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An Essay Establishing Critical Epistemology – Following Dignāga and Kant / 汪純瑩 Chun-Ying WANG

An Essay Establishing Critical Epistemology – Following Dignāga and Kant

Chun-Ying WANG


        This essay as a philosophical enquiry tries to establish Critical Epistemology (CE) by reporting the observations in the conduct of critical epistemology itself along with accepting Dignāga's and Kant's methods and observations. “Critical” indicates the reflective and circulative nature of this specific type of epistemology, namely, letting cognition cognize itself and producing self-knowledge upon which all cognitions as *results are explained and justified. “Epistemology” indicates the status suspending any ontological premiss. The general attitude is: to accept the direct facts, and to be sceptic about the hidden assumptions, contrary to the relatively more popular approach: to question about the direct facts with tacit strong assumptions. The report is put in this format in order to get itself engaged in the philosophical forum with the two traditions while to avoid playing any agency roles for them.

        One major result obtained through the conduct is the immediate relation between the faculty for the immediate knowledge and the faculty for the mediate knowledge, with which we can find that the both CE conductors have agreed. Such an immediacy is supplied from the direct, necessary accompany of the faculty for the apperception (manas, urteilskraft) with the five external sensational senses. Then, a non-representational model, though it is accepted that all that we know is representations, directly follows, i.e., the cognizing gets the activity itself directly engaged in reality while the world is never the cause – except in postulation, but the result of cognition. With the awareness of such an immediacy, the world as appeared outside, the world as appeared inside and the subject as appeared to “know the world in which the subject itself occur” are altogether sharply accepted as one unity of the conditioned representations. Consequently, on the one hand, the “validity” or “effectiveness” of the empirical knowledge and its generalization, especially with regard to vyāpti (universal pervasion) and the basic function of apoha (exclusion) finds its ground, for the conceptualization “imposes” the effectiveness without exception in appearance on the one hand and make the sensory results appear as extending in space and succeeding in time on the other. On the other hand, such a cosmological view puts the cosmological conflicts between close universe and open universe in a dialectical observation by unfolding the conditioning process through which the conflicts occur. If (a) the universe is close and (b) the universe is open are in a way found congruent, a spiritual development from the constrained to liberty can then happen as a dynamical process, in a sense that, in stead of the development as one-way from the constrained to liberty, the dialectics between the constrained and the liberty self-sustainingly continue to happen in parallel and get entangled with each other. It then follows that on the one hand, the validity of empirical sciences and the values of morality in our experience find their effective supporting ground, and, on the other hand, the spiritual development and freedom find theirs as well.

Key tags: manas 意(識), apperception 統覺, Dignāga 陳那, Jinendrabuddhi 勝主智(勝主慧), Kant 康德, transcendental idealism 先驗理想論, critical philosophy 批判哲學, antinomy (rational conflict) 二律背反(理性先驗矛盾), epistemology 知識論, soteriology 救度學,

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http://buddhica.nccu.edu.tw/ | Event 20110507
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An Essay Establishing Critical Epistemology – Following Dignāga and Kant

Chun-Ying WANG

This essay tries to establish Critical Epistemology (CE) by reporting the observations in the conduct of critical epistemology itself along with accepting Dignāga[1]'s and Kant[2]'s methods and observations. “Critical” indicates the reflective and circulative nature of this specific type of epistemology, namely, letting cognition cognize itself and producing self-knowledge upon which all cognitions as results are explained and justified. “Epistemology” indicates the status suspending any ontological premiss. The general attitude, as following Dignāga's and Kant's methods, is :to accept the facts, and to be sceptic about the hidden assumptions, contrary to the relatively more popular approach: to question about the direct facts with tacit strong assumptions..

To speak before in a non-precise fashion, reasons for putting Dignāga and Kant together should be given. Both fit the description of critical epistemology above. Both try to establish a middle position against idealists (who question the particular aspect of experience) and realists (who either question or have problems with the universal aspect of experience). Both try to *idealize a system consisting of faculties according to the fact that in experience there are only two aspects, namely, of the particular and of the universal. Both emphasize the immediate experience by beginning with its faculty first in their representative masterpieces, and both insist the immediate relation between the immediate experience and the concepts, claiming that in order for cognition to arise, five senses must be accompanied by the apperception. Both hold firmly that all one can grasp in cognition is but representation, while both accept and try to prove the distinction between the valid and the invalid cognition. From both, the conclusion that self is empty, as well as the conclusion that the logic and causality are perfectly effective in the world cognized, while freedom is nonetheless possible for the beings of cognition, can be obtained; to infer further, both conclusions allow for morality and the possibility for spiritual development in the world-cognized. With these reasons, especially with the first one beginning with “Both fit..” and the last possibility of inference for morality and spiritual development, our putting them together is acceptable.

1. The method

To carry out the essay, an apparatus has to be brought forth first. Since the critical epistemology has a reflective and circulative nature, namely, to observe the cognition with cognition itself, the result of the observation can be the basis for a specific form of idealization: the idealized system is postulated via the self-observation of cognition while the result of such an observation-postulation is deduced and supported solely because of the specific form itself. Hence, CE can accept Dignāga's establishment of the only two means/systematic faculties: pratyakṣa (perception) and anumāna (inference) upon the ground that there are only two aspects of cognized object, the immediate svalakṣaṇa (the form of the particular) and the mediate sāmānyalakṣaṇa (the form of the universal) (PS 1.2[3]). As well, CE can accept Kant's distinction between the immediate Anschauung (the knowledge-mode of intuition) and the mediate Begriff (the knowledge-mode of concept), as much as between Sinnlichkeit (sensibility) and Verstand (understanding) (KrV A19/B33[4]).

Besides, CE can accept Kant's clue of investigation, namely, to request the condition of all possibilities of experience, which means the condition through which every possible cognition becomes possible, and Kant's framework of transcendental method, i.e., to entitle the postulated system “transcendental” while to entitle the result of the postulated system “empirical,” whereas CE has to keep in mind that the postulated and the produced result are one and the same due to the specific nature of the idealization. On this account, CE can similarly accept Dignāga's idea that the three factors of cognition, namely, prameya (the object of cognition), pramāna (the means of cognition) and phala (the result of cognition), “are not separate from one another” (PS 1.10). Jinendrabuddhi[5]'s interpretation is also acceptable here: there is indeed no process of production or resulting, just like the light, for example – the statement that the light illuminates itself is only valid metaphorically, while, in *reality, the light's illuminating itself solely because the illuminating of the light itself has the form of the light itself, and there is no process of the light's illuminating itself (PSV 70,11[6]). These two acceptances accord with CE's position that there is only one *reality, which is, on the one hand, the support upon which CE's idealization is postulated, and which is, on the other hand, the result of the operation of the postulated system.

Hence, CE concludes that because the object of cognition has necessarily only two aspects, namely, the aspect of the particular and the aspect of the universal, CE can postulate the immediate faculty and the mediate faculty through which the *real object's necessary possession of two aspects (of the particular and of the universal) becomes possible. At meanwhile, CE holds that the postulated system of the immediate faculty and the mediate faculty cannot be separated from both the observed *real object and the result of the system.

2 Between the immediate experience and the mediate experience

CE holds that the immediate experience has to connect with the effect of five senses, for all the experience of the five senses has the immediate form of the particular aspect, on the one hand, and for the relation between the immediate experience from the five senses and the mediate experience in thinking is immediate, as well, on the other.

2-a. Five senses and the immediate experience

Following the above position, CE can accept Dignāga's own etymological explanation in Nmukh[7], that pratyakṣa is so entitled because it is in close connection with (prati) each sense faculty (akṣa)[8], and his systematical explanation, with his reference to Vasubandhu and his textual explanation thereupon, namely, “it is named after the sense-organs (faculties better) because they are its specific cause (asādhāraṇahetu)”, in PS (PS 1.4ab)[9]. Remarkably, in Dignāga's mind, there should be more than five senses; the sense of mind (manas) is also a sense-faculty (indriya).

CE can also accept Kant's claim that the empirical intuition has to take place only in so far as the mind is affected (affiziert werden) in a way of *receiving matters with senses. Also remarkably, in Kant's mind, beside of the outer sense (der äußere Sinn), which lets us represent to ourselves objects as outside us, the inner sense (der innere Sinn) via which the mind intuits itself or its inner state (KrV A22/B37), is also a necessary part of the way of receiving matters – although no matters from the latter alone is ever possible.

2-b. What's going on with the sixth sense and the mediate faculty

CE can accept Kant's treaties of postulating outer sense and inner sense and his observation that via the former the form of intuition “space” is given to experience (i.e., the way to receive the object of cognition as outside us is to represent it in (the form of) space) while via the latter the form of intuition “time” is given to experience (i.e., the way to receive to self-cognition of the object of cognition or the inner state of mind, is to represent the object of cognition or the inner state in (the form of) time); space and time as forms of intuition are in immediate relation, too, because, from the perspective of CE, all experience of space is necessarily observed in time, and, from Kant's perspective, in the cooperation of the mediate faculty, namely, understanding (Verstand), in connection with the immediate faculty, namely, sensibility, the manifold (Manigfalltigkeit) of the intuition apprehended from sensibility is necessarily united and recognized in the conceptualization so that cognition or experience becomes possible at all (the issue to deduce in the two editions of the Deduction in KrV)[10].

Similarly, we can accept Dignāga's theory about the two-fold appearance, namely, the appearance via which the object is represented as outside and the appearance via which the cognition is represented as inner (PS 1.11) and observation that there is no *real separation between the mental perception and the perception of the five senses. We can find and accept the textual supports for this observation in the following materials: (1) “Here our distinguishing various kinds of perception is in response to the view of others. However, all kinds of perception are indeed [one and the same, namely, that is] free from conceptual construction” (Dignāga's self-interpretation to PS 1.5, emphasis made by me) – the treatises of separate perceptions are “in response to the view of others”, and to the own thesis, there is only one perception, namely, that which is devoid of conceptualization. (2) “There is also mental perception, which is of two kinds: awareness of an external object and self-awareness of such subordinate mental activities such as desire and the like” (PS 1.6ab) and “The mental perception which, taking a thing of color, etc., for its object, occurs in the form of immediate experience (anubhava) is also free from conceptual construction. The self-awareness (sva-saṃvedana) of desire, anger, ignorance, pleasure, pain, etc., is also recognized as mental perception because it is not dependent on any sense-organ (faculty)” (self-interpretation to PS 1.6ab). It's also greatly obliged to Steinkellner's reconstruction of the Sanskrit text of Jinendrabuddhi's PSV and Junjie Chu's translation and introduction of that into German that we find valuable side support: Jinendrabuddhi gave us a perspective closer to Dignāga than our modern understanding by pointing out that in the Indian tradition, it is the conformity between the form of the object-cognized and the form of self-cognition (the conformity between the akara of the visya, i.e., artharūpa, in visyajñāna and the akara of “tatjñāna”, i.e., the jñāna of that jñāna, in anubhava, anubhavarūpa) that is to be argued for, not the proposition that every cognition of the object has to be accompanied by a cognition of the cognition which is commonly agreed at that time (PSV 77,6; PSV 79,6; PSV 82,10); owing to such conformity, Jinendrabuddhi holds that the “distance” between anubhava in mānasaṃ and the pratyakṣa are too close to be regarded as distinguishable, refusing Dharmakīrti's idea to separate the phase of indriyajñāna from the phase of mānasaṃ. We can agree with Junjie Chu that as well as Kuiji 窺基 must have his textual source in Dignāga when claiming that the experience of five senses must be accompanied with the experience of the mind (manas), namely, 五俱意識, Jinendrabuddhi's information gives us supportive ground as well. Jinendrabuddhi read plenty of Dignāga's original texts in Nālandā Temple (which has the most complete collection of Dignāga), by which he can argue against the mainstream interpretation of Dharmarkīrti on Dignāga, while Kuiji's master Xuanzang does not receive any influence of Dharmarkīrti school; hence, both's interpretation on Dignāga about the immediate relation between the sense-organ perception and the mental perception is highly precious.

However, CE cannot be satisfied with the argument of Jinendrabuddhi that the distance is “too close to be regarded as distinguishable.” If we appreciate enough Dignāga's own words, we may find better argument: “there is no need for admitting another separate means of cognition for cognizing the combination of the two above-mentioned aspects of the object (the svalakṣaṇa and the sāmānyalakṣaṇa)” (PS 1.2cd) and “In the case of the cognition which cognizes a thing of color, etc., as noneternal, firstly, one cognizes the inexpressible particularity and the universal, color-ness. Then, by means of the operation of the mind (manas), one relates the color-ness to the universal, noneternity, and expresses the resulting cognition in the judgment 'the thing of color, or the like, is noneternal” (his self-interpretation to PS 1.2cd). In order to make such a judgment, the ground upon which the judgment can be made, namely, the relation between the universal the color-ness and the universal noneternity can be determined, must be obtained first; the ground is exactly “the thing of color and the like”, viz., “the combination of the particular and the universal.” Only under the circumstance that the relation between the particular and the universal must be united as the necessary condition for cognition and experience, such a ground for all empirical judgment can ever be obtained.

CE can then accept Jinendrabuddhi's “conformity of artharūpa in indriyajñāna and anubhavarūpa in mānasaṃ” by interpreting it with Dignāga's “combination of the particular and the universal” and with Kant's “synthesis.” That is, with the idea that the condition for all possible cognition as well as for all possible experience is the a priori unity of the particular and the universal. That is, with the very basic observation of CE in Section 1 of this essay.

Hence, CE concludes that, although the immediate experience and the mediate experience are sharply distinguished with our method, the a priori combination of the postulated faculties for them is the necessary condition for all possible cognition and empirical existence – the immediate-mediate difference is only of aspects, not of *realty.

CE also holds that the ground, for example, the thing of color and the like, which is the result of the combination of the particular and the universal, is the reality. This view holds, that is to say, that the ontical state out of which any ontological studies can only make sense, has to be the result of cognition, never as the cause, except for restricted in an idealization as ours.

3. Perfect causal net in *reality, reciprocally supported by the immediate relation between the immediate and the mediate faculty

CE holds that logic is necessarily effective in *reality, since the relation between our immediate experience and mediate experience is direct. Without the conceptualization in the mediate experience, the immediate experience is never cognized, and without the reception in space and time, the mediate experience is never cognized, either. Because the later recollection and thinking about the immediate experience before indeed has truth-value, namely, our empirical judgment can either fit or not fit the *reality, we can idealize that, among all possible logical connections, there are some necessary, some actual, and some mere possible – yet to make a remark, the three sets are not in a relation of logical implication (viz., svābhāva-hetu), for the difference of the three sets does not belong to the scope of the result of its own employment, to which logical implication is effective; rather, it belongs to the difference of the various operative modes of mind. It is the logical modes, or functions, of the mind being a part of the necessary condition of our experience, that can on the one hand make the “objective valid relations” in *reality possible and effective, and, on the other hand, receive/represent the “object” in space and time.

Hence, CE can accept Kant's project of “Transzendentale Logik” whose “ultimate purpose” is to determine the scope and limits of itself (KrV A154/B193)[11]. In conformity with the internal, systematic coordination of the operation of understanding (die logischen Funktion des Verstandes in Urteilen, the logical function of understanding in judgments) (KrV A70/B95), the transcendental object (the object-ness we can find in every empirical object) has the conceptual structure (consisting of die Kategorien, the categories) (KrV A76/B102). Since all possible cognition has the “conformity” as its necessary condition, the object-ness can be found in all empirical objects. We can accept Kant's effort to schematize the categories (demonstrating how the concepts, the coordinated pure concepts of the categories, are applied to/in intuition) and accordingly to draw the system of all principles of pure understanding in the second Book of the “Transzendentale Logik”: with the mode of quantity, the unit-ness of the object-ness is offered while the matter united in the unit-ness is received/represented in the extension (of space); with the mode of quality, the degree-ness of the object-ness is offered while the matter produced as the sense effects is received/represented in the intensity (of space[12]); with the mode of relation, the units obtained in previous moment (das vorige Moment[13]) are objectively determined as subject/substance-predicates/properties, cause-effect and reciprocal relations while the matter is received as duration, succession and co-existence (with such a mode, time has its transcendental source in the idealized system, in another words, so time becomes possible experience); with the mode of modality, the determination of relations obtained in the previous moment, are subjectively determined as possible (when the condition of the necessary unity of the particular and the universal is satisfied), actual (when the material condition, namely, with sensation, is satisfied) and necessary (when the universal condition, namely, with the modes of the mind themselves, is satisfied) while the determination itself here is sole formal modification of what has been received/represented in space and time.

Following the above, CE can understand and accept Dignāga's observation of twofold appearance (PS 11ab) and in a backhand fashion explain how to relate the “combination” (PS 2cd) and his theory of anumāna, as well as Kant's theory of valid cognition. Since the mind has the function to form a grasping conceptual structure as an object-ness holder (in anumāna) on the one hand and to receive/represent anything in possession of such object-ness in space and time (will explain more together with the second half of the two-fold appearance theory in the next section) in the direct form of experience, namely, in pratyakṣa, on the other, anything in reality, namely, anything cognized in space and time as an object, must appear as objective and outside (which however in our idealization is actually mere representation, ākāra). Thus we can understand the function of manas and how to make the relation between the particular and the universal mediate through it while at the same time make kalpanā (formation of appearance) possible. Based on this, we understand Dignāga's “even conceptual construction, when it is brought to internal awareness, is admitted as a type of perception. However, with regard to the external object, the conceptual construction is not admissible as perception, because it conceptualizes the object” (PS 7ab) as: in the discourse about conceptual construction's being brought to the internal awareness, manas is a faculty reaching down to (“bis herunter zu” in note 10) the reception of matters in space and time, as indicated in the previous paragraph; in the discourse about conceptual constructions' being with regard to the external objects, manas is a faculty to produce the object-ness holder for empirical objects of cognition. Besides, owing to the nature of logical function, on the one side, all possible units made by manas are put in a systematic network of connections in the realm of possibilities; on the other side, all possible objects cognized must go through the operation of such logical function of manas. Hence, the world, namely, the world-post-cognition, must be in a perfect order which is necessarily understandable to the logic[14].

Following the above, CE can interpret Kant's holding that the scope of possibility is no larger than the scope of actuality in his “Postulate”: the difference between these two scopes are not in a logical implication one may hold, namely, the possibility contains the actuality; rather, Kant would hold that the scopes cover all possible objects, while the difference comes from whether the formal condition of experience is supplied by perception or not. Similarly, CE can also accept Kant's claiming that “unity of nature in time and space, and unity of the experience possible for us, are one and the same[15]” (Section 4 of the first-edition Introduction to Kritik der Urteilskraft). Further, CE can understand Kant's mysterious notion of the conformity between the manifold of a priori sensibility (the synopsis contained in the sense, as the synopsis for the synthetic unity of the transcendental apperception[16], KrV A97) and the manifold in determined intuition[17]: the former refers to the realm of possibilities, while the latter refers to the realm of actuality. Since the difference between the realms depends on the subjective modification whether the senses have been effected and have offered materials, objectively speaking, the world to be cognized and the world cognized are one and the same – the world is the world, given one is cognizing it or not. Hence, we can also accept Jinendrabuddhi's explanation about Digāga's idea of identity of pramāna, pramaeya and phala: the object of cognition as means and the object of the result of cognition is one and the same[18] (PSV73,3).

Then, with the conformity or non-conformity between the conceptual construction as the condition of cognition which is immediately represented in space and time and the conceptual construction associated in the action of judgment, there is the value of truth and non-truth. Besides, only then, Dignāga can establish his theory of proper inference. From the observation of the smoke rising in the mountain, we can infer that there is fire, together with the previous instances such as the fire in the kitchen is connected with smoke and with the previous instances such as the lake is not connected with smoke. Now the real experience is the observation of smoke in the mountain; with the knowledge induced from past experience (namely, the world, given cognized or to be cognized,) we know that smoke can be caused by fire and nothing else so far, i.e., the smoke and the fire are two units whose relation is causally determined in our experiencing. Hence, the inference can be a proper one. Yet, we have to make a remark here: the significance of such theory of inference is not to assure the absolute truth value of this particular inference “there is fire in the mountain.” What is necessary is not the fire's being the cause of the existence of smoke; rather that all that can take place in the world must take place in causal networks is necessary. That is to say, the inference, though it is proper with the support we have so far, can be a mistake, as long as we find another stronger, more immediate support, for instance, a fairy's magic is making that happen to our own eyes and we can check that in our public community. The point is, there must be a truth, although all that exist are but representations.

CE thus concludes that reality as in space and time is exactly the world to be cognized as well as the world cognized, with two aspects. Every thing in space and time is thus mere representation and a result, but as a valid representation, not as the image-representation which is the copy or imitation of any a priori external entities. Hence, there must be a distinction between valid cognition and invalid cognition, as well as a distinction between true judgment and false judgment. Besides, CE can thus accept the sutra's verse 應無所住而生其心–any thing received in space and time as well as apperceived in mind is exactly the mind itself, or, we can say, the world is exactly the mind.

4. The empty *self

CE's special idealism is distinguished from other idealism with regard to its persistence in the immediacy between the outer experience and the intuitiveness of the self-knowledge (the immediacy of self-awareness in the awareness of an object) beside of the conceptualization in pure apperception. From such persistence we can demonstrate to us the mistrust in the outer experience held in problematic or dogmatic idealism indeed leads to the inapplicability of the knowledge of inner experience and consequently shows that such knowledge itself is actually as mistrustful as the outer experience so held. It is the persistence in the intuitiveness of the self knowledge beside of the pure apperception that grants the experience and the knowledge of it trustworthy, at the meanwhile properly settling ourselves with a position to accept the facts that on the one hand the world and the self must be known through our consciousness while on the other hand the consciousness is not of an idea but of the world in real space and time – the reality is both objectively in the mind and subjectively accessible by the mind. Besides, self is but the way perceiving the world.

Hence, CE can accept Dignāga's theory of svasaṃvitti (self-awareness). Dignāga holds that the cognition itself is primarily the result in a way of the formal conformity, not in a way as his opponents do, i.e., to admit that means and result are different via the process of production (PS 1.8cd); he emphasizes, there is no real vyāpāra (activity, function)[19]. We can also accept Jinendrabuddhi's explanation that the means and the result should not be mediated with a third for, on the one side, the formal conformity should be sufficient while the verbal separation is only metaphorical, and, on the other side, if it is the case that there is a third, then we would have the problem of anavasthā (infinite regression) (PSV 65,11). To this step, Dignāga has established the self-appearance nature of cognition, a characteristic to appear the object of cognition as cognized by a self.

CE can accept Dignāga's twofold appearance idea that “Every cognition is [*]produced with a twofold appearance, namely, that of itself as subject (svâbhāsa) and that of the objet (viṣayâbhāsa)” (self-interpretation to PS 1.9a); and because the arthaniścaya (determination of the object) and the self-cognition (the cognition of the cognition) are in formal conformity (which we have explained in detail with Kant's help in the previous section), CE can happily accept Dignāga's entitling the cognition's possession of twofold appearance and the svasaṃvitti are both “the result” (self-interpretation to PS 1.9a; PS 1.9b). Jinendrabuddhi's explanation is also valuable especially with regard to the problem of the identity of pramāna, pramaeya and phala, when he points out that with the verse “it is known only through this, viz., through cognition's having the form of it [, namely, the object]” (PS 1.9d2), Dignāga shows that the object has to be determined through the power of cognition (in manas) so that we can admit the power is a pramāna (PSV 72,10); yet, this is not our main concern here, while this is also dealt with when we point out the devoid of vyāpāra in previous paragraph (as Dignāga does in the end of his self-intepretation to PS 1.9d2 by pointing out that all elements of existence, sarvadharma, are devoid of function, nirvyāpāra), so we do not go into further detail. We want to point out here that, in Dignāga, cognition as means and result has the nature that on the one hand the object of cognition has the aspect of immediate particular and the aspect of mediate universal, and on the other hand the cognition has twofold appearance: the appearance of the object and the appearance of itself as subject.

CE refuses to accept the idea some people may hold that pramāna= svâbhāsa; pramaeya=viṣayâbhāsa; phala=svasaṃvitti. Not only we can bring up Dignāga's own saying: cognition's possession of twofold appearance and the svasaṃvitti are both the result (self-interpretation to PS 1.9a); we can also show the idea's oversimplification with CE's accomplishment. Pramāna, pramaeya and phala are mere apparatuses of idealization (devoid of function, nirvyāpāra) in identity, while svâbhāsa, viṣayâbhāsa and svasaṃvitti are not in that kind of relation – the former two are features or forms of the appearance while the appearance and the third together are the features of cognition. In section 3, CE has shown the twofold function of manas, which, on the one hand, makes everything take place in immediate form of space and time, and, on the other, makes everything take place in a perfect network of logical connection. It is also shown that the relation between the result of the former function and the result of the latter function is immediate. The result of cognition would appear as an object because on the one hand it is determined through manas with the objectness and at the same time the objectness makes the object received/represented in the immediate form of space and time where the web of logical connections are embedded. On the other side, since the object is immediate in nature, it is possessed by the subject, too, for it is “to the subject” that the term “immediate” stands for. Owing to such twofold function and the direct relation between our immediate experience and our mediate experience, we can represent object as an object outside in space and time (viṣayâbhāsa), while also as an object of the subject (svâbhāsa). Pramāna, pramaeya and phala are one and the same – it is on the one hand the cognition, and on the other hand the world cognized and to be cognized. Svâbhāsa, viṣayâbhāsa and svasaṃvitti are forms of cognition and the *real mental status. The former distinction can be said in transcendental language, while the latter distinction is only with regard to the result. Otherwise, if it is the case that the latter distinction is also a transcendental distinction, the false conclusions that (1) there might be the world in itself; (2) that there might be an absolute self prior to cognition and conducting the activity of cognition; and (3) that there must be an superior power which connect the world in itself and the subject, would be drawn, and these must contradict not only CE, but also Dignāga's and Kant's epistemology.

CE can also accept Dignāga's using “recollection” and “motion cognition from one object to another” to support the self as an empty modifier. Dignāga argues, the immediacy of the modifier –the immediacy to the world in space and time, the immediacy to conceptual constructions and the immediacy as belong to the modifier itself – is established for the cognition must have two forms (svâbhāsa and viṣayâbhāsa), or otherwise recollection cannot take place (PS 1.11cd and its self-interpretation). Since recollection must have certain relation to previous cognition (PS 1.11d), “if the cognition had only one form, either that of the object or of itself, then the object which was cognized by a preceding cognition could not appear in a succeeding cognition;” because “that object of the preceding cognition does not exist when the succeeding cognition arises and could not be the object of the latter” (self-interpretation to PS 1.11b). Jinendrabuddhi explains, it is first agreed that the cognition must belong to the the cognition itself, and it is through the formal conformity of the object in previous cognition and in succeeding recollection that such identity of the object of previous cognition and that of the succeeding memories can make sense (PSV 77,6 – 81,13). CE holds similarly, since all that can take place in the world must have been through cognition and the determination of manas, then: (1) in the previous cognition, there must be the formal conformity between the particular in space and time and the conceptual construction; (2) in the previous cognition, there must be the formal conformity between the object of cognition (namely, the object-ness perceiving/reprenting the object in space and time as well as grasping the object in the object-ness) and the cognition itself (the immediacy as being perceived/represented in space and time); (3) owing to the network of logical connections which also grants the spatial and temporal sequence via the necessary role of manas, the object cognized before would not vary without any logically identifiable development, while, on the other side, owing to the same reason, the modifier itself that can only exist only as appearing in the determining of manas, will remain permanently identical. Hence, (4) in recognition or recollection, the universals by which one recognizes or reproduces the object previously experienced in its re-appearance or in its absence is still immediate to the immediacy of the former cognition.

Dignāga also argues: to avoid anavasthā, we should admit the self-referential nature of cognition and not allow a third cognition making the previous cognition an object of the recollection-cognition (self-intepretation to PS 1.12b); and he continues, if it is the case, then “there could be no motion of cognition from one object to another” (PS 1.12cd). To this point, Dharmakīrti explains: if the cognition requires another cognition to cognize itself, then the series of cognition would be broken at some point – the last in the series would have no next cognition to cognize itself; since the movement of the cognition from one to another is admissible, we should not accept the requirement of another cognition but accept the self-referential nature (PV, III, 539-540; Hattori note 80). With Kant, CE holds that the synopsis of the a priori sensibility, namely, all possible experience which meet the formal condition of cognition, is the ground for the empirical, actual succession of cognitions in a series (note 17). Because the formal condition of cognition assures the objective identity as well as the modifier's subjective identity, that is to say, the world extending in space and succeeding in time as well as the modifier receiving/representing the world in space and time with its apperceptive object-ness always remains one and the same (the mediacy between the immediate and the mediate experience), the affinity of all possible combinations of the particulars and the universals, namely, the affinity of all possible conceptualization of the world in space and time (the only particular) is identical to the affinity of the succeeding actual cognitions, namely, the cognitions with certain concepts combined with the same particular. If the modifier itself is also perceived/represented in space and time, as the opponents to Dignāga hold that let another cognition cognizes the cognition, the immediacy between the immediate experience and the mediate experience will be destroyed while the identity of the world to be cognized and the world cognized will be destroyed, too. Hence, CE cannot accept the non-empty modifier, neither can Dignāga and Kant. Further, it is the persistence in the refusal against the immediacy between the outer experience and the intuitiveness of the self-knowledge which is also in immediate relation to the conceptualization in pure apperception that leads the opinion-holder to have problems with the connection between knowledge and reality the knowledge is about.

Hence, CE concludes that self is an empty modifier which grants the immediacy between the outer experience and the intuitiveness of the self-knowledge which is also in immediate relation to the conceptualization in pure apperception.

5. Liberation and the directions of further development

Following the above section, CE holds that the motion cognition from one object to another (*āśraya-paravṛtti) is acceptable. This indicates the fact, as we have shown in the previous section, that, the affinity of all possible cognition, namely, the world to be cognized, and the affinity of all the actual cognition, namely, the world cognized, are identical, exactly because both affinity must be made in the determining of manas with its formal condition of experience. Besides, since the formal condition grands the distinction between the world outside and the internal awareness, as well as the permanence of the world-identity and the self-identity, with the a priori synopsis that entails all possibilities, the motion of cognition from one actual cognition to another signifies the fact that our cognition is not direct response to the stimuli outside, or otherwise, we would not have the experience of the aspect-difference between the world and our cognizing the world and the experience of the motion cognition. We do not receive the world as the affinity of all possible or all actual cognitions, we have the world there but we appreciate it in a series of motion cognition. Hence, we can conclude that the being of such cognition is free, in a sense that although all that exist to us is representations through the determining of manas, our cognition is different from the world cognized. By this, CE refuses the opinion that the cognition is possible for the self is effected by the world a priori.

Although the determined mediate representation and the indeterminate immediate representation are contradictory with each other, but in *reality they are mutually dependent. Determined representation is obtained through the grasping of manas, while the indeterminate representation grasps nothing and grasp all. If the indeterminate representation is to be understood as not-yet grasping, then it would never become an experience. However, the motion cognition is acceptable. Hence we admit that the indeterminate representation is not not-yet grasping. This keeps CE away from nihilism. On the contrary, if the indeterminate representation is to be understood as grasping, we would have problem explaining the indeterminate representation can ever be immediate, for all the grasped are grasped with concepts. With CE's observation of the operation of manas, we know the detail in the determining and can accept that indeterminate to be a special grasping, as self-grasping of the formal condition of experience. At this point, we are liberated from the determined representation.

For instance, if I cognize a cup, I cognize its color first, and its touch, its weight etc. in a series. In the succeeding cognitions, I determine myself with the determined representations. However, if it is the case that, in the previous event, the motion cognition from one to another is nothing but the series of the cognition of the single form of its color, that of its touch, that of its weight etc. in a series, then there is no possibility for us to know that I am cognizing this, this and that. This is the proof for an empty modifier self which nonetheless can grasp everything – both via its immediate faculty gets itself engaged in the whole world (the world to be cognized), and via its manas gets itself always prepared to grasp all that could be possibly grasped. This we can also find a supporting ground in CE's specific idealization form: since we must cognize the cup in the world of space and time, we must postulate that the cup exists in the world. Similarly, since the cup must be endlessly analyzable within or outside of it, the cup must be in a complete network of connections which can be picked up by the logic. And since the cup must be in a complete network of connections for it must be so cognized, the empty modifier is supported while its freedom as the postulation according to the fact of motion cognition and its endless possibilities has a reasonable ground.

If the network of logical connections in the world of space and time and the freedom are both acceptable, there is room for morality. And CE can further investigate the direct result of the indeterminate representation to prove that the internal status in freedom is pleasure. But now we have to stop for the time being. (© gustav 2010/10/29)


[1] In this essay, I mainly rely on Hattori's translation of Chapter One of Pramānasamuccaya (1968). The annotated punctuation “ [ ] ” of Hatorri's are all removed by me in this essay, while my additional phrases are put in it.

[2] The standard edition of the original text is Kants Gesammelte Schriften, edited by the Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften (Walter de Gruyter, 1902), viz., Akademie Aufgabe; there's another also widely used later edition by Wilhelm Weischedel, which is advantageous over the former for its being closer to the original and indicating the tacit changes made by the former. I used Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft's reprography of the Wilhelm Weischedel edition in 1998. For citations and terminological translation, I mainly use Kemp Smith's translation in 1965 for the Critique of Pure Reason, while, when necessary, I'll use Pluhar's translation in 1987 for the Critique of Judgment.

[3] “PS” stands for Pramānasamuccaya; “1.2” stands for chapter 1 and verse 2.

[4] “KrV” stands for Kritik der reinen Verfunt, Critique of Pure Reason; “A19” stands for “Page 19 in the first edition in 1781”; “B33” stands for “Page 33 in the second edition in 1787.” The pagination follows the Akademie Aufgabe.

[5] In this essay, I rely on Junjie Chu's German translation (1999) and his lectures in NCCU Summer School, 2010. Besides, I also have a copy of 韓清鏡 Qingjing Han's manuscript at hand. The former are precious for they follow the Sanskrit originals of Jinendrabuddhi's Viśālāmalavatī Pramāṇasamuccayaṭīkā (PSV) reconstructed by E. Steinkellner et al. in 2005.

[6] “PSV” stands for Jinendrabuddhi's Viśālāmalavatī Pramāṇasamuccayaṭīkā (PSV) reconstructed by E. Steinkellner et al. in 2005. “70,11” stands for “the paragraph beginning at the 11th line on page 70 of the reconstructed text.

[7] “Nmukh” stands for Nyāyamukha; in this essay I can only rely on Xuanzang 玄奘's Chinese translation after the Sanskrit and Tucci's translation after Chinese and Tibetan materials in 1978 for checking. However, we also have Hattori's findings in the footnotes of his translation of PS.

[8] Hattori's note 11 to PS 1.2ab has accumulated plenty of contextual materials before and after Dignāga regarding the term “pratyakṣa.”

[9] Hattori's note 32 to PS 1.5 has precious contextual information.

[10] “Auf ihnen [,i.e., Kategorien,] gründet sich also alle formale Einheit in der Synthesis der Eibildungskraft, und vermittelst dieser auch alles empirischen Gebrauchs derselben (in der Rekognition, Reproduktion, Assoziation, Apprehension) bis herunter zu den Erscheinungen, weil diese, nur vermittelst jener Elemente der Erkenntnis und überhaupt unserum Bebußtsein, mithin uns selbst angehören können” (KrV A125, emphasis made by me).

[11] “Denn, nach Vollendung dessselben, kann sie (die transzendentale Logik) ihrem Zweck, nämlich den Umfang und die Grenzen des reinen Verstandes zu bestimmen, vollkommen ein Gnüge tun.”

[12] Although the sense effects, the qualia, are represented as internal, because the effects are represented as being caused externally, the reception of them is in form of space, as well. For instance, on a heating morning, we can feel that the temperature is rising, i.e., the degree of the sense effect is getting more intensive. But the heating is represented as the changes of the status of the air, not of the sense itself, so we say the quality is received in form of space, not time. Kant would agree with this as well, for he wants to preserve the time to the last two sets of the categories, namely, relation and modality.

[13] In German, there are two words: der Moment (masculine) and das Moment (neutral). The former has a temporal sense, while the latter has a dynamical sense. Since the discourses about the transcendental elements are all idealized, postulated conditions, there should be no temporal relation among the moments here, since time only is *real in resulted cognition.

[14] The discourse does not imply that logic has its transcendental employment so that we would have any specific a priori rules beside of the necessary ones logic discovers in itself in the endeavour of the transcendental investigation. If it is the case, then any empirical proposition of a determined relation, namely, any specific “actual” relation would become necessary.

[15] “Denn Einheit der Natur in Zeit und Raum und Einheit der uns möglichen Erfahrung ist einerlei...

[16] “Wenn eine jede einzelne Vorstellung der andern ganz fremd, gleichsam isoliert, und von dieser getrennt wäre, so würde niemals so etwas, als Erkenntnis ist, entspringen, welche ein Ganzes verglichener und verknüpfter Vorstellungen ist. Wenn ich also dem Sinne deswegen, weil er in seine Anschauung Mannigfaltigkeit enthält, eine Synopsi beilege, so korrespondiert dieser jederzeit eine Synthesis und die Rezeptivität kann nur mit Spontaneität verbunden Erkenntnisse möglich machen.” (Emphasis by me.)

[17] In Kritik der Urteilskraft, judgment is divided into determined and reflective (indeterminate); in the former, the association of imagination is based on the rules of a concept which the object of the association is to be known about, while in the latter, the association of imagination gives a basis for understanding to apply various concepts to. To put in less Kantian technical vocabulary, judgment is an ability of locating a particular as, i.e., in imagination, contained under a universal; when the universal is given and the judgment subsumes a particular under it, this is determined; when only the particular is given and the universal has to be found for it, the judgment is reflective. Kant describes our judgments as the interactions between the faculty of rules, understanding, and the faculty of association, imagination. In a determined judgment, understanding offers a set of rules which is implied by a concept while imagination associates in accordance with the rules. To characterize this with the model in KrV, imagination relates the synthesized manifold intuition α as well as the appearance X, i.e., manifold of sense through the synopsis of the manifold a priori, in accordance with the conceptual unity 'α' of this synthesis through transcendental apperception. Once the condition is satisfied, the judgment that the particular X/α is subsumed under the universal 'α' is made, from which arises the consciousness of an α which is known as a case of the governing concept 'α' as well. In an indeterminate judgment, imagination creates an object X with manifold which understanding keeps trying to find a concept for. To characterize this with the model in KrV again, the particular X is given (in nature) or created (in art) first through imagination, and various universals such as 'α', 'β', 'γ', 'δ' etc. are tried to be found to grasp the manifold X when imagination at the same time reproduces intuitions α, β, γ, δ etc.

[18] “pramāṇaphalayor viṣayabhedo na bhavati.”

[19] This emphasis conforms with CE's position of “idealization” and the nature of the “functions” of the postulated faculties. As Dignāga himself says, “it is metaphorically called means” but “ultimately speaking devoid of activity (self-interpretation to PS 8cd).

Edited 20 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/2011 07:25PM by gustav.