Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Readings #2: Nagarjuna and LNC

Eastern examples of rejecting the law of non-contradiction both for thought and being. The conclusion is that nothing can be affirmed or denied. Silence is the best, because the only, response to questions. 
Graham Priest quotes Nagarjuna and explains ineffability and the silence of the Buddha: 
"Thus we find the great second-century Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna saying:
'The nature of things is to have no nature; it is their non-nature that is their nature. For they have only one nature: no-nature'." 

"Philosophers in the Mahayana traditions hold some things to be ineffable; but they also explain why they are ineffable, in much the way that I did. Now, you can’t explain why something is ineffable without talking about it. That’s a plain contradiction: talking of the ineffable."

We find a further description here:

"Buddhism contains a philosophy called catuskoti that rejects the law of non-contradiction. In catuskoti, if a Buddhist is asked if the world has a beginning or not, he replies, "No, the world does not have a beginning, it does not fail to have a beginning, it does not have and not have a beginning, nor does it neither have nor not have a beginning."

Also see

Study questions:
1.  What does it mean to say that something does not have a nature?
2.  Does it follow that we cannot speak about what does not have a nature?
3.  How does the catuskoti philosophy apply its rejection of non-contradiction to claims about what has existed from eternity?
4.  Can a belief be true and ineffable?