and truth to axioms but as far as the system is concerned, they are meaningless and

truthless. There are statements which are true (relative to the assumed truth of the axioms) but cannot

be proven within that system. Also the consistency of this system must be proved externally.

These two things I call quantum leaps. Basically both of them are injections of belief into the system. If

you claim that a deductive method is to be applied to reality, you must make two steps of belief. First

of all, you must believe that your primitive terms exist in nature and that the axioms that you make

about them are actually true in nature. Because there are statements which are true but cannot be

proven, you basically must believe in their truth as well.

We arrive at the fundamental conclusion of these four lectures: Because of very fundamental properties

of deductive systems, deduction can never provide a complete description of physical reality. In

themselves, deductive systems are incapable of providing a complete description of reality. Logic

cannot do everything. You must begin by believing something and then you can go on from that but

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you can never be 100% sure of anything at all even in mathematics. Even mathematics is based on

some element of belief applied to reality.

I will spend one lecture on general relativity which is basically concerned with the nature of space and

time. Then I will spend two lectures on quantum mechanics, on two different very distinct versions of

quantum mechanics one very well known and one known by very few. I will show you how this

injection of belief in these systems is very real and that physicists are not as exact as you might think

they are but they actually believe in rather a lot about reality. In fact, they must in order to make

deductions as we have seen in these logical systems.

Our greater productivity is due partly to the fact that scores or hundreds of workers dig like demons

side by side in a single narrow field which, only a century ago, was abandoned to one cogitating,

dyspeptic hermit and the crows.

Eric

Temple

Bell

Today is my first lecture of the second part. In the last four lectures I have tried to tell you something

about how logic is constructed and there were two main messages. You have to have basic terms and

you are unable to prove all true statements. Those are two very basic limitations of the deductive

method and of mathematics as such. In other words, if you go on trying to describe reality then you

have to inject some personal belief into the system. Today and in next two lectures I want show you

what people have done in history to apply this deductive method to reality.

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I will choose two main examples: general relativity by Einstein and quantum mechanics, which is by

lots of people. Both theories were invented in the twentieth century. In the logic parts we discussed

these abstracts concepts and you already found that lot of the ways you think about mathematics has to

be slightly changed. In these three lectures, I hope to more or less totally unravel the way you think

about the world as such unless you already know about these things and then rebuild it slightly so that

you know what scientists at the moment are thinking that the world might actually be like and it is quite

different from what you would think intuitively.

In Aristotles days, there were only very few people interested in making philosophical or natural

scientific statements about the world. Everybody else was busy getting on with their lives. Today and

this has been only very recently so, may be for 200 years or less, there are actually quite many people

who are being paid to think about these things and who live off it and are teaching other people about

it. And this is a very new development and this is one of the many reasons why today our knowledge is

exploding. If you measure the amounts of published things it rises exponentially. So this creates a lot of

new knowledge a lot of which can be neglected. But in the old days there were very few people

interested and so these few people became great people at that time but may be they said a few things,

which were silly.

Now we have many people and so silliness gets lost. One of things that Aristotle claimed in a book that

he wrote which is called the physics is that the heavier objects fall faster than light ones. So if you

take two objects, one is a ball of lead and the other one is a football filled with air, then he says that the

ball of lead will fall faster than the football. Then he claimed that this is true for all objects regardless

of their size or constitution and regardless of where you are. So everywhere in Greece, where he lived

and also up in the mountains this is true. That was his claim. Now the importance about this claim is

that you have to realize that Aristotle and his contemporaries never did any experiments. So they didnt

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actually take several objects of different weights, go up on a high hill, dropped them off and measured

the amount of time it took and then came up with the statement.

The Greek philosophers were very much sedate people. They sat at home and thought about reality. In

fact, the very idea of doing experiments is a very modern one. So we have to take his claim as a little

absurd respecting the fact that he never tried this out. This is very important. We do not know exactly

when Galileo Galilee did his experiment. It is somewhere before 1634 because that is when he actually

published the result. So at some point, in the early 1600s Galileo Galilee actually did the experiment

of dropping several objects of different weights. The legend goes that he went up on the leaning tower

of Pisa and dropped these objects off. There is no historical record of this happening and so we do not

know. We do know how he did his experiment in the end but this does not matter for the moment.

More or less he dropped two objects. They had different weight and he measured it by some relatively

accurate apparatus standard at their time and measured how long it took for them to fall over some

distance and he concluded that all objects fall at the same speed regardless of how heavy they are and

in fact to within experimental error we find this to be true even today.

This should be qualified by the statement in vacuum because if we actually drop things in the air a

feather falls quite slowly and a lead ball drops very fast. So Aristotles claim is correct for certain

particular objects like that but that is only true if you have air resistance. So the fact that the feather

falls slowly is only true because there is air that block its way and if you pump the air out of a room

and drop the feather it will actually fall at the same speed as the lead ball. It is an extremely important

event in history that Galileo did this experiment and it gives him the title of father of science. Among

scientists Galileo is credited with actually starting science as we know it today.

The basic scientific method proceeds as follows: You are supposed to observe something in nature, see

some pattern there, some event happening with some regularity such as: if you drop various types of

objects they all fall at the same speed. Then you form hypotheses that this is true all the time. Then you

test this hypothesis on some more objects that you have not yet seen and you get some more

experimental evidence for it. If your hypothesis is still true, then it is good and you can conclude that

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your theory is pretty good if not actually correct. If you find an object for which your hypothesis is not

true, either you have to reject it or modify it slightly to come up with a better hypothesis that includes a

new evidence. This method is then looped until one reaches the stage where one has a theory that

explains all observed phenomena (this is the goal of physics and is, so far, not reached). This is the

basic scientific method and Galileo was the inventor of it.

Now if you follow through with the scientific method and your hypothesis turns out to be true for all

the cases you can actually check, then your hypothesis becomes more and more likely to be true. This

is the important thing. You can never check the exactness of laws. There are two reasons why this is

true: First of all, if you claim all objects regardless of their weight fall at the same speed in a vacuum

you cannot actually check all objects. It is just a practical limitation. There are too many objects in the

universe. Most of them are very far away; the stars in the galaxy elsewhere. You cannot check them.

This is the first limitation and there is a second limitation as for any particular experiment that you do

because you have to measure something. In this case you have to measure distance and time. You can

only do that with the certain amount of accuracy. You can measure distance with the ruler, time with

the clock. My wristwatch tells the time in seconds but if something falls in a fraction of a second my

wristwatch is no longer capable of telling how long it took. So I need a more accurate watch. But every

watch, every clock in existence and every watch that can possibly be built has a certain smallest time

unit that it can resolve and if something occurs in a fraction of that time unit, it is not possible to

measure it. Every measurement will be a multiple of the smallest unit the measurement device can

resolve. Thus, measurement results are inherently discrete. So because of finite accuracy and inability

to check all the cases a mathematical law or an exact law of nature can never actually be checked. If

you establish such a law first of all you say for all objects and then you have some mathematical

equations. Both of those things for all and the exactness of the equation cannot be checked. It can

only become more and more likely as you become more and more accurate and more and more

encompassing of different types of objects.

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God said, Let Newton be! and all was light.

Alexander Pope (in an epitaph on Newton)

Then after Galileo Galilei there was another very important man: Sir Isaac Newton. Before Newton we

had some isolated experimental evidence for certain things such as Galileos experiment. One knew

that objects fall at a certain speed but one did not know why. We still do not know why but we have a

mathematical equation that tells us how fast it goes and this Newtons achievement. He came up with

three axioms of how objects are going to act in the real world. First of all he said any body moving at a

constant speed will continue doing exactly that unless it is acted upon by a force.

The second statement is an equation telling us how big the change in velocity is going to be depending

on how massive the object is and how compelling the force is. If the symbol F measure the strength of

the force, m the amount of mass in the object and a the acceleration that the object experiences due to

the force, then Newtons second axiom says that F = ma. Mass is taken as an intrinsic property of the

object. You can measure your mass in a certain way. Acceleration is the change of speed. So if I drive

my car 30km an hour and I go up to 50km and hour, in the mean time, I have accelerated. At each

moment in time I have a certain definite speed, but at the next moment in time I have a higher speed. In

between that is meant by the acceleration and that can be measured by how quickly this speed can

increase per unit of time and that is what I mean by acceleration multiply the both together and I get the

amount of force.

The third axiom says that for each action there is equal and opposite reaction. Imagine two ice-skaters.

One of them has a ball that this person throws to the other one. The other one catches it but in catching

there is momentum transferred and thus the person slides back a little bit because of the impact of the

ball. This is the force from the thrower to the catcher. This law says that for each action there is equal

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and opposite reaction. So in this case, equal and opposite reaction means that the thrower also moves

backward propelled by a force equal in strength and opposite in direction to the amount of force used to

throw the ball. This makes sense to us based on our everyday experience and one can test this out easily

at a skating rink.

Newton says that these are going to be our three laws of how things are going to act. They are axioms

in the sense that he simply postulates them to hold in nature and then you can experimentally check

them. All other statements in Newtons theory are going to be mathematically derived from these

axioms. If the axioms hold, the rest of the theory also holds. So it is these that you must check in your

experiments to make sure that your mathematical theory is going to be true about reality.

However there are several axioms that he made without stating them explicitly because he took them

for granted; he imagined them to be a priori or conceptual truths. At the time of Newton, Euclids

geometry were still the only geometry known and everybody assumed that it was a priori given. Of

course, now days, we know that since there are many geometries we do have to assume that. That the

geometry of the world is Euclids geometry is an implicit assumption in Newtons theory. Geometry is

also just a container. By this I mean that any events that happen inside space do not influence that

space. That might sound ridiculous but in half an hour it is not going to be ridiculous anymore because

we will learn that the space we actually live in is not a container things that happen in space actually

do influence the space. But I will get back to that.

He also assumes that there exist particles with a definite position and a definite mass. At the root of all

things lie particles some basic elements of nature that have a certain mass (a well-defined definite

mass that one could potentially measure) and, at each moment in time, a very well-defined exact

mathematical location in space that one can also measure.

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The assumption that our space follows Euclids geometry is negated by General Relativity and the

assumption that particles have a well-defined and measurable mass and location is negated by quantum

mechanics (at least according to some interpretations of quantum mechanics). These two axioms are

extremely important. First of all, because Newton never states them; he takes them as conceptual truths

and secondly because nowadays we take both of them as false.

I take the positivist viewpoint that a physical theory is just a mathematical model and that it is

meaningless to ask whether it corresponds to reality. All Im concerned with is that the theory

should predict the results of measurements.

Stephen W. Hawking

We are led to ask what the concept of mass really is. It is supposed to be an intrinsic property of

objects. We are faced with the basic question: Do we want mathematical laws that simply predict

things or do we want an actual explanation of why reality is going to act in the way it will?

Stephen Hawking (as illustrated by the quote above) does not care to describe reality as it is, he only

wants to make predictions. As long as you have a theory that says certain things will happen as the

results of experiments, he is happy if the results actually turn out to be as predicted. He does not care

what reality, as such, actually is. Some people do care. The quote comes from a debate with Roger

Penrose who takes the opposite point of view. Hawking only predicts things and Penrose wants to

know what nature as such is.

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Certainly one should be able to measure mass in some way. When you stand on a balance in the gym

and see 80 kilos, what you are measuring is not quite the mass. You are measuring your weight. If you

take this same balance and your body without modifications to the Moon, then you will weigh a lot less

but your mass is the same. The gravitational attraction on the Moon is a lot less than on the Earth and

so you weigh a lot less on the moon than on the earth. Your mass, however, remains the same because

nothing happened to your body in the flight to the moon.

According to Newton we have the equation F = ma which is his second law. Further along in the

theory, we obtain the law of universal gravition which will give us the magnitude and direction of the

gravitational force of one body upon another. It is given by the equation F = GmMr-2. G is a constant

called the gravitational constant. It is equal to one definite value throughout the universe and it arises in

this formula mainly through the way we choose to measure the other quantities. The m and M are the

masses of the two objects involved and r is the distance between them.

If we have Earth and Sun, the gravitational attraction by the Sun upon the Earth is given by this

formula, where m is the mass of the Earth, M the mass of the Sun and r the distance between the Earth

and the Sun. Observe that the force depends on inverse square power of the distance between the two

objects. This means that if the distance increases by a factor of two, the force decreases by a factor of 4.

Even though the Sun is very far away from us (r is large), still the force is considerable. It binds the

Earth to the Sun in an orbit. This can only be if the masses are very large, and of course they are, the

Sun is a very heavy object. The Earth is light in comparison but still very heavy.

The mass in the second law is called the inertial mass because it gives rise to the concept of inertia.

Inertia means that an object has a certain resistance to being stopped. If an object is moving, then you

have to exert effort to stop it. This effort increases if the object is moving fast or if it very heavy. Inertia

is a measurement of this effort. If a car is moving at a constant speed along the road, if I want to stop it,

I have to push very hard. If a bicycle was moving on the same road at the same seed, I would have to

push a lot less because the mass of the bicycle is lower than that of the car. So the force I have apply

goes up as the mass goes up. And this mass that raises the inertia is called the inertial mass.

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The masses in the law of universal gravitation are gravitational masses. These masses give rise to the

gravitational attraction. If the Sun were heavier than it is now, the gravitational attraction on Earth

would be higher. If it were lighter, it would be less. This is the gravitational mass of the Sun.

The question becomes: Are the two masses equal? Both Newton and Einstein assumed that they were

equal. This is extremely important because if they are equal then when we want to make predictions

about objects influenced by gravity, we can equate the forces to each other and thus cancel out the m on

both sides of the equation. The immediate result would be that the acceleration experienced by a body

due to gravity does not depend upon its mass. Continuing like this gives rise to many predictions that

would be made complicated if inertial and gravitational masses were different.

Note that because of this consequence and Aristotle saying that heavier objects fall faster than light

ones, he is saying that the two masses are different. According to Newton and Einstein they are equal.

This is however not a matter of opinion as we want to model reality. The idea that this must actually be

testable first came to Galileo who did the experiment and determined that objects of different mass fall

at the same rate. So to the accuracy of his experiment, he agrees with Newton and Einstein.

The fact whether gravitational and inertial mass are equal or not is of such extreme importance because

it is so basic for all physical theories, that to this day experiments are being done to decide this

question. So far, within experimental error, it seems that they are actually equal. Although there have

been people in recent history of science who have claimed that light objects fall faster than heavy ones.

Unfortunately or not, depending on which standpoint you take, these experiments have not been able to

be duplicated. Very possibly, the setup was some how incorrect, the measurements were taken wrongly

we do not know. There is somebody who claims that they are not equal but the majority of

experiments can verify that these two masses are actually equal. This is a very important assumption

underlying most or pretty much all of physics as we know it today.

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Let Einstein be! restored the status quo.

Sir John Collings Squire

Albert Einstein did a lot of things and all of what he did was pretty major. In 1905 he published 3

articles and all three of them were extremely important in the history of physics. They were about

Brownian motion, the photoelectric effect and special relativity.

Brownian motion is the motion of large particles in a medium of small ones. Take a glass of water and

drop one drop of ink in it. You will see that that the drop of ink spreads throughout that glass of water

quite quickly but it does so in a very strange motion. It does not just uniformly expand or go down to

the bottom, it becomes very strange, a lot of little eddies form and it gets very complicated. The fact

that this motion of the ink in your glass of water is very complicated and was begging for an

explanation was observed by a man called Brown. For a long time, it was unknown why this motion

was as complicated as it was. This is a very simple experiment, everyone can do it at home without

much effort. The most beautiful problems (in mathematics as well as physics) are the problems that are

simple to state and very difficult to solve. Brownian motion is very good example of such a problem.

Einstein explained it by assuming that matter is composed of atoms. It is a very crucial assumption that

matter is actually atomic. In other words, he assumed that there are small particles bumping into each

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other. The model here is very much like that of a billiard. On a billiard table you have a surface, which

has a little friction and you have balls on that surface that you can knock into each other. Einstein

assumed that nature works exactly like this. Atoms work like billiard balls. The drop of ink that you put

in the water is composed in a set of billiard balls called atoms. The water is also composed of such

billiard balls. Of course, they are of different mass and different sizes, the ink atoms and the water

atoms, and they bump into each other and by this bumping they cause very complicated motions.

Einstein explained why Brownian motion happens the way it does. Nowadays, we know that there are

atoms, in water there are actually molecules, but effectively Einsteins theory with some modifications

is still valid today. This was a very important theory for the atomic theory, that is, that matter is made

of discrete bits called atoms.

The photoelectric effect takes place when light is shown on a piece of metal. This metal then releases

electrons released as an electric charge. This is very strange, nobody could explain it. Somehow, this

experiment shows that you can convert light into electricity. How can you get electrical current from

just shining a light on something? Nobody could explain why for a long time.

Einstein explained this effect by assuming that light is quantised in addition to matter. He thought that

light was made up of individual little bits that knock into this piece of metal and if you knock hard

enough, you knock an electron out giving a current. Electrons are billiard balls was the first

assumption and Light is also made up of billiard balls was the second assumptin. The consequence is

that the photoelectric effect comes out of the theoryl. Einstein won the Nobel prize for this explanation

in 1921. The theory of the photoelectric effect is so important because it was one of the first pieces of

information pointing towards the quantum theory.

The main concept of special relativity is that all things are relative to the observer. I am an observer: I

look at the world, I listen to silence, I smell the perfumes and so on. I stand here now and I see this

table in front of me is stationery. Now I walk towards it and I see the table is moving. I can draw three

conclusions from this: either I am moving and the table is stationery or I am stationery and the table is

moving or we are both moving. I can only say that I conclude that the last two are false and that I am

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moving and the table is stationery but how am I going to do this? I do this with respect to the reference

frame of the room. The floor and the walls are the points of reference that I choose to define my own

position in this room. As I walk forward, my position in relation to the walls and the floor changes.

Therefore it is I who is moving and not the table. If I had no such reference frame, if the walls and the

floor were not there, then I could not tell if I or the table is moving.

The original simile that Einstein gave for this is a train leaving from a platform. Nowadays, the new

German trains, the ICE trains are so nice and quiet that you cannot tell whether it is your train that is

about to accelerate or not. You sit in the train and there is a train beside you on the next tracks and

suddenly you see they are moving. It takes you a moment and you have to look at the platform to see if

it is your train or the other one that is moving. And this is a perfect example of relativity. You see the

other train and you see there is some relative movement. But because the engine in these new trains are

so smooth, you cannot tell by feeling your seat which train it is and you have to look at the platform,

you have to look at a reference frame which you define to be stationery for your system of the world to

be able to tell is it you or the other train. This is the basic concept of the special theory of relativity.

Every measurement that is made of not only whether something is moving but also how quickly,

speed, measurement of position, is all relative and relative to the observer. So one can not say, the

other train is moving but one can only say the other train is moving with respect to the platform.

The trick comes when there are two different observers who may make different measurements. You

sitting there will measure this table to be stationery. I, who is moving, will measure it to be moving.

And we cannot agree whether the table is moving or whether it is stationery unless we choose a

common reference frame or we come up with some method to translate from my reference frame to

yours. Any measurement must be qualified with a reference frame and is meaningless without it. An

absolute motion is therefore impossible. The lesson that all measurements are inherently relative is the

fundamental point of special relativity and is extremely important in the history of science.

Ten years later, Einstein published the general theory of relativity. General relativity is actually very

similar to special relativity in the sense that all the ideas are the same. It is only the mathematics that is

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different. We shall meet with some new concepts that are derived from this beginning later. First we

want to have a closer look at special relativity.

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour,

and it seems like a minute. THATS relativity.

Albert Einstein

In special relativity we make some assumptions about reality. From these a physics can be built by

logical reasoning. Once we have the axioms we agree to deduce a theory from this by upholding some

principles of deduction. Two such principles are: All measurements are relative to the observer and we

must define all the quantities in the universe by the way they are measured. You cannot just say the

object has a mass. You have to say how you are going to determine how much mass it has. Or you

cannot say this table is stationery unless you somehow come up with a way to verify experimentally

whether or not it is stationery. And this is very crucial because both of these together give rise to such

statements as it is not possible to determine which of the trains is moving unless I define a reference

frame, such as the platform, which will tell me.

There are two axioms of the theory. First of all, the speed of light is the same for all observers. This is

very crucial because we have just said the speed of the table, whether it is stationery or moving, is not

the same for all observers. For you it is stationery and if I walk, it is not stationary to me. Therefore the

speed of the table is not constant for all observers. However, Einstein postulated that the speed of light

is the same for all observers. This is a very crucial assumption and a very revolutionary one. He

basically got this from Maxwells theory of light. Maxwell lived in the 19th century and he developed

the theory of light called Maxwells equations. Einstein asked himself what would happen within the

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system of these Maxwell equations if somebody were to sit on a beam of light or catch up with one.

And he found out that this question could not be answered within that theory. In other words, according

to these Maxwell equations it is impossible to sit on a beam of light. It will always be moving with the

speed of light relative to you. Einstein then assumed this for his theory. In other words, no matter what

I am doing, no matter how fast I am moving and no matter where I am, I cannot move relative to the

speed of light.

The speed of light can be measured experimentally (it is roughly 3 108 m/s). The first axiom says that

all observers will obtain the same measurement result, i.e. the speed of light is a universal constant.

Being a speed, it is expressed in terms of meters travelled per second. We could now measure a time

interval (for any action) and use the speed of light to translate our measurement from a number of

second to a number of meters. In this way, it makes sense to say that drinking tea takes roughly 2 1010

meters. Thus the idea arises that time is space. If the speed of light is constant for everyone, then I can

use that as a measurement stick. I can define that so many meters are so many seconds and in that way I

am basically forced to consider that time as just like space. The speed of light which is so many meters

per second allows me to convert units of space into units of time and in a consistent way for all

observers in the Universe because the speed of light is the same for all observers. Since we can convert

time into space, time in effect is another form of space.

The arrow of time (that time moves in one direction) has to be put into the theory from outside but we

do not assume it here. This is given by the laws of thermodynamics, which says that entropy either

increases or remains constant but we will not go into that now.

The second axiom of special relativity is a mathematical axiom, which states that the laws of physics

have the same form in all reference frames. All different types of reference frames such as this room or

the train have physics defined in them. In all of these frames, we have laws of physics that can be

postulated in theory and observed to hold true by experiment. The laws will be slightly different

because of the difference between the frames. Physical laws are given in terms of equations. These

equations have variables and constants in them. This axiom says that the laws have the same form

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which means that if certain quantities are squared, if others are square rooted, in mathematical

equations that will be true for everyone. The actual constants can be different but the form, the powers

of things, how things are multiplied and divided in these equations, that has to be the same.

From these humble beginnings of two assumptions and two principles of deduction, we get special

relativity. E = mc2 is the most famous equation that comes out of special relativity. It asserts that

energy and mass are two different forms of the same thing. In other words, mass is a measure of the

energy content of an object. Doing a lot of work after this allows you to convert mass into energy and

energy into mass. This is how a nuclear reactor works. You take mass, uranium, you break it up and

you get electricity out of it.

Particle physics is the physics that studies individual elementary particles that nature is made up of.

That is very much based upon these laws of special relativity because those particles tend to move

quickly in the accelerators.

Pierre de Fermat

Ubi materia, ibi geometria.

Johannes Kepler

The quotes given above really reflect the spirit of modern physics and especially that of general

relativity. Fermats statement means that nature acts through a minimum principle. There is some

quantity, which physicists call the action, which nature keeps at a minimum. Constructing such a

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quantity will give us general relativity in a single swoop. This construction is heavily mathematical and

was not chosen by Einstein (but constructed later by Hilbert) and so we will not illustrate it here.

The second quote says whereever there is matter, there is geometry. General relativity will introduce

the crucial idea that the presence of matter may modify the properties of the local space. Space thus

depends on what is in it.

There are many ways to axiomatise general relativity. We shall illustrate the route taken by Einstein.

First, we assume that the geometry of the world is non-Euclidean. This allows the possibility that space

is curved, i.e. lines which are initially parallel may or may not cross at some stage. The second

assumption is that locally special relativity holds. The statement locally is important because special

relativity assumed the speed of light is constant for everyone and one of the predictions that special

relativity makes is that you cannot accelerate faster than the speed of light.

In general relativity you can move faster than the speed of light because the requirement is only local.

You remember from Star Trek there is such a thing as a warp-drive. In fact, this is possible. Recently,

someone came up with a theory of how one would implement a warp-drive. This depends on the

spaceship being able to construct a special kind of curvature of space around itself that would pull the

spaceship forwards. Locally you would not move faster than the speed of light but globally, judged

from stars far away you would move as fast as you like. According to this method, it would actually be

possible to move from the Earth to the Andromeda galaxy in a few days. The theory is perfectly

respectable but building the machine involves many complications. The important point here is that

special relativity is assumed to hold locally.

Machs principle is something absolutely crucial to general relativity. Ernst Mach was a philosopherphysicist who lived in the 20th century. He wrote a book, The Science of Mechanics, in which he

wrote about the physics of mechanics. It was used as a textbook in schools and universities for a long

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time. In this book, he made certain statements about the meaning of mechanics in the real world.

Einstein read this book and abstracted what was called Machs principle. It is very controversial what

Machs principle actually is because in the book there is no section labeled My Principle. There are

many statements in this book and they are all slightly different which could be candidates for this.

While Machs contribution to science is formidable, his principle was extremely influential through the

validity of general relativity and so the discussion of what Mach would have called his principle is

largely a matter of the history of science. The principle that became influential is the one that Einstein

understood to be Machs opinion and used in the theory. It is this: The gravitational field is completely

determined by the mass distribution in the universe alone and all inertia (that is the resistance of being

stopped or changed in motion) arises due to the presence of other masses.

This means that if there is only a single object in the universe, it will have no mass and no inertia

because there are no other masses present to give it a mass or inertia. It also means, that if there were

no objects in the Universe, space itself would not exist. Geometry is completely determined by the

mass distribution. If there is no mass distribution, there is no space. These were the two basic

assumptions that Einstein made in developing his theory that he calls Machs principle. This is clearly

very philosophical. We might say that many properties of objects depend on our being able to

distinguish between them and others (the concept of beauty relys on us being able to distinguish

beautiful things from ugly things). Machs principle, as stated here, asserts that mass and inertia are

two such properties. In relation to gravity, it is these two properties that are crucial for an object.

It is the non-Euclidian geometry that allows gravity to be interpreted as geometry. What does it mean?

In the United Kingdom, people like playing bowling outside in the grass. You have a little ball in front

and you have a series of much bigger balls in your hands that you throw towards the little ball.

Whoever comes closest to the little ball wins. To make this game a little more fun, you play it out in the

grass and the grass, of course, is slightly uneven. So you judge the distance, a nice straight line, you

bowl and you miss entirely! This is true because the grass is not level. Suppose you were not able to

see so well, then you could not perceive this unevenness in the ground. To then explain the motion of

the ball, you need to postulate some force. However, if you look closely, you see that it was just the

curvature of the grass that deviated the ball. In other words, the curvature of the ground influences the

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motion of the ball. It generates a force and this is how gravity can be translated into geometry. If

geometry were curved in some way, then it would give rise to gravitational attraction.

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Let us first look at this picture here. This is a two-dimensional projection of what geometry could look

like. Imagine that this sheet were made of rubber, is fixed at the end points and you put some heavy

mass in the middle. The heavy mass drags the rubber down. If you roll a small mass along the rubber

sheet, it dips down and dips up again. In this way, the curvature of the sheet gives rise to what looks

like gravitational attraction of the heavy mass for the little one.

If the large mass were the the sun and the little one a beam of light originating at a star, you would

perceive the star at a location where it is not. If the sun moves out of the path between you and the star,

you will now perceive the star to be where it is. By comparing these two measurements, as illustrated in

the figure, one can verify that the sun does indeed bend the path of light in space and that thus space is

curved.

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This picture here shows you the local geometry. The apple is clearly curved. But if you look upon a

particular small place of the apple with a magnifying glass, it looks to you as if everything were level.

This is how we imagine space to be. We have experimentally verified that our space is curved on large

distances but on small distances (such as human distances) space is flat. This was taken care of in the

theory by the assumption that locally (in small places) special relativity holds. That is, curvature does

not exist in small places.

Sir Edmund Whittaker

Time is awake when all things sleep. Time stands straight when all things fall. Time shuts in all and

will not be shut. Is, was, and shall be are Times children. O Reasoning, be witness, be stable.

Mahabarata

Absolute space, in its own nature, without relation to anything external, remains always similar and

immovable Absolute, true, and mathematical time, of itself, and from its own nature, flows equably

without relation to anything external

Sir Issac Newton

One of the first questions with respect to space and time is how many dimensions that space-time has.

It is possible to distinguish how many dimensions your space has from within that space. Take a

tetrahedron (pyramid with triangle as base) and consider the distances between all of its points. Now

take a fifth point and look at the distances between the fifth point and the four points of the tetrahedron.

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If knowledge of three distances allows you to work out the fourth one (which you can experimentally

verify), then your space has three dimensions. This is a simple consequence of the mathematics of

geometry. The main point here is that the number of dimensions is a quantity which can be

experimentally measured.

Euclids geometry was taken for granted even in special relativity and up until 1915 it was taken as the

geometry of nature by physicists. Newton even took space to be absolute as illustrated by the quote

above. First of all, Newton makes a distinction between time and space and he says that in the absolute

form they are not influenced by anything. Machs principle, which Einstein assumed, is exactly the

opposite: Without anything external the concepts of time and space do not even make sense. As we

have seen, it is possible to experimentally verify the curvature of space and so Newton is definitely

wrong.

The Universe may be finite but not necessarily bound. This is a slight mathematical distinction. Let us

say you have a football. The football is finite in the sense that it has a certain finite area but it is not

bounded. In other words, you can walk around it in a certain direction and never stop but eventually

return to your starting point. A chess board is also finite. It has a certain area but it is bounded. If you

walk in a straight line, you will eventually hit the edge. Two spaces, which are both finite, are not

necessarily both bounded.

From Einsteins theory one can draw several conclusions. Some universes are finite, some are not, but

the finite ones are not bounded. In other words, it is very likely that the universe in which we live is

finite and unbounded. If you travel in a straight line along the universe, you will eventually return to

where you began. This is what we mean by unbounded and finite. If it was infinite, you would not

return, and if it was bounded, you would hit an edge. But if you return to where you began, it is both

finite and unbounded.

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If you do some experiments and look at galaxies, you see that almost all, with some exceptions, are

moving away from us. They are receeding from us. The universe is expanding. How can you visualize

the universe as expanding and view space itself getting bigger? Imagine a little balloon with marked

points on it. If you blow it up, the relative distances between the points get larger. This is how the

Universe expands. We have our galaxy, we have the Andromeda galaxy and the distance between the

two gets larger because space, like a balloon, gets blown up. This is what gives rise to the Big Bang. If

you extrapolate this motion of expansion backwards in time, eventually, because this happens at a finite

rate and the Universe is finite, you eventually get to a point where the Universe is a point and the event

that started the blowing up is called the Big Bang. Whether or not a Big Bang actually took place is a

bit of a controversial assumption. It does not come out of the theory so nicely. That is till under debate.

The axioms of space time change with the observed status. If you had people that lived on a sphere,

these people could draw triangles on that sphere. If they drew a little triangle, and they added up the

sums of the angle of that triangle, they would get a sum that is slightly bigger that 180 degrees. If they

drew a bigger triangle and added up the angles, they would get a significantly bigger number. In other

words, the sum of the angles of triangles of different size on the sphere are different. This gives rise to

the fact that the concept congruent does not exist on the sphere. Congruent mathematically means

two objects of different sizes having the same shape. That is, a small triangle and a big triangle have

the same sum of angles. This is not true on the sphere but congruent is one of the basic primitive

terms of Euclids geometry. Spherical geometry, that is, the geometry of people who live on the

sphere, would necessarily be different. The assumptions that we make about the universe by this

example are necessarily influenced by the way we observe it. If we observed it differently, then we

would also make different conclusions about the universe.

10.8 Conclusions

We have to consider how things are measured. This gives rise to a number of things, such as

simultaneity is not possible to verify, such as absolute motion is not possible to verify and that one can

only verify motion relative to oneself.

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Gravitational and inertial masses are equal. First of all, it is very important to know whether they are

equal or not because then these physical laws may hold or may not. It was assumed by everyone so far

that they are equal. This is a very important assumption so far and it has been checked many times.

And the first check was the first experiment in history.

Special relativity assumes that the speed of light is constant. General relativity takes special relativity

as true locally but not globally. It takes a non-Euclidean geometry as basic for the universe as a whole

and this has been experimentally verified. This can give rise to a universe which is finite but

unbounded. Machs principle is crucial for general relativity and it states that the geometry is

influenced by the presence of masses and that inertia is influenced by the presence of other masses.

General relativity is a very important theory in big things. Things approximately of planetary scale or

bigger. So locally for us as we live here on Earth it is not important. The corrections of general

relativity to Newtons laws are so small on Earth that we do not need to take account of them for

everyday events. However, when we proceed to consider things in the whole solar system or outside in

the galaxy, then the corrections become large enough that we do need to consider this. Wherever

gravity is not small compared to the other forces we cannot ignore general relativity. The

electromagnetic force, for example, is very strong on the Earth compared to gravity. This table is 99%

empty space, there is only a little bit of mass there but the fact that the table is actually solid is due to

the electromagnetic interactions of the atoms that make it up. I have to exert a lot of effort to break the

surface of the table, i.e. to break the electromagnetic field between the atoms making up the table. But

gravity is quite weak. It is perfectly possible to jump very easily. So on Earth the force of gravity is

very small compared to other forces, such as the electromagnetic force, and therefore we can ignore

general relativity. In outer space, the other forces become negligible to gravity and it is gravity that

holds together a galaxy.

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Last time we discussed general relativity, which is the physics of the large. Now we are going to go

into the physics of the small quantum mechanics.

We cannot be sure that the supposed continuity of our personal experiences is not of the same nature

as the pseudo-continuity of the cinema.

Sir Edmund Whittaker

In the section on general relativity we discussed that if we assume that the speed of light is the same for

everyone, then one can use this to translate space into time and backwards. Effectively, time becomes

just another dimension. We do not live in three space and one time dimensions but we live in four

dimensions. The fact that we measure one in meters and the other in seconds is basically a human

contrivance or simply put, a convention. We can just as well measure time in meters.

A very fundamental underlying assumption for general relativity, quantum mechanics and for most of

physics is that space is continuous. In other words, if you take two specific points of space that are a

finite distance apart, say 1 m, there are an infinite number of points in between them. That is effectively

what continuity says. Discreteness is exactly the opposite. There are only a finite number of points.

To visualize discreteness, imagine a chess board. A chess board has 8 squares one way and 8 squares

the other way, so you get 64 squares in total. When you move the pieces on the chess board you are

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allowed to move them in multiples of a single square. You cannot move your queen half a square

forward. You have to move it a full square or multiples of a full square. Moving it half a square is not

allowed, it is against the rules of the game. On the chess board, adjacency makes sense. You can say

that a particular square has other squares beside it and there are yet other squares that are not beside it.

In continuous space you cannot make that statement. The reason is that between the reference point and

any point that is a potential candidate for the neighbor lie an infinite number of other points. So no

point has a particular other point as a neighbor. The expression next to or adjacent makes sense

only if your domain is discrete.

It happens to be my own opinion that the universe as it is cannot be continuous. I do not think that there

is anything continuous including space-time.

This implies a maximal speed. You can only move one space unit in one time unit. You cannot move

more than this because that means that you would have to somehow skip. Of course, you can move

slower than that because you can stay stationary at a particular point for some time units and then

move. How is this evolution going to take place? Everything takes place in jumps.

At the cinema, there are a certain number of frames per second. Each frame is an actual still picture but

if you are shown these pictures quickly enough, then you have the illusion that things move

continuously. It is perfectly possible that the reality in which we live is discrete but the intervals are

small enough that what we observe is continuous because we cannot resolve the jumps. As in the

cinema 24 frames per second are enough for the human eye not to be able to perceive the jumps

between the pictures.

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If you imagine the queen on the chess board moving across, to get from one corner of the board to the

other corner, she has to move across a certain number of squares. She cannot just jump. She has to

visit every square in between. If the visiting is to be an event, she must be at that square at a certain

time. If everything is discrete, including space and time, there has to be one specific moment at which

she is at each of the squares. That gives rise to her not being able to move quicker than visiting each

square in succession in a succession of moments.

This solves all of the paradoxes of motion that Xeno came up with. You are probably familiar with the

Achilles and the tortoise experiment. Achilles, fastest runner of antiquity, runs a race with a tortoise

who is obviously slow. They run over a certain course, let us say 100 meters. Achilles wants to be

reasonably fair so he lets the tortoise go halfway before he begins. Then Xeno says the tortoise will win

because when Achilles gets to the point where the tortoise was when he started, the tortoise will

obviously have moved further on. The tortoise still leads. By the time that Achilles gets to the point

where the tortoise was when Achilles reached the halfway point, the tortoise has again moved slightly

further. One repeats the argument again and again and it becomes clear that the tortoise must win as

Achilles is unable to overtake her. A lot of philosophers get into trouble with this and one can very

easily resolve it. The standard way of doing this is to use the concepts of limits and other complicated

mathematics. It is however much more elegant and simple to postulate space-time as discrete. As all

motion occurs in jumps over discrete intervals, Achilles will win as this argument can not be continued

ad infinitum by construction of the space. The paradox does not even have to be refuted, it makes no

sense and thus is, by definition, not a paradox. A similar story could be told about a great number of

other paradoxes and this shows the powerful beauty of the assumption of discreteness of space-time.

The idea of atoms, that is, matter being discrete, is very old. In the Greek days there was Democritus;

he first wrote it down but the idea was much older. Atom is a Greek word meaning indivisible. He

reckoned that matter is made up of discrete units that have a size, a mass and cannot be divided. In

other words, there are some fundamental particles of which everything is made. In the 19th century

people got very serious about this idea and adopted the word atom and constructed elaborate theories

of atomic matter. Einsteins explanation (in the 20th century) of Brownian motion was a big step to the

atomic theory being verified in nature. What we now call an atom is divisible into several pieces and

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we know to some extent what those pieces are. However we still believe that these pieces are

indivisible in their own right. So the idea continues but just moved on.

Continuity of space-time is impossible to verify. You do an experiment and you can look at nature.

You see something is happening. If you assume the world is continuous, you cannot verify this because

your experiment necessarily looks at a finite chunk of time or space. You see events happening over

that time, and if you assume that the discreteness in space and time is just a little finer than your

experiment can resolve, you can always explain things in terms of a discrete space-time. If your space

is discrete, you can eventually verify it. If your experiments get fine enough that you can resolve this

minimal smallest distance or time, you can do it. If space-time is continuous, you can never verify that.

This is the same sort of argument that we said, you can verify a mathematical theorem for particular

instances of it just by looking at those instances. But if you want to prove the theorem for all such

things, a very different procedure becomes necessary. In mathematics we can do that. Doing an

experiment on nature is a very different game than theorizing.

I want to make a side remark for the mathematicians here. It is a technical matter so do not be afraid if

you do not immediately get this. We want to ask the question: How many points are there in space?

Consider a line, a plane and a sphere. These structures have different number of dimensions: A line has

one dimension, a plane has two and a sphere three dimensions. If space-time is continuous, this

immediately means that each of these objects has an infinite number of points in it. Can we compare

infinities? Yes, we can. We define two sets as having the same number of elements if we can pair off

the elements in one set with the elements in the other set in a one-to-one manner. Consider this

construction: For any point on the sphere, write down its three coordinates (the sphere being three

dimensional, any point requires three numbers to specify it). Then construct a new number by taking

the first digit of first coordinate, appending the first digit of the second coordinate and then the first

digit of the third coordinate. Proceeding in this way through all the digits of all the three coordinates,

we have constructed a single number. Given this number, it is clear that the three coordinates can easily

be recovered from it. It can be shown mathematically that the translation to this number and back from

it is unique in the required way. In other words, giving a single number is sufficient to uniquely

determine a three-dimensional point in the sphere. If we precede this constructed number by a zero and

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a decimal point, this number is necessarily positive and between zero and one. Thus the number of

points in the sphere is equal to the number of points in the interval between zero and one on the line.

Clearly this can be done for the plane or for any construction of an arbitrary number of dimensions and

we arrive at a theorem: The number of points in a space of an arbitrary number of dimensions is the

same number of points as those on any finite length line segment.

In questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of an

individual.

Galileo Galilei (1632)

Postulates of impotence is a funny name attached to a series of statements that are impossible. It turns

out that a lot of physics can be derived very nicely if you assume that certain things are not possible.

We are customary to developing an axiomatic system by saying: We are allowed to do this thing. It

turns out that a lot of physics is actually based on exactly the opposite idea. You do not assume that

something is true but rather you assume that something is false. This is a philosophically negative

viewpoint on the beginning of a theory but it turns out to be much more useful in practice.

There are some actions that are fundamentally impossible and those assumptions get you to physical

theories. Saying that something is impossible cannot really be verified very well. That leads you to

problems with actual experimental verification but these axioms are, of course going to be axioms, i.e.

we are going to assume them; we are going to agree that they are true.

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For example, detecting translatory motion of a system within that system. What does this mean? A train

that is moving is moving translationally. It moves across, which is a translation motion - translation as

opposed to rotation. If I am sitting in the train, I am moving along with it. How do I detect whether it is

moving? I look at the ground. But how am I to decide if it is train that is moving or it is the ground? I

cannot. This is the essence of special relativity: That it is impossible to distinguish whether it is the

train or the ground that is moving.

Another example is perpetual motion. You are all familiar with the attempts over the last few hundred

years to develop a machine that will never stop. Make a machine, invest some energy in starting it, and

then after some time it will stop because there is friction. There have been many attempts to build a

machine that will not stop but they have all failed. That it is impossible to build a machine that will

never stop is one of the basic assumptions of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics says

that there is always some net expenditure of energy.

A third example is Heisenbergs uncertainty relation which says that it is impossible to simultaneously

measure both the position and the momentum of particle to an arbitrary amount of accuracy. We will

return to this relation later.

The cosmological principle says that it is impossible to measure where we are in the universe, both in

position and time. This is one of the fundamental pieces of general relativity, which basically says that

there is no distinguished point in the Universe, i.e. there is no center of the Universe. Not only are we

not in the center, but there actually is no center. This leads to the conclusion that it is impossible to

determine your position in the universe. The best one can do is to determine relative positions to other

objects. You can measure motion, position, and time only with respect to the here and now. You

cannot measure them globally. There is no universal clock but there is only a relative clock.

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However, temperature is different. Lord Kelvin (previously William Thompson) introduced a new

temperature scale, which was based on extrapolation. Remember that temperature is a measure of the

average speed of the molecules of the substance that possesses the said temperature. If the temperature

decreases, the average speed decreases. However, there is a slowest average speed zero, i.e. a

completely stationary collection of molecules. This is assigned the temperature of zero degrees Kelvin.

In this way, it is possible to give an absolute measurement of temperature in contradistinction to space

and time.

What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world.

Albert Einstein

Quantum mechanics started historically from a number of experiments that the physicists at the time

were not able to explain. Before I begin I would like to make a comment. People often marvel at the

fact that a number of fundamental constants that determine how strong certain forces are, very finely

tuned. They say that if one of them was slightly different, life, as we know it, could not exist. This is a

statement so simplified that it ceases to be true because one cannot just modify constants

independently. They are all dependent on each other in very intricate ways. If you were to change one

constant, all the other ones would also change and then life might be possible again. Nature does not

have that many independent knobs that one may turn but rather is constructed from a very tiny

foundation.

But let us just look at history. First, there was black body radiation. Black body radiation is, if you have

a little cavity in an oven that melts iron ore, light from that cavity will shine with a certain spectrum.

Planck had exposure to these big ovens that were melting iron. He was basically involved in designing

bigger and better such ovens and he noticed that the radiation that comes out is very uniform and he

could not explain why. If you just look at the light and measure from which wavelengths you get a

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certain energy, then you get a nice curve a very smooth, very simple curve. Several people tried to

explain it and they could not. Planck worked for a long time and developed a new theory where it was

very necessary that he assumed that the frequency of the light is discrete. In other words, the frequency

of light is a multiple of a basic frequency. Knowing that curve you can measure how small that

parameter is so everything works out beautifully. He got a Nobel prize for this in 1918 because he was

able to explain this black body radiation. This was the first indication that something that we can

actually measure in the universe is not continuous.

Later came the photoelectric effect. If you shine light on a piece of metal, you get an electric current.

That has been experimentally verified many times and the explanation is due to Einstein who also got a

Nobel prize for this. He explained it by assuming that light energy is discrete, it comes in little packets.

If you have a little billiard ball light-atom, we call it a photon, and it strikes the electron in the atom of

the metal hard enough, then the electron pops out of the metal. Electrons popping out is what we call

current. So you get electricity.

Both experiments were known many years before they were explained and caused a great stir in the

community. The explanations, when they finally came, required some very new ideas about the world

to be accepted. Namely that certain quantities were not continuous but discrete. This eventually gave

rise to the quantum theory. How are we to understand the discrete nature of light? Before we can

answer this, we need to make the picture yet fuzzier by discussing another famous experiment.

In the double-slit experiment, you have a wall and two holes in it that are very close together. There is a

second wall behind the first one and when you shine light on the first one, you can see some of this

light on the second wall shining through the two holes. The question is what is the pattern of light

portions on the second wall going to look like? You do not see two dots but you see a whole

interference pattern. You see one big dot in the middle and you see two littler dots on the sides and you

see two even smaller dots on either side of that. If light were made of particles we would expect to see

just two dots on the wall corresponding to the holes. If light were made of waves, we would expect to

see exactly what we do see an interference pattern. You can see this if you imagine a water wave

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hitting a pier with two holes in it. The holes will let some water through and waves will form that will

interference behind the holes and build a complex pattern of little waves. This is how light can produce

this interference pattern.

However, how do you measure the pattern? You put a camera at the back, that receives the light and

records an actual photographic image. That means that light came and hit the film and that means that

light acts like a particle. Now you have one experiment in which light acted like a wave moving

through slits and secondly light acted like a particle by hitting the film making a little imprint on it. So

what is it going to be? Is it a wave or is it a particle? The way this was resolved is that people assumed

that it was actually both. You must not regard this as a contradiction. It is not a particle and a wave at

the same time but it is a new thing that sometimes acts like a wave and sometimes acts like a particle.

This is like an actor behaves in movies. An actor can play one part and he can play a second part, but

he is not identical to either of them. He is an independent human being but he can play various roles.

Light has its own nature and sometimes it chooses to act like a wave and sometimes it chooses to act

like a particle.

All of these experiments can be explained by assuming that various quantities are discrete in

particular: energy, mass, momentum and electric charge. Basically most of the physical parameters that

you encounter are discrete. Quantum theory makes everything discrete except space and time, which

creates complications. Both space and time are continuous in quantum theory.

What is quantum theory? We introduce something we call the state of a system. This is a

philosophical object. It is never discussed what that state actually is. That state gets a label, a

mathematical function, which is called a wave function. The wave function is not reality, it is simply a

description of reality. The state is reality but nobody ever tells you what this state is. This wave

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function, which is the description of this state evolves according to a certain equation. It is all very

complicated how these equations act but basically a specific state of affairs in a system is labeled by a

function and this function changes over time. The evolution of that change is governed by an equation

which we know. This is the assumption of quantum theory: A system exists in a certain state. That

state can be labeled by a function and the evolution of this label is given by a certain equation.

Then how do you get data out of this? You get the results of a measurement by applying a certain

operator on that function. An operation would be differentiating it or multiplying it by some factor.

Any mathematical operation which changes the function qualifies. Every measurement is represented

by an operator and these exists a well-defined way to extract the possible outcomes of a measurement

from the operator.

Every measurement that we make is represented by such an operator that will retrieve something from

the function. We can construct operators for various types of things, such as position or momentum and

so on. We can always write down such an operation that we make upon this function. Never mind what

these operations are, but such operators can be constructed. So you have function, you put an operator

upon this function, you get a number back. And this number is the result of an experimental

measurement. A possible result. The trick is that this is usually discrete, of course, and the likelihood

that you will actually get this result is given by the square of the wave function.

So your system is described by a function and depending on how I look at that system, I can have

different results of operations. At the moment the table is stationary and now the table is moving. These

are two different results of an experiment that I can make upon it. The likelihood of me measuring the

table as stationary depends upon the likelihood of me being stationary. And vise versa, the likelihood

that I measure the table as moving depends on the likelihood that I am moving with respect to the

ground. So all of these experimental measurements have a certain probability attached to them. This is

what gives you uncertainty.

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12.5 Uncertainty

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain,

they do not refer to reality.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was one of the first people who worked on this and he did not like it at all. A real

probability is never zero and never one. It may be close but never actually equal to zero or one. You

never have a certain result, you always have a little uncertainty. If you have an exact mathematical law,

then it is no longer reality. You cannot measure position and momentum exactly at the same time. This

is what the uncertainty relation, due to Heisenberg, says. You can measure position exactly but if you

do, then momentum becomes totally uncertain. You can measure momentum exactly but if you do, then

position becomes totally uncertain. You can measure both together at the same time but then both have

a certain amount of uncertainty. In other words, this principle claims that there is uncertainty

fundamentally in the system. This arises because by looking at it you influence the system.

If you think about it there are really only a few ways that you can interact with a system: you can look

at it, you can touch it or you can break it apart. This is what physics traditionally does. It either looks at

something, it touches it by an experiment, or it breaks it. Particle physics does all of this in the same

way. You look at something by shining photons on it, you touch it by interacting with the electronic

cloud of it and you break it apart by hitting it. All of these things are done by photons and so one can

really only interact with anything in a single way exchanging photons.

By doing all of these three operations you influence the system. If you take a final exam and I stand

there and look at you all the time, you will probably perform worse but definitely differently than you

would have if you were left by yourself. Observing the system influences the system. If I have an

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electron sitting there, I can only measure its position by shining a photon on it. On these scales, the

photon is quite a major object and it will disturb the electron slightly so the result that I get from the

measurement is meaningful to some extent but now the electron is in a very different state of affairs

than it was before because it has been hit by something. In a certain sense, you could say that I can only

measure where you are when you are crossing the road if I run you over. Having measured where you

are, you are now in a very different state. And this measurement has, to a certain extent, become

meaningless. There is a certain uncertainty involved. This is very much the essence of quantum

mechanics. You can only measure the position of an electron if you hit it with a photon.

John Archibald Wheeler

We really have to consider the system that we look at and the observer as one system. We cannot say:

Here is the system and we are the physicists outside it who observe the system. The question is, is

this uncertainty that we get fundamental in the system or is it a limitation of the observer? If I measure

the length of the table by using a meter stick and the meter stick has notches every millimeter, my

measurement is going to be uncertain to at least a millimeter because I am not able to measure more

accurately. I could conceive of having a meter stick that has more lines on it and then I can measure

more accurately. Is this uncertainty my fault because I just cannot measure accurately enough, or is it

actually fundamental? This was (and continues to be) a huge discussion in quantum mechanics. There

are many disputes and they mainly center around a cat.

There are at least two big schools of thought on the observation process in quantum mechanics. One is

illustrated by the above quote which essentially says that nothing actually happens until you look at it.

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The focus of this school of quantum mechanics is epistemology, that is, how to obtain knowledge.

Never mind what really is, we simply want to obtain some knowledge. Niels Bohr and Werner

Heisenberg, who the Nobel prize in 1922 and 1932 respectively, constructed one interpretation of

quantum mechanics that is encompassed by this principle. They said the quantum system and the

observer make one whole system. You cannot talk about the state of the system if you do not measure

it. They answered the question about uncertainty by saying that there is an inherent ambiguity. It is not

my fault that I cannot measure exactly, it is in the system. It is even theoretically impossible to measure

accurately. You cannot know what the electron actually is and you cannot know what it does, you can

only know what a large number of electrons will do on a statistical basis because you get probabilities

of measurements.

John von Neumann and Erwin Schrdinger came up with a slightly different viewpoint and here the

system is specified completely by a state. In particular, by this wave function that is going to label the

state. The emphasis here is on completely because, according to them, there is no piece of information

in reality that cannot be extracted from the wave function by some operation. In other words, this wave

function contains all the information of that system. This requires the collapse of the wave function.

This means that while we are not observing the system, it is in an uncertain state and only when we

observe it does it settle into a certain state; namely the one that is observed. This transition is known as

the collapse of the wave function.

Schrdinger illustrated this collapse by an analogy which at once makes the process understandable and

points out its most serious flaw. Imagine a box. This box is completely closed so that you cannot look

inside it. Inside this box you put a cat (alive!) and you also have a vial of nerve gas in it that can kill the

cat if it explodes. This is hooked up to an atomic decay reactor. So whenever an atom decays, the vial

is split, the gas is released and the cat dies. The trick in this whole thing is that it depends on the atomic

decay, which is a quantum mechanical phenomenon, when the cat dies. In other words, you cannot

predict exactly when an atom will decay. You can only predict a statistical time after which it is

extremely likely that an atom will have decayed.

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After some time of the cat being in the box, we ask the question: Is the cat now alive or is it dead?

This is a valid question because you cannot predict exactly when an atom will decay, so you do not

know what the status of the cat is unless you look inside the box. This interpretation says that the

system and the observer make a whole; it makes no sense to talk about the system until I observe it. In

other words, we are now saying that until I open the box the cat is neither alive nor dead but it is both.

It has a certain probability of being dead and a certain probability of being alive but it only becomes

certain if I look. While it is still uncertain, the wave function describes a cat which is both alive and

dead because it has to include the complete information of the system. If I look, then the wave function

has to collapse into one definite state dead or alive. This is what is meant by the collapse. Clearly

this is somewhat strange as we are not used to thinking about cats as being both dead and alive at the

same time. This leads to a very deep problem: Why do large sized objects not behave in this way?

Whatever reality may be, one has to explain how one perceives the world to be Therefore we

have to solve the problem of why we do perceive either a live cat or a dead cat, but never a

superposition.

Sir Roger Penrose

Must think it exceedingly odd

If he finds that the tree

Continues to be

When theres no one about in the quad.

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I am always about in the quad

And thats why the tree

Will continue to be

Since observed by, yours faithfully, God.

While some people want to simply predict events, others want to know what reality really is. If we

belong to this second school of thought, we have to solve the problem of why we perceive either a live

cat or a dead cat but never a superposition. Alternatively, why does the wave function collapse and how

does this collapse happen? Penroses opinion is that this is flawed on some fundamental level. I

perfectly well agree. I do not think that any of this collapse is true. I will explain in the next lecture

what I believe should be true.

Some people have considered the collapse of the wave function to be a proof for the existence of God.

The argument goes like this: Everything should exist in a superposition of states until observed, this is

absurd and so it can not be true. Therefore someone has to observe everything all the time. This can

only be an omniscient and omnipresent being, i.e. God. The argument is humorously eclipsed by the

two anonymous limericks above.

If one says that the wave function refers to a large number of identically prepared cat experiments

then after a certain time t a certain fraction of them will have been found to have died and a certain

fraction will still be alive, but no prediction of time of death of a particular cat can be made.

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David Tovee

If I observe a particle here and now, and observe a similar one a moment later at a place very near the

former place, not only cannot I be sure whether it is the same, but this statement has no absolute

meaning. We must not admit the possibility of continuous observation. Observations are to be

regarded as discrete, disconnected events. That is why I said it is better to regard a particle not as a

permanent entity but as an instantaneous event. Sometimes these events form chains that give the

illusion of permanent beings

Erwin Schrdinger

The molecule has a nasty shock [when observed], and it is not the molecule it was before.

Sir William Bragg

It must be remembered that we are only aware of an atom or any other object in so far as it interacts

with the rest of the universe, and thereby gives rise to phenomena which ultimately reach our senses.

there is no meaning in saying that an atom is at A rather than at B unless it makes some difference to

something that it is at A not B.

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington

Things are deterministic if an outcome of a measurement can be predicted. Things are caused if

knowledge of the present state gives knowledge of the future state. There is a slight difference between

determination and causation. In this interpretation, according to Bohr, neither of them holds. The

uncertainty relation destroys determinism, you cannot measure anything exactly. The measurement

process means you destroy determinism because you involve yourself. The collapse of the wave

function gets rid of causality because there is only a probabilistic measurement to each outcome.

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12.9 Conclusion

Space time may be discrete. We do not know. Many axioms are impotent; one defines certain things by

negation. Certain things are impossible and that gives rise to certain physical laws. Quantum mechanics

came about by quantizing physical properties such as energy. We now have a viewpoint of the physical

world that just about everything except space and time is discrete. Personally I would like to discretize

them too. Quantum mechanics predicts uncertainty, so you have fundamental changes in the system

when you observe it. According to most people in quantum mechanics, this uncertainly is fundamental

in the system. The observer necessarily participates in the measurement. It is however, a matter of

interpretation whether the uncertainty is fundamental or not. In other words, it is a matter of

interpretation whether quantum mechanics is causal and deterministic or not. In the next chapter, we

will see an interpretation which is much more elegant and beautiful than the baffling ones we have seen

thus far.

I want to first of all tell you a bit more about uncertainty. We can only measure things relatively. We

can only measure distance relatively; we can only measure motion relatively. So I can also only

measure energy relative. I can measure how much energy things have only in relation to something

else. If I have a tennis ball in my hand, it has a certain amount of potential energy. If I let it go, it will

accelerate; it will hit the ground and bounce up. The amount of energy that it has just before it hits the

ground is the amount of potential energy it has when I hold it in my hand. In other words, when I hold

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it up it has the potential to gain a certain amount of actual (kinetic) energy when it is let go. And of

course this potential energy is relative to the ground. Its position is 1.80 meters above the ground, if I

let it go it has a certain amount of energy that it will gain. So this energy that I ascribe to is relative to

the position measurement with respect to the ground. In other words, I cannot have absolute energy

measurement.

The same thing is true in the real world, in the quantum mechanical world. Therefore I have to establish

some level that I am going to call energy zero and this energy I am going to measure in relation to. So I

cannot establish absolute energy but only relative energy. In another words, in an absolute term, even

the vacuum has an infinite amount of energy. This is what you get through this uncertainty relation.

You cannot measure, for example, the energy content and the time something takes, infinitely

accurately simultaneously. So you can measure the time something takes very accurately but then you

do not know how much energy was lost in the process or you can measure exactly the energy but no

longer how long it took. So by this scheme you can borrow energy from the vacuum. If there is a

certain amount of uncertainty in the energy and a certain amount of uncertainty in the time, for that

amount of time, for that uncertain period of time I can borrow that uncertain amount of energy. So it is

like a bank. I can withdraw from the bank; I can borrow from the bank the certain amount of money

and the more money I borrow the faster I have to give it back. So the uncertainty in the energy and the

uncertainty in the time multiply out to give a constant. So if I take more of one I can have less of the

other. So if I only want a little bit of energy I can keep it for relatively long time. If I want a lot of

energy then I can only keep it for short time but I can borrow infinite amount.

Now one idea to get this relative thing across is if all lengths in the universe were to double we could

not tell. If everything including ourselves and of course all our sense organs and all the objects around

us would suddenly be exactly twice as big, we could not tell. We need some reference frame that we

can compare things to. So we need at least one object that stays the same or gets smaller so that we can

compare. This is another analogy to see that the vacuum has an infinite energy. This just repeats the

points that we can borrow through this uncertainty. We cannot measure the energy content absolutely.

And so because we can borrow as much as we like the actual energy of the vacuum is infinite. So for

our measurements in everyday life, we can only compare things. So we define, this is one of the basic

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things that one agrees to do in physics is one defines energy in the vacuum to be zero. But such a

definition is necessary because the potential of the vacuum is infinite, to be able to make measurements

you must define something to be zero and of course it is convenient to say that nothing is actually equal

to zero where actually in an absolute term nothing is actually equal to zero.

You can borrow from this uncertainty relation. Potential energy and the kinetic energy are the same. It

is just energy. They are in different forms. But you can borrow from the vacuum as much energy as

you like. So it is just energy; calling that potential energy, kinetic energy is a distinction that we human

make. But it is actually energy.

Q: Could the Earth suddenly appear in another place by the uncertainty relation?

That is right. This is exactly what could happen. It is possible that the earth will suddenly jump to the

andromeda galaxy and come back again. With the certain amount of borrowed energy, it is certainly

possible and quantum mechanically you can compute what the probability of this is. It is very small but

it is finite and this is exactly how atomic decay happens, exactly the same principle. You have protons

and electrons in some potential well. You cannot go up and over the rim of the well. You basically

have to go through and this is exactly what this is. It borrows for a certain small period of time enough

energy to basically appear somewhere else and it has to give it back and then it is in two pieces. This is

how a nuclear reactor that you get your electricity from actually works. By this principle, it could

probably happen that the whole planet will do this. Of course the probability is lower but it is perfectly

possible.

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Well this is a very different story. The speed of light being the maximum speed was in special relativity

but we are in quantum mechanics now.

The energy of the vacuum being defined to be zero is what is known as renormalization in quantum

mechanics. One builds a theory and finds that the vacuum has infinite potential energy. You subtract

this infinity and that means you get some finite quantity or relative measurements and this is what is

called renormalization. It is basically subtracting infinities that you do not like. It gets very technical

but that is basically it. You say I am going to measure the relative, all the infinities go out and then you

can get quantum field theories.

Now the assumption is that reality has fundamental particles. So you have particles that you cannot

subdivide anymore. We know about molecules; molecules are made up of atoms; atoms have electrons

in the shells and they have a nucleus. The nucleus has protons and neutrons. Each of those protons and

neutrons are made up of quarks. The quarks are held together to make up a proton by gluons. The

protons and neutrons are hold together by double Zs and Ws to make up a nucleus and the nucleus

and the electrons are held together by the electromagnetic force by the photons to make up the atom. So

you have all these elementary particles. You have the quarks that basically make up stuff then you have

the particles that mediate forces; they are the gluons, the Ws and Zs and the photons. All these

particles are called fundamental particles because they are thought not to be divisible.

What we can say is that if we have a particle that has a definite mass, then it must have a size. Usually

physicists assume that the fundamental particles are point particles, that is they do not have the size but

they are infinitely small. You can do this in an experiment. You can measure how big an electron is and

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you will find that you cannot. Basically it is so small that it always escapes the detector. According to

the accuracy that we have today the electron has an immeasurable size. So they are either really tiny or

actually point particles.

They have an influence in the surroundings. Electrons have an electric charge, which means it has an

electric field around it and this field has an influence upon the surroundings. So we know for example,

if I knock on this table, I am not actually touching it. There is no contact between the table and me.

All it is, is electrons in my finger influencing the electric field of the electrons in the table surface.

Because these electric fields repel each other, frictional effects are created and the table seems hard and

a noise is released from the friction. This is what you hear as knocking but there is no contact. It is

preferably empty space between the table and me.

So if you say that you have fundamental particle that has a mass, I claim it has a size. Why? In general

relativity you have this thing called a black hole. The sun releases light, we can see it but we have

learned in the general relativity discussion that gravity bends space and therefore bends the path of

light. Conceive of a structure that bends light so much that light that goes away eventually comes back.

There exists a region outside of the black hole, which cannot receive light from the inside. If we take

the sun and we compact it enough, all the mass of the sun is in a small little region that still shines light,

but gravity has bent the space so much that the photons go away and come back again. We here in the

earth, far away from the sun cannot see the sun anymore. It has turned into a black hole and that is why

it is called black. Because we cannot observe anything within this little radius, this radius can be

thought of as the suns size. The real sun is much bigger, of course. Elementary particles are thought of

as point-particles, i.e. particles without any extention. As they have mass, we can play the same game

and view them as having a finite size given by this black hole radius. In this sense, elementary particles

have a size.

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Ontology is concerned primarily with what is and only secondarily with how we obtain our

knowledge about this.

David Bohm and Basil Hiley

We have discussed the Copenhagen interpretation with the cat and all this messy business before. That

is one interpretation of many. Basil Hiley and David Bohm constructed a very different interpretation

which they have called the ontological interpretation. The quantum mechanics we have been dealing

with is epistemological in that it is concerned with obtaining knowledge about the system; never mind

what it is.

Bohrs and Heisenbergs interpretation is epistemological. They do not concern themselves with what

is but only our knowledge about it. Bohm and Hiley want to describe what actually is and they came up

with a very different interpretation. They began with the assumption that fundamental particles in the

quantum mechanical domain actually do have a definite position, which varies continuously, and is

causally determined. So everything has definite causes that happen previously. Nothing springs out of

existence like it does in the other interpretations of quantum mechanics and you do not have the

collapse of the wave-function. You do not have the cats that exist in both dead and live states. They are

definitely in one state. But they assume that the basic evolution equation of the quantum mechanics

does hold and that gives rise to the same physical predictions as results of measurements. You can

deduce mathematically that there is a new force, which acts upon these particles and this new force is

independent of the strength of the quantum field. This is the really major new thing in this

interpretation.

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We discussed in general relativity that if you roll a ball along a path on a bowling green, it deviates

from a straight path due to unevenness in the ground, you have to postulate a new force. This is gravity

in that case. Here we have strange phenomena that are happening on the quantum scale, but we want to

retain causality, determinism, definite position and time and space, so we have to postulate something

new. Bohr and Heisenberg postulated that causality and determinism go away. Instead, we are going to

get a new force by postulating that causality and so on is preserved in the quantum domain. Curiously

this force is independent of the strength of the field.

We do not have to think of the particles as influencing each other in a non-local way as they do not

have an independent existence before the time of the first measurement.

David Tovee

That one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum without the meditation of

anything else is to me so great an absurdity, that I believe no man, who has in philosophical matters

a competent faculty of thinking can ever fall into.

Sir Isaac Newton

Usually forces depend on the strength of the field. Take gravity for example. If you are closer to the

sun than we are now you will feel feels a greater gravitational attraction to the sun. The strength of the

gravitational attraction that the sun exerts on an object falls off as this objects gets further and further

away form the sun. In another words, the strength of the force depends on the distance between the

object and the source of that force. For this new quantum mechanical force, it does not matter how far

away I go the of the strength of the force does not fall off. From one point of view, this force does not

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really act like a force (because of this strength behaviour) but acts more like information. In fact, we

are going to call this force active information.

Imagine being on a ship in the middle of the ocean. It is necessary to navigate somehow and we do this

by radio, GPS or some other devices. My ability to navigate does not depend on how strong the radio

signal is. As long as I receive the radio signal I can navigate by it. I do not need the signal to be

stronger or weaker, I only need the information and my actions are determined by the concept of that

information. If the radio tells me go left or go right, I will do that. In other words the information

that I receive is active. It results in an action of mine to alter my course and this action of mine depends

on the content of the information but not on the strength. That is the volume of my radio does not

influence my action, only the content does. In quantum mechanics the force of active information gives

the particle information to act (it tells it how to behave) but it does not give strength to the action.

Another example is DNA which is encoded information in molecular form that then is used by a

chemical system to build up a human being or an animal. DNA does not supply the energy or strength

by which the organism is to be constructed, it only provides the information. It oversees the building

process but the actual building is external. Just like the radio guiding the ship and DNA guiding human

growth, the active information field guides a quantum mechanical particle without supplying energy.

One might say that it guides the universe not by force but by wisdom.

Particles move under their own energy. They are not given energy by this active information field.

They are simply told where to go. So they move under their own energy and they are directed by this

field of information which does not decay with distance. Thus you have access to the information

wherever you are. This is a sort of internet for fundamental particles.

In the Copenhagen interpretation, we do not have to think of the particles as influencing each other in a

non-local way as they do not have independent existence before the time of the first measurement. If

we have this active information field that does not decay with distance, we have access to the

information everywhere. In other words we have non-local interactions. What does this mean? Usually

we think of action happening locally. This means that as the time difference between cause and effect

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tends to zero, so does their spatial seperation. Nothing far away can cause a very sudden change here. If

you want to influence something by blowing on it, you need to figure in that the speed of the wave in

the air will take some time to get to the target. This is a local force which gets weaker as it travels

further from you. This non-local information force is very different. It is an information field that exists

in the background; you have access to it wherever you are and therefore they are non-local interactions.

Cause and effect can follow another very shortly but be very far away.

There is a famous experiment named after Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen that is meant to illustrate the

absurdity of non-locality. They meant to attack the theory of quantum mechanics by constructing it.

Experiments have actually been able to verify the existence of non-local interactions to some degree.

The experiment starts with an atom that contains two electrons in the lowest energy state such that the

two electrons must have oppositely directed spin (by the Pauli exclusion principle). Then you take both

of them and separate them by a long distance of several meters. We can now perform measurements on

one of the electrons at leisure. The question is what will happen to the other one. As the two were

correlated in the atom before, the second electron will have opposite spin to the first, i.e. measuring the

spin of one electron gives us knowledge of the spin of both electrons. But how does the second electron

know to collapse in its wave-function, i.e. how does it know that we observed the other electron? This

paradox was meant to point out that quantum mechanics is lacking. In the new interpretation there is no

collapse of the wavefunction. Both electrons have perfectly well defined spins and so on and there is no

paradox at all even though the interaction is still non-local.

This was gravity because before him people thought, well how can one body like the sun influence the

gravity of other bodies like the earth at a distance. When the sun is over here, the earth is over here and

how can there be a force between the two? This is action at a distance and he was able to explain this of

course to some extent.

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The discussion of whether non-local interactions were possible, started a lot of controversy. Bell made

some theoretical investigations and he was able to conclude certain consequences of a general nonlocal theory. Not specifically of this non-local theory but every possible one. He discovered certain

laws that have to hold if locality is to be real. People went out and did experiments on this and they

discovered that those laws were false. These laws, known as Bells inequalities, are found not to hold in

nature by experiments and therefore the conclusion is that the nature is actually non-local. There are

interactions in nature, which happen in a non-local way, and this has been experimentally verified. So

we know that this interaction of separating two electrons by long distance measuring one and then

immediately knowing the state of the other is actually the case.

Both interpretations, the Copenhagen interpretation and this new ontological approach by David Bohm,

come up with the same predictions. Non-locality arises in both of these interpretations. So non-locality

is not a feature of the ontological interpretation, it arises in all variations of quantum mechanics and it

has been experimentally verified to be true. Only in the Bohm approach the motivation for it is very

different; it comes very naturally through the information field. In the Copenhagen interpretation nonlocality arises in a much less natural way. The Bohmian approach is appealing in many ways; one way

is that it is much simpler to understand the strange world of quantum behaviour in it than in any other

interpretation.

Classical physics knows nothing of non-locality. Classical physics says events at a certain place are

determined by other events that are very close by, close by in both space and time. You cannot have an

influence of an event by another event, which is very far away not being mediated by any events in

between. Well this is what quantum mechanics says is true and it turns out to be the case.

The uncertainty principle is a major prediction of the Copenhagen interpretation and so we should

expect to get it out of the ontological interpretation also. The difference is one of philosophy. The

Copenhagen interpretation would have us believe that the uncertainty is inherent in the system and the

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ontological interpretation would like to shift the uncertainty into the process of observation. The

uncertainty principle is important theoretically but it also gives rise to a number of observable

phenomena such as atomic decay.

The new ontological approach is deterministic but the active information field is very complicated.

Even for very simple experimental data this field is extremely complicated and that is why it gives rise

to chaotic behavior. You might have heard of chaos theory. The weather, for instance, is a chaotic

system. This is illustrated by the famous butterfly effect, which says that if a butterfly beats its wings in

China, it causes an earthquake in South America. Basically the butterfly principle is meant to say that

very small changes in initial conditions somewhere can potentially cause very large changes in the final

results somewhere else. This is possible because the differences are blown up by a feedback loop. A

feedback loop can be understand, for instance, by putting a microphone very close to a speaker. At first

nothing happens but the the noise starts getting louder and louder until it hurts your ears. The reason is

that a little noise is coming from the loadspeaker which enters the microphone and gets projected into

the room by the loudspeaker again. This loop is carried on and on until the noise is amplified many

many times. It takes only a short time but it does take a finite time because the sound has to travel at

each iteration of the loop. This sort of system is called a feedback loop and it is this that occurs in

nature in complex system such as the weather. Small changes in the weather conditions in one place

may get blown up to huge changes at some later time and at some different place by this mechanism.

The system is perfecty deterministic but if a small change in initial conditions can yield a huge change

in the final state, the system is unpredictable. This unpredictability manifests itself in the uncertainty

principle. So if your system is slightly different then what you think in the beginning it will eventually

behave very differently and because you cannot keep track of this chaotic behavior exactly that is why

you get these different results. That is how you get the uncertainty principle.

Quantum systems are deterministic but unpredictable. This is of course exactly why the weather

predictions that you see on TV are not necessarily true. Weather is a chaotic system and you can only

predict it only with a certain probability. This is why in recent years in Germany they have decided not

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to tell you it will rain tomorrow but they have decided to tell you that it will rain tomorrow with a

certain probability. They want to cover their backs and give you the statistical laws. It is perfectly

useless if I know that tomorrow there is a probability of 40% that it will rain. What do I do now? Do I

take 40% of an umbrella with me? Unfortunately this is the best science can do at present.

I cannot determine the system exactly. I cannot predict the behaviour of the system even though it is

perfectly deterministic. I can only give statistical laws. It is the same with quantum mechanics. I can

only tell you that there is a certain probability that it will rain and there is of course another probability

that it will not rain. But I cannot tell you that it will or that it will not. I can only give you likelihood

and then we hope that as the year goes by, these probabilities turn out to be statistically accurate. But

you can only tell that after a certain amount of time has passed. So I can say if I follow the advice of

the weatherman on TV every day then I will be lucky in most cases hopefully. If I want my behaviour

to be influenced by the weatherman on a particular day, then I have to be content with the fact that no

certain statements are possible.

So in quantum mechanics, what does this mean? Each measurement takes time and in order to do it

accurately, the measurement should be fast. Within this timescale the interaction of the observer with

the system is a certain amount the amount necessary for the measurement to be completed. The

shorter the time taken is, the more energy is being injected into the system by the measurement process.

In other words, as we try to measure in a shorter time, we participate more strongly in the evolution of

the system. This gives us the well-known uncertainty relation connecting time and energy.

A crowd of people follows statistical laws; we call these laws psychology. If we take a hundred

thousand people and send them to a rock concert we can predict what will happen. But if we take only

one person, it is very difficult to predict what will happen. While statistical behaviour can be quite

simple, individual behaviour can be quite complicated. You can predict the statistical behaviour of a

large collection of electrons but it is basically impossible to predict the behaviour of single one.

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This analogy lead Bohm and Hiley to postulate that an electron is a very complicated object. It must be

somehow capable of receiving the information field and acting according to it. So an electron has to be

some kind of radio device that can receive information and act accordingly. Now of course it is very

easy to then postulate that it has consciousness. But they do not go this far. They just give this as an

analogy. So this is meant only as an analogy so that we may understand individual electrons as very

difficult whereas the collection is at least statistically simple. This saves us from the collapse of the

function.

So we go back to the poor cat. It is according to this interpretation definitely alive or definitely dead. It

is only that we do not know. We can only achieve knowledge of it by looking. But in reality, it is one

or the other. It is very complicated to predict what will be because of this chaotic nature of this

information field but at least reality has one definite thing. Thus, as far as the experiment is concerned,

we get the same predictions but the fundamental outlook is radically changed by the ontological

interpretation.

It is evident that there is no way to prove that any particular aspect of our knowledge is absolutely

correct.

David Bohm & Basil Hiley

As things get larger in the world of quantum mechanics, there is the classical limit; in other words,

classical physics. Newtons physics works very well on scales of human beings but not on scales much

smaller or much larger. For events that happen and that are approximately as big as we are (chairs,

buildings and cars), Newtonian physics works very well and this is known as classical physics. If we

take the quantum theory and we work out its predictions as the size of objects becomes very large, it

approaches the predictions of Newtonian physics. It is this limiting behaviour that is known as the

classical limit and this is deemed a very important feature of a quantum theory because classical

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physics is very well verified and thus should be included in any new theory of the world. The classical

limit also exists for general relativity. If we make gravity very weak (i.e. the curvature of space-time

approaches zero or space-time approaches flatness) we achieve Newtonian physics again.

Theoretically this limit is very important and so we shall have to look at how it is constructed in the

various interpretations of quantum mechanics. First of all, Bohm says that we can only get approximate

knowledge by experimental measurements (cf. quote above). In everyday life, we do not observe nonlocal interactions; between people every action is local. Only on the quantum domain do you get this

non-local interaction and uncertainty.

In the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, von Neumann introduces a cut. He says this is

quantum physics and that is Newton physics and there is no connection. The two theories must be

viewed as distinct and one should not want to build up a connection between them. This is not very

appealing because you would like to say that the two theories merge into each other at some point.

According to Bohm, the active information field gives rise to everything. On the quantum domain

active information gives rise to all the quantum features but as objects get bigger the information field

from all these little particles has to be added up. Remember that big objects are really composites of a

large number of little particles so that physical size goes hand-in-hand with the number of elementary

particles present. The total active information is the sum of all the individual active informations. As

the number of particles gets large, eventually you get an active information field that is constant. Many

little contributions that each have structure will effectively give rise to a virtually constant sum whose

variation is so small that it can not be observed on the scales of the composite objects. A constant

active information field will have no quantum mechanical effects and so the system behaves

classically. In other words, the classical limit emerges extremely naturally in the Bohmian

interpretation as a limit of the number of particles involved getting large.

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Just a note of caution. We have effectively said that the variation contained in the active information

field of a large number of particles is insignificant. Chaos theory has taught us that the word

insignificant should be used with extreme caution because in many cases (almost every complicated

system) small changes in initial conditions can cause large changes in final conditions. One could thus

conceive that the small variations of the active information field will give rise to some quantum

mechanical behaviour even on human scales. Thus events such as the Earth suddenly moving to the

Andromeda Galaxy can actually happen. The reason we do not regularly observe such events taking

place is that their probability is very low. The point is you cannot determine which changes are not

significant and which ones are. Because if you knew that this small change is significant then that

means the system will be predictable which it is not. That is the very essence of the chaos theory. Thus

there are changes that are truly insignificant but it is very difficult to tell for a particular change

whether it will be significant or not.

One may think that non-locality opens the door to instant communication. However it turns out that

because of some technical limitations it is not actually possible to use this non-locality to communicate

instantly. So we have this non-local effect, if we take two electrons, separate them we can the

properties of this one from measuring that one but I cannot use this to produce a piece of technology

that allows me to build a radio that works instantly. So if I have an actual radio that I communicate to

myself it propagates by the speed of light. On the earth that is fast enough, of course. It is basically

instantaneous for human purposes but it is a limitation. One can give a mathematical proof that nonlocality can not be used for instant communication and in fact that it can not be used to communicate

faster than with the speed of light but this is so technical that we will not try to give it here.

Wolfgang Pauli invented what is called the exclusion principle. He got the Nobel prize for this in 1945

and basically it says in quantum mechanics you cannot distinguish between two electrons except if they

have some different properties (these properties are called quantum numbers). Two electrons floating in

space can not be distinguished. It is a practical observation however that an atom has several shells

around it in which electrons reside. The shells are not rigid but represent regions in which a electron is

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vastly more likely to reside than outside it. How many levels contain how many electrons gives rise to

the chemical properties of the atom. In this way, the whole body of chemistry reduces to one of

electron configuration of atoms and so chemistry may be viewed as a small branch of applied quantum

mechanics (this is the view of physicists which leads to amusing battles between them and the chemists

who, of course, do not cherish this point of view as they feel it belittles their subject; nonewithstanding

peoples emotional reaction, this is true).

How does one explain that there can be at most two electrons in the first shell but more than that in the

next and so on? Pauli invented the brilliant scheme in which electrons get a series of labels (quantum

numbers) that specify certain properties. Electrons may reside in the same shell if and only if they had

at least one quantum number different. If they shared all quantum numbers, they would have to be in

different shells. This principle explained electronic structure to a very large degree and is one of the

most important principles of quantum mechanics.

There have been some physicists who claim that since you cannot distinguish between electrons, there

is only one electron in the whole universe. It might sound funny at first but this actually is quite a

respectable claim that it is possible for a single electron to act for all electrons in the universe because

we cannot distinguish them. This can be reduced to the assumption that reality is what we observe. If

we cannot observe that these two electrons are different (distinguish them experimentally), we must

regard them as the same. Ergo, there exists only one electron. This theory has not been taken seriously

by many people but it serves as a nice illustration of what happens if one drives the experimental view

of reality to an extreme.

The Pauli exclusion principle can be proven in the Bohmian approach and not in the Copenhagen

approach. This is another important plus point of the ontological interpretation.

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Observation simply correlates the observer to the system The mouse does not affect the universe

only the mouse is affected.

Hugh Everett

Aside from the Copenhagen interpretation of Bohr and Heisenberg, the variations on it by Schrodinger

and von Neumann and the ontological interpretation by Bohm and Hiley, there are a number of other

prominent interpretations. The Copenhagen interpretation is the most common one that physicists use

to compute predictions to experiments. It is the authors opinion that the ontological interpretation is

greatly superior. The other interpretations have serious drawbacks that make them good ideas and

useful to think about but exclude them from serious consideration as actual full-fledged interpretations

of quantum mechanics.

Einstein thought that the Copenhagen interpreation was ridiculous and asked: Are you going to tell me

that if a mouse looks at the universe then the whole universe changes its state merely because of the

mouse? (paraphrase, not a quote) Remember that the Copenhagen interpretation necessitates the

collapse of the wave-function and so a mouse observing the universe should cause a collapse of the

wave-function. Viewed this way (just like the cat experiment) seems to show that the theory can not be

true of reality; this was Einsteins point.

Hugh Everett in his own interpretation answers this by saying that observation sets up a correlation

between observer and system. The system remains but the observer is changed in that the observer is

enriched in terms of memory and so on. His interpretation is often called the many-worlds

interpretation but this is not right, it should be called the many-minds interpretation. I as the observer

who observed the universe am influenced, I do not influence the system. I do not influence the universe

but my consciousness is impressed with the picture of the universe that I see. So the collapse does not

happen out here it is consciousness. That is the fundamental principle that goes from superposition of

various states such as an alive cat to definite stage. So if there were no conscious observer everything

would proceed very nicely and consciousness invokes this collapse. This interpretation correlates

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awareness and memory. You must have a conscious observer that has a memory. It gets very strange

how he interprets this to happen but basically for him it is the observer by being conscious that is

impressed by the universe.

Now most people who want to interpret quantum mechanics start with the mathematics and then want

to build up some physics based on this and that makes it relatively difficult. The ontological

interpretation starts by reformulating the mathematics. It starts with physical principles and then

reforms all the mathematics according to it.

There is the many worlds interpretation different from Everetts which says: At each point where we

observe the universe, the universe splits into many possibilities. So with the cat, for example, we had

two possibilities: dead cat or alive cat. As soon as we observe it and see that the cat is alive, at that

instant the universe splits into two universes: one universe in which I am which observes the cat as

alive and the other universe in which I observe the cat as dead. Now this happens at every observation.

Of course, this seems a bit ridiculous because there are many observations that we make all the time.

By looking at this room in every fraction of the second I make extremely many observations. You can

imagine just by what extra-ordinary factors the number of universes multiplies just by having a

conversation. This interpretation is thus very strange and should be adopted with caution.

None of these interpretations give really adequate explanations of how things are measured, none of

them can really explain the classical limit very well; there is this all have the basic cut we make

between the quantum domain and the classical domain and none of them can really give rise to good

explanation of why things happen probabilistically, of why we can only make statistical predictions.

They also fail on one philosophical principle. William of Ockham (1285 1349) was a British cleric

and philosopher who is famous for a principle called Ockhams razor: Pluralitas non est ponenda sine

neccesitate. This means that you should not introduce further assumptions unless they are absolutely

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necessary. In other words, he acknowledges the neccesity to construct axioms of a theory but says that

of all the possible theories that explain what is observed, the theory with the least and simplest axioms

is to be preferred over the others. Clearly, the many minds and many worlds interpretations are

excluded by comparison to the ontological interpretation and one may argue for the Copenhagen

interpretation to be excluded on these grounds also.

I have the long and constant persuasion that all the forces of nature are mutually dependent, having

one common origin, or rather being different manifestations of one fundamental power.

Michael Faraday (1850)

We would like to have one theory that explains all phenomena regardless of whether they are to do

with electrons or planets. This unified theory is the holy grail of theoretical physics. General relativity

and quantum mechanics have both been verified to be correct experimentally to within an erro of 1:1014

and 1:1011 respectively. It is not commonly known that general relativity is the better verified theory.

As both theories hold so well in their respective domains, the unified theory should reduce to them in

the appropriate limits.

Where might these two theories meet? The basic object in quantum mechanics is the electron which

sometimes acts as a particle and sometimes as a wave. When it encounters things of the scale of its

Compton wavelength (a technical measurement for when an electron behaves as a wave), then it

behaves as a wave. The basic object in general relativity is a black hole which has an even horizon. We

expect the predictive power of both theories to break down when the Compton wavelength of an object

is comparable to its event horizon. Setting these two concepts equal to each other yields what are called

the Planck scales, namely 5.5 ? 10-5 grams, 4 ? 10-33 cm and 10-43 seconds. Events that happen at such

scales can be expected to be predictable by neither theory and really require a unified approach. While

the distance and duration scales are very small indeed, curiously the mass scale is roughly the mass of a

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fruitfly. Nevertheless, experiments that can probe these scales are not possible, by a long way, using

current technology.

People have been looking for this unified theory for a long time and it is very difficult because firstly

gravity is extremely weak on small scales compared to all the other three forces and secondly the

mathematical assumptions of general relativity are very different from that of quantum mechanics. In

quantum mechanics, we have the background Newtonian space that does not get influenced by the

system. In general relativity, the system very much influences the space and the space influence the

system. Somehow we have to put this things together: the dynamic space and the dynamic uncertainty

in the quantum system and put them together. There is an approach called string theory which is a

candidate for this theory but it is not very promising. While quantum mechanics and general relativity

are obtained in their respective limits, string theory has not been able to make any new predictions that

are accessible to experiments.

13.10 Conclusions

You cannot make any absolute measurements. You can construct an ontological interpretation of

quantum mechanics, ontology meaning what the system actually is not meaning finding out things

about it. In this interpretation, you start with the assumption that all particles have a definite position

and definite momentum at all times. They are influenced by a necessarily non-local field called active

information which guides their evolution. Uncertainty arises from this information field by it being

chaotic. This interpretation is much simpler to understand because all you have to postulate is a new

force. You do not get into the complications of the cat being dead and alive at the same time and you

do not have fundamental uncertainty in nature. You keep causality. It gives rise to all the observation of

the properties that we had before, it explains the classical limit very well which we did not have before.

It has fewer assumptions than the other quantum mechanical theories. People are working very hard on

trying to be able to experimentally distinguish these different interpretations. This is a very active

research area that has not yet been decided fully but people are trying to come up with experiments that

will be able to distinguish between this ontological interpretation from the other interpretations and it is

very much believed by the experts that the experiments will go in the direction of this ontological

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interpretation. I have given you an overview of the classical interpretation of quantum mechanics that

almost all physicist believe in and I have given you another interpretation which is controversial but is

much better than the previous one.

I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in

religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we are all seeking something

better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness.

His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama

Lama is the Tibetan word for teacher and it implies that the person called a Lama is a spiritual teacher,

one who has gone far along the spiritual path and is capable of leading others on it. The Dalai Lama is

the highest Lama in the Tibetan tradition. He is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan society.

As a spiritual leader, he may be compared to the Catholic Pope but the Dalai Lama is traditionally also

the political leader of Tibet. After China invaded Tibet and the Dalai Lama had to flee Tibet, he resides

in Dharamsala in India and leads his Tibetan Government in Exile in an effort to free Tibet from the

Chinese invasion.

Avalokiteshwara, the Buddha of compassion (called Chenrezig in Tibetan). Iconographically this

Buddha can be recognized by being depicted with one thousand arms that according to legend sprouted

from his body as he was so distraught at not being able to help other living beings fast and effectively

enough. When the Dalai Lama dies, a search is carried out to find his new reincarnation who then

becomes the new Dalai Lama. During the youth of the new Dalai Lama, it is typically the Panchen

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Lama who assumes the leadership responsibilities. The current Panchen Lama is believed to be under

house arrest in China but no one has seen or heard from him since his abduction by the Chinese

government in 1995. A global campaign to free him is under way. I will not go into the political

problems. The Dalai Lama has written many books on it and also the Buddhist path which are heartily

recommended to anyone wishing for more details.

Approximately 2500 years ago, a man called Siddharta Gautama was born in what is now Nepal. He

was the son of a local king in that area. He lived in opulence at the time. He was very rich, he had all

the things that he wanted, he did not have pain, he did not see suffering of people outside the palace as

he was not allowed to leave his perfect environment. He had a very comfortable childhood and at some

point he got very unhappy with this. He felt that there was something missing. For the first time in his

life when he was already grown up (he already had a wife and child), he left the palace and during his

walk around the city he saw many things. He saw people who were suffering because of sickness, he

saw a dead person, and a many other things that he was not used to and he came to the conclusion that

he had been living in an illusionary world, He had not been confronted with the suffering that

everybody else has to encounter in everyday life and he decided that he did not want to be king so he

left everything behind and went into the forest where he joined a group of Yogis to meditate. This

group was very extreme in their practise. For example, they would perform long fasts over weeks.

Siddharta realized that this practise was doing him good as he did not have the energy to meditate

properly because of fasting. He left them as well and he went on all by himself. When he was alone, he

sat underneath a particular tree (now in Bodgaya, India) and resolved to sit there and meditate until he

reached enlightenment. After some time he did so thereby obtaining the title of Buddha, i.e. the

enlightened one and then wandered around India teaching people how to reach enlightenment.

Buddha means the enlightened one. It is simply a word or a title that a person gets when they become

enlightened. The Buddha normally refers to Siddharta Gautama the actual historical person that

created the religion but many people over history have achieved the state of enlightenment and

therefore they get the Buddha.

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It must be emphasized that Buddha did not construct a religious system. He gave personal advice to

many followers of his on how they could reach enlightenment. As all people are different, he gave a lot

of different advice. This has given rise to Buddhism being split into many groups that all differ from

each other. However the differences are mainly in ceremonial and clerical matters and not in

fundamental questions of belief.

When Buddhism arose, the dominant religion in India was Hinduism. One prime characteristic of the

practise of the Hindu religion is the caste system. The Hindu religion as such has no caste system built

into it. In history there was one reformer of the religion and he introduced a few laws into it. His idea,

among many others, was that people should choose that profession in life for which they are most

suited. If you are an energetic young man, you should become a soldier. That is the most well-suited

profession for you. If you are a very introspective quiet person, then you should become a priest. Based

on your personality, inclinations and abilities, you should choose the profession that most strongly suits

you. What you like to do, what you are best at, that you should do. It is a good advice that we follow

even nowadays. However, he was misunderstood by a lot of people. He lived a long time before

Buddha so by that time there had been many different schemes and the rule was established that you

inherit the position of your father (in this scheme women did not have many professions). So if your

father was a priest, you also became a priest. In other words, you belonged to the caste of priests.

Priesthood was the highest profession you could have. Soldiers, or warriors, were the next one and so

forth down to the untouchables. Even though it is frowned upon, this system is still in place in Indian

culture and many social dynamics depends on which caste one belongs to. There are many categories

and sub-categories in the caste system so that the compartmentalization of people is worked out in

detail. Unfortunately, the system has a strict ranking of castes and this is the origin of much

discrimination.

The Buddhist religion is against this and regards everyone as equal. This was a direct challenge to the

authority of the priesthood which was the highest caste. Naturally the priests did not appreciate this

challenge and thus a conflict arose between the two systems. Just like the Jews in Israel at the time of

Jesus, the Hindu priests in India at the time of Buddha had a great deal of temporal power in addition to

their spiritual role and sought to defend this power. The challenger who argued for equality and peace

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had significant problems being accepted by the authorities. Buddha was definitely a left-wing rebel at

the time. The fight between Buddhism and Hinduism lasted some centuries but eventually Buddhism

lost in India. It is common now in countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Tibet, Nepal and many others.

Because Buddha did not develop a unified system himself but gave advice to individuals, a number of

schools formed. They can be divided into two main categories that differ philosophically from each

other and whose members mainly differ in matters of ceremony and rules of conduct. These two are

Mahayana and Hinayana meaning the large and small vehicle respectively (Maha = great, Hina = small

and Yana = vehicle). The greater vehicle says that you should achieve enlightment from the motivation

to help other people. Hinayana says that you should achieve enlightment for yourself. So the Hinayana

principle is quite selfish in the sense that you want to receive Enlightment, keep it and that is enough.

Mahayana says that your motivation to achieve it should be to then subsequently help other people

achieve this enlightment also and so is the altruistic version of Buddhism.

Buddhism traveled in various directions. Hinayana Buddhism primarily travelled South and East into

countries like Thailand whereas Mahayana Buddhism travelled mainly North and West into countries

like Nepal and Tibet. Tibet is the only country nowadays where Tibetan Buddhism or the original

Mahayana Buddhism reasonably closely to how it was originally. You can actually go to a monastery

in Tibet and have a look at the books that have been stored there for more than a thousand years.

The philosopher Immanuel Kant said that philosophy deals with the answers to exactly three questions:

What do I know? What shall I do? What can I expect? The first is a question about the past, the second

about the present and the third about the future. We ask for the basis of our actions, those actions

themselves and their consequences. Buddhism concerns itself with the answers to these questions.

Buddha stated four so called noble truths. These are considered to be the fundamental statements of the

religion.

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Firstly, life contains suffering. By the very fact that you are alive, you have to suffer. You get some

disease, grow old and die. Suffering comes with the connotation that it is undesirable. The point is that

you do not want suffering. However, suffering is contained in life. This gives rise to the fundamental

problem of life the search for happiness or enlightenment.

Secondly, the origin of suffering is ignorance. Ignorance of how the world works, the basic law of how

reactions are attributed to actions. This is called the law of Karma. I will explain this in detail later on.

The point here is that we must combat the unwanted suffering through its root cause and not

symptomatically as we are used to in everyday life. Ignorance is thought to lead to desire and

attachment for things and that indirectly desire is the cause for suffering also. However instead to

shuning desire, Buddha teaches us to embrace and experience desire to some carefully controlled

degree so that desire is fulfilled in some fashion. This comes from the practical observation that

prohibiting something desirable leads to greater problems than if that thing were normally available.

Having experienced our desire and felt that it indeed leads to suffering, that desire can be given up

freely by oneself and not by a process of either force or intellectualization from being told by others

that this desire leads to suffering.

Thirdly, it is possible for the suffering that we have in life to end. By some actions that we can perform

we can make suffering stop. This is the good news of the system. Roughly speaking this third truth is

the Buddhist equivalent of the Gospel of Christianity. It tells you that there is a light at the end of the

tunnel. By now, we have defined the problem, we postulated a cause for it and we claim that there is a

solution. All we need now is a method to get to the solution and then we have everything we need.

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Fourthly, to make suffering stop you must remove ignorance by performing certain actions that are

collectively called meditation. What exactly meditation is, is a huge topic. There are many techniques

of doing it. You have to assess essentially where you are in this spiritual path and thereby select the

exercises properly and so on. Through meditation you get insight into how the world works, this

removes the ignorance, thereby removing the cause for suffering, and of course suffering is the thing

that it wants to get rid of all the time. Buddhism for a large part is basically a study of what to do. I will

not go into what meditation really is and how to

do it here. Suffice it to say that this can be made

extremely precise, that the literature available on

the subject is vast and that help in terms of real

life teachers is available to anyone who wants it.

We will go into the philosophical components of

Buddhism here and not into the practical

components of meditation.

in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of

your hand And Eternity in an hour.

William Blake,

Auguries of Innocence

I would like to explain the basic outlook of Tibetan Buddhism through a piece of iconography that is

very commonly used, the wheel of life. One could have chosen many other starting points but I believe

this one to be preferable. It is one unified pictorial description of the basic philosophy. It is easy to

understand the relationships of all the components based on this picture.

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The wheel has twelve stages which I will explain in detail later. First let us look at the general

structure. The figure holding the wheel is called Yama and he is the Lord of Death. He is basically in

charge of beginning and ending life. He is the actual cause or embodiment of this suffering. He holds in

his claws the wheel of life, he controls it. Around the rim of the wheel are the twelve stages of human

life. However there are not only humans in the world. The six regions within the wheel show the six

realms of existence.

A boar, a snake and a rooster. These three bite

each others tail and chase each other around the

center of the wheel. The boar symbolizes

ignorance being the root of suffering. The rooster

symbolizes greed and desire. The snake represents

anger in a broad sense. They all bite each others

tail to symbolize that they are all dependent on

each other. If you are ignorant of how the world

works, then you have negative desires and you

become a greedy person. If you become a greedy

person and you are ignorant then you also become angry, you become a nasty individual. Angry should

be interpreted in a very wide sense. These are definitely three characteristics that we do not want to

have and they are but what is involved in everyday life, this is one of the things that we should get rid

of. In this way, the center of the wheel tells us that negative character traits are a result of ignorance but

that these traits serve to further our ignorance as well. We must break free of this vicious cycle, that is

the message of Buddhism.

In the western traditions you frequently see a snake biting its own tail. The Egyptians, Greeks and

Nordics and many other western traditions had it. The serpent goes by many names but the most

common one is Ourobourous and it usually symbolizes cosmic unity. The center of the wheel of life is

the eastern analogue of Ourobourous. The three animals are also associated with sounds. Together they

form part of a mantra. The boar is associated with AUM, the rootster with AH and the snake with

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HUM. Around the rim of the three animals, we are shown the two possibilities of life. We have a

choice to walk the road of spiritual improvement culminating in enlightenment or to walk the road of

darkness leading to ever more suffering. It is important to note that this is a choice that we can make in

our lives.

Around the center of the wheel, there are six regions which are called the six realms of existence.

Starting from the top region and going around in the clockwise direction, the realms are those of gods,

humans, hungry ghosts, hell, animals and demi-gods.

The gods must not be misunderstood with the Christian connotation of the word God. These are simply

beings that are more powerful than humans. They live a very long life but they still die. They are very

powerful and happy, they have palaces, they are rich, and they can do whatever they want. However,

they still have suffering in the sense that they still die and loose their powers before they die. However,

as their life is on the whole very happy, they do not have much suffering to motivate them towards

spiritual progress.

The regions of the demi-gods is connected to that of the gods because the demi-gods constant fight

with the gods. The major suffering in the realm of the demi-gods is jealousy of the gods. Because of

this, they wage constant war agains the gods.

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The basic idea in Buddhism is that reincarnation is something that you do not want. Once you have

reached a certain stage, it is not necessarily true that you will get to that stage again. Basically your

karma gives you certain results but then in your lifetime you still have to live according to the

principles, you also have to be nice person in order to keep having good karma. If you are not, then you

get bad karma and therefore you degrade in the next life. So it is perfectly possible for a god to come

down. In fact it is very difficult for a god not to come down into another realm because in the realm of

the gods performing virtuous deems is very difficult. This is true simply because the realm is so nearly

perfect. In other words, after existence as a god, the good karma that allowed that being to be a god is

used up and that being has to reincarnate in another realm. In fact, the human realm is considered the

best one for spiritual progress because you have a healthy medium between the amount of suffering in

the world and the amount of free will that you have to do something about it. The gods have a hard

time because there is so little suffering giving them the motivation to try to become better. For us

humans, we also have plenty of suffering but we also have the intelligence and free will to do

something about it and make spiritual progress.

The human realm is the realm of balance of suffering and ignorance. Both are present to a large enough

degree that we receive motivation to act but not to such a large degree that acting is very difficult. The

sufferings of human beings are birth, old age, sickness, death, separation from things that we like,

encountering things that we do not like, and not obtaining the things that we want.

For animals the main suffering is ignorance. They do not have enough free will to be able to regularly

make conscious decisions to become a better animal so they are caught up in ignorance.

Then come the hungry ghosts. They are beings that have very thin necks and therefore they cannot eat

and drink fast enough to relieve their hunger and thirst so they suffer mainly by this.

Lastly, there is the hell realm. The hell realm is a very nasty place, the description of hell in Buddhism

is very similar to that of Christianity. Hell is very hot and one get tortured all the time.

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This picture of the six realms can be interpreted in many ways. Many people say that all six of these are

different stages in human life. A god would be a person who is very rich and very powerful. Demi-gods

is just below the god realm sort of vice-presidents who are jealous of the big man but still are

elevated above most people. The human realm is the middle ground in which many people live.

Animals, hungry ghosts and hell beings are three categories of lower human life. This is a view which

is less guided by the materialistic properties of the person and more by their psychological outlook, i.e.

the persons suffering.

The karma law is the deterministic law of the Universe. If you like, it is a mathematical equation that

holds throughout the Universe and it determines what actions are good and bad. Then the interpretation

of the religion is that certain actions are moral, these are good actions. But this is a law throughout the

Universe that it is an impartial judge. There are many statements that tell you what actions are regarded

to be good and what actions are regarded as bad. The most important thing about any action you

perform is the motivation. If you perform an action with the explicit motivation to harm somebody,

then it is definitely a bad action. If you perform it with the definite motivation to help somebody, even

if your action goes wrong by accident, it is still mostly a good action. So it mainly depends on the

intention.

To give an example, there is a rule in Buddhism that you should not lie. That rule is contained in most

codes of morality. However, not all lies are equal. Buddhism specifically allows white lies. To be a

proper lie, it has to satisfy four properties: (1) The statement has to be false, (2) I must know that it is

false, (3) you have to believe me and (4) I have to tell it to you with the intention to deceive. If it tell

you a lie that I do not know to be false, it is not a lie. If you do not believe me, it is not a lie. And if I

tell you this lie with the intension to help you, then it is not a lie also. One very significant example of

recent years has been the extreme discrimination against Buddhists in Tibet. If a person in Tibet

publicly states that they follow the Dalai Lama, they can expect torturing and imprisonment. The Dalai

Lama has thus explicitly said that Tibetan should denounce him to save their own lives. This is a white

lie.

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Give a man a fish and he shall eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he shall eat for a lifetime. Give a

man a religion and he shall die of hunger while praying for a fish.

Anonymous

something. Inherent existence means that it exists

in and of itself. A self-created or self-moved prime

mover would be something inherently existing.

This is claimed as ignorance. In other words,

Buddhism stipulates that nothing inherently exists.

Also it is the lack of knowledge concerning the connection between events. If something is not

inherently existent, it depends on other things. By depending, there are connections between these

things, there are causes of events, there are effects of events, so there is always a connection and a

dependent cause. We call this dependent arising. Things arise because they are dependent on a cause.

So Buddhism effectively says that every event has a cause without exception. This immediately leads

to the conclusion that the past extends indefinitely. There is no beginning of the Universe. If everything

has a cause, then there cannot be a beginning. If there was a beginning then there had to be one point

which does not have cause which is self-caused. But this is denied so it is a conclusion that we

immediately draw from this. Things are dependent arising and this says that they are empty of

independent existence. We are ignorant of the exact nature of this dependence however and this is the

ignorance of which we speak here.

We recall Machs principle from general relativity that the inertia of a mass depends on the presence of

other masses. If you had only one body in the universe, it would have no inertia because it is defined

through the presence of others. This is very similar to this idea of dependent arising everything

depends on something else. If only that one thing were there it would have no properties because you

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can only ascribe a property to something if you have something else to distinguish it from. It makes

sense only to define objects in relation to other objects. An object in and of itself is meaningless. You

have to be able to distinguish it.

in that state of self-concentration, if the mind be

fixed on the aquirement of any object, that object

will be attained.

Buddha (Lonaphala Vagga)

A person making pots symbolizes the law of karma. The law of karma says that you reap what you

sow. The word karma means action and the word samskara means reaction. In other words, everything

I do is a karma. Every action I perform is a karma and it carries with it certain consequences because

every event has a cause and every event is itself a cause of further effects. Every action I perform, must

have a reaction, a samskara. The law of karma states that actions are labelled by a value (simplistically

good or bad) and that the samskara we will reap has the same value. If I do something good, I get

something good in return. If I do something bad, I get something bad in return. Every karma causes an

equal and oppositely directed reaction. The law of karma is essentially Newtons first law.

Every choice has certain consequences. The law of karma can be described like this: If I make a choice,

I then begin to limit myself. For example, I graduate from high school, I have to make a choice to go to

university and if so, which one. Suppose I make this choice and I come to IUB. Having made this

choice, my options for the future are limited. The avenues available to me for my life have been

narrowed by this choice. To a greater or lesser degree this happens with every choice and every action

we make.

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Holding a USC, for example, has a lot of consequences. I have to prepare for each individual lecture. I

have to be here on all of those days. I have to read all of your essays. If you choose not to come then

that choice has consequences. Now the important thing is that the reaction you get is not necessarily

immediate. In other words, if you, for example, choose not to hand in an essay, the reaction to this will

only happen at grade assignment time several weeks later. In other words, it is possible to perform a lot

of actions and have the reactions accumulate in the background. Then you have to live them off at

some time in the future. This accumulation is one of the crucial problems that Buddhism maintains.

Under normal behaviour, Buddhism says that the acuumulation is faster than the speed at which the

samskaras naturally ripen and are lived through. One must make a conscious effort by meditation and

performing virtuous deeds to help them to manifest.

There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present

moment. A man's whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one

fully understands the present moment, there will be nothing else to do, and

nothing else to pursue. Live being true to the single purpose of the moment.

Yamamoto Tsunetomo

by moment, time consists of succession of moments in Buddhist philosophy. The past is over; you can

no longer change it. You know nothing about the future; it is yet to come. The important thing is the

here and now. It is precisely the here and now that we are conscious of.

The law of karma leads from an action to a reaction. It connects the past to the present and the present

to the future. The actions are performed now or cause an event that will take place in the future. The

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law of karma is the connection that links together these little moments and consciousness is generated

out of these links. The law of karma connects the moments and the element that actually represents this

connection is consciousness.

After you have become conscious you have the ability to distinguish forms and attach names to forms.

This is a problem because what I perceive and what you perceive is not necessarily the same thing.

Even the red flower I see before me on your table may not be the same to you and me.

Albert Einstein

Tagore, one of the foremost poets of India. Something is present in the room

but how it is perceived by two different people is not necessarily the same.

Yet you have the ability to attach names to phenomena and to ascribe some

form to things.

I see a bag before me and I can attach the name bag to it on the basis of its

form. You, on the other hand, see it from a different angle and you may

conclude that it is not a bag. In our experience, we know that distance, angle,

lighting and all sorts of external factors can lead two different people into

identifying an object in two different ways. Of course the term bag is

described by both of us and this is what makes it useful; namely that we

agree in most cases. In some instances, we will disagree.

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Giving a name to things is a very basic and crucial operation in order to understand the world through

interactions. This is because it enables you to distinguish things. By being able to look at a form and

give a name to it, I distinguish it from other things that do not have that form or that name. Naming

necessarily creates a dichotomy. This bag is a bag because it is not paper, a box of chalk or the table.

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither

yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and

chance happeneth to them all.

Ecclesiastes 9:11

to be backed up by senses. In the west, we have five

senses. In the east, one adds the ability to think as a sixth

sense. In addition one has touch, taste, sight, hearing and

smell with which you can perceive things.

perception also. So just by thinking of objects you

perceive them and this is an important point because

later on in the philosophy we will deal with the philosophy of sense perception. So imagination of

objects you do not actually see or touch or feel is also part of sense perception in this connotation.

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Having named objects and having the ability to conceive of forms allows us to perceive objects through

our senses. This sensory perception creates a relation between the observer and the observed, the

relation of contact.

When facing a single tree, if you look at a single one of I its red leaves, you will not see all the others.

When the eye is not set on any one leaf, and you face the tree with nothing at all in mind, any number

of leaves are visible to the eye without limit. But if a single leaf holds the eye, it will be as if the

remaining leaves were not there.

Takuan Soho

things. So you have senses now and these

senses begin to actually perceive things. What

you perceive is essentially up to you. You have

the

freedom

to

choose

to

limit

your

consciousness and limit your abilities of perception to very small things: single leaf on the tree or you

widen your perspective to look at the entire tree at once. This is the essence of these senses having

contact with the environment.

If you have no voice, scream; if you have no legs, run; if you have no hope, invent. I see a spark of

life shining. I hear a young minstrel sing a beautiful roaring scream of joy and sorrow. There is a love

in me raging. Alegria.

Cirque du Soleil

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but also pleasant as opposed to unpleasant. Seeing

pictures in the Van Gogh exhibition, for example,

you could call pleasant. Seeing pictures on TV of

the Iraq war is unpleasant. Your senses having

contact with their sense objects generates a

classification of experiences into categories of good and bad, pleasant and not, desirable and

undesirable. Different pictures generate a distinguishing feeling. This distinguishing between different

experiences generates a feeling or an emotion.

So why complain about darkness that would disappear

The morning comes, and the seasons would pass

A spring will come, once another elapses.

Abu al-Qasim al-Shabbi, The New Morning (1933)

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pleasant and unpleasant, we generate attachment

towards the pleasant object.

that you feel are good and that you try to avoid

things that you do not like. We like pudding and

so, in the back of our minds, there is the wish that

the university canteen will serve pudding for

dessert. Futhermore, there are some things that we

do not like and we hope that these foods will not appear on the menu. Attachment differs from the stage

of feeling by having an element premeditation in it also. Over time, we gain a memory of what was

pleasant in the past and we look forward to obtaining those things in the future.

Aleister Crowley

Having become attached to things, we are then not only hoping to get them in the future but also

willing to actively do something to obtain them. This is the stage of grasping after these objects of

sensory pleasure. Grasping involves an element of action. Not only do we like choclate pudding and

hope to get it but we now buy the ingedients and make it.

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Aleister Crowley was a very famous British esoteric of the 19th century. The quote above is his most

famous statement. Many people take exception to it because they believe that he is saying: Do what

you feel like doing. In other words, they believe that he is advocating anarchy independent of any code

of morality. If Crowleys works are read more carefully, it emerges that what he meant is far more

subtle. The operative word want is meant in a deeper philosophical

sense that you should really analyze what it is that you really absolutely,

after all the consequences of your actions have been executed, want.

I do realize that if I do this too often and too much I get very fat and

unhealthy and I will die sooner than I would otherwise. This is, of

course, something I do not want. My immediate desire after chocolate

pudding and my long-term desire for a healthy long life are incompatible

unless I take the pudding in moderation. When Crowley is saying do

what thou wilt, he is not saying eat all the chocolate pudding you

want, but really analyze what the consequences are and then do what

you want after all those have been taken into account.

Craving after what we want leads to clinging to that object, to actively doing something about it. We

begin after this to somewhat rely on this. Not only do I like the pudding, I make active measures

towards getting it and if I do this more and more, then, of course, I begin to rely somewhat on this and

begin to get addicted to it. This is what happens with smoking, for example. Initially you see other

people at school, they tell you to try it out, then you try it and get some feeling from this, you begin to

get attached to it because it is nice to hold or whatever, you begin to crave it, to grasp after it so as to

actively seek it out. In other words buy you own packet of cigarettes. Then you begin to rely on it, you

begin to get addicted to it, you have to have more and the choice of you smoking gets reduced. After

some time of smoking you no longer have a choice because your body craves after it. This is what

grasping then leads to.

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The object of grasping can be anything, it can be an actual object in the case of cigarettes or chocolate

pudding, but it can also be a principle, a principle of ethics or modes of conduct. Lots of

fundamentalists around the world stick to their principles, to the point of addiction. You can make all

sorts of very well-phrased arguments against their point of belief and they will not listen Tthey will not

change their mind, not because they do not understand what you say, but because they are so fixated on

their belief. They are entirely unwilling to change this no matter what arguments you might bring to the

opposition. This is an addiction to a principle.

The holy tree is growing there.

William Butler Yeats; The Two Trees

eat lunch and we have dinner, we take a shower in the morning and we

go to sleep. We do all these things to sustain our biological body. You

are attached to your body, you actively look after it, you crave it and you

grasp at it. The fact that you grasp after your body according to the Buddhist philosophy is the most

fundamental reason for your existence. Not only your birth but your continued birth. You are grasping

after your body more than ever on your deathbed and this engenders a new existence.

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This day is a special day. It is yours. Yesterday slipped away. It can not be filled with any more

meaning. About tomorrow nothing is known. But this day, today, is yours; make use of it. Today you

can make someone happy. Today you can help another.

Anonymous Indian Poet

we must be born again. If you get born, that means

that this birth is dependent arising as it depends on a

number of causes and conditions to bring about this

birth. Not only do certain biological events have to

take place for you to be born. Birth leading to your

existence depends on several other factors. You as

an individual do not exist inherently in and of

yourself but you exist dependent on certain actions

and events that happened before you birth. It is very important to realize that you exist and you were

born subject to a huge number of causes and conditions.

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No sign can foretell

How soon it must die.

Matsuo Basho (1644 1694)

gives rise to old age and eventually death.

Death and old age are also dependent arising,

just like birth. They depend on you being

born and on a large number of events in

between. All events are interlocked and none

happens in and of itself.

Death is certain. All of us will die. It is probably save to say that in 100 years no one in this room will

be alive. However, the method by which you will die and the exact time at which you will die is

unknown. It is this uncertainty and the uncertainty of what happens after you die that makes people

afraid of death. In the west, people assume that death is a bad thing. The Buddhist philosophy is

optimistic about death. The idea of reincarnation and enlightenment make the idea of death less

threatening. The time of death is actually considered the most fruitful time for spiritual progress. The

Tibetan Book of the Dead is a old work intended to be read to the dying and dead to assist their

spiritual journey. If the mindset of the dying person is right, enlightenment may be achieved in the

moment of death.

One philosophical implication of this view of death is because you have no idea when and how you

will die, you should always live in the current moment. This should not prevent you from making

plans. It helps however to keep life in perspective if one acts each day as if it were the last. If one rises

in the morning and thinks that at night you may die, this thought should motivate one to live a full and

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happy life and to be friendly and forthcoming to others during this day. If you have something

important to say to another person, do not delay but do it now.

Every human being is free and is as his own God, he may transform in this life into anger or light.

Jacob Bhme (1682)

Having discussed the Buddhist conception of life, is there some connection to the philosophies of the

west? In fact, there are so many connections that one might say that the mystic traditions of different

types of countries in different continents are virtually the same. This, of course, hints at the claim that

the mystic traditions really have discovered some measure of the truth. My personal opinion is they

simply choose different words, a different language to describe exactly the same ideas.

As we have discussed the Buddhist wheel of life, it will be illustrative to look at the western wheel of

life. This is one example of very many. The picture is by D. A. Freher (Paradoxa Emblemata, 19th

century manuscript). Just like in the Buddhist wheel of

life, life proceeds in a circle without end. During the

circle, sometimes we are children and sometimes we are

old, sometimes we are male and sometimes female,

sometimes we are born and sometimes we die. However

there is no beginning and no end, the circle of life keeps

moving.

The

western

mysteries

also

believe

in

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How would one verify that one has had a past life? There is, at present, no physical method that can do

this and indeed science does not agree with this viewpoint. There are some individuals who have

recollections of their past lives. Furthermore there are meditative techniques in both the western and the

eastern spiritual practises that allow one to develop the memory of past lives.

Spiritual truths, says the mystic, can not be taught. They must be experienced. Scientific evidence that

past lives exist will therefore not benefit the individual seeker because the seeker must experience the

memory to really have the spiritual benefit.

The basic problem of the spiritual journey is that we do not have complete knowledge of the world and

this creates the entire problem. Buddhism encapsulates this in its noble truth that says that ignorance is

the root cause of suffering. Having a memory of past lives would help to remove ignorance from our

lives. Moreover, there is thought to be a global storehouse of all past knowledge. This goes by many

names, a popular one is the Akasha chronicles. Access to this wealth of past knowledge is a significant

step on the spiritual journey of the individual. It is remarkable that the existence of this library has been

independently claimed by all mystical traditions in the world.

The whell of life is not a wheel of time. It does not mean that everything that happens now will

eventually be repeated. What it is saying is that when you die you will be born again. It is a very

important statement to see that you have free will. Both the eastern and the western traditions

completely agree that the human being has a free will limited by the circumstances and consequences

of the actions. You can choose whether you are going to go on to what is called the left-hand path to

hell or lower spritual levels or the right-hand path to heaven or higher spiritual levels. You can

transform yourself into anger or light.

A significant portion of the western mystic tradition is a method of divination by means of cards called

Tarot. The Tarot is a collection of cards in five suits that gave rise to the playing cards we use

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nowadays to have fun and to gamble. The mystic uses the cards to get in touch with the human

subconscious. It is a fact (even according to science) that the subconscious harbours greater powers of

the intellect and mind that the consious. Tapping into this power is a major goal of spiritual practise.

One suit in the Tarot is called the major arcana. This includes 22 cards that evolved into the jokers of

the modern playing cards. The other four suits or minor arcana became the four suits of our playing

cards. The 22 cards of the major arcana are numbered and the order is very significant because it is

thought that a spiritual aspirant progresses in that order. However, the first card is by no means the

beginning. Neither is the last card the end. Generally, the first card is called the fool. The fool can be

viewed on several levels. First you can say the fool is a foolish person; somebody who acts without

thinking and therefore gets himself into a lot of trouble. It is the lowest stage of the spiritual evolution.

However, if you view the fool slightly differently, the fool does not care much about what other people

think of him or the fruits of his actions. He does not become attached to his actions or to the products of

his actions. The fool in this interpretation is a wise fool and is considered the highest stage of spiritual

evolution. If one can act without being attached, at all, to the consequences of those actions (praise

from others, material gain, pride, self-confidence or also failure), then one is truly wise.

below so above and as above so below for the

completion of the miracles of the One. And as

all things are of the One, from the meditation

of the One, are all things born from the One

through change. His father is the sun, his

mother the moon; the wind carried him in his

belly; the earth nursed him. He is the father of

all miracles in the world; his power is flawless

when it has been transformed into earth. Part

earth from fire and the subtle from the gross, gentle and with keen wisdom. He ascends from the earth

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to the heavens and returns to the earth from there so that he may obtain the might of the above and the

below. In this way, thou wilst receive the grandeur of the whole world and all darkness will flee thee.

This is the energy of highest potency as it vanquishes the subtle and pierces the dense. The world was

made thus. Thence are wonderful treatises and applications performed for which here are given the

means. Hermes Trismegistos am I called as I call the three parts of the wisdom of the world my own.

Heinrich Khunrath in Amphitheatrum sapientiae aeternae, Hannover, 1606

The basis of the western mystic tradition known as Hermeticism is the Tabula Smaragdina, the emerald

table shown in the picture. Hermeticism was founded by a man called Hermes Trismegistos (Hermes

being the Greek messenger of the gods and Trismegistos meaning three times great) who may or may

not have been a historical figure. The aim of alchemy is to achieve the spiritual fusion of opposites and

to thereby achieve enlightenment or unity with the cosmos. As they were persecuted as heretics, they

had to be careful how they phrased their discoveries. In addition, they desired to be secretive for their

own purpose. Only initiated members were given the keys to their secrets. The chose to use the

language of physical objects to hide their spiritual discoveries and this is how the science of alchemy

was founded. The finding of gold was by no means meant to be real physical gold but rather spiritual

gold. The founder of hermeticism, the three times great communicator between humans and gods,

wrote a summary of his path to enlightenment on a slab of emerald that is the Tabula Smaragdina. The

text is translated in the quote of Khunrath above.

As above, so below is one of the major statements that alchemy makes and what it means is that

above is the spiritual plane, below is the physical plane and they are the same. So what happens here

happens there. There is an interlinking. That is exactly what you have to do to become enlightened.

You have to be able to unify the physical below and the spiritual above. The unity of the whole means

that you have achieved the goal as such. Change is absolutely necessary. It is necessary to have a

cause-and-effect relationship. If nothing changes, nothing exists. The moon is the opposite to the sun;

they are taken as examples of pairs of opposites here. They symbolize the right and left hand paths.

You can choose to go towards the sun or towards the moon.

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What you have to do is part earth from fire and the subtle from the gross. You have to make a

distinction between different types of things (opposites in particular) to be able to achieve unification

of them in the end. First you have to be able to distinguish between things with keen wisdom, so you

have to do this with your goal in you mind. After you have done this you return to the Earth from the

heavens to unify these elements again with keen wisdom and receive the grandeur of the whole world

and all darkness will flee thee, in other words you have reached the goal. It is very important to realize

that according to this, achieving the spiritual goal presupposes intellectual understanding. After you

achieve the goal, you can vanquish the subtle and pierce the dense. There are no physical limitations

for you anymore; you have achieved miraculous powers.

The noble eight fold path is not a philosophy or a dogma or a mechanical ritual. It is an art of living

a way of life the path as shown by Buddha. It is actually living the teachings The perfection of the

noble path is insight or wisdom.

Vipassana (Maha-Salayatanika Sutta)

Buddhism gives a moral code which we are to follow. Like any religion, Buddhism has its social

aspects that teach its followers how to behave in a society. The overriding principle is that of doing

nothing that causes harm to anyone. The eightfold path is this moral code and is the equivalent of the

ten commandments of Christianity.

The eightfold path is not meant to be taken as a rigid prescription of what you should do but rather as

suggestions that you could choose to adopt. Sometimes it is difficult for us to keep a rule. Buddhism

teaches that one should only swear to uphold those moral rules that one actually intends to follow and

can follow rather than swear to all of them and then try to hide ones failure from the world. Take from

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the path what you can and what will be useful for your spiritual journey. Trying to keep rules that are

too difficult to keep right now are just going to hinder us and not help us on our way.

The first is right understanding. What is to be understood are the four noble truths: Life contains

suffering, the source of suffering is ignorance, suffering may cease and the way to make it cease is to

follow the practices as outlined. You should understand, through these noble truths, reality as it is. This

is supposed to be knowledge and not belief. Belief is something that you think is true but is based on a

little leap of faith. Knowledge is something that you have actually confirmed as being true.

The second is right thought. In Buddhism, thinking is a form of perception. Touching something and

thinking about something are two different forms of perceiving that object. In other words, not only if I

actually perform a physical action but also if I perform a thought action, that action counts. Not only

should I act in the right manner physically but I should also think about actions in the right manner.

Renunciation means we should try much as possible not to grasp after things. You may really like the

chocolate pudding but you should try as much as possible not to actively engage in searching for it.

Even if you are rich person you should not become attached to your riches. I should be kind to people

but not only in deed but also in thought. I should have kind thoughts, harmless thoughts. If I imagine

that I hurt you this is the same as if I actually hurt you. Thoughts count in full but good thoughts count

in full too. If I see somebody in a bad state I should not only help him but I should develop thoughts of

compassion.

The third is right speech. Through speech we can influence many things. Of course one should not lie,

except in cases where the lie is capable of bringing great good such as saving someones life. In

addition, one should not plagarize or slander. Using harsh words, insulting people and engaging in

gosip are also considered forms of verbal misconduct.

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Fourthly, one should make right actions. You should not kill anything, you should not steal anything

and you should not commit adultery. All of these are pretty clear. The general view is that one should

not invade the rights of other people. This is basically the human rights act formulated a few millennia

it was formulated in the west. My own personal freedom has to stop where yours begins. Everybody

has certain rights and privileges. Those rights and privileges should be exercised with the limitation

that the other people in the game also have rights and privileges. In other words, I cannot do everything

that I may want to do because that limits your freedom. If I act in a way as to remove your freedom of

action then that is a bad action.

The fifth component is right livelihood. Dealing in weapons, killing for money, selling or buying

slaves, selling or buying intoxicants or poisons are considered bad means of livelihood. The principle

here is you obtain your livelihood in a way as to cause no harm.

Sixthly, one should make right effort. Of course this goes with the action. One should act in such a way

as to discard existing evil, prevent evil from arising, develop good things and promote good things. If I

am not actually able to get rid of evil things and develop good things at least I should prevent and

promote. If we are not able to have a direct influence in the events of the world at least we can voice

our opinion. In other words, if we cannot go to Iraq and stop the war, we should at least protest. This is

right effort.

In seventh place, one should have the right mindfullness. Now this is the most complicated of all of

them because this means you have to control your thoughts all the time. You have to be mindful of the

state of your body, the state of your emotions, your mind or the mental objects that your mind is

dealing with at this moment. In other words, this is kind of a supervisor principle of yourself. This

becomes important in the practice of meditation where you have to assess your own state of mind as it

currently is so that you can guide yourself through the practice.

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Lastly, you should develop right concentration. Concentration in this case means single pointed

meditation. Single pointed means that you can sustain one thought, one mental object over a large

duration of time. For most people this is not possible. We sit there and we think about different things.

According to one statistic, at any moment in time during a university lecture, 20% of the students are

thinking about sex. Sometimes you pay attention to the lecture, sometimes you think about this and

sometimes you think about that. Different thoughts come and go all the time. Try to think about only

one single things for five to ten minutes. Really watch your mind that no other thought creeps in during

that time. You will find it very difficult. Developing this concentration is one of the aims of meditation

and it is through this that meditation has practical importance for many people who require

concentration. This right concentration is considered an essential ingredient towards being able to put

the other principles into practise. These eight principles should be considered as points to work on

oneself.

Live with compassion. Work with compassion. Die with compassion. Meditate with compassion.

Enjoy with compassion. When problems come, experience them with compassion.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Guru is a Sanskrit word meaning teacher and in this sense it means spiritual teacher. He is meant to

guide people through their spiritual evolution. He is a person who is there as an individual, leading you

as an individual. He does not teach a course to series of people but he gives individual personal advice

to people. If you have problems in your life, if you need advice for your spiritual development, the guru

is the person to go to. To be able to give advice, this person has to have a certain number of qualities to

make him eligible to be a good teacher. The most important thing as illustrated by the above quote is

compassion. He should have compassion for the student, a completely selfless interest in the student, a

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completely altruistic interest. One should not become a guru out of a desire to become famous, rich and

have a lot of influence but it should be an actual interest that students improve spiritually and no more

than this.

One of the most important things is that the guru should know what he is talking about. In order to lead

you to the goal he should have actually reached the goal himself. So enlightenment is one of the prime

requirements. You cannot have a leader along the path who is not been to the end of the path. Many

who claim to be gurus do not satisfy these requirements and it is then dangerous to become their

student.

Choosing a guru is something extremely important. The student benefits so greatly from having a

spiritual guide that it is said that enlightenment without a guru is impossible. The relationship set up

between student and guru is a very close one that will be stable even over death lasting many lifetimes.

Why is a guru so important?

The individual lacks perspective over their own life. We as individuals experience our life in great

detail. We cannot escape from our life. We know every single little event that happens to us and

because of this we lose sight of the big picture. You do not see the forrest for the trees. The guru is the

person who is able to perceive the big picture. He can guide you along the general direction because he

is able to see much further than you. Making the selection of a guru is extremely important if you are

serious about progressing along spiritual lines because you should follow the advice that you get. Your

journey depends on the advice. So selecting the right person for the spiritual journey is crucial.

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There are many in the world who label themselves as gurus. A certain lesser number are actually gurus

who satisfy these requirements. The first problem is distinguishing them but there are many in the

world and you can find them. There are number of people who fulfill the characteristics of guru but

they do not desire to advertise themselves. There is an ancient saying that says that when the student is

ready, the teacher will come. This is the view of the mystic traditions and so this search is not to be

rushed. In countries like India, Nepal and Tibet gurus may be found with relative ease but they also live

in the west. If you are willing to make the effort to look, then you will be rewarded and find your guru.

17.10 Liberation

If the abysm could vomit forth its secrets...But a voice is wanting, the deep truth is imageless; for what

would it avail to bid thee gaze on the revolving world? What to bid speak Fate, Time, Occasion,

Chance and Change? To these all things are subject but eternal Love.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

We find ourselves in the cycle of rebirths and experiencing the necessary suffering that comes with

this. We want to move towards happiness, the absence of suffering and so we want to break free of the

cycle of rebirths. This goal is called liberation. What is meant is liberation from the cycle of

reincarnation.

From the Tibetan Buddhist point of view the responsibility that this brings is that you are responsible

for helping all those people who have not achieved this stage to achieve it. Once you reach a spiritual

state (not necessarily the actual enlightenment), you are given the responsibility for the people below

that state. You ar expected to help them to achieve it. This is the principle of compassion and altruism.

When you achieve enlightenment, you have the responsibility for everyone.

17.11 Meditation

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In Buddhism the mentality of seriousness is not the deepest level Completely forget about the mind

and you will do all things well.

Takuan Soho

We achieve the state of liberation through meditation. Meditation is not something very serious. It is a

very flexible process. It centers around the removal of ignorance. It is an introspective process during

which you try to understand world better starting from yourself. Analyze your own mind; analyze how

this works with the world and through that understand the world as whole. The ignorance about Karma,

about dependent arising and emptiness has to be removed. In other words, what you are trying to find,

the links between events. You will eventually gain knowledge of these interconnections of different

events in the world which will eventually lead to a memory of your past lives and once you have

achieved this it entails complete knowledge of the world.

There are many techniques that you can choose to do and this is one thing that the guru is good for. He

tells you what specifically to do what works for you. There is no universal technique that everyone

should practise; it differs from person to person just like personalities. There are many techniques to

allow the mind to focus on one spiritual thought. Repeating words over and over again are a popular

method known as mantra. Focusing and controlling the flow of ones breath is a very simple but

extremely deep and powerful technique known as pranayama. Several forms of visual stimulus such as

geometrical shapes (yantra) or more complex drawings (mandala such as the wheel of life) are also

chosen. You use these techniques to train the mind to be capable of thinking about one particular object

of thought for a long period of time and when you have achieved this one-pointed concentration,

insights into the world will come. It is these insights that meditation is truly after. These insights are not

intellectualizable. One can not be told or taught the fundamental truths of the cosmos but one must

experience them by meditative means.

Obtaining insights is done via meditation but this requires the development of concentration. Hand in

hand with meditative concentration come calmness, relaxation, depth of thought, increased well being,

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increased health and self esteem. Meditation has many practical and psychological benefits apart from

spiritual ones. While teaching meditation in London, I observed that people who meditate have

significantly improved their university grade. Not only will this lead you to enlightenment but it will

give you a number of practical benefits that you can use in the real world. It will improve your life in

many ways.

17.12 Conclusions

The basic problem is that we all are ignorant about the workings of the world. We know something but

we do not know everything and some things that we believe in are not correct. This ignorance leads to

suffering. We act incorrectly because we are not aware of all the possibilities, we are not aware of all

the consequences and this suffering leads to rebirth. Everyone is totally responsible for their own

actions. In other words, if you do bad things you have to experience the result for that. You are

liberated from the cycle of rebirths through enlightenment, which is achieved through a series of

realizations that are obtained through the practice of meditation assissted by a guru. Meditation is, at

the moment, a very loose term but the literature on this topic is enormous and so it can be made very

precise. Now you have an idea of what the religion is. In the next lectures, I will tell you what the

philosophy of Buddhism is.

19.1 Know, Do, Expect!

All these activities should be performed without attachement or any expectation of result. They should

be performed as a matter of duty That is My final opinion.

Krsna in Bhagavad-Gita 18:6

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The point, not only of Buddhism but of all Oriental religions, is that the attachment to and the grasping

after objects is what is responsible for us being trapped in the cycle of rebirths and that the solution to

this is to get rid of the attachment. The Bhagavad Gita is one chapter in a very long story called the

Mahabarata, which is a story of an ancient war that took place in India a long time ago. The war is a

historical event and so much of the Mahabarata is historical. Throughout the work, several moral

problems are analysed. Particularly in the chapter called Bhagavad Gita. This chapter is quite short and

is heartily recommended to anyone having an interest in Oriental religions and philosophies.

The Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Krsna and Arjuna. Krsna is a manifestion of the Hindu

creator God Brahma and Arjuna is the commanding general of one army in this war. Arjuna is an

archer who stands on a war chariot driven by Krsna. Arjuna is in a dilemma because the war he is about

to start will involve fighting against some members of his own family. In the discussion of this moral

problem, Krsna and Arjuna discuss all religious aspect from what good moral conduct is to the ultimate

purpose of human existence and how to reach it. As illustrated by the quote above, one of the most

important aspects is that all activities should be performed without attachment to their fruits. Any

attachment to the fruits of your actions will only serve to strengthen the ego and this is detrimental to

spiritual progress.

Q: How do you figure which expectations you need to disregard and which are important?

In deciding what to do, one should take into account all the consequences of the actions. However, one

should not become attached to these consequences. For example, making a pudding in order to make a

group of children happy is a good action. However, you should not become attached to the results of

the actions. In other words, you should not be attached to the gratitude the children will demonstrate to

you. If you are attached to that, you are strengthening your ego and that is going against spiritual

progress.

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You do not need to be attached to things to do things. You can do things just because they are

necessary. You can do things because they come up, they need to be done, they are necessary. You

should do them not because you desire the results or you expect certain results, but you should do them

because they need to be done. What is important is that it is not the action itself that is being criticised

here but the attitude with which that action is performed. On the path to enlightenment, it is necessary

to leave ones ego behind.

We have been through mathematical logic. You have seen that logic has two main limitations. First,

you have to make assumptions about the world and second, you can never prove everything; there are

unprovable truths. But logic is very useful to systematize things. If you have a large body of statements

that you claim to be true, you can use the principles of logic to pick out several of them, hopefully few,

and deduce all the rest from them. This is the basic spirit. We made certain assumptions and from these

assumptions we have been able to obtain general relativity and from a few others we have been able to

obtain quantum mechanics. These assumptions that we have made are very likely to be correct. You

can never make this absolutely clear but they are likely to a high degree. In the case of quantum

mechanics we have found that it is necessary to decide what philosophical spirit you want to do it in.

So if we are just concerned about epistemology, what we know about the world, then we obtain a very

different theory of quantum mechanics than if we are concerned with ontology, what reality actually is.

According to one position, we have seen that particles have no independent existence at all. We must

observe them for them to exist. If we do not observe them, it makes no sense to talk about them

existing, to talk about them having a position. According to the other position, it makes perfect sense to

say something has an existence and a position independent of the observation. We just do not know

where it actually is until we look at it. It is a very different viewpoint and it gives rise to a very

different theory and they actually make different predictions. At the moment experimental physicists

are trying to build experiments that will decide between these two.

The third component is we want to look at the Buddhist philosophy and systematize this. The ancients

some millennia ago have developed some logical theories about reality, which are now considered to be

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the Buddhist philosophy. I want to discuss here one of the many systems. Just like in Christianity,

Buddhism has many schools and this derives from the fact that the historical Buddha did not design a

religion he gave advice to individuals and since individuals are different, you need different pieces of

advice. He basically constructed little different systems for each individual and this is why the big

dispute nowadays is which one is correct. None of them is any more correct than the others if you view

them from the historical perspective, so there is a lot of bickering between the individual sects.

I will choose one particular system and one particular work of that system to show you the philosophy

primarily because it has turned out in historical events to be very important. This system makes a lot of

claims and it argues some of those claims and gives examples for things. However, it is still very

difficult to understand. My aim of what to do with this is to systematize it. I propose that we take this

relatively large collection of statements, we fix our attention on very few of them, or even construct

very different ones as assumptions for this system and that we then deduce all the others as theorems

from this logical basis.

If our body of statements is systematized, we have only the axioms and the logical methods to believe

it. The rest follows. This makes the theory much simpler because in fundamental questions we need

only examine the assumptions since the other statements are contained in the assumptions.

Philosophers argue a great deal and much of it needlessly because they have different bases. If my

theory has different assumptions from yours, our theories can not be compared except perhaps

experimentally if we both claim them to be true of reality. If we do have the same basis but make

different conclusions this can only arise if at least one of us has made a logical error (or in practise one

has actually introduced further unstated axioms or uses a term in a different way; both of these are

results arising from the lamentable imprecision of human language). We wish to construct the logical

basis for one school of Buddhist philosophy so that it may be meaningfully compared to other

philosophies in the future.

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However clever a man may be, without the aptitude for critical examination, hes like the lustre of

burried gold.

Tibetan Proverb

The lineage started with Vasubandu (420 500). Dignaga

(460 520) was his student who then taught Isvarasena.

Dharmakirti (600 660) was his student who then taught

Devendrabuddhi and Dharmottara (750 810) followed him.

It is a strange historical fact that only every second student

was very prolific and celebrated. Dignaga started the system

even though he had Vasubandu as his master. Dharmakirti

expanded and improved it and Dhamottara wrote excellent

commentaries on Dharmakirtis work. As such Dignaga is

known as the Indian Aristotle. He had a pervasive influence

on Indian thought but not the dogmatic strangehold that

Aristotle had over European thought as enforced by the

Catholic church.

There are many books written by this school of thought. As often in eastern religious philosophy, these

works are either very short or very long. The masters have tended to write books of only a few pages in

which every sentence contains a wealth of information. These books were little more than annotations

or reminders for their students who knew the system very well. These books were then commented on

by the students who wrote veritable essays for every sentence of the original work explaining all the

facets of it and thereby making the work very large indeed. A further problem is that most of these

works have not yet been translated into English and so one would have to learn Tibetan and Sanskrit

before being able to read them all.

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We will choose one work by Dharmakirti which is quite short and is available in English in several

translations. It is called Nyaya-Bindu and it is just eleven pages long. There is a commentary by

Dhamottara which makes it several hundred pages long.

Dharmakirti

We want to act. This is the second thing, according to Kant, that philosophers want to discuss. First, we

want to discuss what we know, then we want to discuss what we shall do, and then we can talk about

what we can expect from that action. Dharmakirti says that all successful human action is based on

right knowledge. First of all, you have to know something correctly in order to be able to base

decisions about what you are going to do on it. Obtaining right knowledge is difficult. How to obtain

right knowledge is what the Nyaya-Bindu is concerned with.

You have to know something first in order to make an intelligent decision about what to do. The choice

has to depend on law of cause and effect. You have to consider not only what you know but also what

you consider to be the consequences of that action. Every action has a past to it, leading up to it. The

past makes it possible for that choice to be taken, for example, you have to go to school first in order

for you to be able to make the choice to come to university. Then you have an action that you can

decide whether to go to university immediately or start a job. To be able to make that decision, you

have to consider the consequences. If I go to university first and then take a job, I will be more

educated, therefore, possibly get a higher salary or a nicer job. If I take a job immediately, I will have

the consequence of not having such a high salary and perhaps being in a job that makes me much less

happy. These are possible consequences, I am not saying these are necessarily true but one has to

weigh the possibilities. As we do not have all the knowledge, we sometimes choose to do an action that

will lead to suffering.

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Buddhist theory according to Dharmakirti differentiates between direct knowledge and indirect

knowledge. Direct knowledge is defined to be that which we perceive. As soon as we operate on this

knowledge, such as give it a name, differentiate it from other objects or think about it, it becomes

indirect knowledge.

Padmasambhava

What you immediately perceive through the senses is not exactly how the world is. It is always said

that reality is like an illusion. The emphasis here is very much on the word like because an actual

illusion is not present at all. We say that reality does exist but just not in the form that we perceive it to

exist. If I say that I am seeing a chair here, there is something that actually exists but I in my mind am

putting the name chair and the form chair. I am projecting everything that makes it different from

non-chairs and similar to other chairs onto the object. All this projection onto reality makes it like an

illusion. There is something that actually exists but for me it is a chair with all the additional human

constructed connotations and therefore this is like an illusion. A mirage in the desert is a good example

of this. The oasis actually exists but not in the form and certainly not in the place perceived. The

illusory world in which we live is called samsara by the Buddhists. We live in samsara and it is our

goal to escape from it, to see reality as it is.

With every perception, you judge the objects you perceive. This judgment gives rise to a dichotomy. I

perceive this thing in front of me and I make the judgment that it is a chair. Judgment means I give a

name to something. Judgment does not mean good or bad, it does not entail a value judgement.

Judgment means this belongs to the group of objects that are called chairs. A judgment immediately

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means that while this is a chair, it also happens not to belong to the group of non-chairs. It gives rise to

a differentiation, to a dichotomy. I break up the universe into two parts: chairs and non-chairs. I am not

only labeling this thing but I am making it similar to other objects and I am making it dissimilar to yet

other objects. This dichotomy is clearly a human construction. It is we who are labeling these things

and this similarity and difference is not something inherent in the object itself. Nature is harmonic in

the sense that everything just is. Differentiating this from that is a human construction.

That immediately brings up the huge discussion nature vs. nurture. How much of human thinking

and ability is contained in the physical aspect in the DNA code and how much do we get taught as

we grow up. Buddhisms view is that everything is nurture because nature as such has no

dichotomizing aspect. The most basic things that humans do is to label objects and from that we can

construct our thinking. But nature as such does not contain this dichotomizing, there is no difference

between anything in nature as such. All of the differentiation is made by humans. Therefore, humans

being a part of reality, have to learn this judgment. The theory here is that basically everything is

nurture. But there is a large component of self-nurturing. So you do not learn everything from the

outside but you learn a great deal by reasoning yourself. A lot of self-education takes place. The goal of

the whole thing is to see reality as it is. We do not want to look at reality and immediately make the

judgments and the reasoning, that is the goal. We want to expand our consciousness so we want to look

at things the way they really are. We can expand our senses to be able to perceive things that we are not

at the moment capable of perceiving and we want to try to refrain from these judgments. Not judge that

this is a chair, not judge that it is good, it is bad, tasty or not. And this is one of the things that

Buddhism claims to achieve through meditation.

It is truth very certain that, when it is not in our power to determine what is true, we ought to follow

what is most probable.

Ren Descartes (1637)

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Given as our basis what knowledge we actually have, the probable, I have said, is that which it is

rational for us to believe. This is not a definition. For it is not rational for us to believe that the probable

is true; it is only rational to have a probable belief in it or to believe it in preference to alternative

beliefs. To believe one thing in preference to another, as distinct from believing the first true or more

probable and the second false or less probable, must have reference to action and must be a loose way

of expressing the propriety of acting on one hypothesis rather than on another. We might put it,

therefore, that the probable is the hypothesis on which it is rational for us to act. It is, however, not so

simple as this, for the obvious reason that of two hypotheses it may be rational to act on the less

probable if it leads to the greater good. We cannot say more at present than that the probability of a

hypothesis is one of the things to be determined and taken account of before acting on it.

John Maynard Keynes (1921)

Based on our obviously incomplete knowledge, what shall we do? How are we going to answer Kants

second question? Descartes advice is to prioritize actions and choose the top one on the list. As far as

truth is concerned we should order statements by their probability to be true. If our choice is based on

facts of questionable truth, then it is their probability to be correct that will sort the actions. This is the

answer of a mathematician.

Keynes was an economist largely responsible for starting the scientific study of economics. First of all

you have to assess, by some means, the probability of something happening. Merely because something

is more likely than another it does not mean that it is better. In other words, you have to attest not only

the probability but assess number of other things and here. Keynes concludes that it is not necessary

that you should act on the more probable but probability is just one of the things to be taken into

account. Just like Descartes, he is advocating a prioritizing principle in which probability somehow

figures but not as the only parameter. When you have two parameters, for example probability and

benefit to humankind, which is more important given that each gives rise to a different optimal action?

Somehow you must decide. Buddhism says that in such situations, you sometimes choose incorrectly

and this is what gives rise to suffering.

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The logicians believe that suffering is constructed by oneself, by another, by both, or by chance; but

you teach that it arises in dependence. Whatever is originated in dependence, you regard as void.

There is no independent entity, that is your incomparable lions roar.

Lokatitsatava (19-20)

Objects have properties but these properties are all interconnected. We perceive an object, we judge it,

we put a name to it and label it as in this is a chair. That points out a property of that object. This

object has the property of being a chair and clearly things are related and distinguished by their

properties. So this is a chair and that is a chair. They are related by the property of being a chair. But

this one is made of wood and that one is made of several materials but not wood and so they are

different in that sense. I can point out a property of both objects that makes them similar and I can point

out another property that makes them different. However, I can only relate them through these

properties. So it becomes very important what properties objects have to be able to distinguish things.

A property is a set of individual objects. The property of being a chair is simply the set of all chairs.

This is very reminiscent of what we did in the mathematics discussion before. We have defined the

number one to be all the sets that have a single element. We were able to define what a single element

meant without reference to the number one. So this defnition is not circular. Just like that it makes

sense to speak of the property of being a chair as the set of all chairs.

For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do

so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.

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We know objects through our senses. Our senses perceive properties; our senses see certain aspects of

this thing and then we judge, put a label to it. We how can we, from this state of judging, then make

deduction about reality? We have some direct knowledge through our senses and we want to make then

deductions. You have perceived some things, if you make the wrong deductions from this because your

mind is not sufficiently trained then you will suffer. If your mind is sufficiently trained and then draw

the correct conclusions from your sensory input then you will be ok.

So how do we do this? First of all, you make a distinction when things are similar and when things are

not. So objects A and B are going to be similar with respect to a property C if both of those objects

belong to that set which makes up the property. So I can say that this object and this object are similar

but I have to say with respect to what? They are similar with respect to the property of being a chair

because they are both members of the set of all chairs. They are not similar in terms of the material of

which they are made. So they are dissimilar with respect to the property of the material. We have wood

and we have plastic and metal. They do not belong to the set of all objects that are made of wood, only

this one belongs to this and the set of objects that are made of plastic and metal, this one belongs but

this one does not. So they are similar with respect to one property and they are dissimilar with respect

to another. Whenever you want to make the statement that something is similar to another object you

have to say with respect to what property.

For example, lets say you look at a cow and you say, this is a cow. You also have some knowledge

of what a mammal is. We all know that there are mammals that are now cows but all cows are

mammals. We want to be able to get to grips with the fact that a cow is a mammal, in other words, the

set of all cows is a proper subset of the set of all mammals. So this is something that we might like to

prove. Subsumptions means that something is contained in another. The set C which the property of

being a cow is contained within the set D which is the set of all mammals. Not only it is contained but

is properly contained that we have mammal that are not cows as well. So what we require is the

presence of C in all similar and the absence in all dissimilar cases. So presence in all similar cases

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means that every mammal has to be a cow or not and absence in dissimilar cases is that we may not

have a cow which is a non-mammal.

All S, all D

(everything is a cow)

All S, no D

(all mammals and

others are cows)

no

All S, some D

(all mammals and some

non-mammals are cows)

Calling the

similar

Overlap

No S, all D

(no mammals but all nonmammals are cows)

No S, no D

(nothing is a cow)

No S, some D

(no mammals but some

non-mammals are cows)

Contradiction

Contradiction

cases

Some S, all D

(some mammals are cows,

all non-mammals are

cows)

Overlap

Some S, no D

(some mammals are cows,

no non-mammals are

cows)

We have a proper subset

Some S, some D

(some mammals and some

non-mammals are cows)

we list all

cases S and

the

dissimilar

D,

the

Overlap

possibilities. Either you can have all of something, none of something or some of something. This is the

classification that comes out of Dharmakritis work and it is exactly the same as that is done in modern

mathematics. Dignaga calls it hetuchakra (the wheel of reason) and in mathematics we call it Venn

diagrams. It is precisely the same thing, of course, Dharmakriti invented this about 14 centuries before

Venn did.

Seven out of nine cases, give rise to a mistaken deduction and two mean that the set under

consideration (cows) is either a proper subset of or equal to the reference set (mammal) with respect to

which similar and dissimilar was defined. See the diagram for all nine possibilities.

19.8 Conclusions

You know the world by perceiving it. You have some senses and that is how you perceive properties of

objects. We reason about them through direct knowledge and indirect knowledge. Clearly the

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perceptions are limited and through this limitation they give a bias to the world that is like an illusion.

If you are going to act based on your perceptions and reasonings about your perceptions, you have to

consider all the different possible consequences that this action might give. You might want to act on

the most probable while taking into account some other properties as well.

The reasoning about these properties is to be done by our logic and the logic in the sense includes set

theory. We saw that, in the beginning of this course that we can construct all of set theory based on

logic. The logic that we exhibited in the lectures contain all of mathematics. We can make use of set

theory and the rest of mathematics to systematize this as well and we have seen in that here the

deductive strategy of Dharmakriti was the same as that being implied by set theory.

Dharmakirti (A.1)

Nyaya-Bindu, translated to a short treatise of logic, was written by Dharmakirti. It is one out of seven

books that he wrote and it is by far the shortest one and essentially a summary of the system. [An

English translation by Stcherbatsky of the Nyaya-Bindu was handed out during the lecture.] The book

comes in 3 chapters: perception, inference, and syllogism.

Both words nyaya and bindu are Sanskrit words. Nyaya comes from the root of to go and implies

a movement towards a complete understanding of the bindu. Bindu means point. In this philosophical182

religious lingo it does not simply mean point as in the mathematical point. It is identified in the

religious sense with the Big Bang. This is from the Sanskrit, which is the Hindu language the

Hinduistic system has a Big Bang, the Buddhist system does not. From the Hinduistic tradition the

bindu implies the first point where the entire universe was concentrated on a single mathematical point.

It had no extension in space and time and then the universe was created. That view is very similar to

the Big Bang view that we have now. In the Buddhist philosophy such a Big Bang does not exist but

the word bindu comes from that tradition. In the Buddhist sense bindu implies the ultimate particular.

Things are described by properties. Two properties of an object are the place where it is and time at

which it is there. If I am in motion, I am at a particular point in space only at a particular time.

Otherwise, I have to specify both my location and my time in order to specify myself uniquely. If I

have specified exactly a location and a time and I assume that two bits of matter cannot occupy the

same space at the same time, then those two pieces of information identify that object uniquely. The

combination of the two is the extreme particular: the point instant. That is the bindu. The basic point of

Dharmakirtis philosophy is that only the particular is real. Any combination of point instants that make

things like chairs or humans is a set of point instants but identifying that set as having similarities in

itself and differences from other things is a human construction.

The quotes given below are indexed by chapter and verse. The chapters are indicated by a letter (A

refers to perception, B to inference and C to syllogism) and the verses are numbered through the

chapter.

21.1 Perception

Knowledge exempt from such (construction) when it is not affected by an illusion produced by colorblindness, rapid motion, traveling on board a ship, sickness or other causes, is perceptive (right)

knowledge.

Dharmakirti (A.6)

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By construction he means here judgment. Judgment in the sense of naming things. I look and I call

something a chair-that is a construction. I see the set of point instants in front of me and I combine

them together in a set, I make them similar by calling them a chair, I make them different from other

things by meaning a chair is different from a table or a floor, and all that is a human construction. That

is not what is meant here. It is simply the immediate sense input that comes from these point instants,

that is, perception.

Perception can be flawed to some extent. I can be color-blind and not see the difference between green

and red, I can travel aboard a ship and see things moving that are not actually moving, I can be sick and

have hallucinations, etc. This brings us back to a discussion that we had in the very first lecture of this

course: How can you judge whether or not you are affected by such a deviation of sense perception?

We had the example of schizophrenia where you see people that do not exist. We also discussed the

possibility of voting who exists and who does not. I see a whole bunch of people in this room but

suppose I were schizophrenic and I saw every seat filled, then I would have more imagined people than

real people. Then who is to agree who is real and who is not? I could take a vote, in other words, ask

each individual. For me this means 120 people. Presumably all my imagined friends here will answer

as I would. Only 30 would say that there are really 30 of them. Therefore, the democratic vote would

go in my favor. This is a very difficult thing to do and this is one of the main problems of the

philosophy. It says that if you are affected by such a condition, then your perception is not right. Then

the question comes: How do you judge whether or not you are suffering from such a condition? This is

extremely difficult to answer. Effectively you have to ask other people and rely on this external

judgment.

Let us ignore this difficulty for a moment and say that everything we perceive is perceptive knowledge

without naming it. Right action presupposes right knowledge. You have to know something before you

act on it. Right action is very important because if you act incorrectly, then you get bad reactions. For

example, you have to know the law to be able to obey the law. There are some obvious laws such as:

You should not kill anybody. There are also some very complicated ones such as copyright law. In

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order not to break it, you really have to study it. You might do something that actually has bad

reactions upon you. It is pretty clear that right action presupposes right knowledge.

We obtain this right knowledge only in two ways: perception and inference from perception. We

perceive something and we make deductions from it based on logical means, that is, inference. Those

are the only ways that we can obtain right knowledge according to this system. It seems quite clear

perception is basic input and inference is everything that happens inside, so these two basically

dichotomize everything possible.

Judgment in the Buddhist sense means merely naming things. In the western philosophical tradition

judgment can mean different things depending on which philosopher you listen to and typically it is a

bunch more than this. It can include judgments of good and bad or right and wrong, for example. But in

the Buddhist sense judgment is nothing else but putting a label to things. This collection of point

instants is a chair is a judgment. I am not labeling it as a comfortable chair or as an uncomfortable

one.

You can perceive, according to Dharmakirti, in four different ways. I can see, hear, smell, touch, and

taste. Sensory perception is clearly one kind of perception. Thought is another one. I can think of things

or imagine things that is also sensory input. Consciousness is another one and is slightly

differentiated from the rest because this consciousness principle does not need to be active. You are

conscious of yourself, you have the idea of I exist, which is very fundamental. This is one point

where the eastern traditions differ from the western ones. Western philosophy thinks of the idea of I

exist or I am as a very advanced stage that only human beings can reach. You need to develop a lot

of philosophy before you reach this statement. This view is encapsulated by the stateent I think,

therefore I am by Descartes. In the eastern traditions, I am is the most basic fundamental thing that

there is. The feeling of self awareness is so basic in world that all living beings have it. Intuition is the

fourth and last kind of perception and is very important. Intuition, in this sense, means enlightenment.

Dharmakirti and Dignaga perfectly well knew that all knowledge is not accessible via logical means.

They knew that you can experimentally test only a finite number of cases that are accessible to you,

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you can make only a certain number of deductions from this and there is a whole body of truths simply

inaccessible to you. These you have to access by some other means and this means is called intuition,

translated here as intuition of the Saint. This is reached via meditation and is encapsulated by the

concept of enlightment. This becomes very important because in the western tradition of logic it has

only become apparent that there are logical truths, which are inaccessible by deductive means through

Gdels theorem. Buddhism has had the basic idea, that there are logically inaccessible truths, for a

long time and says that meditation is necessary to obtain knowledge of these truths. The cognition of

such truths are called insights which lead to personal development and eventually give rise to

enlightenment.

The object of perception is the particular, the absolute individual point instant. The object of perception

is not a collection of point instants. I do not perceive a chair but individual little point instants that I

then, upon mental reflection and construction, call a chair as being similar to its parts and different

from other things. Only this ultimate particular is considered to be real. Everything else is a

construction and it is different and similar by properties.

21.2 Inference

A cognition which is produced (indirectly) through a mark that has a threefold aspect, and which

refers to an object, (not perceived, but) inferred is internal inference.

Dharmakirti (B.3)

Identity is a reason for deducing a property when (the subject) alone is by itself sufficient for that

deduction. As e.g. Thesis. This is a tree. Reason. Because it is an Asoka.

Dharmakirti (B.16-17)

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Dharmakirti differentiates inference into two flavors: inference for oneself and inference for others.

Inference for oneself is the normal implication: If , then . Inference for others is the syllogism. If I

perceive this set of keys and I perceive that somebody lets them go, it is a necessary conclusion that it

will fall and create some noise. This is an inference for myself. My explanation to you, the

verbalization of this internal inference, is the inference for others. The difference here is one of

articulation of the argument. If you want to see it on a logical level, the for oneself is a simple if,

then statement, a simple implication, and the for others is the concatenation of several of these

statements, otherwise, a syllogism.

We need to make an inference. We perceive one thing-a hill full of smoke. Because it is full of smoke,

we cannot see anything beyond the smoke so we have to infer that there is a fire. This is an inference

for me because I have not yet given a reason for it. At the time it was considered that if you have a fire,

you get smoke and if you have smoke, then that was caused by fire. Nowadays we know that we can

create smoke in other ways, so this inference is not completely scientifically accurate. We are talking

here about a particular hill which has a time and a place and at that time this inference was made this

was a correct inference.

What makes it true is that, at that moment in time, it was true that smoke was caused by fire only. This,

of course, is a generalization. If I say that all smoke is caused by fire, then that in itself is a problem

because of all. That would mean that I would have to check all smoky hills at that time. That is, of

course, a practical impossibility. That will lead us into problem later on. This is an example of an

inference for oneself. I know from experience that fire gives rise to smoke and I have no experience of

smoke occurring for any other reason. Therefore, I make the inference that if I see smoke on a hill,

there must be fire beneath.

A property of something is a set of particulars. I perceive a set of particulars, I call them chair and I am

going to define the concept chair to be the set of all the point instants that make it up. Of course, this

is a time-dependant set. I presume that 5 years ago that set did not exist because this chair was

manufactured recently. Those point instants did not exist because they are point instants now.

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If I want to make inferences about properties such as the chair is black, then I have to consider two

sets of things the set of all chairs and the set of all black things. To be able to say that this is a true

sentence, I have to put those two together; I have to look at the intersection of the set of all chairs and

the set of all black things. Finally I have to see if the object I am referring to is in that intersection. I

basically need to make some inferences about set inclusion. Here we want to make the inference of

whether set A is included in set B. A is the set of points making up this particular chair and B is the set

of all black things. (also: A is the set of all smoky hills, B is the set of all fiery hills for making the

inference that all smoky hills are fiery hills) Should that be the case, there are two possibilities: a

proper subset and set equivalence. Two properties can be the same. This chair is the same set as this

chair. However, the set of all birches and the set of all trees, that is a proper inclusion. Every birch is a

tree but there are trees that are not birches. Therefore, the set of all birches is actually a proper subset of

that of trees. One needs to differentiate these two possibilities. The equivalence is simply a different

name for the same thing. The set of humans and the set of Homo Sapiens-that is the same thing because

those are synonyms. One must differentiate between those two possibilities.

Dharmakirti constructs three conditions of how this differentiation should be made. First of all, A must

in fact be a property of something. There must be some element of A, it cannot be an empty set. For

instance, the statement Flowers in the sky are black. A would be the set of all flowers in the sky a

typical Buddhist example of something that does not exist. Thus A is not a property of anything,

therefore, we can deduce that its inclusion in anything else is meaningless. The first condition is that A

must, in fact, exist. We establish this by giving an example. The second condition is that some As

must be Bs. Some could be all. If all of the As are Bs, then they will be equal and if it is less

than all of them, then it is an inclusion. The third condition says that no As must be non-Bs, that is,

the entirety of A must be included in B.

This three-aspected logical mark comes in three aspects: negation, identity and causation. Identity is a

translation and I do not like it because it is not identity in the mathematical sense that is meant. I call it

subsumption because it includes both possibilities that it be included in the property, like birches and

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trees, and that it be identical to each other, as in humans and Homo Sapiens. Subsumption is A birch is

perceived and thus a tree is perceived. This is obvious if I perceive something specific, then the

general category that includes this thing is also perceived. Negation goes as follows: An X (a chair) is

not there because it is not perceived. Clearly this is a negative judgment. If I do not perceive it, it is

not there. Causation is the difficult part because that requires knowledge that certain things cause

certain other things. If I see smoke, then I infer fire but I can only do that if I know previously that fire

and only fire causes smoke. Causation is difficult because I need to have knowledge to base my

inference on and this knowledge is necessarily inductive, which is a problem because I cannot perceive

everything.

Dharmakirti makes the interesting statement that apodictic (self-evident) negative judgment is not

possible. He is saying that negative judgments are never obvious. This is simply true because we have

limited perception. An example is No ravens exist. But how can we verify this? If we claimed that

ravens exist, all we would need to do is find one. This might be a practical problem but it is

theoretically possible. Verifying a statement like no ravens exist, means that somehow you have to

demonstrate that no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to catch one. We have postulated

that the only way to infer knowledge is through perception and inference and we can never perceive

everything. Therefore, it is never obvious that some things do not exist.

What is implied here is negative judgments. These are labels about the real world. Mathematical

statements can be absolutely true and absolutely false and proven to be so based on axioms of the

theory. However, they are not self-evident either. The statement that no true or false statements exist is

not obvious in the sense that it only becomes clear once certain assumptions are laid down for a logical

theory. That is what I tried to argue some weeks ago, that in effect nothing at all is self-evident.

Everything is based on assumptions that you make to begin with. Only then can you prove things but

you have to prove them.

21.2 Syllogism

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Inference for others (or syllogism) consists in communicating the three aspects of the logical mark

(to others).

Dharmakirti (C.1)

himself accepts just as such, (i.e., just as the point he bona fide intends to maintain, if from the start)

it is not discredited (by self-contradiction).

Dharmakirti (C.40)

For others, one has to somehow articulate an argument. Inference for others, or syllogism, consists of

communicating to others the aspects of a logical deduction. We have made a perception, we have

assessed that these three aspects are present that is the inference for oneself now we simply have to

communicate it. You communicate this with four terms: a major premise, an example, a minor premise,

and the conclusion of the argument.

The major premise states some general law: For all Bs, C holds. An example is, Whatever has a

beginning is impermanent. Then you give an example a particular point instant for which the major

premise is true. This satisfies the first aspect of the logical mark, in other words, we demonstrate that

the major premise is not empty. A jar is made, so it has a beginning, and it is impermanent it will

eventually cease to be. This is an example of where the major premise is correct. The first aspect of

logical mark is satisfied. Then we give a minor premise, which states a somewhat less general law.

That is, it gives a subset to the set of all things with an origin. For example, the sounds of our speech

have an origin. We said before that things that have a beginning are impermanent. Here we say that this

thing has a beginning. Of course, the conclusion now is obvious we conclude that the sounds of our

speech are impermanent.

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Q: What exactly is the difference between inference for oneself and inference for the other?

The difference is only communication. At the time this came out, public debates were extremely

popular. Two famous people would meet in the public with the large audience and have a discussion.

There would be a referee and he would declare a winner of the contest. The winner would get a very

large amount of money through having won the favour of the king by winning this public debate. In

fact Dignaga, because he was a very successful arguer in public, founded a lot of monasteries around

northern India because of winning all of these contests. Everywhere in these documents, you will find

prescriptions for how to find errors in somebody elses argument and how to argue cleverly against the

people so that you can win an argument. But basically here it comes in communication of logical

inferences made to other people.

Dharmakirti (A.14)

Coming back to the point, that alone which is unique, represents ultimate reality and unique is the

particular instant because specifying location and time specifies that uniquely. Any grouping that gives

rise to properties, that gives rise to name, is not real. They are made up of real things but not real in

itself. This is Russels theory of types. At the bottom we have these ultimate particulars that are

considered real then we bring them together into such of such particulars and then set is not itself a

particular of course and therefore it is considered not real. This is the same thing that Russell did in his

theory of types to avoid this Russells paradox. At the bottom level we have objects, we combine these

objects together to form sets of objects and we must not compare objects and sets of objects. These two

things are on a completely different level of mathematical existence and a comparison must not be

made and if you make this restriction then all of these mathematical paradoxes disappear. And this is

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what Dharmakriti does here as well. Only the ultimate particular is real combinations there of sets of

these are not real and we must not compare sets of particulars with individual of particulars.

Knowledge is obtained by perception, i.e. by perceiving the absolute individual and reasoning about it

that is making judgments, putting the particulars into a set and then differentiating that set obviously

through naming it from other sets. And we perceive objects through the properties. We perceive and

then we judge the object to be a chair, to be a table; that is, we include the particular into a particular

set and then the set is given a name. It is different from other sets by this property. This is a table. It is a

member of a set of all tables. But there is a set of all non-tables, for example this chair is a member of

set of all non-tables. So the distinction is immediately made. If I perceive and then judge this is a table I

have immediately introduced the dichotomy into the world. And this is where the spiritual aspects start.

In the world itself there is no dichotomy. All of that is a human construction. We label things to be this

set of al table and everything else is a set of non-tables. This is a set of all beautiful objects, this is a

set therefore of non-beautiful, i.e. ugly objects. This is the set of all good actions therefore

everything else is the set of wrong actions. That is all human construction. In nature, in reality as such

there is no good and bad, there is no right and wrong, no dichotomy at all. All of this is projected on by

the human being. This is the claim of Buddhism.

This labeling of good and bad is again a human construction. The law of Karma is merely a cause and

effect. If there is some cause then there will be some particular effect. Whether I label this effect to be

good or not that is a construction. So clearly I can say if I break the law I will go to jail. That is the law

of cause and effect. Then saying breaking the law is wrong and going to jail is undesirable is a human

construction. The law of cause and effect is there in the universe. A code of morality is not inherent.

This is our construction. And really all of Karma is bad in spiritual sense because you want to escape

this cycle of continual rebirth. In other words what you really want to be able to do according to the

spiritual philosophy of Buddhism is cut the law of Karma and escape from having to live through all of

these reactions, all the time.

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21.4 Knowledge

The source of cognizing consists in coordination (between the constructed image and its real) object.

Dharmakirti (A.20)

The source of scrutinizing consists in coordination between the constructed image and its real object.

So this is what we have been through. We perceive if something then we judge it then we infer things.

So those are real objects and the constructed image of these real objects is the name for it and it is the

inferences that we make from it. So we have real object then we construct an object like calling it chair,

thereby differentiating from tables and the source of scrutinizing lies in the coordination between it. In

another words we must be able to identify that will be called chair to be here and so on.

So you can make inferences of course in a straight forward way if then construction or you can make

them in a much more complicated way. Of course a lot of deductions that we make in everyday life are

fairly complicated. We see something simple and then by a whole chain of deductions we reach in a

different conclusion. And this is called syllogism.

Now comes the problem. The premises of deductions are assumed to be true. If you call the major

premises the general law, saying for instance as we had all things that have original and permanent, that

premise has to be experimentally verified. The experimental verification is contained in Dharmakritis

requirement that you give an example. So you must state your general law and you must give an

example. In other words you must give experimental evidence that your general law is correct. Then

you have to assume that the induction of these examples that you have given is correct. This is an

assumption, and then you can make the deduction. You can only perceive a certain number of examples

but the general law is general and so an inductive step takes place that must be justified.

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Two very interesting things said here: Firstly he acknowledges in his philosophy that induction cannot

be completely certified (made certain by experimental or perceptual means) and secondly he explicitly

says that the general laws must be experimentally verified by giving an example. This is natural

science. You postulate a general law; you do not know if it is true, you are perfectly aware that you can

never completely be certain that it is true. How do you become at least approximately certain? You

check it against reality. You come up with examples where this law holds and you try to come up with

examples where that law does not hold. If you cannot come up with any examples where it does not

hold and you have a large number of examples where it does then you can attach some belief to this

theory. Both of these points are explicitly stated in this philosophy. So it is very interesting to read this

because we consider Galileo in the 17th century in Italy to be the founder of this conception. Now this

is the 7th century in India so you may very well say that science as such started much before this.

The logical arguments here are very similar to those by the Greeks. The main difference that I can see

between this philosophy and Aristotles is that you have this extra possibility of nonsense. Aristotle

would say any nonsensensical statement is false. Dharmakriti actually reserves special category for

this. But of course there is a big philosophical difference in the sense that these people are trying to

justify different things. Dharmakriti is trying to build the foundation of philosophy for the Buddhist

spiritual thinking, which of course is very different from what Aristotle wanted. Both want to do much

more than just construct logic. They want to construct a theory of the world using logic and so

assumptions about reality have to come into it and this is where the major differences are.

21.5 Conclusions

Dharmakirti (C.141)

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Fallacies are logical mistakes. Sophistic comes from sophist in Greece. By now this is identified with

very clever arguments but intentionally wrong ones. The common use of the word sophisticated is

used slightly differently but it comes from this and it is meant to be very fancy and clever but

intentionally flawed. The person who gives a sophisticated argument, according to the classical

definition, gives a very complicated but wrong argument and intentionally deceiving you into believing

it is a right one. So this is the sense in which this is used here. Intentionally incorrect arguments are

discoveries of fallacies that are not present.

Perception and inference lead us to knowledge of the real world. Knowledge of the real world then

leads us to actions and this action has a reaction. So in this way we can answer Kant: what do I know,

what shall I do, what can I expect?

Knowledge is covered. Once you know and you have made your humanly constructed judgement of

good and bad and right and wrong you therefore know what to do. According to the law of cause and

effect, which we put into the system, you therefore know what you can expect. So this is the basis for

how to answer this sequence of questions.

The most particular point is that only the individual particular point instant is considered to be real.

This implied various things. It implies a logical theory of types but it implies also that this philosophy

assumes that both space and time are discrete. If space and time are discrete, everything else is discrete

also. Matter cannot be infinitely divisible because space is not. All of the measurable quantities like

speed, location, time and energy and so on. They have to all be discrete because the very essence with

which they are measured is discrete; space and time.

With the real number line I can say this is a point, that is a point and no matter which two points I

chose there are an infinite number of points in between. Now he is saying that there is a moment and

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there is a next moment and there is nothing in between. So he is explicitly making the assumption of

discreteness. Continuity does not exist here. Just because of this there is nothing in between one

moment and the next, i.e. saying the next or the adjacent one makes sense in this theory. The next real

number does not make any sense mathematically because there is none. But the next moment in this

philosophy of the world does make sense and that implies discreteness.

As we said before, actually experimentally verifying that nature is continuous is not possible. So this

point whether nature is continuous or whether nature is discrete has to be an assumption. You have to

simply agree on this because if it is continuous this is inaccessible to experiment. Because every

particular experimental apparatus is limited in its resolution and therefore it can measure to certain

resolution. But if space is continuous you need infinite resolution but that is impossible on a practical

level. This is in agreement with certain interpretations of quantum mechanics that say that we perceive

the electron here and we perceive an electron there but we cannot say anything meaningful about what

it did in between. We cannot even say if this electron is the same as that one and what does the same

mean anyway. It has changed its state, changed its properties. Over here it has the different properties

then it had over there. So even if it is the same it is changed and thus it is not the same.

In this lecture I would like to explain to you what I think are the primitive terms of this system, how to

define the other concepts in terms of those and then give some axioms. In the next two lectures I will

then try to prove some theorems from this and then try to use this whole system and extend the theory

beyond this book.

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This is the beauty of mathematics - you take a body of statements, you distill then down to the absolute

bare bones trying to find primitive terms and axioms, and then building up the system that you had as

theorems with proofs. Once you have that, you can go further. With the assumption that the whole

thing is consistent, you can build up further statements that were not contained originally in the system

and prove them as still being a part of the system. That is what we want to do.

How do we begin with systematization? First of all, as the basic logic for this whole endeavor we will

take the three-valued logic that we had some time in the past. The thing to remember is that we had

three different values for logical statements true, false, and nonsense. Three possibilities are inherent

in this system, we will take each of them as possible. All of the standard logical things that we know

about extend to this system. The notable exception to this is the law of double negation. Not-not

something does not necessarily get you back to where you started from. Double negation of nonsense,

for example, is not nonsense. It is not necessary for this to understand exactly in each and every detail

what this three-valued logic did in all the symbolism but keep it in mind that you have these three

different values and you will have to deal with them.

Logic itself does not do the whole job. We will have to introduce some more terms, some more axioms,

because what we really want to do is develop an ontology of the world. We want to be able to make

statements about the world as such. Therefore, we have to introduce into our system the world in terms

of primitives and axioms. Then we shall try to define all the other concepts of the theory in terms of

those and prove some theorems and then extend the theory. That is what we want to do.

Let us have a look at what we will take as primitives. What is the most basic thing about the world? It

exists, is a basic thing. Another thing that western philosophers like to say is that things have an

extension, things take up space. Let us take space as a primitive. Space-time, of course, in this

extension because time is just another variation on space as we have learned before.

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You have the world being space-time and you somehow have to be able to interact with this world.

Perception will be our other primitive concept. Perception is an interactive concept; it is a relation

between bits of space time and consciousness. Perception really has to be primitive because I am not

really able to supply a definition for it. Something has to be basic to the world. Perception is pretty

intuitive we know what perception means. We touch, feel, see, hear, smell and taste. These are all the

usual senses. We also think about things and have an imagination. Consciousness is also perceptive.

The feeling that I am for example is, according to the eastern tradition, the most basic element of

consciousness and is an extra sense. Then because this whole thing is inspired by a religious feeling of

enlightment, the extra sense of perception is the intuition of the saint. This is the state of meditation and

that allows you to gain knowledge about the world which is not given to you be immediate sensory

perception, not by thought and not by consciousness. We will find out that this is quite necessary

because of Gdels theorem. There are improvable truths and to be able to gain access to such truths,

you have to go beyond the system of logic. The traditional way to go beyond logic is meditation.

What is discrete? We know what continuous is. The line is continuous because inbetween every two

points I can find another one. Discrete is the opposite of continuous. In other words, there are pairs of

points in between of which there is no third point. Take a chessboard as an example. A person can

move towards me one square at a time. When the person is at the next square, he cannot get any closer.

The concept of the next square being adjacent to a square makes sense on a chessboard. Discreteness

is opposite to continuity and it will be crucial because in one of our axioms we will assume that spacetime is discrete. Most of physics assumes that space-time is continuous so that this assumption deviates

from standard natural scientific ideas.

discrete collection of point-instants so I can locate a point in space-time by giving its coordinates.

Coordinates are always relative, of course. I have to define something as being the origin and then I can

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define axes with respect to which we can measure the position of a particular point. One particular

point is going to be an individual. I do not mean by this a conscious person but an individual in this

case is just one single point-instant in space-time. It is a point not only in space but also in time. A

composite is something that is made up of more than one individual. In other words, my body is a

composite. Clearly there is more than one spatial point and there is more than one temporal point

because I live over a certain extended period of time. If space-time is discrete, there is only a finite

number of them because I am only so tall and so wide and I have a birth and I have a death. In other

words, there is a finite number of point instants that make up this composite being me. The same

thing is true for any material object. Anything has a finite extension in space and time.

A property of something is a set of individuals. For example, my body is also a property. It is a property

that many point-instants have. Every point at this moment in space that are contained in this body have

the property of belonging to my body. Properties can be very nicely defined as a set of individual pointinstants. The Russel theory of types is also contained in this Buddhist system. One system is called

apoha, which is exactly the same as Russels theory of types. It basically says that you must not

compare objects with properties. For example, saying that this upper right hand corner individual is a

chair, is nonsense. You must not make comparisons like this because individuals and sets of individuals

are totally different things. They are not on the same footing and cannot be compared. I can say that

this individual is a member of such and such a set but I must not equate them. This is Russels theory of

types and it gets rid of Russels paradox. So we can say that a particular individual belongs to a chair

but we must not say that it is a chair.

What does it mean to be identical? Identical means that you share all properties with the individual that

you are identical to. If you think about the way we interact with the world, we can only see properties

of things. We perceive things but then we make a judgment. Judgment in the Buddhist sense means

merely naming things. I look at things, I perceive these, and I name them. Keyboard, chair, computer,

and so on. That is a property. It is again a set of individuals. I can only compare and contrast things by

means of their properties. I can only interact with them by means of properties, therefore, for me to be

able to judge if one thing is the same as another, I have to do that with respect to a property. If I want to

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say that something is identical to something else, what I mean is that I cannot differentiate them by

means of any property. Identical means that it shares all properties.

This is distinct from similar and dissimilar because if I say that the table and this jacket are similar, I

have to point out how they are similar or with respect to what quality they are similar. They both have

the property of being inside this room. With respect to the property of being inside this room those two

objects are similar. With respect to the property of being red they are dissimilar because the jacket is

red but the table is not. If I want to make statements of similarity and of dissimilarity, I not only have to

say which two things I am considering to be similar or not similar but also with respect to what. This is

just having one property in common or not.

As I said before, judgment is merely naming things. We have a property, which is a set of individuals.

Attaching a label to this property is judgment. I perceive a set of individuals here and this set of

individuals is now labeled by me as a jacket. That is a judgment. In particular the judgment is also this

particular object or this particular individual, for example, this particular point instant there is a

member of this set that I have called jacket. I perceive something and I make the judgment that this is

an X. I have basically made a statement of set inclusion. This particular point instant is a member of

that set. Therefore, the statement This A is an X would be an example of a judgment. The universe is

simply the set of everything. That is very simple. The set of all individuals is the universe. Making the

judgment that an object belongs to the universe is equivanlent to saying, it exists.

What is a cause and what is an effect? If you want to say that something causes something else, such

as, fire causes smoke, what you are really saying is that you have two properties: that of being fire and

that of having smoke, and that those two are in relation to one another. We call this relation a causation

and it has the peculiar property that for every member of the effect set I can have one member of the

cause set that precedes it in time. In other words, for every bit of the smoky portion of that space-time I

can find a portion of fiery portion of space-time that preceded it. If I want to say that something is the

effect of something else, I always have to be able to find the presence of the thing I call cause at the

same place at a time before it. If there is one instant in which I am able to precede this effect and this

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cause did not happen before, then it is impossible to say that this thing is a cause for that effect. On the

other hand, if I am able to see this thing all the time, then it is possible to say that thing is an effect.

Q: What would happen to the second law of thermodynamics if we reversed the arrow of time?

The law of thermodynamics says that entropy always increases. Therefore, order in the universe

decreases. If you want to order something and create a structure in space time here, then I must spend

some energy that exceeds the amount of order created, i.e. I must create disorder somewhere else. The

concept of orderliness can indeed be measured in physical terms. This is basically what defines the

arrow of time. An action takes time and it expends a certain amount of energy to construct a structure.

After this has happened, the entropy of the system is higher than it was before. That defines the arrow

of time. So far, in the theory, we do not have an arrow of time. No physical theory has an arrow of time

explicitly built in. It always comes in through the second law of thermodynamics which we would have

to introduce here too if we wanted to do some physics.

Q: Then isnt there a possibility that at a certain point time will just stop?

If entropy always increases, who is to say that it will ever stop increasing? It is discrete and gets bigger

and bigger in a series of jumps. But discreteness does not mean it is bounded. This second law of

thermodynamics does not mean that time has to stop. It merely says that the measure of entropy

increases and it can increase indefinitely.

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A piece of knowledge I will call an articulated truth. The articulation of the truth is very important here

because there are truths out there that we do not know. How can we make a distinction? Piece of

knowledge is only real knowledge if we can write it down, if we can explain it to other people.

A cognition is a way of obtaining truth. There are truths out there in the universe some of which I

know and therefore can articulate, and some of which I do not know but I want to get to know them and

therefore cognition is getting more knowledge.

The articulation of the truth in itself does not involve the understanding of that articulation by someone

else. For example, if you know something and you formulate it but the other person does not

understand it, that is a problem for the second person. That, however, does not mean that you do not

know it. In practice, if someone has deep experiences and tries to convey them in mere words, it is very

difficult to explain and very difficult to understand for the other person. From the way I am presenting

it, this does not involve the understanding of the person I am talking to. That would definitely make it

worse. This means that it is not possible, in general, to learn lifes experiences by listening to people

who know. You must experience it for yourself so that you may gain the knowledge. They nevertheless

know it and can tell you about it, we simply do not understand explanations about things we have not

experienced. How, for example, should we explain to a blind man the beauty of a sunset so that he

really understands us? We can tell him but sadly he will not be able to fully grasp what we mean.

Intellectual knowledge posses no problems, the issue at hand is transferal of experiential knowledge.

Enlightment is the knowledge of all truths. This is exactly what the religion tries to do. Curiously you

observe from Gdels theorem that there are some truths that are unprovable. This will lead us later on

that introspection leads us to obtain unprovable knowledge.

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Individuals and sets of individuals have relations between one another. For example, this jacket is on

top of the table. Jacket is a set of individuals, table is a set of individuals and they have some relation

between them, namely the relation on top of. A relation is a set of ordered pairs of properties. An

ordered pair means that I have two properties, such as table and jacket and they must be ordered

because I am trying to get across the concept of on top. It really matters if I say that the jacket is on

top of the table or the table is on top of the jacket. In other words, I need this to be ordered. I can

construct a very large number of relations because I have a very large number of properties. One of

these, I am going to label as being on top. Experimentally, of course, this has some intuitive notion to

us. Mathematically speaking this is a set ordered pairs and one of them can be labeled by being on top.

We have the intuition of what this means. We have a frame of reference that allows us to measure

distances. The floor for us is normally the frame of reference and the direction towards the sky is up

and therefore we can measure the distances to the floor the table is closer to the floor than the jacket

is. It makes sense for us to say that this jacket is on top of the table rather than the other way around.

This is merely a convention. From a mathematical point of view this is all we need to define a relation.

To be definite the relation on top is the set of ordered pairs (a, b) where both a and b are properties.

In this case (jacket, table) is one member among an infinite number of members of this set; (I, floor) is

another member.

I have the set of humans and the set of IUB students and clearly there are some humans that are not

students at IUB and there are some students in IUB. Both sets are non-empty and there is also a nonempty set of humans that are not students at IUB. This is a proper subset. By this I mean that the

exclusion also has members, in this case, there are also humans that are not students at IUB. There are

such people and therefore the set of students at IUB is a proper subset. Consider the set of humans and

the set of Homo Sapiens. There are no differences between these. They are two formulations for

exactly the same set of individuals. Those are identical/equivalent sets. You can still say that the set of

humans is a subset of the set of Homo Sapiens but this does not make too much sense because you

know that they are equivalent. Mathematically we differentiate a subset and a proper subset in the sense

that a subset could be a proper subset and could be equivalent. Proper subset definitely excludes the

possibility of identity.

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To be able to get a value judgment, we have to introduce the concept of suffering. At every instant in

time and space we have choices between actions. These actions have consequences through the law of

cause and effect in the universe. If I make the decision to let go of something, I have to accept the

consequence that it drops. If that thing is fragile, I will have the further consequence of costs to replace

it and so on. Therefore, I have freedom of will in a very restricted from only. I can have a little bit of

freedom now involving a lot of consequences later on. So my course of action now determines to a

very large extent my choices in the future, the choices I have available in the future and the course of

the action I will take then. Because space-time will be assumed to be discrete, actions proceeds in

jumps of moments. In other words, I can meaningfully speak of chain of moments. The future

intersecting with myself is basically my lifeline as far as the future is concerned. This can take different

paths depending on the action I take now. My goal according to this philosophy is to gain

enlightenment, to know all truths. So I can measure, abstractly of course, the length of the chain of

moments from here to enlightenment. Practically I cannot make this measurement because I have not

any means by which to do this. But abstractly and theoretically I can consider that there is a length,

number of moments. If I perform a certain action now this either gets me towards it or it gets me away

from it and actions in the future get me towards and away from it. I can assess a distance and I will say

that you want to take the shortest path possible. Any non-minimal path that you choose to go along is a

bad one and this is then labeled suffering. So you have a series of choices, one of them is optimal, the

other ones are not optimal and the word for a non-optimal choice is suffering.

Ignorance of course is the opposite of enlightenment so that there are some truths that are not known.

Lets see what the axioms are. First of all space-time is discrete. We have been through this a couple of

time so that is quite clear. Second of all, nothing occupies the same space at the same time. This

basically means to say that the property of happening at a certain time and space definitely and

uniquely defines an individual. So giving a time and giving a place uniquely specifies a single point

instant. Individual is uniquely identified a position and a time. In other words, if I say it happens now

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that is large number of possibilities. But it happens here and now, that is unique. There are no two or

more possibilities for this.

And thirdly, sense perception is the only way to interact with the universe and it causes judgment. So

there are no other interactions possible except through the various means of perception. Of course

perception is a primitive term. It causes judgment. In other words it leads you to give a name to

properties or end to identify the facts that certain individuals belong to certain properties. So statements

like this individual here is a member of a jacket for example, that is a judgment.

We have just defined causality to be in this time ordered structure. Very importantly what was not said

is that necessarily the cause has to be at the same place or very close to the place of the effect. We

simply said it has to happen before. So this still leaves the possibility open of a cause happening over

here having an effect way over there at a time very close. In other words it includes the possibility of

non-local causes. So in one moment in time I can have an event here and at the next moment in time I

can have an event very many space bits away and this is fine as a cause. In normal classical physics this

would not be allowed. Every effect has to have a cause, which is very close to it in both space and time.

But quantum mechanics, we discovered few lectures ago, actually necessarily includes this non-locality

where you can in fact have causes and effects separated by a very large distance in space

infinitesimally in time. We include this possiblity by our loose definition of causation.

The certification of induction is not absolutely possible. Induction means that we make general

statements particularly about causation. For instance, if we want to say that fire causes smoke. The set

of all fiery things and all smoky things are two definite sets but from our perception we only have

access to several little pieces of these sets. We cannot perceive all fiery things. Some of them happened

very long ago and we were not born yet, some of them will happen in the future and some are

happening right now in far away places. So we cannot have perceptual access to all the individuals

involved in the claim fire causes smoke. To get from a few bits of information to the general

statement, we are making an induction. Is this induction justified and to what extent is it certain or can

be certified? On the logical level the answer is we cannot do that. Mathematics definitely says, if you

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have such a general statements such as all X are Y it is impossible to prove this by a list of examples

because there is always the possibility that there is an exception to your claim that you simply have not

listed (or, in the above case, not perceived). If I observe a fire that does not cause smoke then I have

what is called a counterexample. Then my induction is definitely false. So disproving an induction is

very easy. All I have to provide is one single example of where that statement is not true. Then

everything is over. But inducing itself, saying that this is true for all possible cases, that is only possible

with a certain measure of probability because we only have access to a finite number of things in

perceptual experience and this is really the root of ignorance.

There is knowledge which is definitely inaccessible and this is if you are looking for an exact proof of

this, this is Gdels theorem which tells you that there exist unprovable truths. There are truths, which

are inaccessible by logical means yet they are true and for this the only way in practice is to step

beyond the system of logic. Gdels theorem says, within the system this is not possible. You can

construct a meta system that analyzes the previous system and is able to prove its truths but then of

course Gdels theorem applies to the meta system and there exists theorem in the meta system that are

true but not provable in that system. So you have to construct a meta meta system that proves those but

then it and so on. So this leads basically to ignorance and this has to be broken somehow.

Now the question is: Is this whole thing consistent? In other words: Is it ever possible to prove

something and to prove its negation also. This is Gdels second theorem, which tells you that this is

also not possible if the system is sufficiently powerful which it is because it contains mathematical

logic. In other words, our logic is powerful enough to define what consistency means and therefore

according to Gdels theorem it will not be possible to actually prove that the system is consistent

within itself. Again we can construct a meta system by which means we can prove it but then this

consistency of our own system is relative to the consistency of a bigger system but the bigger system

can be proven consistent wither unless again we construct a meta meta system and so on. So again the

question of consistency becomes relative one.

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The principle of relativity is also included in this philosophical outlook because what we are saying

here is that only change is observable. You can really perceive only differences. We perceive

properties. We perceive individuals and we judge them to be members of properties and judgment of

something having a property is logically equivalent to it not having some other property. So for

example, if I say this individual has the property of being red, it is a member of the set of red things

that is logically equivalent to saying it is not the member of non-red things. In other words,

immediately perception, which causes judgment, differentiates things and that is change. So I only

perceive things in relation, i.e. on difference or in similarity to another and that is the principle of

relativity. I can only measure things in relation to other things.

23.4 Conclusions

We just had two primitives and three axioms. Space-time and perception were the primitives and

axioms were: space-time is discrete, you interact via the perception and space and time identify

uniquely the individual. Then we defined many other concepts and we found that the two main

principles that gave rise to the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics are contained here just in

terms of philosophical perception. There was relativity because we gain knowledge about things

through their properties. Therefore we can measure only things in relation to others. We do not have an

absolute reference frame. We always have to have a relative reference frame that depends on the

individual property. There was the non-locality by our way of defining what cause is going to mean.

We only have time related causes, not space related causes so that we can get non-local effects.

So far we have been discussing what the Nyaya-Bindu says, what it includes and what it claims to be

true. In the last lecture I have introduced some primitive terms, some axioms and I have defined a

number of other words in terms of the primitives so that you get some idea of how you can systematize

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this whole thing. What we want to be able to do is to deduce the statements of the Nyaya-Bindu from

the described foundation.

One of the most important things in this philosophy is the three-aspect theorem. We begin with two

basic properties A and B and we want to show that one includes or is equivalent to the other one.

For the moment we do not know which is which. We say A is included in B or A is equal to B. For

example, humans are mammals but there are also some other mammals that are not humans. That is an

inclusion. At the same time, however, the set of homo-sapiens is equal to the set of all humans; there

are no non-human homo-sapiens and all humans are homo-sapiens. These are two possibilities and in

general we have to care which one we are dealing with.

The Nyaya-Bindu claims that there are three conditions that have to be satisfied in order for this

inclusion or equivalence to hold. All three are claimed to be necessary and sufficient for this. There is

some dispute among philosophers who claim that only two are necessary. I claim that as stated in the

original work, this is correct. Of course, the original does not use mathematical symbols, so you have to

interpret slightly what those words in the book really mean.

The first condition is that the property A of which we say is included in property B has to be a real

property in the sense that it cannot be an empty set. If we say that the set of all humans is included in

the set of all mammals, the first condition is that the set of all humans is a set, that is we are able to

demonstrate an example of a human. If we are not able to demonstrate this, we have to conclude that

this set of humans does not exist because we cannot demonstrate even a member of it. Therefore,

making statements of it being included in some other set does not make any sense.

The second condition is that there is some overlap between the two sets. We have already demonstrated

that the set of all humans is not empty we have been able to show at least one human. Now we are

able to say that there has to be some overlap between these two. You have to show that some of these

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humans are also mammals. The intersection of these two sets has to be non-empty as well. We are

trying to make statements about set A using set B as a reference point. We are trying to say that A is

included in B and it is understood that this reference set set B is known. We are only talking about

this new set A, so that has to have some conditions attached to it.

The third condition is that the intersection of the set A and the complement of the set B is empty, i.e.

there are no humans that are non-mammals. So one has to show first of all that there are humans,

second of all that the intersection of humans and mammals is not empty, and that there are no overlaps

between the set of humans and the set of non-mammals. Then we can conclude that the set of humans

is properly included in the set of mammals.

These are three aspects that we have to fulfill to be able to make these statements. If you want to say

that A is properly included in B, or you want to say that A is equal to B, then you need only two

conditions. Saying that A is not empty and saying that the intersection between A and B is either equal

to B or the intersection between A and the complement of B is specifically empty will be sufficient.

But if you want to include both the possibility of inclusion and the possibility of equivalence, you have

to have all three cases. Matilal believed that only two conditions are necessary. If you read what he

wrote you can infer that he basically misunderstood what Dharmakirti is doing he is including both of

these possibilities. Matilal seems to think that there is only inclusion present here, in which case this

statements are correct. But what Dharmakirti is trying to do here is include both the possibility of

inclusion and equivalence. Because we have these two possibilities, we have to have an extra condition.

Another example is if you want to make a statement that all ravens are black (this is the example that

this philosopher brought up). Black is the reference class and therefore we are supposed to understand

what black is. Ravens are the problem. First of all, you have to demonstrate that there is a raven. Here

is one. So the first condition is satisfied. Then all the ravens and all the black things has to be nonempty. That is fine as well because the example of the raven that we have just shown is black and this

also serves to show that the intersection is not empty because this single example is an example of a

raven and a black object. Now comes the problem. Now we have to say that among all the non-black

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objects there is no raven. We have been able to get away with giving an example for the first two

conditions by just supplying one specific object with both these properties. The third condition is really

problematic because you have to examine the entire set of non-black things and that is a very large

class of things so we cannot really examine them. This is where the problem of induction comes in.

Essentially you look in a certain large number of specific instances, do you get this condition or not,

and then you have to make a quantum leap of faith. So if you want to speak about human experience, it

is very difficult to assert this third condition.

Logically it makes sense because we have the empty set (that we have been able to define long ago in

our lectures through logic), the concept of equal or not equal we have been able to define long ago, the

concept of set was defined through logic, so all of this makes sense. The only thing we need is

intersection. Intersection is quite clear. That we have been able to define through logic as well. All the

concepts set, empty set, equality, and intersection we have been able to define. We have also been

able to define what it means for sets to be equal. We have defined what it means for sets to be included

in one another. All of this came out of the logical discussions many lectures ago. If check back, these

three conditions actually give you necessary and sufficient conditions for that inclusion or equality. It

perfectly holds up mathematically. The only claim that you might make, as this other philosopher has

done, is that in fact these preconditions are not independent. They are independent, because the first

statement only makes a statement about set A. it does not make any statements about set B. Therefore,

it is independent from the other two conditions that are statements about the combinations of A and B.

The second statement is a statement about combination of property A and B. Two sets that are part of

the universe. The third statement is about the complement of B. of course, the complement of B

depends on B and it also depends on the universe because it is all the elements of B subtracted from it.

These three conditions really are independent of each other as they make statements about three

different things. Therefore, you need all three.

This is Dharmakirtis version. The version that Dignaga brought up is called the hetuchakra. I have

discussed this a couple of lectures ago, so I will be brief. We want to show again that A is either

included in B or equal to B. Let us draw them on the plane as a figure. What we are trying to do now is

to classify the different possibilities of intersection. We have sets A and B and we have their

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intersection and we have the intersection of A with the complement of B. There are three basic

possibilities. Either this intersection is the empty set or it is everything, or it is less than everything. So

the first set has three possibilities and for each of these three the second set has three possibilities. We

end up with nine different possible intersections. Again Matilal wants to introduce some more

categories here. As we see from the diagram, really there are none. You can introduce new categories

by hair-splitting some of these categories into subcategories but from a mathematical point of view

these nine are all that is necessary.

1

7

4

inclusions. The circle named 1 is the set of all

similars and dissimilars. We have this reference

5

6

8

similarity and dissimilarity with respect to. For

example, that chair and that chair are similar

with respect to the property of being black. The

table and the chair are dissimilar with respect to

the property of being black simply because the

table is not black but the chair is black. The second circle includes some of the similars but not all but it

includes all of the dissimilar things, so all of the non-black things and some of the black ones. In the

third category you have none of the similars at all but all of the dissimilars. And it goes on like this.

Between similars and dissimilars you either have all, some, or none. If I have all of the similars, I can

have all, some, or none of the dissimilars. For some of the similars I can have all, some, or none of the

dissimilars again and I have these nine possibilities. Clearly, we want at least some of the similars

present and none of the dissimilars. We want to say that all ravens are black, therefore we want none of

the dissimilars present there should be no ravens of a different color. We want at least some of the

similars present in the sense that every raven should be a black object but not necessarily every black

object should be a raven. This is what is meant by some. Some of the black things are ravens but not all

of them. This is what is meant by proper set inclusion. If you can demonstrate that all ravens are black

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but there are some black things that are not ravens, the set of ravens is properly included in the set of

black things.

The other possibility is when the sets are equal. This is the case with humans and homo-sapiens they

are different words for the same thing. You have no dissimilars present, that is, you cannot demonstrate

humans that are not homo-sapiens, but you can also demonstrate no homo sapiens that are not humans

at the same time, in other words, you have presence of all similars and no dissimilars.

Two among these nine possibilities give you a correct deduction. One of them is that set A is properly

included in set B and the other possibility is that set A is equal to set B. The other possibilities give rise

to either a nonsense statement or a false statement.

25.3 Negation

Dharmakirti proceeds with several forms of negation. Negation is important to him because you want

to make statements about things that you do not perceive. This is more complicated. I can say that this

chair is black and I have made judgments from which I can deduce some causality; for example, it has

to have been manufactured at some point. I also want to say, I do not perceive a plant and therefore

there is no plant. This is much more complicated because I want to make deductions about stuff that I

do not perceive. I have to say that this is what I perceive and then the complement of what I perceive

does not exist here.

Dharmakirti lists eleven types of differentiating or negation. They are all different formulations of one

basic principle of negation. The basic principle of negation is: If I do not perceive it, it does not exist.

This comes straight from our axiom: Perception is the only way in which we gain knowledge about

the universe. The eleven forms are:

1.

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2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

If every A is a B and some A does not have property C, then some B does not have property C.

7.

If we know that A causes the absence of B and that A, then there exist no unimpeded causes for

B.

8.

If we know that A causes B and that C causes the absence of B, then C causes the absence of

10.

11.

If A causes B, B causes the absence of C and C causes D, then A causes the absence of D.

We have also assumed that all things are caused. So if I perceive something, I can make a deduction

that the things that I do not perceive do not exist. That was the first statement of negation. Since the

plant that is not in front of me does not exist, there cannot have been any causes for it to exist unless

those causes were impeded.

The concept of impeded causes is important. There are some causes for things. If I hit the table for

instance, I get hurt. So there is a cause and an effect. This is local have to have a contact, i.e. my hand

and the table are close to each other both in space and in time. So I have local causality. However, this

could be impeded somehow. If I have a causal chain of events, there could be something that prevents

the effect from happening. For example, if I crash into a house, my car and the house will both get

broken. There is a cause and effect relationship. But in the meantime my car may break down. If this

happens, I cannot drive and I cannot hit the house so nothing breaks. Here is a possibility that we have

a cause and effect relationship that can be interrupted. I have a cause and I have to have several steps of

events in between before I reach the effect. Me driving is the cause and the eventual effect is going to

be the destruction of my car because I hit the house. But many things have to happen in the meantime. I

have to reach the house, I have to intersect it, etc. I have to do many things for that to occur. There is a

possibility that something goes wrong in a certain sense. If my car breaks down, I will not be able to

reach the house and the effect will not happen. This cause and effect relationship is not local in the

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sense that these two events, me driving and me hitting the wall, are separated by some appreciable

distance in time and space and some other things may happened in the meantime to impede this effect.

The basic thing is that you cannot predict the future based on the immediate (local) present. If I know

the causes, I might not necessarily know the effect because something in the meantime might prevent

the effect from happening. This is what is meant by unimpeded causes. I do not perceive a plant. The

possibilities are that either there are no causes for a plant being here, or those causes were somehow

interrupted. If I make the statement that there are no unimpeded causes, then it is correct.

This is a big problem. The statement is made here that perception gives you sense of reality if it is not

interrupted by some sort of fault. If you have hallucinations, perception is considered faulty. That leads

to the question of how you asses that the perception is faulty or not. And this is a problem that I do not

have a solution for. Suppose I am schizophrenic and I saw more people than than you in this lecture

hall, how would you tell whether my perception is faulty or your perception is faulty? Saying that

perception only leads you to true reality if it is not impeded by some sort of faulty apparatus, is difficult

because you do not know when it is faulty and when it is not.

Prof. Crowther: The biggest progress that has been made in western philosophy in the 20th century it

tends to show skepticism about the criteria of truth on the basis of repulsive private experience, the idea

being, that there is no sophisticated human type word that can be done without shared language and by

initiating language you distinguish between right and wrong and also people who are on the margins of

reality. You can identify those by how they behave. In other words, this is a criterion of knowledge

connected with language and by connecting with language it connects with the public third party

behavioral criteria.

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Who is the third party? If these imagined people were included in this third party verification, then the

schizophrenic still wins

Prof. Crowther: The thing is that schizophrenic reality breaks down at some point and it intersects

again with what is shared by everybody. You can only find out by testing on the basis of language.

Not only the philosophers but also behaviorists and psychologists are saying that language is the prime

thing that makes humans intelligent and different from animals. Personally I have to say I do not abide

by this at all. This might be a good idea where we can have some conversation here. I think language is

very limiting. The experiences that I have, I can formulate in language only to a very approximate

degree myself. By the time it arrives in your ear with your past experiences and knowledge it will be

interpreted to something very different and then by the time you get to read the scripts of what I have

said, it means something typically quite different from what I have in my head, I think. This is my

personal opinion and it is basically something like the Chinese whispers experiment. Even after five or

six people of saying something in each others ear, at the other end total nonsense will come out. I

think there is a big problem with this approach. Additionally I believe that animals have far more

sophisticated communication abilities than they are typically given credit for. Just because we can not

speak dog does not mean that there is no dog language.

So if we have set A which is contained in set B but there is here in front of us no Bs then there are also

no As. This is quite clear. If we have proven that humans are mammals then we see before us there is

no mammal then there are also no humans. Now again some casual relationship: if we know that the

presence of the A leads to the absence of a B and we perceive in front of us the presence of this A then

we know that there is no B. Of course you can combine all of these things in terms of syllogism. This

basically was syllogism. A leads to the absence of B: one term. We perceive here an A. So A is true. A

leads to the absence of B. We know both of these things, so absence of B has to be correct. You can get

slightly more complicated. You can attach another term to this. You can say if C leads to A and A then

leads to the absence of B you still have A leads to the absence of B, and now in front of it we say that

some C leads to A. Do we have a cause for A? And A is the cause for the absence of B. now we see in

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front of us the C, the initial cause therefore in this causal chain we conclude that the B is absent also.

So if we see the first condition for the cause of the absence of something we must conclude that thing is

actually absent. If every A is a B, so if every human is a homo-sapiens and some A does not have the

property B, lets say some human does not have the properties of having three arms then some B does

not have the property C. this is not the obvious thing. Some homo sapiens therefore has them, does not

have the property of having three hands simply because the properties of being humans and homosapiens A and B are the same. So this is just reformulation. I can for one set stick in the different levels

for the same thing.

If we know that the A causes an absence of B then we see the cause. So we have cause and effect

relationship, we observe the cause. Before we have said that therefore this effect, this B, does not exist.

However, we can also conclude that because the B does not exist there can not be any causes

(unimpeded ones at least) for B.

Now once more, slightly reformulating the syllogism again if we have a cause for an effect and we

have another cause for the absence of the same effect. So A causes B, C causes the absence of B then

we can turn this around in the syllogism and say that C causes the absence of effects of A. This is just

reformulating in this language. C causes the absence of B that is stipulated. It is also stipulated that A

causes B, in other words B is an effect of A, if we observe C, B is not present. That was the first

statement. B being an effect of A. A is not present therefore there are no effects of A. So all it is is

clever arrangement of words. These are all the same things. Now if A causes B, the absence of B

causes the absence of A. that is another thing which is very underlying all of this: is that if you have an

implication (A implies B), you can turn this around by saying that not B implies not A. It is not that B

implies A. That is not right. That is only true if the implication goes both ways. If you have a one way

implication, if A then B is logically equivalent to if not B then not A. We just resolved into this

here and we get the statement that if we know that A causes B therefore the absence of B has to be a

cause for the absence of A.

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The basic statement is that Dharmakriti distinguishes between eleven different types of negation but

does say that, as I have hopefully shown, they are all clever use of words. They are all just differences

in formulation; different uses of the words implies and cause. All these statements are equivalent

to: This is not observed and so it is not there. And that was the assumption of the entire system that

we make. That is an axiom and then all of these reformulations are merely that, reformulations. They

are not in any way new. In other words they are theorems that we can prove from this axiom using the

principles of logic.

25.4 Syllogism

The syllogism is constructed as follows. We have two implications. Statement A implies statement B

and the statement B implies the third statement C. In other words, we have if A then B and if B then C.

In this chain we can ignore the element B altogether and we can say, if A then C. That is the syllogism

and this allows you to prove theorems. Every single little step in the proof of a theorem is simple.

Every single step is supposed to be easy, supposed to either be an axiom or immediately follow from

the logical deductions. Then you put them together into a long chain. All of the second terms are equal

to the first terms of the following statements, you can cancel all of this out leading you from the very

first statement of the proof to immediately give you the very last one and this is the theorem. The

syllogism allows us to cut through a very long communication and simply give the statement. It is a

question of efficiency. So if in everyday communication we make a lot of statements and those

statements presuppose a very large amount of knowledge and experience and so on all the words are

used. You have to know all these words. The words have connotations to you. You have life

experiences and a memory. If at every stage I would have to explain every little detail to every word I

use, define what I mean by that and what I have experienced in my past. All this stuff would make

communication totally impossible. This is why the syllogism is absolutely crucial. But it can be

rearranged.

The way I have just said it, it is called the method of agreement in this philosophy. It is simply a label

as opposed to the method of difference which is slightly different simply because it includes negation.

If you have the implication, if A then B, you can turn around and say if not B then not A. You can take

this principle, the fact that these two statements are logically equivalent and slot them into the

syllogism and then the syllogism reads slightly differently. While the method of agreement looked like

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[(A ? B) ? (B ? C)] ? (A ? C), the method of difference looks like [(A ? -B) ? (C ? B)] ? (A ? -C). If

A then not B; if I have the cause for the absence of something and at the same time if C then B; I have

both a cause for the absence of B (that is A) and I have a cause for the presence of B (that is C) then I

can deduce from this if A then not C. So if I have the cause for the absence then I cannot have the

cause for the presence of the object. That is quite clear because if I had both then it would make no

sense. Of course again with the qualification of unimpeded causes. This is called the method of

difference. It is simply a reformulation that you get from the method of agreement by this logical

equivalence of if A then B and if not B then not A.

These two methods are equivalent and Dharmakriti states that they are. They are simply different

formulations. Again this is a question of language. Just like in this negation example we will be able to

construct all these difficult chains of this cause and that. They are logically equivalent. They are just

different ways of formulating the same statements.

25.5 Fallacies

I have mentioned the topic of fallacies before and in some philosophy books on logic you find that a

large portion of the book is devoted to fallacies. I just want to make a few remarks. From a

mathematical point of view discussing fallacies is not necessary.

What are fallacies? First of all, you can make additional assumptions in your proofs that you did not

state. In our axiomatic system we had primitive terms and axioms then we defined other terms and we

proved some theorems. Of course, it is taken for granted in the whole construction that in the definition

of a new term we use only the primitives and in the proofs of the theorems we use only the axioms. If

you need an additional assumption for the proof of a theorem that you did not state in the mean time,

you are cheating. You are claiming that you can do something with a system that you cannot do

without bringing in something new and this cheating is a form of fallacy.

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Secondly, you can use terms without defining them. I can present lots of fancy words that will impress

people but if they do not know what they mean these words are useless for communication. If I use

terms in my logical proof without having definition of these beforehand and without them being

primitives of course then this is also a fallacy because any statements made about an undefined term

are useless.

Thirdly, you can use ambiguous terms. I can have one term with several definitions for it. This occurs

in the English language a great deal. If you look in any dictionary, many many words have several

definitions and the human being is supposed to be capable of distinguishing which of these meanings

was intended from the context. Now in a logical debate this cannot be allowed. If it is not clear to the

people that I discuss with what exactly I mean, I am basically cheating again. The use of ambiguous

terms is considered to be a fallacy. If you use a term, which has several definitions, you must make it

absolutely clear which of the several definitions you mean. Otherwise this will lead you into trouble.

Lastly, the basic concept of a fallacy is simply that of a mistake. You have rules of logical deduction

that you can apply. If you do not apply them properly then you have made a mistake. This occurs of

course sometimes unintentionally, sometimes because we want to reach a certain conclusion we

actually intentionally do that. But nevertheless it is wrong, it is a mistake and therefore it is also

considered in this umbrella of fallacy.

The important thing with respect to fallacy is to realize is that the only that can be criticized is the

proof. If I give an argument for something and in that argument I commit one of these fallacies, that

means the argument as I have presented it is wrong. It does not mean that the argument can not be fixed

by removing this error. It does not mean that the claim I am trying to argue for is wrong. There might

exist some entirely different argument, which is preferably logically correct, which does prove that

statement, it is just that the argument I gave is wrong. So the existence of a fallacy merely demonstrates

that this particular articulation of a proof is wrong and says nothing at all about the statement in

question.

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25.6 Conclusions

Now just to quickly sum up in the last lecture we had some primitive terms, some axioms and some

definitions. This time I have shown you that we can deduce the statements of the Nyaya-bindu from

this basis. There were no statements in the Nyaya-bindu that had an explicit contradiction with the

axioms that we have had. We were able to demonstrate the statements in terms of the system we had

before. So a systematization is possible.

Consistency is a very tricky issue. You would like to be able show that a system is consistent. In other

words, not only are a few specific examples of statements not contradictory but a contradiction can

never arise. Now this leads us through the discussion of Gdels theorem in our logic. Gdels theorem

is included in the sense that our logic is powerful enough to define consistency within the system.

Therefore according to the Gdel we can not ever prove consistency in this system. We can only prove

relative consistency. So while being able to claim that we have a systematic foundation for the

statements of the Nyaya-bindu we can not claim that this is absolutely consistent. Not only is this too

lengthy or too difficult, it is just not possible on a very fundamental level. The only way that we might

be able to somehow argue consistency basically comes down to some measure of belief. Effectively

you have to believe in the consistency of the system. By mathematical means it is not possible to prove

it. Not only has nobody accomplished it, it can be proven to be impossible.

So what have we achieved? We have reduced the content of eleven pages of logical statements to two

primitive terms and three axioms. We have made it much shorter. That makes it simpler to understand

and it reduces the belief required. If you want to be a follower of the system what do you have o

believe in? All you have to believe in is the primitive construction, i.e. the axioms because the rest

follows based on these axioms. You can, of course, disagree. I am making no statements whatsoever

about the truth of this system. All I am saying is it hangs together logically if you make certain

assumptions. If you believe in those assumptions, because of the logical relation, you necessarily have

to believe in the rest. This makes it very simple. You have all these statements that have been shown to

be equivalent to very few others. However the belief is necessary and you can prefer to disagree. I am

not saying that it is true in reality. I am only saying that the certain systematization has been performed.

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The other thing this will allow us to do is because we have a foundation available, we can go beyond

what we have so far and deduce more things to extend our picture of reality as based on these

assumptions.

I presented the statements of the Nyaya-Bindu and we showed that we can deduce them from a small

number of assumptions and primitives. Here I want to extend this into statements that are found in

Buddhism but not in Nyaya-Bindu. I will just illustrate a few major statements but this can be extended

to include many more than this.

27.1 Dialetic

One statement that is often made is: Any non-trivial judgment is necessarily dialectical. This

includes a bunch of things that need to be explained and once you understand what these statements

actually say, it is almost trivial.

What is a judgment? We said that judgment in the Buddhist connotation simply means that an element

A is a member of a set X. For example, saying that this particular thing here is a member of the set of

black chairs, I make a judgment. Judgment in this connotation does not entail a judgment of good or

bad, or right or wrong. It simply means that this is an element of some collection. Some western

philosophers attach more meaning to the word judgment but in this sense it is just the sense of

belonging. Dialectical is a word with many meanings. If you actually look it up in the Oxford English

dictionary, you will find rather many different meanings of the word dialectical or dialectic. To my

understanding, it stems from western philosophers not making it entirely clear what they mean so a lot

of different philosophers mean slightly different things by it. Therefore, it sometimes becomes difficult

to distinguish what it means. What I mean by dialectical is simply a dichotomy. A dichotomy means

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this is a member of this set, that is not a member of this set. Basically I have divided the universe into

two pieces, the piece of black chairs and the piece of non-black chairs. To me, that is all that dialectical

means. But there are a lot of uses of that word out there.

What is non-trivial? The set X is not the universe. In other words, non-trivial judgments are all

judgments other that This thing belongs to the universe. A reformulation of this statement is It

exists. That is a trivial judgment because by the very fact that we can point to this, it necessarily

entails that this exists, otherwise it would be nonsensical. As soon as I can point this out, that it is a part

of the universe is obvious, I call it trivial. Non-trivial judgment is something that is telling you

something useful, such as This is a black chair. That is very restrictive among the set of all things

that exist.

If I make a judgment that gives me non-trivial information, this necessarily produces a dichotomy.

Now that we understand the terms, that is obvious. Given the set X and given the fact that it is not

everything, the complement of this set, the set X, is defined. It is a perfectly uniquely defined set and

it has elements. Therefore, we know exactly what it is. You can prove this logically by the method of

truth tables that the statement of A belongs to X is logically equivalent to the statement that A does

not belong to the complement of X. In other words, a positive judgment (A belongs to X) is equivalent

to a negative judgment (A does not belong to X). That is why I say it is necessarily dialectical, given

that the set X is not the universe.

27.2 Emptiness

Heart of Wisdom Sutra

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We have started out easy but now comes the really difficult one the theorem of emptiness or the

statement that everything is empty. What are things empty of? Things are empty of independent

existence. This is one of the major statements of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and the realization of

this, meaning, not the intellectual learning of something but the actual experiential feeling of it through

the experience of meditation is considered to be one of the highest states of development.

We have assumed that perception is the only way to interact with the universe. That perception causes

judgment was part of the axiom as well. Judgment, we have just shown, is necessarily dialectical.

Therefore, perception introduces a dichotomy. Clearly, any object has many properties. We defined a

property to be a set of objects including that one. Any object belongs to many sets. An object has many

properties but an object is not a property itself. This is this, it belongs to the set of black chairs but

saying that it is a black chair does not uniquely identify it because there are others. It is not a black

chair, black chair is nearly a property of it. I am a human being, but that does not uniquely identify me,

it is just a property of me but it does not define me. I am not equal to one, I am only a member of that

set. One must carefully distinguish the concepts of belonging to a set of objects (the word is) and the

concept of identity (the word identical).

No. I have defined property as a set of individual objects. I can form a set in many ways. I can form a

set of only this particular object, I can form a set of this object and some others, so of the things in the

universe I can make many sets. Using an infinite number of objects or point-instants, I can make a

infinite number of sets and all these are properties by definition. Any object belongs to an infinite

number of sets and thus has an infinite number of properties.

I have defined an object as a single point instant. One of our assumptions was that space and time are

discrete so that I proceed both in space and time in jumps. One of them is an individual. A property is a

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set of such individuals. The here and now, if I specify a particular space and a particular time, I have

specified uniquely one point instant and that is the individual. The black chair is already a set of many

point instants. It is of all of these individual points but it is also of all of these over time. It was

manufactured, so one year ago there were some point instants at the manufacturing company at a

totally different place and a totally different time but they are still members of the set of this chair. This

is not only an object that is extended in space, it is also extended in time. The set of this black chair

includes those point instants that will be here tomorrow. It is a collection of very many individual point

instants. The set of black chairs is a set of sets. You must not compare sets of a different number of

sets. This is the theory of types: a set of things must not be compared to the set of sets of things.

Otherwise, we get into a huge mess with Russelss paradox.

We can have many sets that include one particular point instant. Any object has many properties but it

is not identical to any property. This piece here is not itself a table. It is a part of a table. With respect

to a particular property, some pairs of individuals are similar and some others are not. Since perception

is our only way to interact with the world, this causes the dichotomy, this allows us to say this is a

member of such and such a set, thereby introducing a similarity between members of this set and a

dissimilarity between members of that set and members of other sets. We effectively have said that

what we perceive, what we construct in our mind, is necessarily a dependence between things and

everything else. We are only able to compare things by similarities and dissimilarities with respect to

some sort of properties. This is necessarily so because the only way we interact with the world is to

prescribe some sense of belonging. Any perception causes a judgment. Therefore, necessarily we label

things. I see things and I say that this is a black chair and that is a jacket and so on. This necessarily

produces a similarity and dissimilarity between different things. So effectively to me and to my

consciousness, the existence of a particular point instant depends on the existence of other point

instants that I can prescribe a similarity and dissimilarity to. If there existed only one point instant,

there would be nothing else that it would be similar or dissimilar to. Is that then real? No. Everything

depends on everything else for its own existence. There is a necessary interdependence between one

point instant and another point instant. This is what is meant by emptiness. Every individual point

instant or object is empty of independent existence; everything depends on other things.

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This is very general. The Buddhist philosophy regards this as true for all properties. We compare it

very easily to Machs principle that we encountered in general relativity that said exactly the same

about one particular property. It said that the inertia of a massive body (a body that has a certain mass)

depends on the existence of other massive bodies. The fact that the Earth has a resistance from being

changed in its state of motion necessarily depends on the fact that the Sun has a mass as well. If there

were only one massive body, it having an inertia is meaningless. It is imparted an inertia through the

presence of others bodies. That was Machs principle. Emptiness generalizes this from the property of

inertia to all properties.

The statement that everything is dependent on other things is a statement about the world in which we

live. The fact that we can then extrapolate and think about worlds where only one thing exists is merely

an analogy for imagination to better understand what is meant by this statement. It is not to be taken

very seriously.

The wisdom sutra states: Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. A form is an object or a property and

we have learned that it is empty. The main thing to note from this sentence is that emptiness is also a

property. Emptiness being a property, is therefore itself empty. Emptiness and form are the same thing.

A form is empty but emptiness is also a form.

That was one of the main statements of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. When Buddhism

first started there we four noble truths. They were supposed to give the main motivation.

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We know how we defined suffering. We find ourselves here and now and we have a choice between

the different courses of action. Some of those lead to enlightment in a number of moments and some

lead there in a different number of moments, some may not lead there at all. We count over all the

different possible paths of the future and we choose the shortest one on which we could go and all the

other ones we call suffering. A is the set of all sufferers, all these paths that are not optimal. U is the

universe. Basically, suffering exists and is a member of the universe. The first noble truth is saying that

A ? U.

We have had the theorem before that if we want to prove that one set is included in another set, we

have to prove three conditions. We have to prove that set A is not empty, it includes some element, we

have to prove that it is present in similar cases, at least some, and we have to prove that it is absent in

dissimilar cases. The universe being the universe, it has no dissimilar elements at all. Nothing is in the

complement of the universe by definition. Everything is in the universe, therefore, the second and the

third conditions are trivial. In other words, we need to prove only one thing. There exists at least one

suffering path.

What does presence of A mean? It means that there are at least two intersecting paths of causation of

different length. There exists at least one choice here and now that will lead to an outcome of

enlightment sooner than other choices. We can see that from practice as well. We can perform very bad

actions and this will definitely not yield spiritual progress. We can say that from empirical evidence,

from perception, which is our way to interact with the universe, we observe that this is defined. We do

have choices. There are more than one causations that intersect particular moments. That they are of

different lengths, we can also deduce simply by perception. In other words, we have effectively seen

truth by perception.

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Ignorance we have defined as not being enlightened yet. Not being enlightened yet means we do not

know what we are doing. If we have complete knowledge, we can distinguish whether this path was

longer than that one. Therefore, you always make the correct choice and you do not suffer anymore. If

you do not have enlightment, if you are ignorant, you do not know that. So we define ignorance as the

complement of enlightment, in other words, we do not have complete knowledge, we do not know

which path is the shortest one, we have to make a choice, we make the choice and clearly, on a

statistical level, sometimes we make the wrong choice. Local wisdom is bad for the long run. Right

now you have certain knowledge, you think what is wise to do, you choose the option you think is best

for you and the results are not what you wanted. This is because you either did not know about some

other options or you did not think carefully enough. Take the case of applying to a university. There are

thousands of universities on this planet. Making a real informed decision to choose between all of them

is practically impossible. You clearly have very little knowledge. You would probably go for Harvard

or Yale because you have heard of those names but you would not go for Alabama State. So you

choose at that time what you considered to be most wise. Is that a good choice or not? You do not

know because you can not assess it. You do not know before hand and in many cases you do not know

even afterwards. You have to suffer to achieve enlightment. To become a better person, you need to

experience what happens if you are not. If you just do not know that life is bad, what is the motivation

to make it better? So you have to suffer to some extent to put some energy into it.

This is true by definition. We have defined suffering to be a non-optimal path. You might not choose

this path, therefore, it is not necessary.

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So far we have said that you suffer because you do not know what you are doing but suffering is not

necessary. The real essence of it is that this is how to clear it out. Complete understanding removes

ignorance and removes suffering.

We have shown by the theorem of emptiness that everything is interrelated. If you completely

understand one thing you completely understand everything because everything is empty. If you

understand one thing you understand it by being similar and dissimilar with all its properties. By

understanding all of its properties you understand in particular the trivial property of existence, which

includes everything.

So if I focus on any particular object to be able to understand that completely and engage with that, if I

then understand it completely I will therefore understand everything. A particular object is this I,

whatever that may be. We do not know what that is of course, that is the whole point. By introspection,

by looking at the I or I exist, enlightment will eventually follow and that is the system of

meditation. An important things to notice are this is one path among many. You could choose to reach

enlightment in many other ways. This is simply one. So Buddhism does not claim that it is the true or

the only religion. It is one possible way to go. The advantage of it is that it is a very systematized way

to go. There really is a system that you can follow and it has many many benefits even in the short

term. That is all and if you have your own system perfectly good.

It is very important that the issue of introspection, meditation and enlightment is not an intellectual

process at all. You cannot learn. You cannot be told. You have to experience yourself.

Buddhism comes in various kinds. Like in the Christian religion there have been historical divisions.

One of them is Mahayana as I have said before, meaning great vehicle. On one of its primary

statements is that you can only reach full enlightment if you have element of compassion. Another

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branch is called Hinayana, the small vehicle, and they say that you can achieve enlightment just for

yourself and out of selfish endeavor.

So what does compassion mean? If you look this up in the dictionary you will find rather a lot of

meanings of what this can be. For these purposes, I have distilled it down a little bit and to me it means

that we are simply conscious of another persons suffering. So compassion in this sense does not

necessarily mean that you act on it or that you suffer also. It merely means that you are conscious of the

suffering. Clearly in everyday life if you really have compassion, if you really feel another persons

suffering it generally leads to you trying help them out.

The argument here is if you are enlightened you have complete knowledge of the universe. In other

words you must, by definition, know when other people are choosing some optimal path by the very

statement that you understand the entire universe. In other words you are conscious of other peoples

suffering simply because you are enlightened. This statement only says if you are enlightened then you

have compassion. It does not say anything about what happens when you are not enlightened. What I

mean is if you are enlightened you are compassionate. If you are not enlightened you may or may not

be compassionate.

If you are globally selfish you act along the shortest path to enlightenment for yourself. Selfishness of

course is that you are trying to get the best for yourself. In the present sense the best for yourself is to

get enlightened so you somehow act on the shortest path.

What does it mean to be locally altruistic? It means that in this moment through the next moment in

that transition there is a global reduction of suffering. It is not necessarily in the future. So this

statement is again basically true by the definition of the terms. If I move to reduce my own suffering I

therefore reduce the some of the suffering of the world and so acting in a selfish manner globally is

acting in an altruistic manner locally.

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In Buddhist logic, there is a clear prohibition of circular reasoning. If A then B then C and then A again

is chain of deduction, this is called circular as we return to the beginning. It establishes the truth of no

statement because by the rule of syllogism, this chain says if A then A which is always true

regardless of what A is. It is if A then A that is always true but it is not A that is always true. Thus

circular reasoning concludes nothing that we did not know before and thus it is prohibited to use in an

argument. The practical troubl is that it is usually difficult to detect a circular argument that is

articulated clevely and includes many statements before returning to the source.

27.7 Apoha

We said before that we must not compare individuals to sets of individuals or to sets of sets of

individuals and this is what is meant by this Apoha. We said that point instants are the only things that

are real. Therefore properties are not real because they are not point instants. The Apoha principle is

that we must not compare objects and sets of objects.

Clearly property changes over time. The sort of black chair is now and the sort of black chairs

tomorrow may be different, different point instants. Even if it looks to us exactly the same the point

instants will have been changed because the point instants now are exactly this; they are point instants

(in the next instant, there will be different point instants). Properties necessarily change over time and

this can explain very easily why one may use the same term now and tomorrow with a different

meaning. For instance I can use the term my bag to mean different bags over the course of time

because they get broken and I buy a new one. But the term my bag is always meaningful even though

it applies to different objects all the time. So this very easily explains why we can meaningfully use the

same term for different objects.

27.8 Conclusions

We were able to extend our theory to cover the theory of emptiness, the four noble truths and the main

goal of Mahayana, which is compassion. The main points of Buddhism follow from the theory that we

have outlined.

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In the beginning, we met logic. We said that logic has several important components; we have

primitive terms that are undefined. We define terms in terms of these primitive terms. We have axioms.

They are assumed and agreed to be true. We can then formulate theorems in terms of the primitives and

the defined terms and prove them in terms of those axioms. So theorems are true only relative to the

axioms and in relation to the primitive terms. In other words there is a very serious limitation of any

axiomatic system. It has a basis and that basis is simply agreed upon. If you want to say it is true of the

real world you can do that to some extent within limits of experimental error but you can never

absolutely do that. The second limitation by Gdels theorem is that there are some truths in any

suitably powerful axiomatic system that are not provable. But they are still truths. We have two serious

limitations of any axiomatic method.

We have seen by constructing a particular system out of primitive terms and axioms that we were able

to construct and systematize theory of what might reasonably be called Buddhist philosophy. We have

seen that this has a basis therefore. We have seen that by Gdels theorem that there must be Buddhist

truths that are not provable, that have somehow to be understood by process of intuition and we have

seen that this actually works. We have not found any explicit contradictions but saying that the theory

is consistent is not answered because by Gdels second theorem consistency cannot be proven within

the system. So we have gone as far as we can go.

Guru can feel your suffering and he will tell you where you go wrong. That is the very purpose of a

guru is that you go to him and say, look I have these choices. I do not know what to do. Give me

advice. And he will. He will tell you what the right thing to do is.

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First of all you will because of lack of understanding not be able to perform each step perfectly and

second of all it will still take you sometime to get there. Because of the actions that you made in the

past you have to live through the reactions. So even if at every stage you do the proper thing it still

takes time to reach enlightenment. I am trying to do, to the best of my abilities, what my guru tells me.

Sometimes I do the right thing and sometimes I do the wrong thing but it still takes me sometime to

live through all of these experiences, to be able to then finally reach enlightenment. So it is not merely

by the fact that I have someone who gives me advice that I am immediately there.

Q: Can you put this into context with the prisoners dilemma?

The prisoners dilemma is a very difficult situation. It depends how you formulate it and you can solve

it only if you make an assumption about what is considered good. Once you defined what is considered

good then you can solve the prisoners dilemma on this basis. For example the min-max solution

depends upon a particular choice of what is considered good. You have to choose a cost function.

There are various choices that the prisoners can make. What is the most intelligent choice for you? The

question what the most intelligent choice for you is, is entirely meaningless until you define what it

means to be intelligent. As soon as you define what a good choice is, you will solve the problem. It is

not a dilemma in that sense. It is a dilemma only if you were in that situation because the problem is of

course that the two people involved may have different opinions of what a good cost function is. As a

theoretical exercise, I can say that I will prescribe some cost function and this immediately tells me

how all the prisoners must act. When Im in the situation, I can only choose the cost function for

myself and I do not know what the others will do. There is thus no rational solution to the problem

because you must make a choice about what is a rational action. If one were in this situation, one could

not rely on the other person making the compatible decision even if that person acts rationally. It all

depends on the foundational assumption of the axiomatic system to deal with problem. Using the same

logic, different axioms lead to different answers to the problem.

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On a theoretical level if you define goodness or intelligent choice to be one particular parameter you

can definitely isolate one action and this is what is meant by global selfishness that if you act in a way

to be globally selfish that is to choose the one path that is optimal at this moment and time then you

will necessarily cause global reduction of suffering right now locally. So altruism means suffering for

everybody and locally means right now and that is necessarily entailed in there. So this would be a cost

function. For example for you prisoners dilemma you can say, it is of interest for me to act in such a

way to reduce everybodys load. So I am to act in such a way that the sum of all the jail terms for all of

the people involved is lowest possible and then that would prescribe selfish action. It does very much

depend on the definition of what you consider to be a good action. In this Buddhist philosophy we have

prescribed that a good action is considered to be an action that leads us towards enlightment in the

shortest way.

Abstract

Vasubandu), and commented on by Dharmottara in the Nyaya-Bindu-Tika. The importance of NyayaBindu is that it is the central work of a collection of books written by one school of Buddhist

philosophy started by Vasubandu but chiefly championed by Dignaga and Dharmakirti. It is being used

to this day to educate many members of the Buddhist clergy and layfolk. In spite of its continued

popularity, impact and importance, little work has been done to extend it. Most of the work done

revolves around settling some historical points of origin and influence upon and from other systems

and bickering about its truth.

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In this document, it is assumed that the reader has a good foundation in the concepts of mathematical

logic, their application in the natural sciences and the basic ideas of Buddhism. This foundation is

necessary for the analysis of the Nyaya-Bindu and has been given (at the required level) in the course

for which this document is written. First we explain some technical words that occur in the original

translation of the Nyaya-Bindu the entirety of which is contained in the appendix to this document.

Then we outline a unified logical theory that encompasses all of Nyaya-Bindu. Note that while it is the

authors private opinion that the Nyaya-Bindu represents a correct theory of apprehending reality, this

point is not argued herein. It is the purpose of the present document to systematize the theory.

We will find that: (1) Nyaya-Bindu makes a series of claims which can be structured logically (they do

not contain explicit contradictions), (2) the number of claims made can be reduced by the use of

mathematical logic through the introduction of explicit axioms and deriving the other statement by

means of proof, (3) further statements, not contained in Nyaya-Bindu, can be derived from this basis

and thus the philosophy can be extended in a logical fashion.

There a number of works of ancient authors relevant for the study of the system constructed by

Dignaga and Dharmakirti. At the time, it was common to hold public debates between two famous

contenders and the declared winner would gain much by his victory. Most monasteries were founded

by funds won at such competitions and the art of public debate is an important part of monastic

education from the ancient times until today. Many of the logical works are meant as manuals for

people wishing to learn debate and many others are a debate in themselves, i.e. they are trying to

defend their system against others. We think that such oppositional efforts are not as important as

understanding one system and also that real comparison is only possible once the foundational

principles of the system are clearly identified and the rest of the system reasoned from them. This

allows foundational principles to be compared. If these differ, all we can argue about is whether they

are true of reality but it is clearly obvious that the systems will differ (being based on incompatible

234

axioms). Should the axioms not differ but the inferred theorems, then at least one party has made a

logical error (committed a fallacy) and thence stands to be corrected. The identification of the existence

and then the location of the error is important but shall not be covered here. We simply wish to

determine the foundation of the system of Dignaga and Dharmakirti and nothing more. Some of the

other works alluded to are contained (and commented on) in1.

Listed below are a series of technical words occurring in the translation of Nyaya-Bindu. They should

be understood before reading the translation which should be read before continuing to read the

commentary.

Nyaya-Bindu (Sanskrit) The word nyaya is derived from the Sanskrit root i and contains the

meaning of the verb gam, i.e. to go. In this context nyaya is taken to mean the understanding of an

object under consideration of all of its properties (which include its relations to other objects). In this

way, a complete understanding of a single object leads to complete understanding of the cosmos as a

whole. The word bindu means point. More specifically it refers to the point-instant of space-time.

1

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

Dharmakirti (1968): Pramanavarttika. ed. by Swami Dwarkidas Sastri (Bauddha-Bharati, Varanasi).

Dharmakirti (1972): Vadanyaya and Sambandhapariksa. Ed. by Swami Dwarkidas Sastri (Bauddha-Bharati,

Varanasi).

P.P. Gokhale (1993): Vadanyaya of Dharmakirti: The Logic of Debate. (Sri Satguru Pub., Delhi).

R.S.Y. Chi (1969): Buddhist Formal Logic: A Study of Dignagas Hetucakra and Kuei-chis Great Commentary

on the Nyayapravesa. (The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, London)

R. Hayes (1988): Dinnaga on the Interpretation of Signs. (Kluwer Pub.: Studies of Classical India Vol. 9,

Dordrecht)

S. Katsura (1983): Dignaga on Trairupya. Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, 32, 15-21.

B.K. Matilal and R.D. Evans (editors) (1986): Buddhist Logic and Epistemology: Studies in the Buddhist Analysis

of Inference and Language. (Kluwer Pub.: Studies of Classical India Vol. 7, Dordrecht)

Bimal Krishna Matilal (1998): The Character of Logic in India. (State University of New York, Albany)

E. Steinkeller (1967): Dharmakirtis Hetubinduh. (Hermann Bohlaus, Wien)

E. Steinkeller (1974): On the reinterpretation of the svabhavahetuh. Wiener Zeitschrift fur die Kunde Sud-undOstasiens (WZKSO) 18, 117-129.

E. Steinkeller (1991): Studies in the Buddhist Epistemological Tradition. Proceedings of the Second International

Dharmakirti Conference, Vienna, 1989.

G. Tucci (1930): The Nyayamukha of Dignaga: The Oldest Buddhist Text on Logic. (Otto Harrasowitch:

Materialen zur Kunde des Buddhismus No. 15, Heidelberg)

Tom J.F. Tillemans (1999): Scripture, Logic, Language. (Wisdom Pub.: Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism,

Boston)

Georges B.J. Dreyfus (1997): Recognizing Reality: Dharmakirtis Philosophy and Its Tibetan Interpretations.

(State University of New York, Albany)

Daniel E. Perdue (1992): Debate in Tibetan Buddhism. (Snow Lion, Ithaca)

235

Bindu is also used in many religious contexts of Hinduism and there denotes the center or the crux of

the universe from which everything is born, i.e. a kind of Big Bang event. The bindu is also used to

denote certain spiritually important points on the human body, i.e. the chakras. Many people in India

(main Hindus) wear a smear of blessed ash or a specially made ornament called a bindu on their

forehead. This practice (originally religious but now taken by many as a form of decoration or jewelry)

is to denote the importance of the chakra between the eyes as that point that allows people to see

beyond the usual confines of our consciousness various forms of clairvoyance.

Nyaya-Bindu-Tika (Sanskrit) Tika means commentary and this work is a commentary on the

Nyaya-bindu written by Dhamottara.

Substratum the object being talked about and possessing properties. We describe an object by its

properties. The substratum of a collection of properties is the object that has these properties.

Concomitant occurring together with. In logical terms this is logical equivalence. A property is

concomitant with another property means that these are the same property but have two different

names. The property of being an unmarried man and the property of being a bachelor are two

concomitant properties.

Predicate a property being ascribed of an object. In the statement the glass is full, the object (glass)

is being ascribed a property (fullness) which is called the predicate. Predicates qualify the object and

are used to restrict the objects under consideration (here we restrict the class of glasses to that subclass

of full glasses).

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Apodictic self-evident or conceptual truth. Something that is true based on incontrovertible evidence.

A statement which does not need to be checked.

Syllogism A logical construction that formally looks like this [(A ? B) n (B ? C)] ? (A ? C).

Expressed in language, (A, B and C being any kind of statement) if it is true that if A then B and it is

also true that if B then C, then it must be true that if A then C. A complex argument may be built up

using little steps. Individual implications (if then ) may be joined into a sequence if the second

statement of the former implication is the same as the first statement of the following implication. This

long sequence may then be cut to the simple implication connecting the very first and very last

statement. The form of the syllogism is true for all statements A, B and C and is the basis for

mathematical proof.

Efficient An event is efficient if it is the effect of some cause and can be a cause itself.

Cosmic Ether a substance pervading the whole universe. Its existence is advocated by some schools

of thought but argued against by the Buddhist school.

Contraposed Two statements are contraposed if they are both stated with a view to determine their

link, if any. This link could be that one excludes the other, they are equivalent, one includes the other

or that they depend on each other in some way.

Logical Mark a property of an object by which (obviously) it can be distinguished and compared to

others.

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different (and possibly mutually exclusive) properties or implications respectively.

Vaisesika; Naiyayikas; Sankhya; Mimamsaka schools of philosophy. These three may be most

easily contrasted by comparing their attitutes to apprehending truth and falsehood. A theorem (prama)

is proven by means of a logically consistent proof (pramana). A proof may be called internally (svatah)

true or externally (paratah) true. The distinction between these is that an internal proof is a deduction

immediately (within a single deduction) from the axioms of the theory and an external proof is a

deduction which relys on previously proved theorems. In present mathematical practise, an internal

proof is not given but considered obvious, immediate or the theorem is considered true by

definition. An external proof is, by definition, complicated enough to have to be written down in order

for the theorem to be accepted. These schools of thought differ in how they consider that truths and

falsehoods about reality are apprehended by the observer in the following ways:

School

Truth

Falsehood

Mimamsaka; Vaisesika

Internal

External

Sankhya

Internal

Internal

Naiyayikas

External

External

Buddhist

External

Internal

The Mimamsaka were orthodox Brahmins who were mainly concerned with sacrificing in order to

obtain spiritual benefits. Their logic was virtually the same as that of the Vaisesika but they differed in

one point; the eternal existence of sounds which the Mimamsaka claimed to be true of the basic sounds

of the Sanskrit language. Stcherbatsky chooses to call internal proofs direct and external ones

indirect.

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Adduced claimed.

Universal A universal in the context of Nyaya-Bindu is a set having more than a single element, i.e. a

proper set as distinguished from an individual particular object. Tree is an example as it encompasses

several objects, namely all trees.

Trustworthy In the context of the Nyaya-Bindu, trustworthy does not only mean that the person is

not intentionally telling false statements but that the person speaks only truths. Absolute

trustworthiness requires the state of enlightenment which is the only state in which one is able to

perceive truth in all circumstances.

Brahmin A member of the social class (caste) of priests in India as set up by the Hinduistic tradition.

This caste is the highest possible and is usually associated with power, wealth and access to (amongst

other things) good education.

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Veda The word Veda means knowledge. The Vedas are a series of three books written in India a

long time ago (exactly when is a matter of great dispute and is anywhere from 13000 to 1500 B.C.).

These books are however known to be the most ancient writing at least in the orient if not the world.

They form the basis of a religion known as Vedanta which has very strong connections to Hinduism

one may say that Hinduism is an outgrowth of Vedanta. Apart from giving a story of creation, these

books advocate rules of ethical and moral conduct and are generally very wise in the advice they give

to the individual. They are highly esteemed by all spiritual seekers of the eastern traditions. Complete

understanding of the Vedas is said to be tantamount to enlightenment.

anything is a flaw as it binds the person to the world and as such this propensity is to be reduced to a

minimum (this reduction is then referred to as renunciation).

Fallacy A mistake in logical reasoning. Philosophers have historically paid much attention to

fallacies for two reasons: (1) They are often very difficult to spot in lengthy verbal arguments using a

large vocabulary. (2) The practice of philosophy is founded on disputes in which two philosophers

attempt to illustrate the others flaws. For both points, it is necessary to study under what circumstances

a logical mistake can be made in order to be able to correct it and to be able to point it out to win the

argument respectively. From a logical point of view, no attention needs to be paid to fallacies as they

constitute a failure to obey the rules of the game and thus constitute a self-disqualification.

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Sophist The sophists were a group of people in ancient Greece who engaged in the pursuit and

communication of knowledge about the world and who offered to teach the results of their labors to

people in return for money. This word is typically being used to denote a person or statement who

argues in a very clever way but fundamentally incorrectly. A sophistic argument is phrased very well

but contains a fallacy which is very difficult to unearth due to the journalistic quality of the argument.

[sophisticated and sophistication are derived from this and both include reference to something

skillful but wrong and moreover intentionally wrong.]

In the table below, I give a very brief commentary of the Nyaya-Bindu which is meant to elucidate the

reasons for the theorems to be proven and their relationship to the text.

Section

Purpose

A.1

A.2-3

A.4, A.6-11 Perception is divided into senses, thought, consciousness and intuition

A.5

A.12

A.13-17

Definition of particular

A.18-21

Definition of cognition

B.1-2

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B.3-10

Three aspect theorem: We wish to prove that A ? B, for this we must have: (1) A ?

? , (2) A ? B ? ? and (3) A ? -B = ? .

B.11-12

B.13-15

events. (for example: a jar ? -A)

B.16-17

= Asoka, C = tree)

B.18

(A = particular, B = smoky hill, C = fiery hill)

B.19-30

B.31-42

B.43-45

B.46-49

C.1-2

Inference for others is communication (this is the concept of mathematical proof, i.e.

syllogism).

C.3-7,

There are two different formulations that are the same in essence of the syllogism:

C.28-32

C.8-24

Method of agreement (as illustrated by examples which all fit this scheme): [(A ? B)

? (B ? C)] ? (A ? C). Each individual implication must be a valid inference for

oneself (i.e. must possess the three-aspects named above). The first condition of the

three-aspects involves showing that the (B ? C) implication be demonstrated by an

example. Thus the syllogism has four positions: The general or major premise (B ?

C), the example demonstrating that the major premise is true at least in one case, the

specific or minor premise (A ? B), and the conclusion (A ? C).

C.25-27

Method of difference (as illustrated by examples which all fit this scheme): [(A ? B)

? (C ? B)] ? (A ? C). For example C = exits, B = perceived, A = jar. The general

law (C ? B) must again be illustrated using an example, e.g. a patch of blue color.

C.33

Relations can be classified into identity (set inclusion and set equivalence) relations

or causal relations (ordered pairs of properties). That is all relations are subsets of the

identity relation or a causal relation. This is mathematically obvious as any relation of

242

more terms (such as between which is a three-member relation) can be broken into

several hierarchical two-member relations.

C.34

Subsumption is a relation and all three aspects of the three-aspect theorem are really

necessary.

C.35-38

As the syllogism is a logical theorem, when [(A ? B) ? (B ? C)] has been established,

the conclusion (A ? C) must not necessarily be stated as it is implicit. Mathematically

this is just another way of stating that the syllogism is a theorem. These comments are

to be viewed as advice to an orator and not statements with mathematical

significance. Remember that holding public debates (the outcome of which was very

significant) was a major object of these schools of philosophy.

C.39-49,

A good thesis is a thesis which: (1) is intended to be proven, (2) is believed by the

C.56

disputant and (3) is not self-contradictory. The statements are again statements of

presentation and oratory rather than logical remarks.

C.49-55

The third condition above is explained and it emerges that what is meant is that the

thesis must be true and not merely not self-contradictory. An untrue thesis is proven

by a fallacious argument, i.e. by making a logical error. These errors are classified

into four kinds: (1) counterexample by perception, (2) contradicting an axiom of the

system, (3) failure of the three aspects to hold and (4) contradicting the definition of

defined term of the system.

C.57-62

? C)] ? (A ? C) in which the first term (A ? B) is false, the conclusion (A ? C) will

be false. This is essentially a variety of fallacy 3 (the first aspect does not hold in this

case).

C.63-73

experimental error. If we are uncertain whether an assumption is true, the conclusions

inherit this uncertainty. This is also a failure of the three aspects to be satisfied but in

particular it is uncertain because some of the three aspects (in particular the first) are

satisfied but not all three.

C.74-82

Two sets A and B can be mutually exclusive in two ways. Both ways have A ? B =

? . But they distinguish themselves by their union. Namely, the first way has A ? B

? U and the second way has A ? B = U where U is the universe. That is the first way

has mutually exclusive properties and the second way has B = -A, i.e. two

243

contradictory properties. As with the three-aspect theorem, the essential point to note

is the difference between set inclusion and set equivalence, i.e. the difference between

some and all.

C.83-94

The fallacy of inverted reason is again a particular kind of the three-aspect fallacy. It

is committed when the negation of what we wish to prove is actually true. That is the

first aspect is satisfied and the second two aspects are inverted. This includes a brief

discussion of the mathematical concept of proof by contradiction (we want to prove

A so we assume A and show that this leads to a contradiction, thus A can not be

true and so A must be true). This holds for properties for which the property and its

complement exhaust all possibilities.

C.95-110

This expresses the logical fact (in our three valued logic!) that the law of double

negation does not hold. Remember that unlike properties, logical statements come in

three varieties so that the exclusion of one does not immediately lead us to a definite

conclusion. This difference is made clear by examples here.

C.111

C.112-122

no fallacy is committed or, in other words, the logical system is consistent. It is

interesting that only motivating examples are given but a proof of consistency is not

attempted in the slightest. We know, of course, from Gdels theorem that such an

attempt is doomed.

C.123

C.124-137

The point of giving an example is to satisfy the first of the three aspects. If the

example does not fulfill this function, the deduction must be rejected based on a

fallacy of the three aspects. (so now we have enumerated all possible failures of three

aspects to be satisfied) All fallacies can be unified under the simple heading: A

fallacy is the failure to obey the rules of logic and any such failure leads to the

rejection of the argument that contains it.

C.138-139

One refutes an argument by pointing out its fallacies; it is then clear that the argument

was wrong. This leads to victory in the dispute (again the emphasis on public

disputation).

C.140

so, it is labeled as sophistry. Dharmakirti thus makes the accusation that a wrong

244

C.141

A fallacy that does not exist, can not be pointed out. A fallacy which is pointed out in

a refutation but is found not to exist means that the refutation is wrong and hence

sophistic. This statement contains many negations. What it means is: An incorrect

refutation is precisely that, namely incorrect (i.e., the object it claims to establish

the fallacy is, in fact, not established).

This completes the ordering of the concepts. We will find below that in addition to the three valued

logic constructed earlier, we shall need very few primitive terms and axioms to be able to prove all

other statements of Nyaya-Bindu elucidated in mathematical terms above. This constitutes the

systematization of the Nyaya-Bindu and allows us to extend the treatment to prove other theorems

important for Buddhist philosophy such as the conception of emptiness.

In the previous lectures of the course, we have seen how to construct a logic. We shall use this logic

here. Logic alone is not sufficient however, as we are trying to make statements about reality. Thus we

shall have to introduce certain terms, axioms and principles of deduction that stem from the world.

These can then be verified by experiment either directly or indirectly through the predictions they

make.

1.

2.

Perception this can be circumscribed more closely using biology, neuroscience and such fields

but for the moment, we shall take our understanding of the senses as sufficient for this primitive term.

Senses include: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell and thinking. In Buddhist terms perception includes

245

the senses, thought, consciousness and intuition. With intuition we mean the mystic intuition of the

Saint or Buddha achieved by meditation.

1.

Discrete We were able to define continuous from our logic. The opposite of continuous is

discrete (i.e. it is defined by negation). Thus the definition is that for a given point of space-time there

exists a (finite and positive) number such that one can not choose another point in space-time for which

the distance between these two points is less than this number.

2.

point-instant in space-time.

3.

4.

Property A property is a set of individuals. We can understand this as follows. The set of all

yellow things is defined as the property to be yellow. This follows the standard mathematical

treatment of numbers wherein the number one is defined, as we have seen, to be the set of all sets of

a single element. Here we simply take a set of individuals to define a property. This will be a most

crucial definition as most of the statements about the real world have to do with properties.

5.

Identity An individual is identical to another if they share all properties, i.e. one is a member

of a set (a property) if and only if the other is also.

6.

Similar, dissimilar An object (or property) is similar to another with respect to some given

property X if and only if both are members of the set X; two objects (or sets) are dissimilar with respect

to property X if they are not similar with respect to it.

7.

statement that a is a member of X being equivalent to a has property X or a is an X. In linguistic

terms, a judgment is giving a name to an individual. Sometimes in Western philosophy, judgment is

something more than simply attaching a name but in the Buddhist sense, naming is meant. (see for

example2.)

8.

9.

Causation an ordered pair of properties such that each property includes individuals only at

one specific time and the second property has a later time than the first. The first property is then called

246

the cause of the second and the second is called the effect of the first. Note that this is where we deviate

significantly from normal natural science. The difference and a restriction of this general definition will

be made later in the remarks.

10.

Knowledge any articulable truth. This makes sense in terms of our everyday use of the term.

If we truly know something, we can explain it to others. The statement need not actually be made but

must be possible to be made.

11.

12.

13.

Relation a set of ordered pairs of properties (this is more than a set of causations as causations

are a restricted set of ordered pairs). The relation of next to is the set of all pairs of sets of individuals

which can be said to be next to each other. Clearly there exist an infinite number of relations as an

infinite number of sets of individuals gives rise to an infinite number of properties etc. We may attach a

name to each relation and so call one particular relation next to. In this way, it is clear that these

relations are not defined circularly. One may give a more precise definition for next to involving

concepts of distance or touching (i.e. other relations) and in such a way construct relations by

intersecting known relations. Note that identity is a special relation in which each member of each pair

is the same property.

14.

Subset Given two sets A and B, we say that A is a subset of B (denoted A ? B) if all the

members of A are also members of B. This includes the possibility that A and B are actually the same

sets, i.e. all members of B are also members of A (denoted A = B). If this possibility of equality is

explicitly denied, we say that A is a proper subset of B (denoted A ? B).

15.

Suffering Given a point-instant P (the here and now), select all causations that contain P

and assign a positive integer, called the length of the causation, to them that counts the number of

future moments contained in that causation before enlightenment is reached. It is clear that there is at

least one path of shortest length. All causations not of shortest length are to be considered suffering

causations as they are chains of experience which do not carry the observer to enlightenment in a

optimal way.

16.

Ignorance the opposite of enlightenment, i.e. knowledge of less than all truths.

Axioms:

247

1.

Space-time is discrete.

2.

The principle of no overlap: The property of occurring at a specified time and the property of

being at a certain location both include many objects but their intersection is to contain exactly one

individual. I.e. no two objects are allowed to occupy the same space at the same time, giving the time

and location of an individual completely specifies it and finally, every individual has a definite time

and location.

3.

Sense perception is the only way to interact with the universe and it causes judgment.

In the standard treatment of natural science, we assume that a cause occurs locally, that is if the time

difference tends towards zero then the spatial difference between cause and effect tends to zero also.

We did not require this, all we required is that the cause precede the effect. In this way, we explicitly

allow non-local causality (cf. the Bohmian interpretation of quantum mechanics). Dignaga and

Dharmakirti make the extremely important remark that even though it may be in our experience that B

always followed upon A in the past, we can not make the prediction that as we have observed A, B will

now follow with certainty (but only with a particular probability). The reason is that another event

could take place which prevents B from happening3. As we allow non-local causality, full knowledge

of the causes for a single future event would imply full knowledge of the state of the whole universe.

This is impossible except through the mystic intuition of the Saint. The law of karma (cause and effect)

is transparent only to the enlightened being who is able to directly perceive the entire universe at once.

Causation can be made more precise as follows. Focus on two properties S and F (for example smoky

hills and fiery hills respectively). Partition each property into sub-properties each at equal times. If we

can make an one-to-one identification between these sub-properties (leaving out none of them, i.e. a

bijection in mathematical terms) such that the sub-property of S that is identified with a sub-property of

F precedes it in time, then we shall call S a cause of F. In practice, we have only limited information

3

Georges B.J. Dreyfus (1997): Recognizing Reality: Dharmakirtis Philosophy and Its Tibetan Interpretations. (State

University of New York, Albany), p. 63.

248

and thus we can not construct such a mapping we can only construct a local mapping covering the

portions of S and F accessible to our experience. This is the source of all deductive problems according

to Buddhism. Thus it is effectively the practical impossibility of certifying induction (except by

enlightenment) that is the root cause (ignorance) of our suffering in the world. This fits well with our

definition of enlightenment. Not all truths are provable according to Gdels theorem and thus

acknowledging them as true requires methods outside of the system (the system here being the

perceptual and inferential machinery) and these methods are, according to Buddhism, types of

meditation.

One may now ask for a consistency proof of the present axiomatic system (which includes

mathematical logic). If one believes (recall that in a system complex enough to define consistency only

a relative proof of consistency can be given) that enlightenment was actually achieved by at least one

person (for example, Siddharta Gautama, the historical Buddha), then it is clear that he must have

realized any inconsistencies by definition. Hence there are none.

Dharmakirti equates reality with momentariness, for only momentary phenomena act as causes of

other phenomena and thus make an observable difference.4 Compare this with the renormalization

idea of quantum field theory in which we remove the infinite amount of energy of the vacuum by

noting that it can not be measured and thus defining the energy of the vacuum to be zero and measuring

energies in relation to it. Dharmakirtis motivation for this assumption is effectively the principle of

relativity: Knowledge of the world is obtained by measurements and these are necessarily relative to

some frame of reference. It is integral to the system that we assume that only that which is capable of

causing a change is real. We are able to measure change and only change. Furthermore (also according

to quantum theory) the continued identity of a particle over several moments can not be completely

ascertained and thus must be denied. Through this assumption, this ontology is intensely practical and

bound to the experimental sciences. As in general relativity, an individual must not be seen so much as

an object as an event because the time at which it happens and thus its causal relationships (its causes

and its effects) serve to define its identity.

4

Georges B.J. Dreyfus (1997): Recognizing Reality: Dharmakirtis Philosophy and Its Tibetan Interpretations. (State

University of New York, Albany) p. 66.

249

Based on the above primitive terms, definitions and axioms and drawing on our knowledge of

previously proved logical theorems, we are able to recast the Nyaya-Bindu in modern logical language.

In other words, we are able to derive its statements from ours. This shows that the whole construction

and presentation of Buddhist Logic (as illustrated by the Nyaya-Bindu) can be reduced to the basic

terms and axioms given above. Whether either holds true of reality as such is a matter of belief and, to

some extent, experimental verification (absolute verification is only possible in the state of

enlightenment which, as long as it is not reached, must also essentially be believed in or taken as a

working hypothesis). However, this shows that belief in one necessarily engenders a belief in the other

(as they are logically equivalent). Our formulation may be regarded as preferable as it is more

systematic and includes fewer assertions and rather more provable theorems. It also shows that the

Buddhist Logic is actually logical, i.e. it stands up to mathematically rigorous treatment. In what

follows we shall illustrate some statements of the Nyaya-Bindu and deduce them from our formulation.

The references are given in terms of the section and verse number of the statements of the NyayaBindu given in the appendix; for example A.2 refers to the second statement of section A, i.e. Right

knowledge is twofold. It should be noted that our formulation allows us to deduce a number of

statements not made in the Nyaya-Bindu but which necessarily follow. This is a further advantage of

the mathematical treatment it is easier to see and obtain extensions of the theory.

Remark: If we know that A ? B, then we may conclude that B ? A for any two statements A and

B. The corresponding statement for sets is if A ? B, then B ? A. Furthermore, the implications go

backwards as well so that A ? B and B ? A are logically equivalent (recall the definition of

logically equivalent was mutual implication). Let us take A to mean raven and B to mean black.

Then we have all ravens are black being logically equivalent to all non-black things are nonravens. Both directions of implication are clearly valid in this example. Dignaga makes an important

point. While these statements are logically equivalent, they are true of reality only if both A and B

250

actually exist. In other words, one must be able to find an example of either property (see the

trirupalinga theorem below).

Theorem (trirupalinga theorem by Dharmakirti, B.3-10): We wish to prove that A ? B, for this we

must have: (1) A ? ? , (2) A ? B ? ? and (3) A ? -B = ? .

Proof: Condition 1 asserts that the set A is actually a real set, i.e. it has members. Condition 2 asserts

that at least some members of A are also members of B and condition 3 asserts that no members of A

are members of the complement of B. These conditions are the translations of Dharmakirtis

requirements that the condition A be (1) present at all, (2) present in at least some similar cases and (3)

absent in all dissimilar cases. It is obvious that no two conditions imply the third and so all three

conditions are necessary. It is also clear that these three conditions establish the conclusion that A ? B.

Remark: It has been argued before that only two conditions were necessary (namely 1 and 2)5. This

does not hold on mathematical examination. In the following theorem we wish to study conditions

under which we may prove whether a property is logically included in another or whether it is identical

to another. It is just this existence of two possibilities that makes it logically necessary to have all three

conditions present. The misunderstanding that set equivalence and proper set inclusion are very

different leads to the presumption that only two conditions were necessary (which would be true if we

were only trying to establish one of these two possibilities). Note that in this and the next theorem, we

establish set inclusion as based upon set intersection which is the proper mathematical way to do this.

In fact, these theorems may be given as definitions of what set inclusion is to mean mathematically. We

believe that this remark answers Matilal in asking: What did Dinnaga have in mind when he

insisted upon the second condition as being necessary?

Bimal Krishna Matilal (1998): The Character of Logic in India. (State University of New York, Albany) p. 91ff.

251

The three aspect theorem has three major applications (B.11-30) which do not need to be proven

separately but follow as corollaries. We illustrate the theorem by the method of Venn diagrams here:

1

3

Dissimilar

Similar

252

The thick line represents the universe. The other lines are (proper) subsets thereof. Only in the region

of some or all similars and no dissimilar do we obtain the true conclusion. This is the diagrammatic

version of the trirupalinga theorem. The correspondence is: (1) all S all D, (2) some S all D, (3) no S all

D, (4) all S some D, (5) some S some D, (6) no S some D, (7) all S no D, (8) some S no D, (9) no S no

D.

A further remark must be made upon this important theorem. Matilal says: I have tried to show that

there is a deep philosophical problem that is implied by a rather odd claim by Dinnaga: a positive

example is still necessary even when there is a negatively-supporting example.6 Dignaga is a logician

and from the point of view of logic a positive example is indeed necessary. The reason very simply is

that even if we know that A is not empty (by a negatively supporting example), it is not at all certain

that A is non empty (A could be the universe) and so must be demonstrated by an example. It is

Bimal Krishna Matilal (1998): The Character of Logic in India. (State University of New York, Albany) p. 98.

253

regrettable that even great philosophical scholars (such as Matilal) suffer from fundamental

misunderstandings of basic mathematical concepts.

Theorem (hetuchakra theorem by Dharmakirti): Given two sets A and B, there are nine possible

kinds of overlap (we call member of A that are also members of B similar cases and members of A that

are also members of B dissimilar cases):

(A ? B = B) ? (A ? -B = -B)

(A ? B = B) ? (A ? -B = ? )

(A ? B = B) ? (A ? -B ? ? )

A is present in all similar and A is present in all similar and A is present in all similar and

all dissimilar cases, i.e. A is the no dissimilar cases, i.e. A = B.

universe.

(A ? B = ? ) ? (A ? -B = -B)

(A ? B = ? ) ? (A ? -B = ? )

(A ? B = ? ) ? (A ? -B ? ? )

all dissimilar cases, i.e. A = -B.

-B.

(A ? B ? ? ) ? (A ? -B = -B)

(A ? B ? ? ) ? (A ? -B = ? )

(A ? B ? ? ) ? (A ? -B ? ? )

and all dissimilar cases.

254

? B.

the case that (A ? B = B) ? (A ? -B = ? ).

Proof: It is clear that these nine possibilities named above exhaust all possibilities. The claim that these

conditions allow us to deduce whether A is a proper subset, subset or neither of B based on these

conditions is a trivial corollary of the trirupalinga theorem above.

Remark: Sometimes basic mathematical concepts are misunderstood and this leads to difficulties. For

example Matilal7 argues not non-B is not always equivalent to B. It must be understood that

non is operation of set complementation and not a logical negation. Even in ordinary Aristotelian

logic these two operations do not negate each other. If we take B to be a set, then non-B is its

complement and not non-B makes no sense, i.e. it is mathematically undefined. If we take B to be an

assertion, then non-B is not defined. In either case, not non-B is a nonsensical construction. The set

non-non-B is always the set B by definition of set complementation. But the statement not-not-B is not

always the statement B as we have seen in our logical discussion the reason for this being our

construction of the primitive logical relation neither, nor together with the three truth values a

statement is allowed to have. Matilal, following other philosophers, tries to argue that there are sixteen

cases and not nine8. This results from a fundamental misunderstanding of set theory as seven cases are

subsumed by the other nine and there nine cases (as illustrated above) suffice as Dharmakirti has said.

7

8

Bimal Krishna Matilal (1998): The Character of Logic in India. (State University of New York, Albany) p. 96ff.

Bimal Krishna Matilal (1998): The Character of Logic in India. (State University of New York, Albany) p. 106ff.

255

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

If every A is a B and some A does not have property C, then some B does not have property C.

7.

If we know that A causes the absence of B and that A, then there exist no unimpeded causes for

B.

8.

If we know that A causes B and that C causes the absence of B, then C causes the absence of

effects of A.

9.

10.

11.

If A causes B, B causes the absence of C and C causes D, then A causes the absence of D.

Proof: Note first of all that (A ? B) is logically equivalent to (B ? A). All these statement follow

trivially from this fact, the syllogism and the definition of causation.

Theorem (theorem of syllogism, C.3-32): The methods of agreement and difference are different

formulations of the same law.

tautology, i.e. true no matter what the truth values of A, B and C are. We can do the same for the

method of difference [(A ? B) ? (C ? B)] ? (A ? C) and so establish that they are both theorems.

The correspondence becomes obvious when we note that the implication (A ? B) necessarily contains

the reformulation (B ? A). Start with the method of agreement and put B = D and C = E. Then we

have [(A ? D) ? (D ? E)] ? (A ? E). Now use the transformation on the second term to get [(A ?

D) ? (E ? D)] ? (A ? E) and now put D = B and E = C to get [(A ? B) ? (C ? B)] ? (A ? C). All

of the variable replacements are just manipulations of variables to prove the structural statement that is

256

the method of difference, no actual material equivalence is implied. We simply replace some symbols

by other and only endow them with meaning after the method of difference has been reached.

Remark: That the syllogism is a theorem has been previously established in the discussion of

mathematical logic.

Theorem (fallacy, C.39-141): Any argument in which at least one link does not obey the rules of logic

(in most cases that of the syllogism) is a wrong argument and does not establish the truth value of the

desired assertion (i.e. it leaves its status uncertain).

Proof: A theorem is established only by means of a proof. A proof is an ordered list of implications

which depend upon each other in a syllogistic way. In this way, the theorem (connecting the predicate

of the first implication to the conclusion of the last in an implication) is proven to be true. If an

argument is presented which does not follow this procedure, it is not a proof (by definition). As a

theorem requires a proof to establish its truth, the theorem remains a conjecture, i.e. a statement of

uncertain truth value, by the axioms of mathematical logic.

Remark: Some (but not all) fallacious arguments can be fixed and made into acceptable proofs. It is

important to note that the entire discussion (very popular among philosophers) of fallacies first reduces

simply to that of logical error (which from a mathematical point of view needs no discussion at all) and

secondly makes a statement only about the argument and none whatsoever about the proposition in

question.

257

Proof: A judgment is the statement that a is a member of X for some individual a and some property

X. The property X divides the universe U into two parts, namely X and X, the complement of X.

If X = U, then X = E, the empty set and thus the judgment is merely one of a exists. We call this a

trivial judgment because it is necessarily true once a has been identified. It is always possible to specify

any individual by its time and location and once this is done, the existence of the individual is clear.

Thus, a trivial judgment need not concern us here.

A non-trivial judgment has X ? E and so the judgment a ? X implies that a ? X. In fact, these two

statements are logically equivalent, i.e. (a ? X) ? (a ? X). Therefore, a judgment is equal to a

corresponding negative judgment and thus any judgment gives rise to a dichotomy in the universe

which means that any non-trivial judgment is necessarily dialectical.

Proof: Follows immediately from the definition of identity and the principle of non-overlap.

possessing properties.

assumption, the only way in which we interact with the world is sense-perception. This causes

9

Pabongka Rinpoche (1997): Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand: A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment.

(Wisdom Pub., Boston). For a detailed religious, philosophical and historical analysis of emptiness see Hopkins, Jeffery

(1987): Emptiness Yoga. (Snow Lion Pub., Ithaca).

258

judgment and thus is dialectic. An individual is sensed and thus judged as having a certain property and

thus (judgment being dialectic) as not having some other property. Any individual has some properties

as many sets with it as a member may be chosen [Mathematical note: This is not the axiom of choice as

all individuals are ordered by assumption of the discreteness of space-time. As the set of all objects

with which this theory deals is well-ordered, the axiom of choice is a provable theorem of set theory for

this universe.] but it is clearly not identical to any such set.

real only by its properties, it is similar to other individuals and dissimilar to yet others. In this way, it is

found to be real only in relation to other objects and thus it has no independent existence, i.e. it depends

on the existence of other objects for its own reality (it is thus a generalization of Machs principle as

formulated by Einstein). Chandrakirti: Therefore this proof employing interdependence cuts the net of

every mistaken view.10 Note that the property of being empty is itself empty as encapsulated by the

Heart of Wisdom Sutra lines: Form is emptiness, emptiness form. It is also written : The logicians

believe that suffering is constructed by oneself, by another, by both, or by chance; but you teach that it

arises in dependence. Whatever is originated in dependence, you regard as void. There is no

independent entity, that is your incomparable lions roar. Lokatitsatava (19-20)11. [A lions roar is a

wise statement made by a very advanced spiritual person (for example a Bodhisattva) that is taken as

proof of their advanced status.]

Proof: We take the statement as saying A ? B where A is the set of all sufferers and B the set of things

existing, i.e. the universe. As the set B is the universe, conditions 2 and 3 of the three aspect theorem

are automatically satisfied and condition 1 is, in fact, equivalent to this theorem. We must thus show

10

Tsongkapa (1988): The Principal Teachings of Buddhism. (Classics of Middle Asia, Mahayana Sutra and Tantra Press,

Howell, NJ, USA). [commentary by Pabongka Rinpoche, translation by Geshe Lobsang Tharchin and Michael Roach.] p.

132

11

Tsongkapa (1978): Calming the Mind and Discerning the Real. (Columbia Uni. Press, New York). [translation by Alex

Wayman] p. 195

259

that there is at least one sufferer. From the definition of suffering all we must therefore demonstrate is

that there are at least two causations intersection at least one point-instant which have different lengths.

This is clearly so from direct experience of the world.

Proof: If several causations intersect a single point-instant, a choice of free will must select the chain to

be taken. The shortest path can only be selected if the (at least comparative) lengths of all paths are

known. Knowledge of all paths intersecting a particular point-instant requires complete knowledge of

that point-instant and thus enlightenment. Since ignorance is defined as the complement of

enlightenment, the theorem is proved.

Remark: A person chooses an action and this has consequences. Some consequences may be desirable

and thus the action was chosen. This does not prevent the chain of causation thus selected from being

suffering. Basically this reduces to the mathematical fact that functions may have both local and global

minima. A course of action may look as if it is the best at present (local minimum) but only because the

person is not able to see far enough and realize that another course of action would be preferable.

Mathematically this is the problem of global optimization which is extremely difficult to solve, i.e.

there is no algorithm (definite executable method) which gets one from a particular place to the global

minimum in all cases.

Proof: This is true by definition of the concept of suffering, i.e. there always exists at least one choice

(one causation) which is of least length and thus not suffering.

260

Theorem (Buddha, fourth noble truth): Complete understanding of the whole universe can be gained

from introspection.

Proof: Since every individual is dependent upon others by some of its properties and every individual

has some properties is it clear that the union of all properties is the universe. To be totally understood,

an individual needs to be understood from all of its properties point of view (all of its properties need

to be understood because an individual can only be apprehended by its properties). Thus to completely

understand an individual, the whole universe must be understood. However if the whole universe is

understood, every individual is necessarily understood as it is a part of the universe. Introspection, by

definition, is the practice of gaining understanding about the I which is a part of the universe. By the

above argument, understanding the I will lead to understanding the universe.

Remark: It is crucial to realize that this theorem does not say that complete understanding can be

gained only from introspection. Buddhism thus provides one path to enlightenment but does not claim

that this path is the only path. In fact, within Buddhism the path of introspection is differentiated into

many kinds and some are considered faster than others but they all are said to lead to enlightenment

in the end. Thus Buddhism accepts other religious systems as providing valid paths to the ultimate goal.

compassion.

Proof: Enlightenment is the knowledge of all truths. In particular, it is the knowledge of which chains

of causation are suffering and which are not. It is the goal of the individual to reach enlightenment. The

conscious realization (i.e. knowledge) that an individual is acting so as to move away from

enlightenment is what is commonly called compassion. Thus every enlightened being has compassion

for the others still on the path.

261

Theorem (exclusion of circular reasoning): A circular argument may not be used to establish the

truth of any statement.

argument as a whole merely asserts (by the theorem of the syllogism) that A ? A which is a tautology.

It does not prove that A is true based on the axioms of the theory but only proves that A implies itself

which is true for any statement A. Therefore circular reasoning does not prove anything and should

thus be prohibited.

Remark: A lengthy discussion in philosophical circles centering around Dharmakirtis system12 may

be cut short by the principle: Circular reasoning is not a valid proof. It seems that a number of

philosophical debates are so lengthy and controversial because their authors use language in different

ways and employ different assumptions which they do not clearly state. From a mathematical point of

view, the opinions of these authors are equally valid insofar as they differ in their assumptions and so

they can not meaningfully compared in their arguments but only in their correspondence to reality.

They may be criticized by pointing out unstated assumptions and loose language which from a

mathematical point of view can be called lack of rigor. It is largely to simplify such debates that the

present paper is attempted as an example of systematization.

12

For an introduction and further references on this debate see Tillemans, Tom J.F. (1999): On Pararthanumana, Theses and

Syllogisms. In Tillemans, Tom J.F. (1999): Scripture, Logic, Language. (Wisdom Pub., Boston)

262

Remark on the Apoha Doctrine of Dignaga: One is lead to question to what extent universals are real

or what justifies the use of a term for different particulars. In our theory this is simply the concept of a

property, i.e. a set of indiduals. This set can then be named and this is the universal. It is clear from our

theory that a property is not real. Its parts are real but the property itself is not a point-instant and

thus not real. The Apoha doctrine of Dignaga is a logical principle that says that one must not compare

sets of objects with these objects as they are fundamentally different things. In modern language the

Apoha doctrine is exactly equivalent to Russells theory of types. It is remarkable that a logical theory

so celebrated after Russell published it as this was in fact constructed at least 13 centuries earlier than

commonly known. To be clear, the theory was made precise by Russell but all of its ideas and

statements are contained in the works of Dignaga and Dharmakirti. Matilal claims that this theory

solves the problem of universals in philosophy but we shall not discuss this13. Let us merely remark

that from the point of view of modern logic, the theory of types is the only logical principle capable to

removing a large class of logical paradoxes (such as Russells paradox) from logic. It is thus essential

in a very real way to obtain a consistent theory.

When we use a term at different times and mean different things, this is apparently a problem for

philosophy. From our theory this is quite natural. A property contains point-instants. If we fix the time,

then time-slices through a property yield different properties. In this simple way, it is clear that the

meaning of a property must change over time and that this is by no means a problem.

By Dharmakirti

Translated by

TH. Stcherbatsky (1993): Buddhist Logic. Vol. 2. (Motilal Banarsidass Pub., Delhi).

An alternative translation is available from

13

Bimal Krishna Matilal (1998): The Character of Logic in India. (State University of New York, Albany) p. 100ff.

263

A. Perception

1.

All successful human action is preceded by right knowledge. Therefore this (knowledge will be

here) investigated.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Construction (or judgment) implies a distinct cognition of a mental reflex which is capable of

coalescing with a verbal designation.

6.

Knowledge exempt from such (construction) when it is not affected by an illusion produced by

color-blindness, rapid motion, traveling on board a ship, sickness or other causes, is perceptive (right)

knowledge.

7.

It is fourfold.

8.

9.

Mental sensation follows (the first moment of every) sense-cognition (which is thus) its

immediately preceding homogenous cause. (The latter) is cooperating with (the corresponding moment

of) the object, (i.e. with that momentary object) which immediately follows the proper (momentary)

object (of sensation).

10.

11.

The (mystic) intuition of the Saint (the Yogi) is produced from the subculminational state of deep

meditation on transcendental reality.

12.

13.

When the mental image varies according as the object is near or remote, the object then is the

particular.

14.

15.

16.

17.

264

18.

19.

20.

The source of cognizing consists in coordination (between the constructed image and its real)

object.

21.

B. Inference

1.

Inference is twofold.

2.

3.

A cognition which is produced (indirectly) through a mark that has a threefold aspect, and which

refers to an object, (not perceived, but) inferred is internal inference.

4.

The distinction between a source of cognition and its result is here just the same as in the case of

perception.

5.

The three aspects of the mark are (first) just its presence in the object cognized by inference.

6.

7.

8.

The object (cognized in) inference is here the substratum whose property it is desired to cognize.

9.

A similar case is an object which is similar through the common possession of the inferred

property.

10.

A case which is not similar is dissimilar (it can be) different from it, contrary to it or its

absence.

11.

12.

13.

Between these (three, the formula) of Negation is as follows. Thesis. On some particular place

there is no jar. Reason. Because it is not perceived, although the conditions of perception are fulfilled.

14.

The presence of (all) the conditions of cognition consists in the presence of an individual entity

and the totality of all other conditions of cognition.

15.

It is a thing which, being present, is necessarily perceived when all other conditions of

perceptibility are fulfilled.

265

16.

Identity is a reason for deducing a property when (the subject) alone is by itself sufficient for that

deduction.

17.

18.

The effect is as follows. Thesis. Here is fire. Reason. Because there is smoke.

19.

(Cognition) is either affirmation or negation, (and affirmation) is double, (as founded either on

Identity or on Causation).

20.

Because one thing can convey the (existence of) another one when it is existentially dependent

(on the latter).

21.

Because a fact which is not so dependent upon another one, cannot be invariably and necessarily

concomitant with the latter.

22.

This is a dependence of the logical reason upon the fact which is deduced from it, (upon the

predicate).

23.

Because, as regards (ultimate) reality, (the entity underlying the logical reason) is either just the

same as the entity (underlying) the predicate, or it is causally derived from it.

24.

Because when a fact is neither existentially identical with another one, nor is it a product of the

latter, it cannot be necessarily dependent upon it.

25.

It is (simply) because Identity and Causation (causal origin) belong just either to a comprehended

property or to an effect. Inferential reference to Reality is possible exclusively on this basis.

26.

The success of negative behavior is only owing to a negative cognition of the form described

above.

27.

Because when a real object is present (it is perceived and it) becomes superfluous (to imagine its

presence).

28.

Because otherwise, (sc. If the absent thing has not been imagined as present, its absence, and the

entailed successful actions, cannot follow with logical necessity). Because when entities do not

conform to the conditions of cognizability, when they are inaccessible in space and time and (invisible)

by nature, since all human experience is then excluded, apodictic negative judgments are not possible.

29.

Negative behavior is successful when a present or a past negative experience of an observer has

happened, provided the memory of this fact has not been obliterated.

30.

It is exclusively on the basis of such (negation) that absence can be ascertained (with logical

necessity)

31.

32.

(The first formula) is existential (or direct) negation, it is the following one. Thesis. There is here

no smoke. Reason. Since, the conditions for its perception being fulfilled, none is perceived.

266

33.

Negation of an effect is as follows. Thesis. There are here no efficient causes producing smoke.

Reason. Because there is no smoke.

34.

Negation of a term of greater extension is as follows. Thesis. There is here no Asoka tree.

Reason. Because there are no trees.

35.

Affirmation of something incompatible (with the fact which is being denied) is as follows.

Thesis. There is here no sensation of cold. Reason. Because there is fire.

36.

The affirmation of an incompatible effect is as follows. Thesis. There is here no sensation of cold.

Reason. Because there is smoke.

37.

fact is as follows. Thesis. The evanescent character, even of such things which have an origin, is not

something constant. Reason. Because (their destruction) depends upon a special cause.

38.

Affirmation of something incompatible with the effect is as follows. Thesis. There are here no

efficient causes of cold. Reason. Because there is a fire.

39.

There is here no sensation produced by snow. Reason. Because there is a fire.

40.

Negation of causes is as follows. Thesis. There is here no smoke. Reason. Because there is no

fire.

41.

The affirmation of a fact incompatible with the causes of something is as follows. Thesis. He

betrays no symptoms of cold, such as shivering etc. Reason. Because there is an efficient fire near him.

42.

Affirmation of an effect of something incompatible with the cause is as follows. Thesis. In this

place nobody exhibits symptoms of cold, such as shivering etc. Reason. Because there is smoke.

43.

All these then formulae of a negative judgment, beginning from the second, are (virtually)

included (in the first), the (direct) non-perception of the existence of something.

44.

negation of something else.

45.

The formulae have been specified under the head of internal inference, because by their repeated

consideration the distinct conception of what a negative judgment represents internally (as a process of

thought) becomes thus also clear to the (scrutinizing individual) himself.

46.

Negation is the process through which either the absence of something or some practical

application of the idea of an absent thing is deduced. Whether the facts be denied by way of an

affirmation of something incompatible with them or through the negation of their causes etc.,

everywhere negation, on analysis, refers to possibilities of sensation.

267

47.

Because (the laws of) Contradiction and Causality do not extend their sway over other (i.e., over

metaphysical) objects.

48.

Negation of objects inaccessible (to experience) is the source of problematic reasoning, since its

essence is exclusive of both direct and indirect knowledge.

49.

When there are altogether no means of cognition, the non-existence of the object cannot be

established.

C. Syllogism

1.

Inference for others (or syllogism) consists in communicating the three aspects of the logical

mark (to others).

2.

3.

It is twofold.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

Among these two (methods, the method) of Agreement (is now illustrated by examples).

9.

exhibit corresponding behaviour towards it. (Example). Just as when we fail to perceive another thing

known from experience to be quite unexisting, though representable, e.g., the horns on the head of a

hare etc. (Minor premise). On a certain place we do not perceive the presence of a jar which is

representable. (Conclusion. We behave without expecting to find it there).

10.

11.

(Major premise). Every thing that exists is momentary. (Example). Just as a jar (representing a

compact chain of momentary existences). (Minor premise. The sound exists). (Conclusion. It is a chain

of momentary existences.) This is the formula of a simple (unqualified) analytical deduction.

12.

qualification existentially identical with I, is the following one. (Major premise). Whatsoever has an

268

origination is impermanent. (Example). (Just as a jar etc.). (Minor premise). (The sounds of our speech

possess origination). (Conclusion). (The sounds of our speech are impermanent).

13.

The formula of an analytical syllogism with a dmiddle term containing an additional (accidental)

qualification is the following one. (Major premise). Whatsoever is a product is impermanent.

(Examples). (As a jar etc.). (Minor premise). (The sounds of our speech are products). (Conclusion).

(The sounds of our speech are impermanent).

14.

A product means an existence (viewed as something) which for its own concretisation is

dependent upon the efficiency (of entities) other (than itself).

15.

The (expression) variable concomitantly with a change in the causes and other (similar

expressionhs) must be understood in the same way.

16.

The sounds of speech are existent, they have a (real) origin, they are produced these are the

minor premises.

17.

All these attributes (which are given as) reasons (for the deduction of corresponding predicates)

should be conceived (as logical reasons) for deducing only such predicates whose necessary

dependence on nothing but (the presence of) the reason is established by proofs, (whatsoever they may

be) suiting every special case.

18.

Because (what we call an analytical reason) is just the fact that the predicate is a natural outflow

of the reason, (not a fact outside it), it is contained in the essence of the latter.

19.

The underlying reality is the same for both (the reason and the fact deduced from it).

20.

If the reason could exist without the predicate, the latter would not be contained in the essence of

the former.

21.

(If it were no co-existent, if the consequence) could have appeared without the reason having also

appeared, it could not represent an inherent property of the latter.

22.

23.

(The deduction by causality, where) the reason represents the effect, has the following formula,

also (expressed by the method of Agreement). (Major premise). Wherever there is smoke there is fire.

(Example). As e.g., in the kitchen, etc. (Minor premise). Here there is smoke. (Conclusion). (Here there

is fire).

24.

Here also, we can assert that an effect is the logical reason for deducing from it the cause, only

when the fact of their causal relation is already known (in general).

25.

The method of Difference (will be now exhibited). Negation represents then the following

formula. (Major premise). What exists, all conditions of perceptibility being fulfilled, is necessarily

perceived. (Example). As, e.g., the particular case of a patch of blue colour etc. (Minor premise). But

269

on this (spot) we do not perceive any existing jar, although all conditions of perception are fulfilled.

(Conclusion). (Therefore there is here no jar).

26.

(Major premises). What is changeless is neither existent nor has it an origin nor can it be a

product. (Example). (As e.g., the Cosmic Ether etc.). (Minor premises). But the sounds of speech exist,

have origination, are a product (of causes). (Conclusion). (Hence they are impermanent).

27.

The formula of a reason representing an effect is as follows. (Major premise). Where there is no

fire, there neither is smoke. (Example). (As e.g., on the water of a lake, etc.). (Minor premise). But

there is here some smoke. (Conclusion). (Hence there must be some fire).

28.

29.

Because if that were not so, the reason could not be invariably concomitant with the consequence.

30.

Similarly (when the deduction is expressed) by the method of Difference, the original (positive)

concomitance follows (by implication).

31.

Because otherwise the absence of the reason in cases where the consequence is absent would not

be established.

32.

(No!) If their concomitance is not (ascertained), then the absence of one term cannot necessarily

follow from the absence of the other.

33.

It has then been stated above that there are only two kinds of depedent existence, whatsoever the

case may be. (The dependent part represents either existentially) the same thing or the effect of

(another existent).

34.

It follows therfore that if the (concerted) absence (of two terms) is expressed, their

interdependece must reveal itself. Therefore the contraposed general propositions always contains an

indication of their interdependence. This indication is nothing but the general proposition (in its

positive form). Thus it is that one single general proposition, either directly or in its contraposed form,

declares that the logical mark is present in similar and absent in dissimilar cases. Therefore it is not

indispensable to express both these propositions.

35.

(This rule applies) also to (Negation, i.e., to a deduction of absence whose reason is) nonperception. When we state (the contraposed formula of negation, viz.). Whatsoever exists, all

conditions of perceptibility being fulfilled, is necessarily perceived, the original concomitance, if

such an object is not perceived, it is absent, is established by implication.

36.

When either of these two (methods) is applied, it is not always necessary explicitly to mention the

thesis (or the conclusion).

37.

(superfluous to mention the conclusion separately). When it is stated that. (Major premise). Whatsoever

270

premise). On this place no jar is perceived, altough all other conditions for its perceptibility are

fulfilled. (The Conclusion) There is here no jar follows entirely by implication.

38.

The same refers also (to this formula expressed according to the method) of Difference. (Major

premise). Whatsoever is present (as an object of our purposive actions) and is in conditions of

perceptibility, is necessarily perceived. (Minor premise). But on this place no such jar is being

perceived. Through mere implication (the conclusion) follows that as an object of our purposive actions

this thing is absent.

39.

40.

himself accepts just as such, (i.e., just as the point he bona fide intends to maintain, if from the start)

it is not discredited (by self-contradiction).

41.

42.

Just as such means accepted as the fact which must be deduced, in contradistinction) from the

reason from which it is deduced.

43.

Supposing the non-eternal character of the sounds of speech must be established (as against the

Mimamsaka), and the reason would be, (say), its visibility. Since the visibility of sounds does not exist,

it might be regarded as a fact which is in need of proof. But it is expressed as the reason, therefore it is

not here intended to be proved, (albeit it is unproved).

44.

45.

46.

The following is meant. Supposing someone takes his stand on a definite system and quotes

arguments accordingly. Supposing the framer of the system has admitted several facts characterizing

the same subject. Nevertheless the thesis will be represented by that fact alone which at a given

occasion, a definite disputant himself chooses to argue, not by any other one.

47.

The word accepts (in the above definition of a sound thesis) means (that there is sometimes no

necessity of expressing the thesis in words). When an argument is adduced in answer to an objection on

a subject which one wishes to establish, the thesis, even if it is not expressly specified, is (understood

from the context).

48.

Because it represents the point against which the opposite view is directed.

49.

An example. (Thesis). The sense of vision and other senses (are organs) to be used by someone

else. (Reason). Because they are composite (substances). (Example). Just as beds, chairs and other

implements (composed for the use of man). (Major premise. Whatsoever is a composite substance is

271

not an independent existence). The aim is to prove that (the senses) are the organs of the Soul (which is

a simple and independent substance), although this is not expressly stated. Thus the thesis is not always

that alone which is expressed. That is the meaning (of the word accepts).

50.

The words not discredited (from the start by self-contradiction) are an indication of the fact that

according to this definition a (proposition) can be accepted (by the disputant as expressing) the fact to

be established and nevertheless not represent a thesis, if it is in contradiction with perception, with

inference, with (the identity) of a conception or with the very words (in which it is expressed).

51.

Among them, contradicted by preception is, e.g., (the following proposition). The sound is not

perceived by hearing.

52.

A thesis contradicted by inference is, e.g., (when an adherent of the Vaisesika system affirms),

the souds of speech are eternal entities.

53.

does not mean the moon.

54.

not a source of knowledge.

55.

56.

Thus (a sound thesis should not be) 1) a fact already proved, 2) a fact, altough not yet proved, but

adducted as a reason, (not as a consequence), 3) a fact which the disputant himself does not intend to

prove at that occasion, 4) it must not necessarily be a fact explicitly stated, 5) it must not be a fact

impossible (by self-contradiction). (All this is excluded), and just this contrast will show that our

definition (of a sound thesis) is unimpeachable, namely, 1) it is a point which the disputant himself has

chosen to establish, 2) which he himself admits and 3) which is not (internally) impossible.

57.

We have defined the syllogism as the verbal expression of the three aspects of the reason. Now, if

even one the three aspects is not (correctly) expressed, (the result) is a fallacy.

58.

And also (there will be a fallacy) if they are, although expressed, but either unreal or uncertain,

either for the opponent or for the speaker himself.

59.

If one aspect of the reason, namely, its (first aspect), its presence upon the subject of the

conclusion, is either non-existent or uncertain, the reason is called unreal.

60.

E.g., when it must be proved that the sounds of speech are not an eternal entity, the reason

because they are invisible is unreal for both parties.

61.

Trees are animate beings. This should be deduced from the fact that they die when the entire

bark is taken off. This is not accepted by the opponent. He defines death as an extinction of

sensations, sense-organs and life. Such a death does not occur in trees.

272

62.

Supposing a supporter of the Sankhya system wishes to prove that the emotions, pleasure etc., are

unconscious, and refers to the fact that they have a beginning or that they impermanent. This argument

is unreal for the disputant himself.

63.

If doubt prevails regarding the very (fact adduced as a reason) or regarding its localization, the

reason is unreal.

64.

If something is suspected to represent (not smoke, but) vapour etc., and if it is adduced as a proof

for the presence of fire, it will be an unreal, because uncertain, reason.

65.

66.

There can be a mistake as regards the direction from which the cry comes.

67.

And when the subject is not a reality, the reason will likewise be unreal. E.g., when the

omnipresence of the Soul (of an individual) is deduced from the fact that its attributes may be

apprehended anywhere, this reason is unreal.

68.

When another aspect of he reason its absence in counter-instances taken singly is unreal, the

fallacy is called uncertainty.

69.

Supposing we must prove the eternal character of the sounds of speech or some other (property to

be mentioned presently). If the fact of its being cognizable and other properties are quoted as their

(respective) reasons, they being present, either partly or completely, in dissimilar cases also (are

uncertain reasons).

70.

When this aspect of the reason is dubious, the fallacy is likewise one of uncertainty.

71.

passions. If the fact that he is endowed with the faculty of speech (and other attributes of a man) is

quoted as a reason, its absence in contrary cases (i.e., with omniscient beings) becomes problematic.

72.

A negative judgement of the form there are no omniscient speakers in existence concerns a fact

which is essentially beyond any possible experience. Therefore the absence of speech and (human

attributes in omniscient beings, i.e.) in cases contrary to non-omniscience, cannot be warranted.

73.

The contraposed proposition, viz., an omniscient being does not resort to speech cannot be

proved by negative experience, neither (can it be deduced from incompatibility with speech), because

there is no contradiction between omniscience and the faculty of speech, (omniscience) being

problematic.

74.

75.

When (one fact) has duration (as long as) the sum-total of its causes remains unimpaired, and it

(then) vanishes as soon as another, (the opposed), fact appears, it follows that both are incompatible,

(or efficiently opposed).

273

76.

77.

There is also (opposition between two facts) when their own essence consists in mutual

exclusion, as between the affirmation and negation (of the same thing).

78.

Now, neither of these two kinds of opposition does exist between the faculty of human speech

and omniscience.

79.

Even when a fact has never been observed, its non-existence cannot be deduced from the

presence of another fact, if the latter has not been established (by experience) as incompatible with it.

80.

Because a causal relation between passions and speech has never been established.

81.

We cannot conclude that the faculty of speech must be absent when something that is not its

cause is absent.

82.

Thus the faculty of speech is an uncertain mark. Its (necessary) absence in contrary cases (where

there is the gift of omniscience and passions are extinct) is subject to doubt.

83.

When the reverse of two aspects of the (adduced) reason is true, (the fallacy is called) a contrary

(or inverted) reason.

84.

85.

86.

E.g., the attributes of being a product, or of being volunarily produced, become contrary reasons,

if the eternality of the sounds of speech is to be deduced from them.

87.

Being absent in similar and present in dissimilar cases, they prove just the contrary.

88.

They are contrary, because they establish just the inverted (conclusion).

89.

admitted principle.

90.

This is an example. (Thesis). The sense of vision and other senses are serviceable to another

ones needs. (Reason). Because they are composite substances. (Example). Just as beds, chairs and

other requisites.

91.

It is a contrary reason, because it proves just the reverse of (the principle) admitted by the

(disputant), viz., the reverse of an existence for the sake of a simple substance.

92.

Why is it not mentioned here (as a separate variety)? Because it is implied in the two other ones.

93.

It does not differ from them, in that it proves the reverse of the consequence.

94.

95.

When one of the two forms is wrong and the other dubious, the reason becomes uncertain.

96.

possesses the faculty of speech. (Major premise). (Whosoever is a human being possessing the faculty

274

of speech, is omniscient and passionless). The contraposition is here wrong, the positive concomitance

uncertain.

97.

uncertain whether the gift of speech coexists (with these attributes) or not.

98.

When there is doubt regarding these same two forms of the reason, the fallacy is (also) called

uncertain.

99.

(Thesis). The living body is endowed with a Soul. (Reason). Because it possesses breath and

other (animal functions).

100.

Because except the class of entities possessing a Soul, and the class not possessing it, there is no

(third) group where animal functions are found.

101.

Because presence and absence of the Soul embrace between them every existing object.

102.

Neither can the presence (of the reason) in one of these (classes) be apprehended with certainty.

103.

Since neither in the entities supposed to possess a Soul, nor in the entities known not to possess

it, is the presence of animal functions certain.

104.

Therefore, since it is not proved that animal functions inherent in a living body exclude it either

from the class of all objects possessing a Soul of from all objects not possessing any, (it is impossible

to point out that one among) these two groups in which they are necessarily absent.

105.

106.

Because (the necessary presence of the reason) in one of the groups is also not established.

107.

Whether the Soul exists or whether it does not exist, we cannot in any case deny at once both the

presence and the absence of animal functions (in soulless beings).

108.

Because the denial of the one implies the affirmation of the other.

109.

The necessary presence and the necessary absence (of animal functions wheresoever a Soul is

absent), (these two facts) are exclusive of one another. Since neither of them can be established, (the

adduced reason for proving the existence of a Soul) is uncertain, (it proves nothing).

110.

Neither can we affirm (on such grounds) the necessary existence of a Soul, nor can we deny it.

111.

Thus there are three kinds of fallacies, the Unreal, the Contrary and the Uncertain. They are

respectively produced when either one aspect of the mark singly, or in any pair of them, are either

unreal or uncertain.

112.

One more (variety) of an uncertain reason has been established, viz., the (Counterbalanced)

reason which falls in line with its own contradiction, (which is self-contradictory).

113.

Why is it not mentioned here? Because it cannot occur in the process of (natural) ratiocination.

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114.

A (real) contradiction is indeed impossible (in the domain of the three varieties of logical

dependence), as established by us, in the cases of necessary Succession, of necessary Coexistence and

of Negation.

115.

116.

Therefore Dignaga has mentioned it as a mistaken argument establishing two contradicting facts,

such arguments occuring in dogmatic systems where inference concerns metaphysical problems and is

founded on dogmatic (premises) and not upon an (unbiassed) observation of real facts.

117.

If often happens that promotors of systems are mistaken and ascribe (to entities) such attributes as

are incompatible with their nature.

118.

When the argument is founded on the properly observed real condition of real things, when either

a case of (necessary) Succession or of (necessary) Coexistence or of Absence is thus established, there

is no room for contradiction.

119.

An example of this fallacy are (the following two contradictory deductions. The first is), (Major

premise). A (thing) which is simultaneously inherent in different objects, wheresoever they be situated,

(must be) ubiquitous. (Example). Just as the Cosmical Ether. (Minor premise). A Universal is

simultaneously inherent in different objects which are to be found everywhere. (Conclusion). (Hence a

Universal must be ubiquitous).

120.

The deduction is an analytical one. The real presence of (a Universal) in a definite place is

deduced merely (by analysis) of the fact that it is inherent in the objects occupying that place. Indeed,

(the opposite of that is impossible), if something is absent from (a definite) place, it does not fill up that

place by its own self.

121.

The second, (the contra-) deduction runs thus. (Major premise). If something preceptible is not

perceived upon a place, it is absent from it. (Example). As e.g., an absent jar. (Minor premise). A

Universal, although (supposed) to be perceptible, is not perceived in the intervals between the

(corresponding) particulars. (Conclusion). (Hence it is absent). This negative conclusion and the former

analytical deduction, since they contradict one another, produce together an uncertain (conclusion).

122.

The exposition of the three-aspected logical reason is finished. Such a reason is quite capable

alone to produce cognition of the (inferred) object. Hence the example is no separate member of the

syllogism. Its definition is not given separately, because it is implied (in the definition of the reason).

123.

The essence of a logical reason, in general, has been defined by us as consisting in its presence

only in similar cases, and its absence from every dissimilar case. Further, we have specified that the

causal and the analytical reasons must be shown to represent, (the first) an effect (from which the

existence of a cause is inferred), (the second, a necessarily coexisting attribute) which alone is

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sufficient for deducing (the consequence). When the reasons are so represented, it is then shown that 1)

wherever smoke exists, fire exists, like in a kitchen; if there is no fire, neither is there smoke, like in

contrary cases; 2) wherever there is production there is change, like in a jar; if something is changeless,

it is not a product, like Space. It is, indeed, impossible otherwise to show the existence (of the reason)

in similar and its absence from (all) contrary cases with the qualification that we have introduced, viz.

1) the causal deduction (of the existence of a reason) necessarily follows from the existence of the

effect, 2) the (analytically deduced) property is necessarily inherent in the fact representing the

analytical reason. When this is shown, it is likewise shown what an example is, since its essence,

includes nothing else.

124.

Fallacious examples are also virtually rejected by this (account of the reason).

125.

(Thesis). The sounds of speech are eternal entities. (Reason). Because they are not impenetrable

bodies of limited dimensions. (Examples). As, e.g., motion, atoms or a jar. These examples are

deficient in regard of the consequence or of the reason or of both.

126.

The same applies to cases where the presence of the predicated attribute and (of the reason) is

uncertain. 1. E.g., (Thesis). This man is subject to passions. (Reason). Because he is endowed with the

faculty of speech. (Example). As e.g., a man in the street. 2. (Thesis). This man is mortal. (Reason).

Because he is subject to passions. (Example). As e.g., a man in the street. 3. (Thesis). This man is nonomniscient. (Reason). Because he is subject to passions. (Example). As e.g., a man in the street.

127.

(Next come examples where) necessary concomitance is either absent (because of incomplete

induction) or not rightly expressed (because of the carelessness of the speaker). 1. (Thesis). Whosoever

speaks is subject to passions. (Example). Like, e.g., our Mr. So and So. 2. (Thesis). The sounds of

speech are impermanent. (Reason). Because they are products. (Example). As e.g., a jar.

128.

This also refers (to an example whose meaning has been expressed through) an inverted

concomitance, e.g., (Thesis). (The sounds of speech are impermanent). (Reason). (Because they are

produced from causes). (Example). (Just as a jar etc.), whatsoever is impermanent is a product.

129.

(Such are the fallacious examples when the syllogism is expressed) according to the method of

Agreement.

130.

The same (applies to deductions by the method) of Difference. The examples in which either the

consequence (or the reason, or both) are not absent, (as they should be in a syllogism of difference), are

the following ones atoms, motion and Space (respectively).

131.

Similar ar also the cases where the (necessary) absence of the predicate, (of the reason and of

both) is uncertain, e.g., (Thesis). Kapila and others are not omniscient, or are not (absolutely)

trustworthy. (Reason). Because their knowledge cannot stand the special test of omniscience and

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(absolute) trustworthiness. An example by contrast is the following one. (Contraposed major premise).

Omniscient or (absolutely) trustworthy is a man who teaches astronomy. (Example). As e.g., Risabha,

Vardhamana and others. The absence of the predicates not-omniscience and not absolute

trustworthiness in these examples, is subject to doubt.

132.

A negative example in cases where the exclusion of the reason is uncertain is as follows.

(Thesis). A Brahmin possessing the knowledge of the three Vedas should not trust Mr. So and So.

(Reason). Because (the man) might be subject to passions. A contrasting example (must illustrate the

rule that) whosoever is to be trusted is not subject to passions, e.g., Gautama and other promoters of

legal codes. The reason, i.e., the absence of passions in Gautama and consorts, is uncertain.

133.

A case where the exclusion of both is uncertain is as follows. (Thesis). Kapila and consorts are

not free from passions. (Reason). Because they are subject to acquisitiveness and avarice. A contrasting

example should prove the rule that a person who is free from passions neither does acquire nor is

subject to avarice, e.g., Risabha and consorts. The absence in Risabha and consorts of both the

predicates, i.e., freedom from passions and of acquisitiveness and avarice, is uncertain.

134.

An example not proving the contraposed general proposition is as follows, (Thesis). He is not

free from passions. (Reason). Because he possesses the faculty of speech. An example by contrast

(should illustrate the rule that) if something has no passions, it cannot speak, as e.g., a piece of stone.

Although both the attributes are absent in a piece of stone, (it neither has passions nor does it speak),

nevertheless the negative proposition, that every one who is free from passions does not speak, in its

generality is not proved. Therefore (the example is not a proof) for the contraposed (general

proposition).

135.

An example in which the contrast is not properly expresed is as follows. (Thesis). The sounds of

speech are not eternal. (Reason). Because they are produced (from causes). (Example). (In contrast

with) Space (which is not produced and eternal).

136.

(An example attached to an inverted) contraposition is the following one. (Major premise). What

is not subject to causal laws is eternal. (Example). (As e.g., Space).

137.

These wrong examples are no capable to demonstrate neither the general character of a valid

logical reason, viz., its presence in the similar cases alone and its absence in every contrary case, nor

are they capable to demonstrate the the special characters (of its varieties, the uniformity of

Coexistence and the uniformity of Succession). Consequently it is implicitly evident that they must be

rejected.

138.

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139.

Refutation means exposing the fallacies which have been explained above, the fallacies

consisting in failure to prove something. Refutation prevents the triumph of the doctrines advanced by

the opponent.

140.

141.

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