The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

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The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby Lotus Lion » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:26 pm

Hi Everyone,

I was wondering if it would be possible to attain some assistance on how to explain the Buddha-Dharma, infact Eastern Dharma, in light of the Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC).

LNC is One of the Three Classic Laws of thought which are attributed to Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC).

LNC essentially states that it is not possible for something to be True and Not True at the same time in the same context.

An example: The chair in my living room, right now, cannot be made of wood and not made of wood at the same time in the same context.

In propositional logic, LNC could be written as:

¬(X and ¬X)

which leads to:

¬X or X

i.e. Something has be NotTrue or True within a given context.

Another example:

1. It is raining outside.
2. It is not raining outside.

A person who wants to argue against LNC may point out that both of these statements can be true provided that one is referring to Phoenix and the other is referring to Tallahassee. It may be raining in Tallahassee but not in Phoenix.
But if we are talking about different places, then the statements don’t contradict each other, and consequently, they can both be true.

Another Example: A ball may be Red or it may not be Red within the same context, however it cannot be Red and NotRed in same context.

Now Wave Particle Duality did seem to hold some hope, but this has been refuted by several people as it is not at the same time:

The wave-particle duality is often presented as an empirical refutation of the law of non-contradiction. But this is an unfair interpretation of events. The facts of the case are that an ongoing physical phenomenon may in some circumstances behave with the mathematical properties of a particle and in other circumstances behave with those of a wave. The circumstances involved are certainly not one and the same.

There is empirically no actual superimposition or ‘interbeing’ of wave and particle in the same respect, in the same place, at the same time, in the same perspective of the onlooker. The two states are clearly separated by space, time or other circumstances. Therefore, the law of non-contradiction is in fact never breached. Therefore, no epistemological or metaphysical difficulty arises.

Source: http://www.thelogician.net/6_reflect/6_ ... ter_12.htm
Also: http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/phenom/old/lawnon.html

I have looked quite extensively for counter examples to LNC in several fields, including Quantum Mechanics, but am yet to come across one that has not been refuted because they do not meet the conditions of LNC.

Many may be wondering what this has to do with The Buddha-Dharma and, from my current understanding, it is everything.

The Buddha-Dharma essentially refutes LNC by saying Merit is NotMerit, One enters the realm of Perception and NonPerception, Everything is Real and NotReal etc... at the same time in the same context.

LNC is essentially used to imply that The Dharma from its very foundations have no grounding in logic and as a result, reality. Therefore The teachings are not a good model to on which to base the world because they are simply made up.

Looking up LNC I came across Stanford University which highlighted the Tetralemma. Please see their understanding on this topic:

5. LNC and the Buddhist Tetralemma
Beyond the Western canon, the brunt of the battle over LNC has been largely borne by the Buddhists, particularly in the exposition by Nāgārjuna of the catuṣkoṭi or tetralemma (c. 200 A.D.; cf. Bochenski 1961: Part VI, Raju 1954, Garfield 1995, Tillemans 1999, Garfield & Priest 2002), also known as the four-cornered or fourfold negation. Consider the following four possible truth outcomes for any statement and its (apparent) contradictory:

(i) S is P
(ii) S is not P
(iii) S is both P and not-P
(iv) S is neither P nor not-P

For instances of the positive tetralemma, on Nāgārjuna's account, all four statement types can or must be accepted:

Everything is real and not real.
Both real and not real.
Neither real nor not real.
That is Lord Buddha's teaching.
—Mūla-madhyamaka-kārikā 18:8, quoted in Garfield (1995: 102)

Such cases arise only when we are beyond the realm to which ordinary logic applies, when “the sphere of thought has ceased.” On the other hand, much more use is made of the negative tetralemma, in which all four of the statements in (9) can or must be rejected. Is this tantamount, as it appears, to the renunciation of LEM and LNC, the countenancing of both gaps and gluts, and thus—in Aristotle's view—the overthrow of all bounds of rational argument?
......
Unassertability can be read as the key to the apparent paradox of the catuṣkoṭi as well. The venerable text in Majjhima-nikāya 72, relating the teachings of the historical Buddha, offers a precursor for Nāgārjuna's doctrine of the negative tetralemma. Gotama is responding to a monk's question concerning the doctrine of rebirth (quoted in Robinson 1967: 54):

Gotama, where is the monk reborn whose mind is thus freed?
Vaccha, it is not true to say that he is reborn.
Then, Gotama, he is not reborn.
Vaccha, it is not true to say that he is not reborn.
Then, Gotama, he is both reborn and not reborn.
Vaccha, it is not true to say that he is both reborn and not reborn.
Then, Gotama, he is neither reborn nor not reborn.
Vaccha, it is not true to say that he is neither reborn nor not reborn.

Note the form of the translation here, or similarly that of the standard rendering of the negative catuṣkoṭi that “it profits not” to assert Φ, to assert ¬Φ, to assert both Φ and ¬Φ, or to assert neither Φ nor ¬Φ: the relevant negation can be taken to operate over an implicit modal, in particular an epistemic or assertability operator. If so, neither LEM nor LNC is directly at stake in the tetralemma: you can have your Aristotle and Buddha too.

Source: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/contr ... #LNCBudTet

However, the Tetralemma is refuted:

...he does not succeed in this quest. For his critique depends on a misrepresentation of logical science...

Source: http://www.thelogician.net/3b_buddhist_ ... ter_01.htm

There are other areas to look into such as paraconsistent logic and Dialetheism, works by Georg Hegel, Immanuel Kant's Noumenon, as well as Graham Priest and his contemporaries, but if i may be frank it goes completely over my head.

Having thought about this for a little while, i feel that Dharmic teachings transcend Logic, is rooted in personal experience and go beyond the senses. However, if one has yet to experience this, one cannot articulate it and hence defend their position which results in the loss of faith which has sprung from not being able to answer questions put forward.

I ask my Buddhist Brothers and Sisters, and if possible, The Venerable Monks, in gaining assistance to help me resolve this issue as it is causing me some anguish.

With the greatest of respects to the Sangha,

Lotus
:namaste:
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby ground » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:38 pm

Lotus Lion wrote:The Buddha-Dharma essentially refutes LNC by saying Merit is NotMerit, One enters the realm of Perception and NonPerception, Everything is Real and NotReal etc... at the same time in the same context.


The Buddha dharma actually is about clinging or not clinging.


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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby White Lotus » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:28 pm

dear Lotus Lion. what you seek is what you find. if you look for lnc you find it, if however you seek contradictory certitude you find it.

we know that in buddhism emptiness is form.

best wishes, White Lotus.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby Nosta » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:38 pm

Complex questions you ask, but there may be some simple answers: altought i am not anyone, i think that Aristotles may be wrong. Things maybe can be and cannot be something at same time.

Buddhism is not for the western rational mind.
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby Mr. G » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:46 pm

Lotus Lion wrote:Hi Everyone,

I was wondering if it would be possible to attain some assistance on how to explain the Buddha-Dharma, infact Eastern Dharma, in light of the Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC).

LNC is One of the Three Classic Laws of thought which are attributed to Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC).

LNC essentially states that it is not possible for something to be True and Not True at the same time in the same context.

An example: The chair in my living room, right now, cannot be made of wood and not made of wood at the same time in the same context.

In propositional logic, LNC could be written as:

¬(X and ¬X)

which leads to:

¬X or X

i.e. Something has be NotTrue or True within a given context.

Another example:

1. It is raining outside.
2. It is not raining outside.

A person who wants to argue against LNC may point out that both of these statements can be true provided that one is referring to Phoenix and the other is referring to Tallahassee. It may be raining in Tallahassee but not in Phoenix.
But if we are talking about different places, then the statements don’t contradict each other, and consequently, they can both be true.

Another Example: A ball may be Red or it may not be Red within the same context, however it cannot be Red and NotRed in same context.

Now Wave Particle Duality did seem to hold some hope, but this has been refuted by several people as it is not at the same time:

The wave-particle duality is often presented as an empirical refutation of the law of non-contradiction. But this is an unfair interpretation of events. The facts of the case are that an ongoing physical phenomenon may in some circumstances behave with the mathematical properties of a particle and in other circumstances behave with those of a wave. The circumstances involved are certainly not one and the same.

There is empirically no actual superimposition or ‘interbeing’ of wave and particle in the same respect, in the same place, at the same time, in the same perspective of the onlooker. The two states are clearly separated by space, time or other circumstances. Therefore, the law of non-contradiction is in fact never breached. Therefore, no epistemological or metaphysical difficulty arises.

Source: http://www.thelogician.net/6_reflect/6_ ... ter_12.htm
Also: http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/phenom/old/lawnon.html

I have looked quite extensively for counter examples to LNC in several fields, including Quantum Mechanics, but am yet to come across one that has not been refuted because they do not meet the conditions of LNC.

Many may be wondering what this has to do with The Buddha-Dharma and, from my current understanding, it is everything.

The Buddha-Dharma essentially refutes LNC by saying Merit is NotMerit, One enters the realm of Perception and NonPerception, Everything is Real and NotReal etc... at the same time in the same context.

LNC is essentially used to imply that The Dharma from its very foundations have no grounding in logic and as a result, reality. Therefore The teachings are not a good model to on which to base the world because they are simply made up.

Looking up LNC I came across Stanford University which highlighted the Tetralemma. Please see their understanding on this topic:

5. LNC and the Buddhist Tetralemma
Beyond the Western canon, the brunt of the battle over LNC has been largely borne by the Buddhists, particularly in the exposition by Nāgārjuna of the catuṣkoṭi or tetralemma (c. 200 A.D.; cf. Bochenski 1961: Part VI, Raju 1954, Garfield 1995, Tillemans 1999, Garfield & Priest 2002), also known as the four-cornered or fourfold negation. Consider the following four possible truth outcomes for any statement and its (apparent) contradictory:

(i) S is P
(ii) S is not P
(iii) S is both P and not-P
(iv) S is neither P nor not-P

For instances of the positive tetralemma, on Nāgārjuna's account, all four statement types can or must be accepted:

Everything is real and not real.
Both real and not real.
Neither real nor not real.
That is Lord Buddha's teaching.
—Mūla-madhyamaka-kārikā 18:8, quoted in Garfield (1995: 102)

Such cases arise only when we are beyond the realm to which ordinary logic applies, when “the sphere of thought has ceased.” On the other hand, much more use is made of the negative tetralemma, in which all four of the statements in (9) can or must be rejected. Is this tantamount, as it appears, to the renunciation of LEM and LNC, the countenancing of both gaps and gluts, and thus—in Aristotle's view—the overthrow of all bounds of rational argument?
......
Unassertability can be read as the key to the apparent paradox of the catuṣkoṭi as well. The venerable text in Majjhima-nikāya 72, relating the teachings of the historical Buddha, offers a precursor for Nāgārjuna's doctrine of the negative tetralemma. Gotama is responding to a monk's question concerning the doctrine of rebirth (quoted in Robinson 1967: 54):

Gotama, where is the monk reborn whose mind is thus freed?
Vaccha, it is not true to say that he is reborn.
Then, Gotama, he is not reborn.
Vaccha, it is not true to say that he is not reborn.
Then, Gotama, he is both reborn and not reborn.
Vaccha, it is not true to say that he is both reborn and not reborn.
Then, Gotama, he is neither reborn nor not reborn.
Vaccha, it is not true to say that he is neither reborn nor not reborn.

Note the form of the translation here, or similarly that of the standard rendering of the negative catuṣkoṭi that “it profits not” to assert Φ, to assert ¬Φ, to assert both Φ and ¬Φ, or to assert neither Φ nor ¬Φ: the relevant negation can be taken to operate over an implicit modal, in particular an epistemic or assertability operator. If so, neither LEM nor LNC is directly at stake in the tetralemma: you can have your Aristotle and Buddha too.

Source: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/contr ... #LNCBudTet

However, the Tetralemma is refuted:

...he does not succeed in this quest. For his critique depends on a misrepresentation of logical science...

Source: http://www.thelogician.net/3b_buddhist_ ... ter_01.htm

There are other areas to look into such as paraconsistent logic and Dialetheism, works by Georg Hegel, Immanuel Kant's Noumenon, as well as Graham Priest and his contemporaries, but if i may be frank it goes completely over my head.

Having thought about this for a little while, i feel that Dharmic teachings transcend Logic, is rooted in personal experience and go beyond the senses. However, if one has yet to experience this, one cannot articulate it and hence defend their position which results in the loss of faith which has sprung from not being able to answer questions put forward.

I ask my Buddhist Brothers and Sisters, and if possible, The Venerable Monks, in gaining assistance to help me resolve this issue as it is causing me some anguish.

With the greatest of respects to the Sangha,

Lotus
:namaste:


bump

I am interested in a response to this.
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    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby Sherab » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:02 am

Lotus Lion wrote: A ball may be Red or it may not be Red within the same context, however it cannot be Red and NotRed in same context.

I would agree with this, i.e., the LNC holds as long as X and -X are in the same context.

In the Buddha Dharma, if one examines carefully, X and -X are never in the same context even though they appear in the same sentence or verse.

The purpose of juxtaposing X and -X is then to get the listener to examine his context. In other words, the Buddha was pointing out that the assumptions, the concepts etc., that the questioner had in mind were incorrect and he had to reexamine them.

Why didn't the Buddha directly tell the questioner that his context was incorrect? I would think that due to the questioner's extremely strong clinging to his own views, or perhaps a very strong ego, he would not be in a position to accept whatever the Buddha might tell him. So the best way was to leave the questioner guessing. I think that the Buddha understood very well that it is well nigh impossible to impose one's view on another. It is better if the correct view can surface internally. So the way the Buddha answered question is in itself a skilful means to create the conditions in the questioner for that to happen.
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby Jinzang » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:56 am

Edward Conze's essay, The Objective Validity of the Principle of Contradiction (pdf) covers all the bases and I have nothing to add to it.
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby tobes » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:35 am

Jinzang wrote:Edward Conze's essay, The Objective Validity of the Principle of Contradiction (pdf) covers all the bases and I have nothing to add to it.


Thanks for posting this :thumbsup:

I agree; the LNC comes from the Aristotelian premise that Being and not Being are distinct ontological categories.....a premise fundamentally undermined by Buddhist thought.

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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby catmoon » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:40 am

First bit of quantum mechanics, just because I have a little training there.

A wave is not a particle and a particle is not a wave.

When looking at a photon, the question arises, is it a particle or a wave?

Then you can go all Nagarjuna on it :

A photon is not a wave

A photon is not a particle

A photon is not both

A photon is not neither.

Now we can examine the logic with the benefit of an actual physical case. The first thing to note is that a wave is a mathematically defined thing, a model. It is like a rather detailed label applied to reality. A particle is also a mathematically defined thing. So we have these two labels, both quite intricate. Both models might be reduced to a list of properties.

A photon is not a wave in the sense that you are not a monkey. In certain circumstances you might behave in a very monkey-like manner, but that does not make you a monkey. A photon is not a particle either, in the sense that you are not Elvis Presley. Now in certain circumstances you might behave quite precisely like Elvis Presley, but this does not make you Elvis Presley.

A photon is not a wave and a particle. What does it mean to be a wave and a particle? It might mean to have, at all times, all the properties of a wave and a particle, but some of the properties contradict making this impossible. It's like saying you can't be both Elvis and a monkey, because they have conflicting properties. You'd have to be covered in fur and not covered in fur at the same time.

Aha! we say, then a photon must be neither a wave nor a particle! It must be something else. And the physicist in the crowd holds up a card with a quantum wave function written on it. Now it looks like we have an answer. Just as you are not a monkey, and you are not Elvis Presley, but may in certain circumstances act just like either, so a photon is not a wave or a particle. It is (and here we squint carefully at the card the physicist is holding up) a quantum wave packet, an entity capable of exhibiting particle-like or wave-like properties depending on the circumstances, PLUS a whole new raft of OTHER, previously unsuspected properties, that enable the construction of things like semiconductors and lasers. All very precisely described too.

(I'd better save this before the board times out on me again)
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby catmoon » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:10 am

(cont'd)

But someone then pipes up with the questions:

Is a photon a wave or quantum wave packet?

Is a photon a particle or a quantum wave packet?

Is a photon a wave, a particle, or a quantum wave packet?

And suddenly our tetralemmic logic system explodes in an infinite regression of possibilities. The problem is a confusion between things and descriptions of things. In fact, the situation is that

A "wave" is an incomplete description of a photon.

A "particle" is an incomplete description of a photon.

A "wave packet" is an incomplete description of a photon.

And a "photon" is not even a description, it's just an arbitrary label applied to a set of commonly encountered phenomena. So when you ask "Is a photon a wave or a particle" you are actually asking one of two questions:

A: "Is an arbitrary label the same thing as an incomplete mathematical description of some kind?"

B: "Is a set of commonly encountered phenomena the same thing as an incomplete mathematical description of some kind?"

In either case, we can now apply the tetralemma and generate perfectly reasonable results. A photon is not a wave, a particle, or a quantum wave packet, and it is not in fact the same thing as any description of it. It is not some other, undiscovered description. It's even possible to debate whether the label "photon" applies to a well defined set of phenomenae or not.

The scientists can go home happy, because all this does is recast the pursuit of knowledge as a process of finding ever more accurate and complete descriptions without affecting the worth or utility of science in the slightest.
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby catmoon » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:53 am

Bearing the previous points in mind, let's take a look at applying the tetralemma to some metaphysics. A couple of examples have already been raised:

Is there rebirth?
Is everything real?

What is rebirth? We tend to think of it as a reality, but we cannot observe the process and documentation is pretty sketchy. If it were possible to observe and document the process, then questions would not even arise. So rebirth is a hypothesis for most of us who are not Buddhas. It is a set of ideas about what may occur. It is a description of possible events. Now descriptions have funny properties. Do they exist? The very concept of existence seems not to apply to them.

More to the point, one might ask, do things actually occur according to this description? The only way to know is to observe the process and compare it with the description, and that we cannot do. (Well, maybe one day if we become Buddhas this will be possible, but until then... no dice.)

So that leaves us with arguments from authority. We can say "Buddha said this or that therefore it is true". Unfortunately, Buddha himself is on record as having specifically forbidden the use of such arguments.

In such a situation there is no point in applying the tetralemma, because it will generate the four possibilities

There is rebirth.
There is no rebirth.
There is rebirth and no rebirth.
There is neither rebirth nor no rebirth

None of which are decideable from our current position.

(time to save off again)
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby catmoon » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:08 am

Is everything real?

This is a horrendously vague question. It does not specify what is in the category "things" so we don't know if the question refers to experiences, dreams, physical objects or whatever. Nor does it specify what properties a real object would have as opposed to an unreal one. I can only assume that the reason Nagarjuna ran it through the tetralemma mill and produced a fourfold "no" result, was that doing so was immensely more polite than pointing out the silliness of posing such an obviously flawed question!

Presumably Nagarjuna was answering only one of the manifold possible meanings of the question, but it's beyond me to figure out which one it was.
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby White Lotus » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:38 pm

are things real?
things are just so!

love white lotus.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby Lotus Lion » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:49 pm

Hi Everyone,

altought i am not anyone, i think that Aristotles may be wrong.

This is actually an interesting and valid point. Aristotle has not always got it right before. Take for example, he wrongly believed that the world has been here eternally.

Although the Unmoved Mover is God, it did not create the world, which Aristotle regarded as uncreated and eternal.

Source:http://www.enotes.com/science-religion-encyclopedia/aristotle

But the world actually has an age:
The age of the Earth is 4.54 billion years

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_the_Earth

clearly a long time, but not really eternal.

There is also the Liar Paradox.

Consider the following sentence: "This sentence is false"
If "This sentence is false" is true, then it is false, which would in turn mean that it is actually true, but this would mean that it is false, and so on.

Clearly not the strongest argument against Aristotle, but shows that cracks and splits can form.

In the Buddha Dharma, if one examines carefully, X and -X are never in the same context even though they appear in the same sentence or verse

with respect to the sutra below then:
Gotama, where is the monk reborn whose mind is thus freed?
Vaccha, it is not true to say that he is reborn.
Then, Gotama, he is not reborn.
Vaccha, it is not true to say that he is not reborn.
Then, Gotama, he is both reborn and not reborn.
Vaccha, it is not true to say that he is both reborn and not reborn.
Then, Gotama, he is neither reborn nor not reborn.
Vaccha, it is not true to say that he is neither reborn nor not reborn.


Is the deeper implication that the 'essence of reality' actually goes beyond what the senses can detect, and that we are actually creating limited world views by basing it on them alone, especially since they are defiled in some way and that they are not being utilised to their full capacity before reaching an apparent conclusion? (please note i am including the mind as a sense as a well). This links into Kants Transcendental philosophy but i am yet to look into this in greater depth.

Are there other sutras we could look at, especially ones that are refuting LNC ? Not necessarily playing devils advocate here, but wish to strengthen myself and speak from a platform of conviction as it were. Please note, it is not out of Ego, rather wishing to gain knowledge so that it is possible to refute others who wish to impede my path as i progress with The Dharma.

Edward Conze's essay, The Objective Validity of the Principle of Contradiction (pdf) covers all the bases


Thank you for this, i really appreciate it. For me, it is not light reading, but from what i have gathered Conze points out that LNC (PC in the quote below) has been denied by many people in Europe, China and India, including almost all of his predecessors:

Aristotle, in his still unsurpassed and valid discussion of the P.C. in the third book of the Metaphysics maintains that practically all his predecessors denied the P.C. Later on we find that eminent thinkers like Nicholas of Cusa, Hegel, Bostroem, Bradley, and others in Europe, the Taoists in China, the Madhyamikas in India denied the validity of the P.C.

Source: http://www.faculty.umb.edu/gary_zabel/C ... iction.pdf

Delving further, i learnt that Aristotle's Teacher was Socrates who taught The Allegory of the Cave which goes counter to LNC.

Essentially it describes a group of people people who have been chain up all their lives, with their faces towards the wall in a cave and can only see shadows created by a fire. One of them manage to break free and comes to discover that the shadows are infact created by the fire and then eventually makes his way out of the cave and see the world for what it actually is. He then returns to the cave and attempts to describe to others what he knows, but they refuse to accept what he is saying.

Now as the prisoner returns back to the cave, he feels his moral duty to make others aware of the truth he has just discovered. He tries to persuade his companions that outside there is a more real world, and what all has been seen by them are mere shadows of the real objects. He tries to point out the deep rooted ignorance of the fellow prisoners who are trapped within their own confinement of pseudo intellectualism. But the prisoners try to resist enlightenment and condemn him for the moral misconduct and loss of ethical values. These values, which are not governed by the tautologies of nature but the fallacy of shadows casted on the wall, are considered to be the truth by the prisoners of the cave. Everything that goes beyond these values, tends to lie in the domain of unconventional thoughts, which are always resisted by human beings.

Source: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/platos-a ... ation.html

More can be read at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave
http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/allegory.html

I will continue with this and add my thoughts as this thread hopefully progresses.

Catmoon, thank you for providing this view on Wave Particle Duality. Given the fact that i have no training in this area, it was good to gain an insight on it from a Dharmic point of view. I wish to write more but am now slightly limited for time.

My best regards,

Lotus
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby Astus » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:33 am

There is no contradiction in the tetralemma as it is used to negate extreme concepts. Nagarjuna explains in the following stanzas the reason for the teaching of emptiness, how buddhas have used different teachings, why language has to be transcended, that there are conventional and ultimate truths, how dependent origination is emptiness and that it is the essential teaching of the buddhas.

Through the elimination of karma and affliction there is nirvana.
Karma and affliction come from conceptual thought.
These come from mental fabrication.
Fabrication ceases through emptiness.

The Buddhas have designated a self;
And have taught that there is no self;
And also have taught that
There is neither self nor selflessness.

What language expresses is repudiated because
The domain of thought is repudiated.
Unarisen and unceased:
Reality is just like nirvana.

Everything is real; and is not real;
Both real and unreal;
Neither unreal nor real.
This is the Lord Buddha’s teaching.

Not dependent on another, peaceful and
Not fabricated by fabrications,
Not conceptualized, without distinctions:
That is the characteristic of things as they really are.

Whatever comes into being dependent on another
Is neither identical to that thing
Nor different from it.
Therefore it is neither annihilated nor permanent.

This is nectar—the doctrine of
The Buddhas, patrons of the world.
Without identity, without distinction,
Not annihilated, not permanent.


(MMK 18.5-11, tr. from Ocean of Reasoning)

We find the following story in the Gateless Gate collection (Yangshan's Deam),

Master Yangshan had a dream: He went to Maitreya’s place and was given the third seat. A venerable monastic there struck the table with a gavel and announced, “Today, the talk will be given by the monastic of the third seat.” Yangshan struck the table with the gavel and said, “The Dharma of Mahayana goes beyond the Four Propositions and transcends the One Hundred Negations. Listen carefully!”

The four propositions (四句) are the tetralemma (being, non-being, being and non-being, nor being neither non-being) and the hundred negations (百非) are either an expression for the complete refutation of all statements or a way of multiplying the tetralemma (the four propositions applied to each proposition (16), multiplied by the three times of past, present and future (48) and also by the two possible states of arisen and not yet arisen (96) to which we add the original four propositions (100) - from the short summary by Zixuan [T44n1848, p318b08-12]). But the real teaching is not even this four propositions and hundred negations but beyond it, that is, non-conceptual which is neither conceptual (grasping concepts) nor not conceptual (refusing concepts) thus realising that all appearances are empty, only ideas, thoughts, names.

Wansong's commentary to case six of the Book of Serenity says,

"The Mahayanasamgraha says, "'Existence' is slander by exaggeration, 'nonexistence' is slander by underestimation; 'both existence and nonexistence' is slander by contradiction, and 'nether existence nor nonexistence' is slander by intellectual fabrication." If you abandon these four propositions, the hundred negations are spontaneously wiped out. Huangbo said, "If you want to understand directly and immediately, everything is not it." I say, "If you understand clearly and thoroughly, nothing is not it.""

The point is that while the laws of logic one may describe certain conventional truths and there is no denial of that. This is where one can say that something is, or something isn't, or something sometimes is and sometimes isn't, or that something is never is or isn't. But from the ultimate point all views of existence and non-existence are extremes and illusions leading only to suffering when clung to.

The law of identity is another fundamental concept. But if we take it from the Buddhist perspective it is impossible to find and identity in anything and this identitilessness is also known as selflessness and emptiness. From this comes that further statements about any "being" is senseless as well since there is no such "being" in the first place. So comes the first part of the tetralemma that one can't say there is a being. Also, it isn't true either to say that there is nothing at all, since there is a "being" on a conventional, conceptual level. Concluding that there is and there isn't a "being" is wrong again, for it is a mental fabrication produced only to maintain one's grasping of something being both like this and that. However, even saying that then it is neither is nor isn't is incorrect as well for similar reasons as before. This is an example of the use of the tretralemma which is a method to eliminate false ideas.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby sherabpa » Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:01 pm

Consider your example:

Everything is real and not real.

If, as you say, this is of the form (X and ¬X), it is certainly a contradiction. But so what? Contradictions are asserted all the time in logic. The question is what is point of asserting the contradiction. That is why one should always consider the "context" of the assertion.
--------------------
It could also be a single proposition of the form:

∃x(Ex & ¬Ex)

In this case, we may additionally say that "existence" may not be a genuine predicate (as Kant and Russell thought). In which case we simply do not know the logical form of "Everything is real and not real." and it may not be a genuine contradiction.
----------------------
Also, you seem to think LEM follows from LNC. This isn't the necessarily case. For example, intuitionist logic does not require all statements to be bivalent in order to be meaningful. Unproven statements in mathematics are neither true nor false, but are meaningful, for example. One could consider tetralemma type statements to be like this.

In short, I wouldn't worry too much about the logic here but focus on the meaning. Logic is a tool of language, not its master.
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby sherabpa » Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:02 pm

Also, there is a lot on nonsense written and quoted above about quantum mechanics. The violations of classical logic (specifically, the law of the excluded middle, LEM) brought about by quantum mechanics are not due to wave-particle duality in the sense that something is both a particle and a wave.

Rather, they are due to the fact that the time evolution of systems in quantum mechanics is governed by Schrodinger's equation, which requires that the state of a system will be a wave or wave packet. This entails there is a 'superposition' of incompatible states, each associated with various probabilities. The incompatibility of these states violates LEM. The famous example is the Schrodinger's cat thought experiment. All this is to do only with the wave-like aspect of quantum mechanics, not wave-particle duality as such.

It is for this reason that physicists sometimes say 'reality is quantum mechanical', and thus reality violates classical logic (LEM), and 'quantum logic' has been proposed as an alternative to classical logic.

Does the violation of classical logic by quantum mechanics make it alright to have other violations, such as by tertralemma? No, the existence of both kinds of logic is a paradox: that is exactly what Schrodinger's cat thought experiment is meant to show. The problem is not a problem with Buddhist philosophy, but with our understanding of quantum mechanics vs our understanding of the world.
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:22 pm

Dear Lotus Lion,

I would reccomend you take a few ten day (minimum) vipassana courses then go off for a Mahamudra retreat. If that doesn't answer your question then NOTHING will!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: The Law of NonContradiction and the BuddhaDharma

Postby Lotus Lion » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:38 pm

Hello Everyone,

I have been looking into this for a little while. Having read through a bit of of material I have reached what I feel is an answer though I am still in the process of fully developing it.

I thought that i would put it out anyway to help other Brothers and Sisters who are in a similar position and are seeking an answer. At the very least i hope it will help steer people in the right direction.

Some vital information was overlooked which could have helped reach a conclusion a long time ago - Emptiness.

White Lotus wrote:we know that in buddhism emptiness is form.

From my current understanding, if we take any object, there are several attributes associated with it. Attributes such as Colour, Length, Width, Volume, Texture etc... Rudimentarily, this is what makes them "Real" to us - We can perceive them through our gross senses as they have an objective existence.

However, if we were to take all objects down to their microscopic level, we would have to agree that are all made up of the same thing - atoms.
If we look into the composition of the atom, we see that it is made up a nucleus and an electronic charge. What must be noted that over 99.9% of it is infact empty space.
"An atom isn't just tiny, it's over 99.9% empty space...The rest of the atom is entirely empty apart from a few ghostly objects called electrons that skim about at a great distance from the nucleus...That means even the most solid-looking objects we see are predominantly nothingness.."

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6914175.stm

This was discovered by the famous scientist Ernest Rutherford(1871-1937) who performed experiments where alpha particle beams where shot at a piece of gold foil.

"...the evidence suggested that an atom is mostly empty space and that its positive charge is concentrated in a dense mass at its core, forming a nucleus."

Source: http://undsci.berkeley.edu/lessons/pdfs/rutherford.pdf

And an atom mainly being empty is widely accepted in the scientific world as a fundamental building block:
"He saw that the radius of the reflecting center of the gold Atom was about 10^5 times smaller then the radius of the atom itself... Thus
Rutherford discovered that most of the volume of the atom is empty space.
"

Source: M.Sachs(2007), Concepts of modern physics: the Haifa lectures (Imperial College Press), p43

"Atoms Are Overwhelmingly Composed of Empty Space Rutherford allows us to make this statement."

Source: B.L.Silver(1998),The ascent of science, (OUP USA)p141-142

And what is contained in this empty space? According to current understanding it is electromagnetic forces that are produced through the interaction between the nucleus and electronic charge.

"The electrons and the protons/neutrons are constantly interacting, either electromagnetically or through the weak force. In quantum field theory we would say that these particles are constantly exchanging photons (in the case of electromagnetism) or heavy gauge bosons (in the case of the weak force). Thus you might say that the otherwise 'empty' space between the electrons and nucleus is 'filled' with these quanta carrying forces."

Source: http://www.physlink.com/education/askexperts/ae222.cfm

As well as acknowledged as a void:
"By the end of 1910, Rutherford began tying these several factors into a new atomic model and theory of scattering. The alpha projectile, he said, changed course in a single encounter with a target atom. But for this to occur, the forces of electrical repulsion (or attraction—it made no difference for the mathematics) had to be concentrated in a region of 10-13 centimeters, whereas the atom was known to measure 10-8 centimeters. This meant that the atom consisted largely of empty space, with a very tiny and very dense charged nucleus at the center and opposite charges somehow placed in the
surrounding void.
"

Source: http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Ernes ... rford.aspx

At this level it would not be possible to attain any perception of the object, and according to the imminent Philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804):

"Empty space... can be discerned by no sense experience whatever."

Source: I. Kant, J.W. Ellington (1985), The philosophy of material nature, (Hackett Publishing), pxx

Therefore, whilst it can be said that all objects are Real, because we can perceive their attributes through the gross senses, they are also NotReal at the same time, as they they are all ultimately founded on emptiness, the platform where they are devoid of all attributes and no longer discernible by the senses. Please note however, that the contexts are different.

Looking back at the LNC, we can see that it was never violated in the first place because even though two opposing terms are placed next to each other in the same sentence, they are speaking with respect to different conditions.

Sherab wrote:the LNC holds as long as X and -X are in the same context.

In the Buddha Dharma, if one examines carefully, X and -X are never in the same context even though they appear in the same sentence or verse.
The purpose of juxtaposing X and -X is then to get the listener to examine his context. In other words, the Buddha was pointing out that the
assumptions, the concepts etc., that the questioner had in mind were incorrect and he had to reexamine them.

if we look over the original example that was used to illustrate the LNC:

Lotus Lion wrote:A ball may be Red or it may not be Red within the same context, however it cannot be Red and NotRed in same context.

A Ball can be Red AND NotRed at the same time if the frame of reference is different.
It is Red when we perceive it via our gross senses and NotRed when looked at from its foundation of Emptiness.

Please see the below passage and keep in mind that it is speaking from different places to uncover the 'true' underlying and complete reality, literally thousands of years before science has discovered it.

"Everything is real; and is not real;
Both real and unreal;
Neither unreal nor real.
This is the Lord Buddha’s teaching."

Source: MMK 18.5-11, tr. from Ocean of Reasoning

Thank you very much for helping me to get to this point,

Lotus
:namaste:
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