Saturday, March 30, 2019

Rousseau's readers learned to expect no verification

"What I most disliked about Harvard was that smug assumptions were too often treated as substitutes for evidence or logic. The idea seemed to be that if we bright and good fellows all believed something, it must be true."

This is a common mistake among all levels of intelligence. It only requires ego. “My logic is flawless, therefore I could not be wrong ie. fact. No need to bore my listener with useless detail about its origin, I’ll just start referring to it as written law for convenience sake.”

A brief sketch of Rousseauism
It is the idealizing mix of nostalgia and primitivism that envisions life to have begun in some garden of Eden, an orchard of the Hesperides, a Golden Age, or a state of nature that was all peace and prosperity until some moral cataclysm hurled humankind into recorded history...
“Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains:” this is not a thesis which he strove to explain, argue, illustrate, and prove; it is a first principle—to mean, not what logically comes first, as in ancient or medieval philosophy, but what Rousseau intuitively believed to be the starting point of the matter, his heartfelt conviction, the idée fixe from which every fact follows and to which every conclusion returns. This emotional, intuitive apriorism bred fateful habits of the pen in Rousseau, who had no
equal in asserting truths for which his readers learned to expect no verification...
Rousseau is so confident in the world-making power of philosophizing that he avows it openly. It is, he says, “within the province of philosophy…to establish facts” and “these things [i.e., the origin of society, the felicity of savage man, the progress of inequality, etc.] can be deduced from the nature of man by the light of reason alone.”6 From Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics: JCLA Spring 2019 (42.1)

The Mother came to #Puducherry to meet Sri Aurobindo on March 29, 1914. This single event is the only tangible reason to believe that there is some meaning in our existence and what all the philosophies and religions have been searching for will certainly be found out. Gratitude.
(From a meditation written on the day after the Mother first saw Sri Aurobindo). 30 Mar 1914. It matters little that there are thousands of beings plunged in the densest ignorance, He whom we saw yesterday is on earth ...

Most of the junk philosophy in AI is just an extension of Christian theology.
Great evening @howtoacademy last night @emmanuelcentre talking AI and creativity but the funniest thing was noticing what was written above the banner advertising the event. #TheCreativityCode @4thEstateBooks

Once again @pbmehta has written an entire article - this time on cash transfers - without a single number (except the 20 percent of families that will be ostensibly targeted). He has done a lot of analysis about “a marginal infusion of cash in the hands of the poor” w/ no numbers ... Harsh Gupta
This guy is supposed to be India’s top public intellectual as per some. Not his fault that some call him that, definitely the fault of those who do so. I really wonder about their analytical and critical thinking skills. And if they do have them, then about their true intentions.

Despite being the subject of considerable scholarship, Aurobindo has generally been presented as a disjointed figure, fragmented and constrained by disciplinary boundaries. Ongoing disputes within the wider Aurobindo community regarding his contested legacy have drawn attention to his (mis)appropriation by a resurgent Hindutva ethno-nationalism. Against the attempts by some to monumentalize Aurobindo as an infallible Avatar, this interdisciplinary review of the field of Aurobindo studies seeks to bring together a wide range of scholarly perspectives ... Alex Wolfers

Sri Aurobindo is the most overlooked and underestimated sage/ yogi/ philosopher of the modern era. He was so revolutionary that even his own disciples and followers have failed to fully comprehend the  most radical aspects of the message of Savitri, ...
    I must acknowledge that there is a strange inconsistency in Aurobindo’s writings, which may help to explain why Aurobindonians are so discomforted by the ideal of romantic love as a redemptive force—and why some Aurobindonians deny the manifest sense of Savitri, and why none of the commentaries on Savitri point out the obvious: that romantic love is “the star” of the poem. Seth Farber, PhD

The heart of my presentation is that Emerson and Aurobindo were both deeply influenced by the spirit of Humanism, and sought to develop new approaches to the spiritual life that were in harmony with the Humanistic Revolution. They recognized that if we want to be both Humanist and spiritual, we must find a form of religion that is at once individualistic, world-affirmative, and open-ended. Thus American Transcendentalism arose in the West to meet this need, while in the East developed the Purnadvaita or integral non-dualism of Sri Aurobindo.
Hegel helped Emerson understand that the process of evolution is itself a manifestation of Spirit. While Aurobindo shares with Emerson a theory of transmigratory evolution, his path to this common resolution was the easier one ...
The interesting fact to note here is that although Emerson and Aurobindo were rejecting very different traditions, they both came to the same conclusion: the world is the very real manifestation of Spirit whose basic nature is ananda. by Robert C. Gordon, PhD

The second type would bring in some comparative elements quite tentatively and with great care for fear of crushing the master’s words (quite unwarranted, no doubt!) and make sure that Sri Aurobindo’s position is uniquely preserved even in the course of the textual arguments. These selfstyled scholars then parade as arch Aurobindonians never ever casting a single glance at either Sri Aurobindo’s works or their own (mis)readings ever afterwards. Sri Aurobindo might be his own interpreter or rather his works could stand testimony to their own insights — but scholarship is indeed something more demanding than submissive commentaries, surreptitious asides, or supportive descriptions. Murali Sivaramkrishnan

Sri Aurobindo's theo-political reconfiguration of Hinduism - The Making of an Avatar: Reading Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1872–1950) | Wolfers | Religions of South Asia - Equinox eBooks Publishing - Equinox Publishing https...

Impossible to overestimate the importance of Sri Aurobindo - Tusar Nath MohapatraJanuary 18, 2017 8:13 PM [emotions are directly tied to our actions... Emotions, then, are creative.]

My original contributions to understanding Sri Aurobindo - My original contributions to understanding or interpreting Sri Aurobindo can be summarised under a number of heads: 1) Against Hindutva, Mythology, & Astro...

Physics is the key for prosperity - As India enters elite space league with 'Mission Shakti' A-SAT the, here's why it's is a gamechanger for the nation #IndiaSpaceSuperPower

Believe in the Vedic Evolutionary ontology of Sri Aurobindo - Tweets in original by @SavitriEraParty and @NathTusar While it's understandable that electoral politics and its compulsions will dominate the national sce...

Offering a corrective to parochial philosophy - Greek gods were assholes, which might explain the rise of rationality and the birth of Western philosophy there. And also Plato. Do listen to episode 109 o...

Plasim Radar

The Dance of Shiva: A Reinterpretation - Reflecting further on this notion of the “four cities” introduced in the previous post, I was led back to a reconsideration of the Dance of Shiva, the repr...

Spirituality Provides Freedom Even to Deny God on the Path to Realisation - A mistake religions or philosophies tend to make is that they try in many, or even most, cases, to deny freedom of thought and experimentation on the part ...

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! - Don’t you love the word “debunk”? Its cheerfully aggressive sound is inseparable from its sense. The second syllable, bunk!, seems to leap down from the La...

Ecotheological Pathways (Inner Animalities Book Event) - This response is from Elizabeth Pyne, who is currently an instructor at Fordham University’s London Centre. Her research engages various intersections betw...

6.3 The Delight of Being - *How can one “learn of pure delight”?* First of all, to begin with, one must through an attentive observation grow aware that desires and the satisfactio...

Why NYAY will be pared down and Zombified - Rahul Gandhi's NYAY scheme- which would give about 90 dollars per month (which in purchasing power would be equivalent to perhaps 500 dollars) to the poore...

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Offering a corrective to parochial philosophy

Greek gods were assholes, which might explain the rise of rationality and the birth of Western philosophy there. And also Plato.
Do listen to episode 109 of The Seen and the Unseen, where I am joined by philosopher Rebecca Goldstein (@platobooktour):

"I will go out on a limb and say you cannot properly understand Plato unless you have read some Heraclitus and Parmenides and thought hard about them."
Dr Angie Hobbs (@drangiehobbs) recommends the best works of presocratic philosophy. #ancientphilosophy

"You must explain what it is for a life to have value: until you can do that your ethical theories are empty and void."
MM McCabe, Emeritus Professor of Ancient Philosophy at King's College London, picks the best books on Socrates.

"How can we show whether the happiest life is going to be the just life or the unjust life? If we’re going to try to answer that about the individual mind or soul, let’s look at the city in big letters, like a model for the soul."
The best books on #Plato

The Best Books on Aristotle, chosen by @edithmayhall, author of Aristotle's Way @five_books

"Philosophers, and in particular the Stoics, were persecuted by several Roman emperors. They really didn’t like this constant reminder that you should be doing better than you are doing."
@mpigliucci looks at classical #stoicism and its modern resurgence.

"First of all, outside the New Testament, St Augustine is the most influential person in Western Christianity by far. Secondly, he was a wonderful, wonderful writer & a deeply passionate man."

"If you go back to Hume, Locke or Descartes, you find that they weren’t writing for professionals in university, they were writing for their educated peers. Every educated mind should be engaged with the great questions."
A C Grayling: Ideas That Matter

"Kant is interested in the limits to what we can know; he’s interested in the limits to what we can use pure reason to ascertain; he’s interested in the limits to what we can even think about."
Professor Adrian Moore recommends the best books on #Kant

"I think it’s the greatest work of philosophy ever written by anybody. And I’ve worked on Plato, Aristotle, Descartes; I teach Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant; and I have studied Nietzsche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein."
Stephen Houlgate makes the case for #Hegel.
"It’s a mistake to think you could read Marx as a scientist or an economist without understanding the Hegelian framework of his thought. That’s why I chose to begin with Hegel."
@PeterSinger examines the best works of 19th century philosophy.

“Much of what Marx was doing has similarities with what we do in political writing today, which also involves a lot of parody and satire. ”
The best books on Marx & Marxism, a #readinglist by Terrell Carver (@TerrellCarver)

“There’s something powerfully repulsive about Nietzsche”: Simon Critchley (@CritchleyUpdate) introduces the landscape of continental philosophy #WorldPhilosophyDay #readinglist

“Those who by-pass Wittgenstein do so to their own detriment, for they are neglecting the most original philosopher of our times."
Professor Peter Hacker examines the life and thought of Ludwig #Wittgenstein

"One of the great oversights when we talk about classical American philosophy is not noticing how brilliant Margaret Fuller was. Thoreau, Emerson, and Poe all considered her probably the most intelligent woman of their day."
John Kaag on US Philosophy.

"I think that pragmatism is a philosophical movement that dominates philosophy in America from the early 1900s to the present day, and that Quine sits very prominently in the story."
From CS Peirce to WV Quine, Prof. Robert Talisse examines pragmatism.

"Mengzi offers a conception of human nature, the virtues, and ethical cultivation that is a plausible alternative to Aristotle."
Offering a corrective to parochial philosophy departments, @BryanVanNorden discusses the best works of world philosophy

"Metaphysics came back. It reappeared sometime in the 1960s or 70s and now it’s one of the dominant areas of philosophy and people are just doing metaphysics unashamedly," says @timcrane102

"In chemistry you might learn about different kinds of chemical changes. In metaphysics you ask ‘What is change? How is change possible?’"
Philosopher Tim Crane demystifies the field of analytic metaphysics.

"I don’t see the subject as restricted to nerdy philosophical papers in refereed journals. Some of the most important contributions have been literary."
British philosopher Nigel Warburton (@philosophybites) picks the best introductions to philosophy.

"We mustn’t assume that our intuitive picture of the mind is correct. If we want to understand the mind as it really is, then we must go beyond armchair reflection and engage with the science of the mind and brain."
@keithfrankish on philosophy of mind.

“Imagine how you would design society if your enemy were to decide your place in it”
Jonathan Wolff of the @BlavatnikSchool on what he considers to be the five best works of political philosophy.

"Darwin's idea, that the same processes occurring slowly and steadily today also have been active throughout Earth history, slowly but steadily shaping the landscape, is known as uniformitarianism."
Happy Darwin Day. Here's @adammaloof on Earth History:

ICYMI: Once every 10,000 years, a black hole in a galaxy reveals itself by ripping apart a passing star. These tidal disruption events have given astronomers a new way to map the hidden cosmos.

Virgin Galactic reaches space again – this time with a passenger

Victoria-ORF Kolkata inter-university debate — Has social media opened up the public space?

Social science researchers who want to study the internet in India using data mining and analytic techniques are challenged by constraints in #access, and the availability of #bigdata

Indian literature and Indian Philosophy both will flourish by embracing the ideas of "Yeats".  - Prof. Margaret Mills Harper @MakrandParanspe

Because she inspires lust and sexuality in men, she rules over childbirth and midwives. She is lust, which is not seen as bad or sinful in Nahua, or Aztec philosophy, but rather as something potentially dangerous and disordering. Rather, sex and sexuality are sacred.
Tlazolteotl, who is also known as Ixquina, the Filth Eater. She is the Teotl of disorder, of trash, of chaos and excess. However, she is also rules over sexuality. She is unordered nature, which is what is meant by Tlazolli; she represents chaos which awaits order.

the Orchid and the rOse: Bruno Ganz, Gary Gutting, and Roderick MacFarquhar
Because Thou Art: Art ought to be an enabler 
Savitri Era: I won't allow anyone to wash my feet by Tusar Nath Mohapatra @NathTusar

Does Śāntideva think bodhisattvas are happy? - A while ago William Edelglass put up a paper for discussion on about Śāntideva and happiness. I made some … Continue reading

13 problems of Sankhya; Vedanta proposed Brahman - The shared accent patterns between Greek and Vedic indicate that these patterns are older than both, and certainly not anything newly introduced after Pāṇ...

The secularist killjoy: A reply to Schaefer and Smith - I am grateful to Donovan Schaefer and Caleb Smith for their productive, provocative responses. Both in their different ways have written about debunking an...

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Vedantic philosophy in a political context

Knowledge, consciousness and religious conversion in Lonergan and Aurobindo - Page 179Michael T. McLaughlin - 2003 - 318 pages
Aurobindo's monism in which the One differentiates itself in time and space (extension) as finite souls in the infinite has many similarities with Schelling in his work Bruno. He refers to this process of differentiation of the One as ...

Debashish Banerji, ‎Makarand R. Paranjape - 2016 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
... stage when the autopoietic entity achieves a state of functional integration where its elements express their powers not merely as parts of the whole but as co-adapting superpositionalities of the whole. In comparison, Sri Aurobindo's monism ...
H. L. Kalia - 2002 - ‎Preview
... it has given us a new outlook on the world; it has set his stamp on one of the major stages in the development of planetology It was a kind of integral vision of the reality, similar to that of Aurobindo, but without falling into Aurobindo's monism.
Jan Feys - 1973 - ‎Snippet view
This more literal rendering of Advaita underlines the absence of any dual principle, which corresponds to the negative aspect of Aurobindo's monism. However, Aurobindo himself does not use that term to characterise his system. 26 There is ...
1972 - ‎Snippet view - ‎More editions
Hence Ignorance is a form of Knowledge, Pain a form of Bliss, and Death of Life : these paradoxes find their metaphysical justification in Sri Aurobindo's monism. The transformation of death into life, and not death's elimination, squares best ...
Kolappa Pillay Kanakasabhapathi Pillay - 1957 - ‎Snippet view
But such a relation is possible only when a duality between consciousness and unconsciousness is assumed, which assumption would be contrary to Aurobindo's monism. Mind, which is supposed to be a link between vitalised matter on the ...
J. Chetany - 1978 - ‎Snippet view - ‎More editions
61 It was a kind of integral vision of the reality, similar to that of Aurobindo, but without falling into Aurobindo's monism. Such an idea cannot be simply transliterated, but needs deep study since "to be content to transliterate is merely illiterate.
David Scott - 2014 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
The first full introduction to Simondon's seminal work. A chapter-by-chapter commentary takes you through the text of Psychic and Collective Individuation, clarifying its complex terminology and structure.
Sri Aurobindo - 2007 - ‎No preview - ‎More editions
The writing of this book has afforded him pleasure in his leisure moments, and that pleasure would be much increased if he knew that the perusal of it would create any bond of sympathy between himself and the angling community in general.
Ted Honderich - 2015 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
Eighteen of the world's most eminent philosophers of recent years tackle central questions of philosophy in this collection of the prestigious annual lectures given at the Royal Institute of Philosophy in London.

Aurobindo has tried to interpret some of the spiritual concepts of Vedantic philosophy in a political context. ... Advaitism, or the conception of a monistic spiritual absolute, has been considered in modern Indian thought as the foundation of a ...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Mental aspect in the fundamental particles

Graham Harman on Slavoj Žižek
Reading Zizek's The Incontinence of the Void. Insightful and entertaining, but the mere dismissal of the new realisms isn't helpful at all.
Does Zizek really think Hegel and Lacan said it all, and that he has nothing more to learn? That's a purely defensive posture.
Z.'s youthful energy and productivity continue to amaze. Would be nice to see more willingness on his part to argue basic issues.
I think he's done real philosophy and will do more. But no need to dump on those younger and pretend they're making child-like mistakes.
I'm speaking from specific disappointment over at beginning of his new book. If "racing the clock," why waste clock time with cheap shots?
It doesn't look that way. He seems unable to view realism as anything more than a silly recursion to pre-Lacanian thought. Real contempt.
Paul Livingston's NDPR review of my co-authored book with DeLanda:
Flat ontology doesn't mean that everything gets equal status in the end, only equal status at the beginning.
Or rather, that's true of OOO, with its difference btwn. real/sensual. Latour is more a case where everything remains equal, qua *actor.*

We are pleased to announce Prof. Graham Harman as Editor-in-Chief of "Open Philosophy".

[Christoph Antweiler reasserts cross-cultural commonalities for life and co-existence approach humanity in its entirety, understanding the world less as a globe, with an emphasis on differences, but as a planet, from a vantage point open to commonalities.]

[Any realistic cosmopolitanism must proceed from an understanding of humankind as one entity without requiring us to re-design cultures to fit on with some sort of global template.]

[Boyer provides a new picture of cultural transmission that draws on the pragmatics of human communication, the constructive nature of memory in human brains, and human motivation for group formation and cooperation.]

As the Mother put it, Sri Aurobindo, the deceased master, gave her a vision: “India has become the symbolic representation of all the difficulties of modern mankind India will be the land of its resurrection — the resurrection to a higher mind and truer life.” The future of humankind, in other words, would be shaped in India, in a ...

Daily Mail-12-Dec-2017
He was restless and searching for the purpose of life. Sri Aurobindo had left his body in 1950, but Frederick was fortunate to meet the Mother (Mirra Alfassa), Sri Aurobindo'sspiritual partner and successor: 'She changed my life by shifting my consciousness.' In a sense, Frederick had found not only his home but also soul.

The Asian Age-07-Dec-2017
From the beginning, Sri Aurobindo entrusted the Mother with full material and spiritual charge of the ashram. Everything in the ashram is her creation; every initiative draws inspiration from her and moves towards her vision. Interestingly, the Mother was well acquainted with the Baha'i Faith, having met 'Abdu'l-Baha (son of ...

Dear Joe, Kashyap,  and Vinod ji,

[1] Vinod: Another related issue is if a physical structure is not defined and describable by its physical functions, is there any other way to define/describe the structure?

McCard: Agreed, Ram has not been explicit, but, I think it fair to say he would agree to the following: Joe wrote: Physical structure can be defined as a pattern of physical energy. 

Vimal: In the eDAM, one of the important postulates is that the information is the same in both aspects, so they are inseparable. In other words, whatever is going on physical aspect is also going on in the mental aspect of a state of the information in an entity. Ontology of the aspects is the ontology of information. If viewed from 3pp, the 3pp-physical aspect is physical structure and physical function. If viewed from 1pp, the 1pp-mental aspect is mental structure and mental function. So, what is wrong if we say 1pp-mental function = 3pp-physical function if the information is the same and it is just viewing the same information from two different perspectives 1pp or 3pp.

[2] Vasavada: Let me jump little bit in your debate with Ram! A man and a woman feel attraction to each other by looking (reflections of light from each other and their eyes processing and somehow converting into mental aspect.) Similarly about sound waves of speech. Now an electron and a proton feel attraction by exchanging photons. This is quantum mechanics. If there is a very primitive amount of consciousness related to QM, then this process could be similar. We do not know whether consciousness has anything to do with QM or not. But we cannot rule out this out rightly! So there could be a little bit of mental aspect (most likely hidden to us) in the fundamental particles.

Vimal: I agree with Kashyap. You may like to look at dual-aspect panpsychism, which hypothesizes that inert entities also have some rudiment functional sub-aspect of consciousness (see also  2009f); (Vimal, 2010d)). Let us not degrade inert entities because they are also manifestations of dual-aspect unmanifested Brahman (primal entity). Vinodji argues that Brahman is a privileged entity; I argue for democracy; his argument is related to master-slave relationship, which is old now and obsolete; my argument is related to equality, i.e., “All (entities) in One (Brahman) and One is All”.


Kind regards,
Rām Lakhan Pāndey Vimal, Ph.D.
Amarāvati-Hīrāmaṇi Professor (Research)
Vision Research Institute, Physics, Neuroscience, & Consciousness Research Dept.
25 Rita Street, Lowell, MA 01854 USA

"Sadhu-Sanga Under the holy association of Spd. B.M. Puri Maharaja, Ph.D." group. To view this discussion on the web visit

[DOC] Hypotheses about States, Structure-Stages, Consciousness and the Human Brain in Everyday Life
R Angerer
… Spirit. In: IEC 2014 Conference Material Collection, Budapest, 2014. Aurobindo, S. (1942). The life Divine. Pondichery: Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Badre, D., & Wagner, AD (2007). Left …

[PDF] Contrasting Futures for Humanity
JM Gidley - 2017
… During the same period Indian political activist Sri Aurobindo wrote about the Overman who was a type of consciously evolving future human being (Aurobindo, 1914/2000) … References Aurobindo, S. (1914/2000). The Life Divine. 2nd American Edition …