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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The paradox of questions

One does not expect from an artist to be able to supply a compelling definition of what is ''art", but on the other hand no philosophical investigation can be accomplished unless we are aware of what we are trying to achieve and of what is our initial understanding of it.
Thus, no questioning is possible if one has absolutely no idea of what is the topic one is asking about and in one sense the question already embeds its answer. This is the paradox of question (see a beautiful article by Amber Carpenter and Jonardon Ganeri, 2010).
This means that even one's initial question needs to be cautiously examined. This is even more so whenever one tries to question a text or a philosophical school remote in time and/or space, so that one's initial understanding of what one is looking for runs the risk to be so wrong as to be misleading even as an initial guidepost. This is what happens, in my opinion, when we start by asking questions such as "What do Indian authors think about free will?" or "Did Indian authors believe in God?". On the other hand, one cannot just avoid asking questions, unless one wants to write nothing but descriptive articles. Nor can one hope to ask only questions which make sense within the Indian context, unless one has decided to give up any hope to communicate with the non-Indian world (including at least a part of oneself).


How do you solve this problem?
On God and free will in Indian thought, see this post. On free will in particular, check also the label "free will". On descriptive articles, see this post.

1 comment:

Jayarava said...

Someone once told me that it's better to write about a problem than a subject, because the result is always more interesting.

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