Nagarjuna's Argument Against Motion

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Subcontrary
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Nagarjuna's Argument Against Motion

Post by Subcontrary »

I've been reading Nagarjuna (and some modern commentators of his) and I wanted to see if my understanding of his argument against motion is correct. He has a three-part argument, analyzing whether an object begins to move at 1) the place that is already passed, 2) the place that is yet to be passed, or 3) the place that is being passed.

1) is impossible because an object has already begun moving if it has passed a location already.
2) is impossible because "beginning to move" is a change, and a place the object has not yet passed has not yet been changed.
3) is impossible because (per Hsueh-li Cheng in "Empty Logic"), "the 'place which is being passed' is possible only if there is the act of passing, and the act of passing is possible only if there is the beginning of passing, so we cannot use 'the place which is being passed' to justify the reality of the beginning of passing."

I think the following is a simpler way to understand it (and please let me know if I've oversimplified Nagarjuna or reckoned inaccurately in any other way):

Where does motion begin?

Either 1) At the object's starting place or 2) at the starting place plus some distance.

1) is impossible because if an object is at its starting place, then it hasn't moved, but if it has begun to move, then it has moved. This option is basically asserting that, in its starting position, the object has both moved and has not moved.

2) is impossible because it demands that the object left its starting place, and traveled some amount of distance, before it began to move. How did it get to that place without moving?

There is no third option, therefore it is impossible for an object to begin to move, or thus to move at all.

Thank you for your attention! I would be very grateful for any reflections on my interpretations!
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Svalaksana
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Re: Nagarjuna's Argument Against Motion

Post by Svalaksana »

Funny enough, I've started a thread 5 months ago that is identical to yours, since I focused on the same argument. I believe you will find some relevant answers there:
https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=636152
Looking but not seeing - that's my eye.
Thinking but not minding - that's my mind.
Speaking but not expressing - that's my tongue.
Traveling but not going - that's my path.
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Tao
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Re: Nagarjuna's Argument Against Motion

Post by Tao »

Not very different from the pardox of Aquiles and the turtle...

Mathematics solved it with calculus

You just have to reverse the reasoning.

Motion starts at beginning plus and infinitesimal motion

Same way that Aquiles gets the turtle adding up infinite small quantities...
Malcolm
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Re: Nagarjuna's Argument Against Motion

Post by Malcolm »

Subcontrary wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:13 pm
Where does motion begin?
It doesn't begin, since one can only ascertain [present] motion in relation to something has either moved or not moved. Nāgārjuna is refuting agents and actions in this section, the idea that there are moving movers, and so forth. It's a constant theme in the MMK.
Vases, canvas, bucklers, armies, forests, garlands, trees
houses, chariots, hostelries, and all such things
that common people designate dependent on their parts,
accept as such. For Buddha did not quarrel with the world!

—— Candrakīrti. MAV 6:166
Subcontrary
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Re: Nagarjuna's Argument Against Motion

Post by Subcontrary »

Svalaksana wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 1:35 am Funny enough, I've started a thread 5 months ago that is identical to yours, since I focused on the same argument. I believe you will find some relevant answers there:
https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=636152
Wow! Great minds etc. I'll be sure to look it over, thank you!
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Nagarjuna's Argument Against Motion

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Since we now have two threads on the same subject, I will lock the older one so that we can't end up with two currently active threads and the confusion that would cause.
Please continue here...

:coffee:
Kim
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