Saturday, March 26, 2016

Who is the ideal insider? What is Philosophy’s proper home?

N Kumar - Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2016 Abstract 
On a very high plane of yogic consciousness Sri Aurobindo discovers the existence of the 'one original language'of mankind. Such 'one original language'of mankind, he says, is based on certain eternal types of sound. It exists on the summit of spiritual ...

J Frazier - Mysticism in the French Tradition: Eruptions from …, 2016
10 Similarly, possession was long ignored in traditional accounts of Indian experiential 'purification'or 'union'by thinkers from Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo, to Heinrich Zimmer, Walter Stace, Robert Forman, Bede Griffiths and Henri ...

R a Healthy, G Flora
Medicine and Healing [LX] Medical Treatment and the Body-Consciousness
Alternative Healing Systems Sri Aurobindo: I have seen the working of both the systems [Allopathy and Homeopathy] and of others and I can't believe in the sole truth of any. ...

Sri Aurobindo Studies -
Sri Aurobindo recognizes that despite the limitations inherent in the action of intuition in our normal human intelligence, it is indeed possible to ...

Consider the commentaries of Skandaswami (10th century), Venkatamadhava (12-13th century) and Sayana (14thcentury). In the 19th century, Dayananda Saraswati gave a completely different interpretation to the Vedas while paying due respects to it. Similarly, in the 20th century, Sri Aurobindo gave his own esoteric interpretation to the Vedas. Who is to say what the right version is? Which of these schools qualify to be ‘the traditionalist view’? Who is the ‘ideal insider’?
Once we realize that our own tradition has diametrically opposed views, we must consider the facts. We should rely on universal experience and not on personal revelations. We must operate in the material plane, not a metaphysical one... Further, he seems to be ignorant of the voluminous writings of D D Kosambi, Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, R S Sharma, and Rahul Sankrityayan, who opposed Sanskrit and/or Sanskriti long before this supposed American collusion (and even when he mentions Kosambi and Sharma, it is in passing). 
And more importantly, he fails to mention (or seems to be ignorant of) the luminaries who have categorically rubbished such attempts – A C Bose, A C Das, Arun Shourie, Baldev Upadhyaya, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Chidananda Murthy, D V Gundappa, David Frawley, Dayananda Saraswati, G N Chakravarti, Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, K S Narayanacharya, Koenraad Elst, Krishna Chaitanya, Kuppuswami Sastri, M Hiriyanna, Michel Danino, Nagendra, Navaratna S Rajaram, Padekallu Narasimha Bhat, Padma Subrahmanyam, Pullela Sriramachandrudu, R C Dwivedi, Ram Swarup, Ranganath Sharma, Rewa Prasad Dwivedi, S K Ramachandra Rao, S L Bhyarappa, S N Balagangadhara, S R Ramaswamy, S Srikanta Sastri, Shrikant Talageri, Sita Ram Goel, Sri Aurobindo, Sushil Kumar Dey, Swami Vivekananda, V S Sukhthanker, Vasudev Sharan Agarwal, Yudhishthira Mimamsaka… the list is endless. 
And the few scholars he refers to – like A K Coomaraswamy, Dharampal, G C Pande, K Krishnamoorthy, Kapila Vatsyayan, P V Kane, and V Raghavan – are only in passing. 

Excellent and learned critique by Shri Ganesh. Unfortunately, Mr. Malhotra has already launched a personal attack, in typical style, on the author, instead of engaging his argument and calling on his followers to denounce Shri Ganesh. But Ganesh's questions are sound and include Malhotra's overlooking of pramāṇa, his simplification of the richness of the tradition, his ignorance of the history of this tradition, including internal debates and the contesting of western scholarship, and his obsession with the western academy ( implying that the future of the tradition is dependent on what happens in the west). As with Ram Bachan's critique of Indra's Net, Malhotra will ignore this challenge and encourage personal denigration of the author. Hopefully Ganesh will stand by this analysis and not be deterred by the attacks that have now started.

"The Left doesn’t indulge in bickering. The Right on the other hand bickers a lot. They are fragmented. People in the Left know that unity helps them not just survive but also thrive. People on the Right on the other hand are busy attacking each other all the time if they don’t agree. Most of the people on the Right are individualistic. They are islands....."
Telling! From Sri Amrit Hallan's blog at -

@Nikhil_7D Ganesh has listed the names of past scholars & pointed out that there is diversity in their opinions. Malholtra feels threatened!

Anand Vaidya, a contributor here on the blog, has written a series of new posts over at the Blog of the APA (American Philosophical Association). Anand is responding to some recent discussions about the value of philosophy as a discipline Continue reading →

1. I do not agree with the definition of moksaśāstra as dealing with “environmental suffering” (see the two posts dedicated to Chris Framarin’s book on this blog). In fact, I am also sceptical concerning “social suffering”.
2. It all sounds too Vivekananda-like, with Indian philosophy taking the lead of world philosophy and bringing it back to what matters most, as in the Theosophical Society. It is a possible interpretation, but I would not present it as if it were the truth.

Several years ago I did a conference paper in which I argued that, however mokṣa-minded they started out, when people like Dharmakīrti and Kumārila get down to business on issues like the nature of perception, they seem to me to be caught up in doing philosophy for the sheer curiosity and joy of it, which then later on comes back to soteriology or some way of life. This is somewhat echoing Daya Krishna’s famous paper on the myths of Indian philosophy, but I do think that Dharmakīrti may have started and ended seriously interested in nirvāṇa, but in the middle he seems to just be doing philosophy. Of course, on the other hand, there does seem to be a sense in which classical Indian philosophy, like Hellenistic philosophy is conceived of as being part of a way of life. But Stoics and Mīmāṃsākas still get to have some philosophical fun along the way!

I appreciate Elisa’s warnings here. Tone is important. But I’d like to discuss a more general point, and we can thank Anand for putting his finger on it.
I think that in the long-ago past when the Mohantys, Matilals, and Potters of the world were laying the foundation for the work many of us are doing, there was a way that Indian Philosophy was slightly denigrated as being less high minded than the Aristotelian vision “Philosophy begins in wonder.” For our thinkers, to generalize, philosophy has a purpose: to help us live better in some way or other. I think this was, or could have been seen as “merely pragmatic.” Philosophy is not an end in itself, but serves another end. (KK Chakrabarti has a nice 1984 paper that touches on this, something like “Some Remarks on Indian Theories of Truth.”)

Ram-Prasad on 24 March 2016 at 6:41 pm said:
I wish at that time I had known about the work of Pierre Hadot (Philosophy as a Way of Life) and Michel Foucault (The Hermeneutics of the Subject), making a point that was subsequently well explored by eminent philosophers of Greek thought like Richard Sorabji and Christopher Gill, namely that the love of wisdom was rooted in the care for the self, that analysis was a spiritual exercise.

Anand Vaidya on 24 March 2016 at 10:57 pm said: Hi All
Great comments. Solid discussion. Just some thoughts. I don’t think that Jay Shaw is trying to bring back any kind of specific philosopher based understanding of philosophy, such as through Vivkeananda. I think he finds within Indian philosophy three strands, which can be defined in different ways. 

This is how we can see, from the perspective of 19th–20th century Indian philosophy, an appreciation for figures as diverse as Vivekananda, Gandhi, and B. K. Matilal as all being philosophers. Vivekananda focused on both the nature of reality and how to live a good life. Gandhi focused on social reform emphasizing the concept of non-violence. And B. K. Matilal advanced logical, metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical doctrines found within the heart of a variety of Indian schools. By contrast, it is much harder from the perspective of western philosophy to see Both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Saul Kripke as philosophers. There is a tendency in western philosophy to accept Kripke and exclude King, while greatly admiring the latter’s accomplishments. 
No such clean separation can be made of the diverse interests of Indian philosophers in the 20th century. Thus, we might ask in a critical voice, “How much of the myopic strands within institutionalized philosophy might be responsible for the closed-shop attitude out in the public on the importance of critical and cross-cultural thinking, the dialectic of the history of ideas, and contemporary challenges to the status quo?”
What do we learn by this exercise in cross-cultural philosophy? At least one answer is that the various activities in different cultures that are identified as falling within the semantic range of ‘philosophy’ have different trajectories because of what is at the core of their being, and because of how the proponents of the enterprise take it forward while responding to a host of forces, social and political, such as colonialism...
Some notable examples are Peter Strawson, Michael Dummett, Jack Smart, Richard Sorabji, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Singer, Gayatri Spivak, Amartya Sen, John Searle, Evan Thompson, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Tommy Lott, Linda Alcoff, and Vandana Shiva. All these figures at some point in their career engaged in conversation with non-Western counterparts in their own institution, or aligned their projects with different world-philosophies.

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