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Asian Philosophy week 2

by: mattis.12

Asian Philosophy week 2 PHILOS 2120 - 0010

GPA 3.7

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About this Document

These notes cover the basics of Hinduism including the idea of Atman as Brahman. The notes also cover the Upanishad texts along with the idea of samsara, karma, moksha, etc.
Asian Philosophies
Steven Brown
Class Notes
philosophy, Asian philosophy, Hinduism
25 ?




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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by mattis.12 on Saturday February 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHILOS 2120 - 0010 at Ohio State University taught by Steven Brown in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 29 views. For similar materials see Asian Philosophies in PHIL-Philosophy at Ohio State University.


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Date Created: 02/20/16
Wednesday, January 20, 2016 Asian Philosophy week 2 Hinduism - The Vedas (-1500-1000BCE) (almost an instruction manual for priests) - Sanskrit - 4 of them: - Rigveda - Yajurveda - Samaveda - Atharvaveda - Each has 4 sections - Samhitas: mantras and benedictions - Aranyakas: rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices - Brahmanas: commentaries on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices - Upanishads: works of philosophy, spiritual knowledge - The Upanishads (not all contained within the Vedas; the canon, an authoritative bundle of texts, is not fixed or well-defined) - Katha Upanishad • Nachiketas’ father is sacrificing • Nachiketas criticizes • Father sacrifices Nackiketas to Death (Yama) • Has to wait at the door for 3 days Yama gives Nachiketas 3 wishes • - his wishes: 1.) Dad likes me agains - 2.) wants to understand fire ritual - 3.) wants the knowledge of what happens after death 1 Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - Yama tries to distract Nachiketas with wealth, power, love, etc. - Nachiketas insists on knowing the answer - Atman is Brahman - Atman is the self - Brahman is Ultimate Reality - “What happens after death?” • Reincarnation • escape/release • afterlife - The problem of personal identity • what is it that makes me the same person that was here before? - something simple: a table • the same atoms/ parts • most objects shed and gain parts • the most important parts - identity of atoms: what is it that makes an atom the same atom over time. • continuous causal history - something complicated: humans - cant use continuity of parts, too much exchange - continuity of function: parts are changed, but the new parts support the same functioning. • bodily functions: breathing, growing, digesting, etc • consciousness: knowledge, character traits, behavioral patterns, self-awareness, memories 2 Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - Uniquely identifying feature • i.e. birthmark, DNA, memories and perceptions, • Spirit/ Soul - simple has no parts - featureless - unchanging There is only one Soul! Atman! - if you really realize what you are then you lose your self-ness ( it’s the distinctions that you lose) - what about uniqueness/difference? - Superficial reality: The reality of appearances - the way things are is not in line with the way things appear - suggestion: haecceity= that which makes something unique (NOT a Hindu idea) - What is the ultimate explanation of the world around us - mommas, biological and stellar evolution, The Big Bang - Why was the Big Bang the Big Bang? • No answer (Brute Fact) - concern: this universe is very particular, by that we mean that it could have been many other ways. Different strengths of the fundamental forces, different forces, different amounts of matter/energt, different types of matter/energy, etc. • Lots of universes (Multiverse) - somebody/something made it this way • God - omnigod: Cosmological Argument, Teleological (Design) Argument 3 Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - Why is there a God? - concern: Why is God the way God is? • Brute Fact • There is something special about God Related concern: God has certain features that look particular too good, not bad - suggestion: what if God transcended the good/bad distinction? What if God were beyond good and bad? - keep doing this (transcending whatever distinctions we run into)… - God: simple (has no parts), features, changeless… sounds like atman - Conclusion: Atman is Brahman - A kind of Monism (everything is one, there is only one thing) - “what happens after death?” - Samsara: cycle of birth and rebirth aka reincarnation - Karma: having done to you what you have done (both good and bad); you get what you gave - Claim: morality is different across cultures - cultural relativism: All morality is culture-bound. There are no legitimate trans-cultural moral norms (principle/rule) • culture-bound concept: “cool” - Criticism of Cultural relativism: • Method: reductio ad absurdum (reduce to absurdity) - impossible to morally criticize other cultures not true i.e. Nazi • - Impossible to morally criticize your own culture 4 Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - Impossible to have a concept of moral progress - Our alternative: Moral Objectivism: There is at least one legitimate trans-cultural moral norm. • Note: This view does NOT imply that morality will look the same in every culture - Greeks: burning the dead….. honor the dead - Callatians: Eating the dead…..honor the dead - Principles like this can have culturally sensitive components • honor: - burning, burying, eating, ocean, stars - Suggestion: the core moral principles are prerequisites for living together successfully in societies • i.e. don’t kill, steal, lie, and inflict harm - “What happens after death?” • Samsara: the cycle of death and rebirth, reincarnation • Karma: having done to you what you have done (both good and bad) • Moksha: escape, release, liberation from Samsara - realization of one’s identity with Brahman - not by reasoning about it, but by experiencing it directly - one way of experiencing: yoga: technique for working toward Moksha • Meditation • Body poses • chanting - hyper wakefullness Ordinary wakefullness: - dreaming sleep ordinary wakefulness - deep sleep sleepy wakefulness 5 Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - Moksha: emancipation, release, liberation. connotes freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth. - ohm: the word that encapsulates all reality - Joy vs. Pleasure shreya preya good pleasant - That which feels good is not always that which is good for you - pleasures are distractions from greater goods - the claim: live your life in pursuit of sherry, good, knowledge, wisdom, and moksha and beware of prey and pleasant for tehy can get in your way. - Asceticism: intentional denial of pleasures for the pursuit of greater goods • fasting, self-flaggellation Brahman: ultimate reality……om brahma: personal creator deity Brahmin: priestly caste Advaita Vedanta: The Hindu philosophical school that claims Atman is idenical with Brahman, and this results in a complete Monism (there is only one thing). The Chandogya Upanishad: Shvetaketu is talking to his father, Uddalaka Tat Tvam Asi- you are that Some examples of other ways of thinking about the relationship between Atman and Brahman - Understand a bit of gold, and you will understand all gold • Not strict identity. Shared properties, shared nature. - nectar combined into honey/ rivers merging into the ocean • Part/ whole relationship, and, within the whole, we can’t distinguish which part originated where 6 Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - Salt dissolving into water • Atman/Brahman are present in all things - “Brahman” is a placeholder term for whatever it is that is ultimate reality - 7


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