Notion Of Freedom Essay

2327 words - 9 pages

The prima facie difference between the first-person's perspective and the third-person's perspective is the nature of the claims made. The first-person's perspective makes introspective claims about human freedom. It asks the question; am I free? The third-person perspective makes claims from the outside looking in. It asks the question; is she free? At the same time, they are both analysing the same thing; human freedom. They argue from premises about personal identity to conclusions about freedom. Their knowledge is drawn from the content of human experience, and their reasoning is based on logic. Indeed, the first-person metaphysical model of the Hindus resembles the third-person model of Kant. Similarly, Hume's model, and his argument, closely resembles Buddhism. This dichotomy is interesting, as Buddha's model was a response to Hinduism, and, conversely, Kant was responding to Hume. This essay is an examination of the similarities and differences between Hinduism and Kant, and Buddhism and Hume. The purpose of this examination is to see whether the difference in perspective leads to other differences in the analysis of the similar model. Hindu Analysis of Freedom The Hindu account of personal identity revolves around an eternal subject, or "self". The Upanisads use the metaphor of a passenger in a chariot to describe the self . The intellect is the chariot driver, the mind is the reins, the body is the chariot, the horses are the senses and the objects of sense are the lands they travel over. Essentially, this eternal self, or "âtman", is the passive subject of perception. It is the thing that sees when I see, the thing that feels when I feel and the thing that thinks when I think. Âtman cannot be sensed, or "sought by outward knowledge" . It can never be one of the objects that it perceives, as it is the very thing that is perceiving. "He who is awake in those that sleep, The Person who fashions desire after desire- That indeed is the pure. That is Brahman. That indeed is called the immortal. On it all the worlds do rest; And no one soever goes beyond it. This, verily, is That!" Âtman is not merely the grounds of one's personhood, it is equivalent to Brahman, the grounds of everything, or ultimate reality . The nature and reality of âtman is the fundamental assumption of Hindu Metaphysics. The Bhagavad-Gitâ uses this account of personal identity as a grounds for an analysis of freedom. The vehicle for this analysis is a dialogue between the warrior-prince, Arjuna, and the incarnate deity, Krsna. Arjuna is about to fight a war against his "own people" . He is troubled that it is wrong for him to kill his own teachers and kinsmen to serve the "greed" of his superiors. Eventually, after asking Krsna's advice, he refuses to fight. Krsna's response is that Arjuna misunderstands the true nature of âtman. All of the persons that Arjuna is worried about destroying are physical vessels carrying a spark of the...

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