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Atmashrayatva In Hindu Philosophy

In Hindu philosophical systems, the concept of 'tarka' or ratiocination plays a significant role in the mental process, aiding individuals in determining truth and effectively countering the arguments put forth by opponents. The skill of countering arguments is considered an integral component of the broader process of rational thinking.

When engaging in this intellectual discourse, it is crucial to identify and address fallacies in the arguments presented by opponents. Five specific fallacies have been recognized in this context: 'atmashraya' (self-dependence), 'anyonyashraya' (mutual dependence), 'cakraka' (circle), 'anavastha' (vicious infinite), and 'pramana-badhitar-thaka-prasanga' (contradictory experience).

'Atmashrayatva,' the first of these fallacies, refers to an undesirable state in which something is dependent solely on itself. This dependency can manifest in three distinct ways, depending on whether one is attempting to explain 'utpatti' or origination, 'vritti' or functioning, and 'jnapti' or knowledge.

When addressing the origination ('utpatti') aspect, 'atmashrayatva' implies a situation where the cause and effect are intrinsically linked, with no external factors influencing the origination. In the context of functioning ('vritti'), it denotes a scenario where the functionality of something is entirely self-contained, without any external dependencies. In terms of knowledge ('jnapti'), 'atmashrayatva' suggests a state where understanding or cognition is entirely self-referential, without relying on external sources or influences.

By delineating and understanding the nuances of 'atmashrayatva' in these three dimensions, proponents of Hindu philosophical systems aim to engage in a more nuanced and effective discourse, systematically dismantling fallacious arguments and contributing to the pursuit of truth through 'tarka.'

Causality and Temporal Precedence: This first statement addresses the principle of causality, emphasizing that if X is the product of X, then the cause (X) could not be present before the product. The principle of causality requires that a cause precedes its effect in time. Therefore, asserting that X is the product of the same X is considered a fallacy.

Function and Extension: This second statement explores the relationship between X as a function and X as a cause. It argues that for X to be a function of X, the cause X must have a larger extension than the function X. However, since they are the same thing, they are coextensive. This implies that stating X is a function of X (which is identical to the cause X) is a fallacy.

Identity and Knowing: This third statement delves into the relationship between X and the knowing of X. If X is not different from the knowing of X, it suggests that X would be a product of the constituents of knowing and, therefore, different from X itself. This is posited as a fallacy.

Common Theme: The common theme across all these statements is the idea that in each case, what is being asserted or proved depends on the very same object, leading to a fallacy. This suggests a circular or self-referential nature in the arguments.