Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Metaphysics of Shankara and Kant

There are parallels between the metaphysical thoughts of Shankara, the philosopher and theologian of Advaita Vedanta, who is generally placed in the 7th century AD (some scholars place him in the 5th century BC), and the eighteenth century German Philosopher Immanuel Kant. Kant has theorized that reality has two components: the phenomenal world and the noumenal world. The first is the world that we perceive (the world that exists inside our own minds and can be experienced); the second is the world of things outside our own minds (this is the world of things as they really are, but our mind lacks the capacity to comprehend this world). Shankara divides the reality into two categories: Vyavaharika and Paramarthika—the first is the reality that corresponds to our phenomenal experiences and exists inside our own mind; the second is the reality of what truly exists, which is the Brahman, the ultimate mover and creator of the universe, that encompasses everything that exists. Shankara’s two categories of reality are meant to establish his monistic and religious position of one ultimate reality consisting of the Bahaman. Kant is not openly a monistic (though there are traces of monism in his thought)—his focus is on developing a secular interpretation of reality.

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