Thursday, February 23, 2006

Books by D P Chattopadhyaya

  1. Anthropology and Historiography of Science Isbn: 8120809548 by D P Chattopadhyaya
  2. Forms, Concerns, and Development in Historical Perspective: History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization Isbn: 8121509041 by D P Chattopadhyaya
  3. Induction, Probability, and Skepticism [Suny Series in Philosophy] Isbn: 0791406814 by D P Chattopadhyaya
  4. Interdisciplinary Studies in Science Technology Philosophy and Culture [Phispc Monograph Series on History of Philosophy, Science and Culture in inDia, 6] Isbn: 8121507200 by D P Chattopadhyaya
  5. Knowledge Freedom and Language: An Interwoven Fabric of Man, Time and World Isbn: 8120806301 by D P Chattopadhyaya
  6. Language Logic and Science in India: Some Conceptual and Historical Perspectives [Phispc Monograph Series on History of Philosophy, Science and Culture in inDia, No 4] Isbn: 8121506891 by D P Chattopadhyaya
  7. Mathematics, Astronomy and Biology in Indian Tradition Isbn: 8121506883 by D P Chattopadhyaya
  8. Realism: Responses and Reactions Isbn: 8185636451 by D P Chattopadhyaya
  9. Science, Philosophy and Culture Part 2 Isbn: 8121507855 by D P CHATTOPADHYAYA
  10. Sociology, Ideology and Utopia: Socio-Political Philosophy of East and West [Philosophy of History and Culture, Vol 18] Isbn: 9004108076 by D P Chattopadhyaya
  11. Sri Aurobindo and Karl Marx: Integral Sociology and Dialectical Sociology Isbn: 8120803884 by D P Chattopadhyaya
  12. Ways of Understanding the Human Past: Mythic, Epic, Scientific and Historic Isbn: 8187586052 by D P Chattopadhyaya

True knowledge is available only through true cognition

In any study of Buddhist philosophy there is a paradox that John Dunne describes in the introduction to his book Foundations of Dharmakirti’s Philosophy. He discusses the Buddhist notion of “beginninglessness” that is present in the sacred texts and beliefs of the tradition. For a Buddhist philosopher to choose a starting point almost seems as though it would already disprove the system of Buddhism as a whole. He writes: “if a beginning occurs, there must be some moment, some “now,” in which it occurs. For the present to exist however there must be a past and a future, for what would “now” mean if there were no time other than now? (Dunne 1-2)”
I would suggest that the most useful solution to this problem lies in the nature of literature itself. It is impossible for a philosophical work to be on an unending loop. Instead for a successful Buddhist philosophy to be unveiled it must not suggest that there is a point at which to start. There should be what Dunne calls a “Point of Departure”. In his work Nayaya-Bindu Dharmakirti chooses a careful analysis of his Pramana Theory as his foundation.To correctly analyze Dharmakirti’s philosophy it is prudent to first examine foundational components of his thought. As with most Indian thinkers the discourse in which he operates focuses on Pramana Theory. Dunne describes Pramana Theory as “the determination of what constitutes indubitable or indisputable knowledge and the reliable means of attaining it (Dunne 16).”
J.N. Mohanty offers a different interpretation in stating “Pramana means “that by which true cognition is arrived at (2001 5)”. Though at first glance these two definitions may seem to drive a wedge in the understanding of Pramana Theory, upon careful examination they highlight an important feature of Indian thought. Using the Mohanty notion of cognition, true knowledge is available only through true cognition.
According to Mohanty every sect that investigated Pramana Theory (Lokayatas, Buddhists, Vaisesikas, Samkhyas, Nyayas, Vedantas, Bhatta Mimamsas, and Prabhakara Mimamsas) ascertain that perception is a pramana, though they often disputed the nature of perception. All of the aforementioned sects other than the Lokayatas accept inference as another pramana. The other pramanas are “Comparison, Word, Postulation, and Nonperception (Mohanty 16-17).” posted by Tucker Brennan I AM THE WINTERNET! Friday, December 9 @ 11:43 AM

The Society for Phenomenology and Media

The Society for Phenomenology and Media, 8th Annual International Conference, 23-25 Feb, 2006, San Diego, CA, United States Contact name: Gabriella Romani E-mail:
Papers dealing with any aspect of media are considered. Theoretical diversity is encouraged. Past Keynoters: Anna-Teresa-Tymienieska, Vivian Sobchack, J. N. Mohanty, Bina Gupta, Maricio Beauchot, Antonio Zirion, Janina Makota, Barry Smith.

Derrida is a remarkably economical thinker

Camille Paglia rips on "the pretentious, verbose trinity of Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan and Michel Foucault." I don't know Paglia well enough to even guess whether she's being ironic. May be the reference to her "78- page review essay" is a clue. Anyhow, her target is Foucault, which doesn't interest me so much. I am interested in the charge of verbosity being leveled against Derrida, because in my limited experience Derrida is a remarkably economical thinker.
Clark at Mormon Metaphysics touches on Derrida's way of thinking with regard to metaphor. At a certain level of abstraction, I think can understand what Clark is saying. It's as if Derrida had a model similar to Gödel's incompleteness theorem that he applied to various problems. For sure, Derrida is adept at axiomatic reduction and manipulation, and keen to logical contradictions, and the idea of a supplement does seem to be a constant element of his thinking.
I'd been meaning to respond to Clark's reading of Derrida since he commented on Derrida's interpretation of Husserl's Origins of Geometry, because I didn't think Clark's synopsis of Husserl's argument got it quite right. Sometimes it takes me forever and a day to assemble my thoughts, and meanwhile Clark has whizzed on by in several other posts devoted to Derrida's thinking. And it's difficult to concieve of responding to somebody who uses some but not all of the books that you've read, and some books that you haven't read and maybe won't ever get around to. It's funny that this difficulty should appear in the context of a hypothetical difference of opinion on a topic where I believe we would largely and essentially agree. How much worse could it be?
Jacques Derrida has become an icon, a transcontintental cultural marker. Some of the people who have read Derrida's works also have informed opinions about Camille Paglia, one way or another. Others don't. In cases like this, it is very hard for me to see what is essential about a thinker. Can we imagine that Socrates understood Heraclitus better than the Heracliteans? Of course, but it does raise questions about thinking, essence, logos, nous, etc.. One thing that persistently bugs me--a fault in my own thinking as much as a constant feature of pretentious and verbose discourse--is the feeling that opinions are formed primarily based on identification with a name, and once they are set, if they turn out to be pretty worthless, it's like a root canal trying to get them unset. The Whole Enchilada.... posted by Fido the Yak at Friday, February 17, 2006 5:57 PM.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Western vs. Eastern

While large tracts of Western philosophy and some theology are acceptable in scientific discourse, this is by and large not true for Eastern philosophy. If I bring up Plato, Socrates, Aquinas, Fichte, Schelling, Kant etc. in a discussion, there's no problem. But if I were to bring up Nagarjuna, Fa-tsang, Sankara, Aurobindo, Trungpa Rinpoche etc., I'm usually amazed and taken aback by the hostile reception.
Sometimes the discussion veers off into finding approximate Western counterparts for Nagarjuna (Derrida), Sankara (Berkeley), Aurobindo (de Chardin) etc. as though this makes the person feel safe that the discussion is now again "Western." Or else, and this happens sometimes, the person (that I'm talking to) will just state baldly that there is not a single idea of merit in "Eastern mysticism" (whatever that term means). What amazing and breathtaking arrogance. Where does it come from? I have no clue. # posted by NoOne @ 10:50 AM Sutra, Tantra and Ati

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Henryk Skolimowski
T'he idea of scientific philosophy arrived on the stage around 1910 with Bertrand Russell. Then the philosophers from the Vienna Circle in Vienna, in Austria, picked up the idea and pushed it to an extreme. Philosophy became a scrutiny of the structure of language and, in my opinion, was short-changed. Bit by bit, philosophy was made an inquiry into the nature of linguistic propositions. Philosophers became preoccupied, to the point of obsession, with how language works. Distinguished philosophers such as J.L. Austin started writing essays on "Ifs and Cans." If you think how much that is removed from the real quest of philosophy, then you realise that something bizarre has happened.
Nowadays, even analytical philosophers themselves are rather unhappy with the position they have been pushed into. They try to get out of it. Somehow, however, they are stuck. They try to get unstuck in a piecemeal way, while what we need is a total reconstruction, changing the whole mode of thinking, of perceiving and of valuing. It is here that Eco-philosophy comes into focus as a new cosmology, a new way of rethinking the multitude.Instead of conceiving the universe as a clocklike mechanism, governed by deterministic laws, in which we are stuck as a little bolt or screw, we can assume that the universe is a sanctuary and we am its custodians-priests if you will. The mechanistic universe was based on the assumptions of the mechanistic nature of the cosmos.
Eco-philosophy is based on the view that the nature of the universe is unfolding, evolutionary, and emergent. Because it's emergent, you don't know what will happen next. It is the glory and the beauty of evolution that it is creative, producing new variation f which the human mind is one. Every new idea is a blossoming of creative evolution. A new philosophy is for me a manifestation of the ability of evolution to create through us. Put otherwise, a new creative conception of the cosmos is a response of evolution-through us!-to get unstuck. For if we are stuck evolution is stuck. We have got locked In a cul-de-sac and now we are unlocking ourselves by creating new vistas through which we show that we have somewhere to go, and that evolution has somewhere to go.This is a very short answer to what Eco-philosophy wants to accomplish. It wants to create a new cosmology within which we are at home in this universe and at peace with all creation...
Take the history of science. Until the second half of the twentieth century, the view prevailed that science is like a monolithic pyramid to which scientists, like masons, add one stone each. If you look at the picture of the evolution of science as presented nowadays by such people as Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn, it is a different picture altogether. It is a dramatic picture, a discontinuous picture, reminding us more of a kind of Shakespearean stage in which main actors basic theories-like kings in old tragedies are slain and new ones emerge. After a new paradigm emerges, the old paradigm is dethroned like an old dynasty.
This is also confirmed by psychologists, according to whom our own individual development does not proceed smoothly from year to year. At certain points, there are periods of tension which is so great that we do not know who we are any more. After the process of Inner transformation, as it were, a new person has emerged. For instance, a teenager has become a young adult.