Friday, 26 June 2015

Nama, Rupa and Namarupa

Nama and Rupa are two fundamental divisions of phenomena in Buddhist philosophy.

Nama refers to the mental aspects of humans and animals, whereas rupa refers to all physical phenomena, including human and animal bodies regarded as biophysical machines. Rupa is mechanistic, whereas nama is mental. 

Although nama and rupa interact,  Buddhist philosophers reject the possibility that nama can be reduced to rupa (hence our minds are not machines)

Since Buddhism is a process philosophy, nama and rupa are regarded as being in a constant state of flux and impermanence, and are processes rather than things or substances.

The Sanskrit word nama is related to the English word 'name', and similar cognates in other Indo-European languages, thus showing the intentional and semantic aspect of the term.    Rupa means 'form' or mereology, including those physical processes which act to change forms.

All aspects of rupa may be modelled, explained and simulated by a Universal Turing Machine, since all concepts of mechanism, and physical and chemical causality, are subsumed by the Universal Turing Machine.   In contrast, the principal activities of nama - intentionality or aboutness and qualitative experience - are beyond the capabilities of a Turing Machine.

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