Friday, July 6, 2012

Prasangika and onticology

The following was culled from two IPS posts, one from the Batchelor thread, the other from the OOO thread.

Here is an excerpt on the Prasangika emptiness of emptiness doctrine:

"Could we argue that emptiness [is]...ultimately real or...intrinsically real? We tend to posit ultimate reality as something that is timeless, independent, transcendent, nondual etc. So if emptiness is the ultimate reality, could we say that it alone is nonempty, ultimately real or intrinsically real?.... On CandrakÄ«rit's view....emptiness is also empty of intrinsic reality.... If emptiness is ultimately real, emptiness would not be empty of the intrinsic reality—the essence of conventionally real objects. In that case we will have to grant emptiness as existing independently of conventionally real entities, as their underlying substratum. If this is granted the emptiness...would be quite distinct and unrelated. Moreover if the emptiness of the [suobject] is nonempty, i.e., if it is ultimately real, whereas the [suobject] itself is empty i.e., ultimately unreal, then, one has to posit two distinct and contradictory verifiable realities even for one conventionally real [suobject].... Therefore, while emptiness is the ultimate truth of the conventionally real entities, it is not plausible to posit emptiness to be ultimately real."

Bryant also refutes the notion of transcendent essences, that all suobjects lack such an inherent, independent self-existence. i.e., all suobjects are interdependent or dependently arisen. Granted he ascribes to each suobject substance or virtual proper being, but this is not a foundational essence or "underlying substratum"; it is entirely constructed and immanent, and impermanent.

Now Bryant also asserts that a suobject's substance is not identical to its exo-relations. There is always a hidden, withdrawn reserve that never fully enters into any given set of relations with other suobjects. If and when a suobject enters into new and different exo-relations with other suobjects these relations may draw out or enact novel aspects from the suobject from this reserve. Theortetically at least the suobject's reserve is infinite, since there is potential for infinite variations of interrelated exo-relations.

However a suobject's substance is also constructed from material in the environment and organized through its endo-relations. So even here there is no non-material (metaphysical) essence, and in this sense even its substance is constructed and dependently originated. Its 'empty' (full) withdrawn endo- relations are not timeless or changeless, for even its substance undergoes continual change in response to its exo-relations.

We might find homeomorphic equivalencies with Prasangika's ultimate nature to withdrawn substance, and conventional nature to actual manifestations via exo-relations, since both sets are mutually entailing is similar ways.

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