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So what would be the Buddhist critique of positivist science - and what other "scientific methods" would it propose?  How does this relate to the debate on metaphysics we had earlier, and particularly issues raised by quamtum mechanics?

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 01:17:22 PM EST
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Very interesting inquiries... I think Buddha would want us to see the limits of thought. Then, our inquiries about the natural world would not lead to quarrels as we would have understood that any schemes we create cannot ultimately be completely satisfactory, and we must settle for complementarity rather that absolutism. Different schemes have different utilities... eg the modern anatomical model of the body and the Taoist acu-meridian model each offer different therapeutic avenues, and both are useful.

As Buddha did not espouse faith, any explanatory/predictive schema would need to pass the test of verification, but especially in regards to whether or not the putting into practice/belief these schema leads to the diminishment of greed, hatred and other afflictive emotions. We would be on guard against social Darwinism for instance, even while we espouse the theory of evolution.

In Buddhism, "seeing things as they are" entails a preliminary purification of the mind... again, afflictive emotions must be rooted out in favor of non-competition, compassion etc. The detached observer mode idealized in science has its advantages, but also its disadvantages vis a vis science for the creation of weapons.

The quest for knowledge must be made subservient to ethical considerations.

As regards QM... I sometimes imagine that the elementary particles might be composed of little buddha statues... ;-)

by sandalwood on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 02:12:02 PM EST
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I think your comments on Buddhism would make a very interesting Diary in their own right.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 5th, 2008 at 07:03:46 AM EST
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Thank you Frank... and thank you also for this wonderful diary.
by sandalwood on Sun Jan 6th, 2008 at 02:32:56 PM EST
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