Turtles (and elephants) all the way down?

Michio Yano yanom at CC.KYOTO-SU.AC.JP
Sat Apr 3 10:22:53 UTC 2010

Dear Colleagues,
an article on the Kuurmavibhaaga was just published
in the most recent issue of the Journal of Indian
and Buddhist Studies, Vol.LVIII, No.3 (March 2010)
[121], pp.1126-1133:
MAEJIMA Miki and YANO Michio:
`A Study on the Atharvaveda-PariziSTa 50-57 with
Special Reference to the Kuurmavibhaaga'

We welcome comments on our humble contribution.
I am willing to send a pdf file of our article.

With best wishes,
Michio YANO

>There is an excellent recent essay on this by Prof. Christopher Minkowski.
>""Turtles All the Way Down? Tradition and Experiment in Cosmological
>Reasoning."  I'm afraid I can't tell you right now where it is published.
>There's a nice discussion of the generl
>in Wikipedia.
>Dr Dominik Wujastyk
>Institut fr Sdasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
>Universitt Wien
>Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 2, Eingang 2.1
>A-1090 Vienna
>long term email address: wujastyk at gmail.com
>PGP key: http://wujastyk.net/pgp.html
>On 2 April 2010 09:21, Jan Westerhoff <westerhoff at cantab.net> wrote:
>> Dear Colleagues,
>> in his "Essay Concerning Human Understanding" (1:391-92 of the Dover
>> edition) John Locke mentions an Indian who, "saying that the world was
>> supported by a great elephant, was asked what the elephant rested on; to
>> which his answer was, a great tortoise. But being again pressed to know
>> what gave support to the broad-backed tortoise, replied, something, he
>> knew not what."
>> I am wondering what the source of that cosmological theory is. (In more
>> contemporary versions involving a variety of scholars, including Bertrand
>> Russell and William James this has metamorphosed into an elephant
>> supported by a downward infinite series of turtles). I am aware of the
>> notion of the turtle-king (kuurmaraaja) supporting the world, as well as
>> of that of a set of four (according to the Raamaaya.na) or sixteen
>> (according to the Amarako.sa) elephants doing the same, but I have been
>> unable to trace any Indian authority describing a stacked elephant-turtle
>> support.
>> I would be most grateful for any suggestions you may have!
>> Yours
>> Jan Westerhoff
>> ***************************
>> JC Westerhoff
>> Department of Philosophy
>> University of Durham
>> 50 Old Elvet
>> Durham DH1 3HN
>> United Kingdom
>> www.janwesterhoff.net
>> westerhoff at cantab.net

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