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Do Life and Living Forms Present a Problem for Materialism?

This essay was written in response to the call for essays by the Royal Institute of Philosophy for their yearly essay contest. For the pleasure of readers, it is reproduced below ...
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The Theological Problem of Falldown

I generally refrain from commenting on theological topics, and restrict myself to issues in science, but in this post I will make an exception. The issue of interest is whether a soul "falls down" into matter. There is often confusion around this topic, which, in my view, rests upon a misunderstanding about ...
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Properties, Values, and Measurements

One of the problems that has repeatedly bothered me for the last decade is the distinction between physical properties, their measurements, and the values of properties that are discovered during measurement. I have flip-flopped in my understanding of the problem and what might be a solution. I will use this ...
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Models and Reality

During recent online conversations with commentators, I heard a refrain about science: science is only a model, it has nothing to do with reality; our models may get closer to reality over time, but we have no way of knowing that they have gotten to reality, nor do we know ...
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The Broken Watchmaker

Even a broken watch tells the right time twice a day.  However, to know that the watch is broken, we must observe it when it tells the time incorrectly rather than when it tells it correctly. This analogy is a useful way to understand the problem in modern science, because clearly ...
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The Scientific Method – Does it Deliver Truth?

The below is a modified version of a response I wrote recently on Google+ in response to a question about the conflict between reason and faith. The response is also detailed in my recent book Uncommon Wisdom. This essay will argue that the manner in which science has construed the use ...
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The Mind-Body Problem in Indian Philosophy

The Mind-Body problem in Western philosophy concerns the difficulty in conceiving the nature of interaction between mind and body, considering that these two are supposed to be different substances—one physical and material while the other spiritual or mystical. In Indian philosophy, matter itself transforms into spirit and how this transformation ...
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A Solution to the Problem of Hallucination

The problem in any kind of existence begins from a very old distinction between appearance and reality. Appearances are obviously how things seem to us in our perception although not everything that we perceive does really also exist. How things seem to us is a property of our perceptual apparatus—senses, ...
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Three Responses to the Question of Reality

Every area of knowledge begins in the question: What is reality? If I see an apple, is it real? If I see some work of art and think it is beautiful, is it really beautiful? Is money real? Is power real? Is objectivity real? Does she really love me? The ...
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Perception in Indian Philosophy

How we perceive taste, smell, touch, sound and sight is a fact about our perception, but it has never been properly understood in biology, psychology, or philosophy. The problem is that we suppose material objects to be length, mass, charge, momentum, energy, temperature, etc. How these physical properties become taste, ...
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The Difference Between Matter and Spirit

Descartes created the mind-body divide and claimed these to be two different substances—the extended substance (res extensa) and the thinking substance (res cogitans). However,  with the progress in science (and attempts to subsume thinking under matter), the distinction between mind and body gets hazier by the day. What is the ...
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Reason and Faith

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, a Vedic literature widely regarded as the culmination of Vedanta (which is in itself considered the conclusion of all knowledge), Sage Kapila elaborates the Sāńkhya theory of material nature to his mother Devahuti and concludes (SB 3.32.32): Philosophical research culminates in understanding the Supreme Personality of ...
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Is the Mind like the Fluidity of Water?

A common argument against the mind-body duality is that mind is an epiphenomenon of chemical reactions in the brain much like  the fluidity of water is a consequence of molecular interactions. This argument seems appealing because if we reduce water to its molecules, we don’t see fluidity in each molecule; ...
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Areas of Semantic Research

There are many path-breaking areas of research at the nexus of meaning and matter. I am particularly interested in the following areas, with the specifics described below ...
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Innovator’s Dilemma in Science

The main goal of today’s academic research is to keep the pretense that the situation is, after all, not all that bad. I say this because, if you happen to take a closer look at the biggest outstanding problems facing academic research you will find problems that require not just a ...
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The Motivation Behind My Work

Science has, since its inception, suffered from the mind-body divide that Descartes created. The divide forced sciences to pursue an ideology of matter opposed to the existence of the mind, which makes an understanding of the mind impossible. Attempts in current science to explain sensations, mind and intelligence based on ...
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Books

Conceiving the Inconceivable

Science, by the commonly accepted definitions, is the study of reality through reason and experience, as opposed to faith. In Vedic epistemology, observation, reason, and faith are called pratyakśa, anumāna, and śabda and the last method (which rests on the authority of the scriptures) is given greater importance over the first two. By this distinction, however, faith is ...
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The Balanced Organization

Talcott Parsons, an American sociologist, compared society to an organism, with different institutions in the society working like the different functions in the body. This general idea, called Functionalism, views society as a system of interrelated parts that work together like the organs in a body. In a similar vein, Daniel Katz and Robert Kahn formulated an ...
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The Yellow Pill

The term “Yellow Pill” derives from the popular designation of socio-economic-political positions by names like the “Blue Pill” (surrender your individuality to the system), “Red Pill” (fight the system to get your individuality), “Green Pill” (replace the current system by a new one), etc. In the cacophony of ideologies, the discussion about the moral purpose of life ...
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Cosmic Theogony

Nature is viewed at present, through the lens of modern science, impersonally. In the scientific picture, nature is comprised of particles and forces which cause the particles to move and change, governed by mathematical laws. The same world is described differently in Vedic texts as being ‘controlled’ by persons. I call this the personalization of nature which ...
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Emotion

The topic of emotion is of deep interest to many people, but its relation to reason and cognition, when emotion controls reason, and why emotion can be controlled by reason, are not well understood. Similarly, when situations change our emotions, should we attribute the emotion to the situation, or to the person, because another person could have ...
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Western Questions, Eastern Answers

Philosophy and science in the West have been practiced primarily with the aim to understand the present world. A number of theories have been propounded, none of which are free of problems. Philosophy and science in the East (specifically the Vedic tradition) has always been practiced with the aim to transcend the world. Vedic texts provide many ...
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Mystic Universe

Unlike previous works on Vedic cosmology, which discuss the model of the universe without describing its connection to a theory of nature, this book discusses the theory before it describes the model. A deep understanding of the theory is essential if the model has to be understood, because there are numerous differences between modern and Vedic cosmology, ...
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Uncommon Wisdom

This book discusses some fundamental differences between Abrahamic religions and Vedic philosophy with regard to their views about religion and God. God in Abrahamic religions is a controller of nature, and this control appears to be different from the kind of order discovered by science. God in Vedic philosophy is the most primordial idea from which all ...
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Moral Materialism

The everyday notions of causality involve choices but the causal model in science doesn’t. For instance, we know that if we consume an analgesic then our pain would be relieved, if we eat food the body will get strength, if you pull the trigger on a loaded gun then a shot will be fired. The everyday notion ...
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Signs of Life

The critiques of evolution based on the issue of transitional forms, whether the theory can describe the origin of life besides its evolution, and if genetic information sufficiently describes all biological properties, are well-known. This book critiques evolution from a completely different angle—it brings ideas well-known in mathematics, physics, computing theory, game theory, and non-linear system theory ...
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Is the Apple Really Red?

The clash of ideologies between science and religion - this book argues - is based on an incorrect understanding of matter, disconnected from consciousness, and an incorrect notion of God, disconnected from matter, space and time. The ideas of soul, morality, God and afterlife can also be scientific, but in a new science that studies meanings instead ...
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Six Causes

The development of science has generated a strong debate between creationists and evolutionists. While evolutionists claim to have reason and empirical data on their side, the creationist view is based on revelation and hence often decried as regressive. This book hopes to undo some of that misunderstanding especially with regard to Vedic theories of creation by describing ...
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Sāńkhya and Science

Sāńkhya is the name of the Vedic theory of objectivity. Objects, in Sāńkhya, are not a priori real. Rather, objects are created when consciousness adds meaning to matter. Matter, therefore, prior to addition of meaning, is undifferentiated, and we can liken it to an empty space-time container. In both modern science and Sāńkhya, objects are created from this empty container. However, ...
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Quantum Meaning

Quantum Meaning presents a Semantic Interpretation of Quantum Theory in which atomic objects are treated as symbols instead of things. Classical physics treated reality as things and the quantum-classical conflict is traced to this difference between symbols and things. The interpretation argues that current quantum theory is incomplete because it describes symbols in terms of the symbol's ...
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Gödel’s Mistake

This book connects Gödel's and Turing's theorems to differences between ordinary language and mathematics. Ordinary language allows distinctions between things, names, concepts, programs, algorithms and problems but mathematics does not. Gödel's proof arises due to category mistakes between things, names and concepts while Turing's proof results from a categorical confusion between programs and descriptions. If mathematics and computing ...
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