|art by scott greenwalt|
1- my slip of tongue on the issue of reincarnation. i said: "i don't believe in reincarnation." of course what i meant was "reincarnation" as a soul (after biological death) beginning a new life in a new body (whether animal or human or spiritual) depending on the moral quality of the previous life's actions. but that doesn't take away the viability of the metaphor (we've talked about the importance of metaphors already).
2- many of the rough edges in reasoning have to do with what kind of suit do you wear to a philosophy class.
3- the problem of free will & determinism keeps surfacing. good. you have to come to terms with this trifecta:
libertarianism (not political, but volitional)
once you do, your analysis gets more focused. by the way, it's also ok. to suspend the issue until you feel better about it. there are no easy --or quick-- answers here.
4- there was a question at the end of the class regarding what am i learning here? look, when we tackle a system (hinduism, now), we present it within a historic frame, then we discuss the metaphysics (after all this is a philosophy class) and finally we read the main texts in class. i prefer to touch the issues and problematize them (it makes for richer deeper discussions). which brings me to this point: our discussions are not mere rantings. they touch important points and offer provisional solutions. we must be open minded and understand that the to-and-fro of philosophical discussion is quite productive. do you feel a bit lost? after two or three class lectures and discussions i bet you'll feel better. there is no single view of hinduism. that doesn't mean that in the end one can come up with some generalities. there are many different schools with contrasting metaphysics, texts, avatars, narratives, etc. and what happens is that the more you try to simplify (and i'd argue that simplicity for its own sake is not necessarily a virtue), the more you end up with fallacious reductionisms. just be a little patient. if you're a little bewildered, think of duck/rabbit! (more of this in the weeks ahead).
coming back to 1- is there a conclusive way to establish that bad actions lead to bad karma? what does it mean that one ends up badly? if there is a difference between being good and being evil? well, the psychological states of an evil person (even character) cannot be the same as that of a good person.why? the difference between the two lies in what aristotle calls eudaimonia. if aristotle had known the jaina idea of karma, he would have agreed that a virtuous person has better karma than that of an evil person (aristotle did not believe in reincarnation either).
5- i want to invite you to become a friend of m.bourbaki.
6- anything else that i forgot?
(i close this post next wednesday at 11pm, but prefer you to make comments by tuesday)