[Advaita-l] Scientific method

Bhadraiah Mallampalli vaidix at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 22 16:27:48 CST 2009

Dear list members, 
Wikipedia credits Alhazen 965-1039 for developing the scientific method. 
Can some one please approach Wikipedia in a gentle manner and make them understand that Adi Sankara (of 8th century) preceded Alhazen in expounding the scientific method?
Sankara (No later than 8th century CE) said: Only what confirms to Shruti, and what agrees with logic and experience is truth. 
Please note Shri Arun Gupta's articles on Shruti explain clearly that Shruti is not just a religious book but actually the accumulated knowledge from past teachers. Shruti was never put to writing for fear of being lost (script going out of use and getting undeciphered etc), so that the knowledge should only be passed on from mouth to ear, hence the name Shruti. Effectively what Sankara said was that any proposition must agree with past knowledge (it should better agree,  because the past knowledge is still being called "knowledge" here), and the proposition should agree with logic (as we argue now), and it must conform to experience (we should see the expected results now). Otherwise it must be wrong. Sankara also argued that portions of Shruti which are contradicted by logic and/or experience must be rejected. (We don't usually delete anything from Shruti as a first reaction, but simply override just to preserve history.) The burden of proving the existing vedas as truth is on the Vedic scholars, but this should not in principle affect Sankara's position with regard to his rule re: threefold determination of truth. Sankara's three-fold rule not only works for hard sciences but it also works for soft sciences and self knowledge.
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