Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Does Movement Exist?

Zeno of Elea suggested in his "Arrow's paradox" that movement is in itself an impossible entity. In fact, if we imagine an arrow getting to its aim, we could reconstruct its movement as a sequence of states. At state 1, the arrow is at point a. At state 2, the arrow is at point a+n and so on and so on. No matter how small the interval between a and a+n is, the only important thing is that the arrow is never actually moving. It is just motionless.
Similarly, an opponent in Maṇḍana Miśra's Bhāvanāviveka suggests that movement is nothing but conjunctions and disjunctions inhering in atoms. Hence, it is just a quality of atoms. The idea is less absurd if one gets to mental actions, which are believed by most Indian philosophers to be qualities of the Self. Prayatna (effort) is in fact in the list of qualities in Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika and even in Rāmānujācārya's Tantrarahasya.

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