As a critical philosopher I was eventually inspired to study Indian philosophy, and subsequently Indian religion - especially various forms of advaita philosophy/''spirituality'. This is an extremely sophisticated system of thought, though I have discovered it ultimately to be a form of labyrinthine and extended circular reasoning, being unattached to any form of empiricism and based entirely on subjective and uncontrollable experiences. Some of the many themes which are becoming far too popular in the West in so-called 'new spiritual philosophies' are examined in considerable detail on my several websites. I would appreciate constructive comments on my deconstructive article "The ultimate fallacy: God is inside, God is all and everything"

Tags: Advaita, Vedanta, delusions, monism, philosophy, religious, spiritual

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I have discovered it ultimately to be a form of labyrinthine and extended circular reasoning, being unattached to any form of empiricism and based entirely on subjective and uncontrollable experiences.

In other words, a degraded (or maybe sophisticated) form of solipsism?

What about purpose? You don't touch this topic, but I assume there's an ultimate goal to most of these doctrines - concentration, relaxation, detachment, inner equilibrium, social cohesion, whatever. I guess most of these amount to self-delusion but I'm no specialist. Maybe it would have been interesting to try to approach them from this perspective.
Reply at last. Yes, purpose was the main motivator for me to get involved eventually... ultimate purpose is liberation from the wheel of life. But prior to that increased insight into oneself, development of unused faculties and finding whatever greater 'meaning' there may be to existence. The desire for knowing, being and blissfulness... It was a very long and tortuous journey, but I can fairly say that eventually saw through the many fallacies involved and tried more than enough dead-ends, though I had many experiences I otherwise would not have known.
...concentration, relaxation, detachment, inner equilibrium, social cohesion, whatever. I guess most of these amount to self-delusion...

Concentration, relaxation, inner equilibrium, etc. don't necessarily require that one delude oneself, do they?
I found the article to be mostly ad hominem; not against a person per se but against the Advaita philosophy and philosophies like it. For example, you describe the next phase of religious survival as "pseudo-religious spirituality in which God will increasingly be taken as an ‘inner reality’..." but you never really develop why this is inherently wrong, bad, false, or what makes it otherwise untenable. And that's how the entire criticism continues.

In other words, there was plenty of criticism but not much deconstruction.
Ad hominem means 'about the man'. It cannot be about a body of thought. Your comment is too vague. However, Advaita is 100% unempirical. That is enough to condemn it as anything relating to factual truth. The claim that God is everything, everything is God - in some forms of advaita - is no more sensible than saying 'Energy is everything, everything is energy'. or 'God is God'. Circularity... which is untenable.
I have carried out a much wider deconstruction of Advaitism in related articles... here and here. I have written much more on this on related pages.
Ad hominem means 'about the man'. It cannot be about a body of thought.

That's why I qualified "not against a person per se but against the Advaita philosophy.." The fallacy is the same; attacking the source of the information (the philosophy) instead of the argument (what the philosophy is stating).

However, Advaita is 100% unempirical.

Great. The part I wanted to hear was why that's a bad thing for a philosophy! Or why is it necessary for a philosophy at all? Philosophies are systems of thought (intellectual pursuits), not quantitative sciences.

The claim that "God is everything -- everything is God" is rather typical in some forms of belief, religion, philosophy, ever since it became a viable weasel clause when the first person said "show me."

We all know that it's a cop-out. And I'm not disagreeing with your conclusion. But your conclusion is presented as an assertion, not as a deconstruction as promised.
In general I would say that any philosophy or system of thought is suspect if it isn't based in some way in reality and observation. I don't believe that most philosophies are based upon unsupported conjucture; those that are, are little more that curious topics of conversation to be had over drinks (several preferably).
Check out my other writings if you want more. Ad hominem cannot ever be against a body of thought... that is elementary to the logic of fallacies. Deconstruction and criticism overlap... they are not terms set in stone. I'm glad you agree with my conclusions, however.
Hi Robert,

If this is a topic you're interested in you might find Amartya Sens book, The Argumentative Indian interesting.

He talks about this topic and introduces Carvaka, an ancient Indian atheistic philosophy which advocated a form of Secular Humanism. It's estimated to have existed around 651BCE.

All of the writings were destroyed but we know about him because of critiques written on the philosophy.

I haven't had time to do a lot of research on this yet but will be doing that soon (I hope. Lol).
Thanks. A pity there are no original texts. Impressive modern criticism of Advaita Vedanta is hard to find. The writings of Nirad C. Chaudhuri contains some excellent critical insights, and so do 'The Guru Papers' by Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad.
Robert
Appreciate those references. I'll take a look at those books.

It is a pity but the those who followed the Vedas (Astika) much like the Christians felt the necessity to destroy the work of the Nastikas unless they were non-threatening philosophically like the Jains and Buddhists were.

Carvaka was opposed to the Caste system and the existence of the Priestly classes which was a huge thing to take a stand against so I would guess that repression of that ideology was rather thorough. The philosophy was also materialist in nature but I haven't found too much explaining exactly how.

Anyway, I appreciate the references. Thanks!

This is an area of interest for me.

I'll take a look at your sites as well later this evening so that I can comment on it.

I don't have an in depth knowledge of Advaita but from what little I know it's pretty nonsensical despite the credibility it has amongst the religious.
It is hard to get a proper handle on Advaita Vedanta since it is not a homogenous philosophy. Not uless one is a strict purist and relies on Shankara's texts alone. Many gurus have developed it in their own way in that they have their own explanations of how anything and everything is compatible with Advaita. One of the best relatively modern and sophisticated advaitists was Sri Nisargadatta, whose book (recorded conversations, actually) "I Am That" shows how Advaita's basic monism is related to questions of everyday life. Apart from that, the so-called 'advaitic experience' is the aim of all followers of the doctrine(as spoken of by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who claims he disliked it because there was no God there to relate to). Though one cannot ever compare experiences (with any exactitude) and though the experience is said to be one of awareness and bliss beyond any limitations and therefore inexpressible in language (which is always divisive of reality) it would seem that Buddhistic nirvana - as far as it is described - is the same (or similar?).
'Non-sensical'' is an apt description of the theory since it claims that sensible reality is an illusion, that everything is nothing - and nothing is everything. (Reminding of the Buddhist 'void'). But it is highly sophisticated as an exercise in monistic metaphysics, with logical explanations that surpass Plato, Plotinus, Berkeley and other idealist philosophies, as well as the so-called 'mentalism' of Brunton.
As was remarked in a previous comment, it is ultimately solipsistc... but then it not of a simple variety. I have dispelled some of the assumptions on which it is based in another article here.

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