Monday, 8 March 2010

Pratyaksa pramana in Purva Mimamsa: knowing as confrontation

Back to Purva Mimamsa in De Smet's Guidelines.

Pratyaksa, perception. Most difficult pramana, most ambiguous. Is it merely Lonergan's first level, 'experience'? or is it the three levels, so that it is, properly, the sensitivo-rational judgment (De Smet or Marechal language)?

De Smet, Guidelines p. 217:
Although we do infer after perceiving that it arises by means of senses, its immediacy is an original, underived and first-hand datum of consciousness.
Here pratyaksa is described as immediate; this immediacy is a first-hand datum of consciousness. This sounds very much like Lonergan's description of consciousness.

More complications.
Prabhakara defines it as direct apprehension (saksat pratitih). Bhatta defines it as direct knowledge arising from the contact free from defects of the sense-organs with the presented objects.... Four contacts have to be admitted: (i) of the sense-organs with the object, (ii) of the sense-organs with the qualities of the object, (iii) of the manas with the sense-organs, and (iv) of the manas with the atman.
If P's direct apprehension is still ambiguous, Bhatta's direct knowledge is not ambiguous. What is interesting is that Bhatta presupposes the Platonic theorem of knowledge as confrontation. Very interesting. (The next para reveals that P also presupposes this theorem. Also, the other theorem of like as known by like.)

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