David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Comparative philosophers, theologians, and practitioners of Asian intellectual history will surely find much of interest in this provocative, controversial, and undeniably ambitious, titan-like monograph. Simply put, Spiritual Titanism argues that Â‘Â‘Jainism, Samkhya, Yoga, and later Hindu textsÂ’Â’ endorse what Heinrich Zimmer, in his 1956 study Philosophies of India ,(1) characterized as Â‘Â‘the heresy of TitanismÂ’Â’ or the Â‘Â‘preemption of divine prerogatives and confusion of human and divine attributesÂ’Â’ (p. 2). Author Nicholas Gier adds that Â‘Â‘TitanismÂ’Â’is Â‘Â‘a philosophical mistakeÂ’Â’ (p. 16), Â‘Â‘humanism gone berserk; it is anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism taken to their limits.Â’Â’ Defining Â‘Â‘deityÂ’Â’ in culturally biased, distinctly Christian terms as Â‘Â‘any being who is omniscient, omnipotent, infinite, and omnipresent,Â’Â’ Gier asserts that Â‘Â‘humans obviously delude themselves if they believe that they can become divine in the sense of these attributes.Â’Â’Although the monograph concedes that Â‘Â‘Indian Titanism,Â’Â’ as it refers to this supposed tendency of Jainism, Samkhya, Yoga, and later Hinduism, is Â‘Â‘a rather benign form of extreme humanism,Â’Â’ its author warns, quite apocalyptically, that Â‘Â‘a Titanistic spirit can be said to inspire militarism, environmental pollution and degradation, and the possible misuse of genetic engineering. If left unchecked,Titanism might destroy or radically change life as we know it on earthÂ’Â’ (p. 3). Such hyperbole undermines the credibility of Spiritual Titanism, and will likely prompt readers to question whether it should be considered reliable scholarship or an exercise in learned yet partial religio-philosophical polemic. Specialists in Indian philosophy will most probably find the assessments of Jainism, Samkhya, and Yoga in Spiritual Titanism, which consume most of the monograph, rather dated, reliant as they are, for example, on the writings of Zimmer and Karl PotterÂ’s 1963 study, Presuppositions of IndiaÂ’s Philosophies .(2) Spiritual Titanism allows that early Buddhism, although humanistic, avoids Titanism, but adds that later Buddhism endorses a Hindu-like version of Titanism, one mitigated only by its premodern search for a return to a Â‘Â‘primordial unity and totality.Â’Â’ Rather than premodernism, however, the monograph advocates a Â‘Â‘postmodern reconstruction of the self Â’Â’ as Â‘Â‘relational and socialÂ’Â’ (p..
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