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In idealist philosophy, the Absolute is "the sum of all being, actual and potential".[1] In monistic idealism, it serves as a concept for the "unconditioned reality which is either the spiritual ground of all being or the whole of things considered as a spiritual unity.[2]

Contents

HistoryEdit

The concept of "the absolute" was introduced in modern philosophy, notably by Hegel, for "the sum of all being, actual and potential".[3][1] For Hegel, states the philosophy scholar Martin Heidegger, the Absolute is "the spirit, that which is present to itself in the certainty of unconditional self-knowing".[4] According to Hegel, states Frederick Copleston – a historian of philosophy, "Logic studies the Absolute 'in itself'; the philosophy of Nature studies the Absolute 'for itself'; and the philosophy of Spirit studies the Absolute 'in and for itself'.[5] The concept is also found in the works of F.W.J. Schelling, and was anticipated by Johann Gottlieb Fichte.[2] In English philosophy, F. H. Bradley has distinguished the concept of Absolute from God, while Josiah Royce, the founder of American idealism school of philosophy, has equated them.[2]

Indian religionsEdit

The concept of the Absolute has been used to interpret the early texts of the Indian religions such as those attributed to Yajnavalkya, Nagarjuna and Adi Shankara.[6]

According to Takeshi Umehara, some ancient texts of Buddhism state that the "truly Absolute and the truly Free must be nothingness",[7] the "void".[8] Yet, the early Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna, states Paul Williams, does not present "emptiness" as some kind of Absolute, rather it is "the very absence (a pure non-existence) of inherent existence" in Mādhyamaka school of the Buddhist philosophy.[9]

According to Glyn Richards, the early texts of Hinduism state that the Brahman or the nondual Brahman–Atman is the Absolute.[10][11][12]

The term has also been adopted by Aldous Huxley in his perennial philosophy to interpret various religious traditions, including Indian religions,[13] and influenced other strands of nondualistic and New Age thought.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b   Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "The Absolute" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. ^ a b c Sprigge, T.L.S. (1998). Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Taylor and Francis. doi:10.4324/9780415249126-N001-1.
  3. ^ Frederick Charles Copleston (1963). History of Philosophy: Fichte to Nietzsche. Paulist Press. pp. 166–180. ISBN 978-0-8091-0071-2.
  4. ^ Martin Heidegger (2002). Heidegger: Off the Beaten Track. Cambridge University Press. pp. 97–98. ISBN 978-0-521-80507-0.
  5. ^ Frederick Charles Copleston (2003). 18th and 19th Century German Philosophy. A&C Black. pp. 173–174. ISBN 978-0-8264-6901-4.
  6. ^ Hajime Nakamura (1964). The Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples: India-China-Tibet-Japan. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 53–57. ISBN 978-0-8248-0078-9., Quote: "Thus the ultimate Absolute presumed by the Indians is not a personal god but an impersonal and metaphysical Principle. Here we can see the impersonal character of the Absolute in Indian thought. The inclination of grasping Absolute negatively necessarily leads (as Hegel would say) to the negation of the negative expression itself."
  7. ^ Umehara, Takeshi (1970). "Heidegger and Buddhism". Philosophy East and West. 20 (3): 271–281. doi:10.2307/1398308.
  8. ^ Orru, Marco; Wang, Amy (1992). "Durkheim, Religion, and Buddhism". Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 31 (1): 47–61. doi:10.2307/1386831.
  9. ^ Williams, Paul (2002). Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition. pp. 146–148.
  10. ^ Richards, Glyn (1995). "Modern Hinduism". Studies in Religion. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 117–127. doi:10.1007/978-1-349-24147-7_9. ISBN 978-1-349-24149-1.
  11. ^ Chaudhuri, Haridas (1954). "The Concept of Brahman in Hindu Philosophy". Philosophy East and West. 4 (1): 47–66. doi:10.2307/1396951., Quote: "The Self or Atman is the Absolute viewed from the subjective standpoint (arkara), or a real mode of existence of the Absolute."
  12. ^ Simoni-Wastila, Henry (2002). "Māyā and radical particularity: Can particular persons be one with Brahman?". International Journal of Hindu Studies. Springer. 6 (1): 1–18. doi:10.1007/s11407-002-0009-5.
  13. ^ Huxley, Aldous (January 1, 2009). The Perennial Philosophy. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics. ISBN 9780061724947.