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9/23/13

How to decipher the most challenging RCs? | GP SPEAKS

How to decipher the most challenging RCs?


Posted on September 23, 2013 by Gejo H ow to decipher the mos t challenging R Cs ? Any techniques or strategies to handle RC questions (like the one I suggested in my earlier post) will only work if we are able to gather what the author is trying to say. There is nothing more frustrating than to read a few sentences of a certain passage on philosophy and reach the undeniable conclusion this is the RC that I have to leave. However, given that there are only 3 passages, we might have to handle difficult passage. How do we get a grip of things that we have never read before? There is hope. A hope that stems from a premise that 100% understanding of the passage is not necessary provided we are able to get to the mind and soul of the passage with whatever little body we could decipher. Let me explain how. Let us look at an RC from one of the Proc Mocks, the one that majority left unattempted after reading the first sentence. Here it goes. P r oc M ock 7 Ques tions 49 to 51: A first evident logical weakness of the semantic interpretation of Nagarjunas doctrine is that concepts such as conventionality or conceptual being are inconceivable without admitting some idea of reality or independent being. Therefore, the phrase ultimate reality (PO) does not exist and everything is only conceptual reality (SO) is inconsistent from a logical point of view. Indeed, if we exclude that real might exist beyond the conceptual, we are not eliminating reality but are rather saying that the conceptual is the only real. This is nothing more than an idealistic position for which, la Hegel, the only real is the rational-conceptual. Now, idealism apart from the question of whether it may truly be considered an interpretation of Nagarjunas doctrine, as recently defended by Shulman is one of the metaphysical-realist positions from which semantic interpretation (or at least Siderits reading) claims to take a distance. Semantic interpreters, in opposition to this logical proof, state that it is possible to demonstrate the existence of something that is only conventional, without it being real and without it deriving its existence from any ultimate reality of the PO type. As an example of this possibility, both Siderits and Garfield have recourse to the institution of money. Siderits states that since the end of the gold standard, the value of a banknote is in no way intrinsic, nor does its value derive from anything other than the function (of exchange)
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9/23/13

How to decipher the most challenging RCs? | GP SPEAKS

that people who belong to a given monetary system conventionally recognize in it. This, in my opinion, is an extremely weak example: not only does it apparently fail to confirm Siderits and Garfields position (that it is possible to conceive of anything that is purely conventional, without the need for anything real as its basis); but in addition, it would seem to confirm quite the opposite: the conventionality of a banknote, indeed, is based on the reality of the values that it represents. If real goods did not exist, it would not be possible, nor would it make any sense, to create a monetary system. Similarly, it is unquestionable that for Nagarjuna, Nagasenas individuatio and Milindas chariot are prajaptisat and samropa/adhyropa phenomena; yet such conventionality and such projection must necessarily occur upon a foundation. Let us try and decipher as much as possible. Remember, we are not interested in the body but the mind and soul. P ar t 1: A first evident logical weak nes s of the s emantic inter pr etation of Nagar junas doctr ine is that concepts such as conventionality or conceptual being are inconceivable without admitting some idea of reality or independent being. Ther efor e, the phr as e ultimate r eality (P O) does not ex is t and ever ything is only conceptual r eality (S O) is incons is tent fr om a logical point of view . Indeed, if we exclude that real might exist beyond the conceptual, we are not eliminating reality but are rather saying that the conceptual is the only real. This is nothing more than an idealistic position for which, la Hegel, the only real is the rational-conceptual. What I have picked is the soul and left out the details (mostly because it was a bouncer!). This is what I gathered. P r oblem that the author is tr ying to addr es s : There is a logical flaw in the interpretation of Nagarjunas doctrine. Logical flaw: Ultimate reality (PO) does not exist, everything is conceptual reality (SO). [I am not delving too much into what ultimate reality means, As far as I am concerned, the purpose of the author is to point of some flaws in the interpretation. The key is not to get bogged down by the details, but stick to the big picture]. P ar t 2:
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9/23/13

How to decipher the most challenging RCs? | GP SPEAKS

Now, idealism apart from the question of whether it may truly be considered an interpretation of Nagarjunas doctrine, as recently defended by Shulman is one of the metaphysical-realist positions from which semantic interpretation (or at least Siderits reading) claims to take a distance. S emantic inter pr eter s , in opposition to this logical proof, s tate that it is pos s ible to demons tr ate the ex is tence of s omething that is only conventional, without it being r eal and without it der iving its ex is tence fr om any ultimate r eality of the P O type. I got a better understanding of the logical flaw that the author is trying to point out.Logical Flaw: Interpreters think that it is possible to show that SO can exist without PO P ar t 3: As an example of this possibility, both S ider its and Gar field have recourse to the institution of money. Siderits states that since the end of the gold standard, the value of a banknote is in no way intrinsic, nor does its value derive from anything other than the function (of exchange) that people who belong to a given monetary system conventionally recognize in it. Thank you! There is an example which I can relate to. It reiterated the understanding of the interpreters position.Also, I got the names of the two interpreters Siderits and Garfield. These are the two guys whose interpretation the author is trying to disprove. P ar t 4: This , in my opinion, is an ex tr emely weak ex ample: not only does it apparently fail to confirm Siderits and Garfields position (that it is possible to conceive of anything that is purely conventional, without the need for anything real as its basis); but in addition, it would seem to confirm quite the opposite: the conventionality of a banknote, indeed, is based on the reality of the values that it represents. If real goods did not exist, it would not be possible, nor would it make any sense, to create a monetary system. Similarly, it is unquestionable that for Nagarjuna, Nagasenas individuatio and Milindas chariot are prajaptisat and samropa/adhyropa phenomena; yet such conventionality and such projection must necessarily occur upon a foundation. What is important here is to understand that the author took the example given by the interpreters and says they are weak.I am not really interested in the details since the passage is there in front of your eyes. If a question forces you to look at the details, you can always come back. The key is to get the mind and soul. M y tak e:
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9/23/13

How to decipher the most challenging RCs? | GP SPEAKS

Nagarjunas doctrine Interpreted by Siderits and Garfield logically flawedWhat Siderits & Garfield think: SO can exist without POAuthor : PO is needed for SO This big picture understanding is the key to handle difficult RC passages( in fact, this is true for all passages). Now lets meet the Ques tion S etter : QUE S TION 1 Which of the following is/are the objection(s) raised by the author with regards to the semantic interpretation of Nagarjunas theory? (a) The theory fails to clearly and explicitly express that which it contains logically. (b) The existence of the conventional would appear definitively inconceivable without the presupposition of something real. (c) The objective of Nagarjunas theory is to reject the belief in an ultimate, real and independent existence of empirical objects. (d) All of the above My thought on objection(s) raised by the author with regards to the semantic interpretation of Nagarjunas theory:What Siderits & Garfield think: SO can exist without POAuthor : PO is needed for SO (a) The theor y fails to clearly and explicitly express that which it contains logically. There is no problem with the theory. The issue is with the inter pr etation of the theory. INCOR R E CT (b) The ex is tence of the conventional would appear definitively inconceivable without the presupposition of something r eal . This makes sense. For SO, we need PO this is what the author argues for. COR R E CT

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9/23/13

How to decipher the most challenging RCs? | GP SPEAKS

(c) The objective of Nagar junas theor y is to reject the belief in an ultimate, real and independent existence of empirical objects. The objection is on the inter pr etation and not about the objective of Nagarjunas theory. INCOR R E CT (d) All of the above Are you kidding?! INCOR R E CT QUE S TION 2 The primary purpose of the author is to (a) present the main incongruities of Nagarjunas theory as have been brought out by Siderits and Garfield. (b) undertake to reconstruct the main features of the semantic interpretation of Nagarjunas theory. (c) present the weaknesses of the interpretation of Siderits and Garfield of Nagarjunas theory. (d) present the critical analysis of interpretation of Nagarjunas doctrine of the two truths as summarized by other philosophers. My thought on primary purpose of the author:What Siderits & Garfield think: SO can exist without POAuthor : PO is needed for SO (a) pr es ent the main incongr uities of Nagarjunas theory as have been br ought out by S ider its and Gar field. Incongruities mean disagreements. Siderits and Garfield have no disagreement with Nagarjunas theory. The authors issue is with how they interpreted the same. INCOR R E CT (b) undertake to reconstruct the main features of the semantic interpretation of Nagarjunas theory.

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9/23/13

How to decipher the most challenging RCs? | GP SPEAKS

Author is trying to attack the interpreters and is clearly not trying to rebuild the semantic interpretations. INCOR R E CT (c) pr es ent the weak nes s es of the inter pr etation of Siderits and Garfield of Nagar junas theor y. BINGO! This captures the purpose pretty accurately. COR R E CT. (d) present the critical analysis of interpretation of Nagarjunas doctrine of the two truths as summarized by other philosophers. The author is clearly taking a position on how Nagarjunas doctrine is interpreted and the author is not merely analysing the interpretation critically. INCOR R E CT QUE S TION 3 Which of the following accurately describes the style of the passage? (a) Analytical (c) Analogical (b) Inferential (d) Argumentative

It is clearly and undeniably ARGUMENTATIVE. Option d Tak eaway: Even if the passage is on a subject that we dont understand, we can still handle it if we can follow the basic step Get to the soul Happy RCing -Gejo

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9/23/13

How to decipher the most challenging RCs? | GP SPEAKS

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9/23/13

How to decipher the most challenging RCs? | GP SPEAKS

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