This paper addresses the fairness of microcredit interest rates. Since microfinance institutions provide credit for the poor at relatively high prices, the fairness of their interest rates has been repeatedly debated. We first apply Rawls' principles of justice to the case of microcredit interest rates and suggest some limitations related to the hypothesis of rationality of the borrowers and the level of inequality. We then suggest another framework based on the analysis of the distribution of the benefits generated by the (...) transaction to assess the fairness of interest rates. We conceptualize this as the distribution of the bargaining range between the borrowers' and the institutions' reservation price and discuss what these reservation prices could be in the context of microfinance. (shrink)
In Bancoult, a majority of the House of Lords upheld the British government's use of the royal prerogative to expel the population of the Chagos Islands from their homeland. The majority acknowledged that the government's treatment of the Chagossians was disturbing, but held that the law left them with no choice but to hold the orders valid. In this article, I draw a parallel between this decision and the 18th-century judicial response to the Zong affair—where over a hundred slaves were (...) thrown off a ship to drown in the sea. Both decisions are cloaked in formalist rhetoric but, as I show through an examination of the law as it stood prior to each of the decisions, the actual legal reasoning in both decisions is so without basis as to be unsustainable on any formalist or legalist account. Rather, the decision in Bancoult, like the decision in the Zong, shows all the hallmarks of being a purely pragmatic one, prompted by broader concerns as to the practical impact of a contrary decision and the precedent it would set. The inherent limitations of this mode of judicial reasoning make its deployment in Bancoult troubling. (shrink)
Review of Arvind-Pal S. Mandair, Religion and the Specter of the West: Sikhism, India, Postcoloniality, and the Politics of Translation Content Type Journal Article Pages 499-501 DOI 10.1007/s11841-011-0250-8 Authors Brian K. Pennington, Division of Humanities, Maryville College, 502 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Maryville, TN 37804, USA Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527 Journal Volume Volume 50 Journal Issue Volume 50, Number 3.
Comments on: JRE Focus on The 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration ofHuman Rights, Journal of Religious Ethics 26.2 “Rethinking Human Rights: A Review Essay on Religion, Relativism, and Other Matters” by David Little, Journal of Religious Ethics 27.1.
The anthology Dharma: The Categorial ImperativeThe choice of using ‘the categorial imperative’ over the standard ‘the categorical imperative’ has not been supported with reason in the anthology, notwithstanding its mentioning of Kant. consists of a brief introduction and 18 essays which were presented in an international conference of the same title in 1997, with the purpose to provide an alternative interpretation of the concept ‘dharma’ while taking into view the influence of Western notion of religion and treating it as an (...) epistemological , and not as a moral, concept. Here, dharma has been understood as a category, as an intellectual exercise, for ‘viewing’ Indian reality.The fundamental question is this: what constitutes the concept of dharma in the context of our changing forms of life? I.e., What aspects of dharma upon which Western influence are to be noted? Some aspects of the constitutive elements of dharma, as identified by the contributors of .. (shrink)
To the Things Themselves: Essays on the Discourse and Practice of the Phenomenology of Religion . Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter Hard Cover (311 pages) Price: US$75 (de Gruyter 2001), US$85 (Amazon 2002). Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology , Volume 2, Edition 2, September 2002.
A defining feature of retributive conceptions of karma is their regarding of suffering or misfortune as consequent upon sins committed in previous lives. Some critical non-believers in karma take offence at this view, considering it to involve unjustly blaming the victim. Defenders of the view demur, and argue that a belief in retributive karma in fact provides a motivation for benevolent action. This article elucidates the debate, showing that its depth is such that it is best characterized as a disagreement (...) in form of life (in Wittgenstein’s sense) rather than as a disagreement in opinions. Also briefly discussed is an example of a non-retributive form that belief in karma and reincarnation can take. (shrink)
Arguing that intellectual movements, such as deconstruction, postsecular theory, and political theology, have different implications for cultures and societies that live with the debilitating effects of past imperialisms, Arvind Mandair ...
Im Folgenden stehen Menschenrechtsbegründungen im Mittelpunkt, die für den interkulturellen Kontext konzipiert wurden. In der Analyse dieser Begründungen ist der Begriff des Menschenrechts unverzichtbar; dieser wird daher zunächst skizziert. Im Anschluss soll die Struktur einer interkulturell-philosophisch tragbaren Menschenrechtsbegründung entwickelt werden.
Philosophy of religion, as we know it today, emerged in the West and has been shaped by Western philosophical and theological trends, while the philosophical tradition of India flowed along its own course until the late nineteenth century, when active, if tentative, contact was established between the West and the East. This book provides a definite focus to this interaction by investigating issues raised in Western philosophy of religion from the perspective of Advaita Vedānta, the influential school of Indian thought. (...) In promoting the emergence of a cross-cultural philosophy of religion, Arvind Sharma focuses on John H. Hick and his well-known work _The Philosophy of Religion_ as representative of modern Western philosophy of religion, and on Śankara, along with his modern successors such as M. Hiriyanna and S. Radhakrishnan, as representative of Advaita Vedānta. (shrink)
The three works brought together in this collection explore Buddhism as a rich source of literary legend, an austere ethical guide, and a contemporary philosophy very relevant in the modern world in view of the resurgence of interest in the Buddha and his philosophy. Matthew T. Kapstein in his Introduction provides a concise historical overview of Buddhism in India and the renewal of interest in the Buddha s teachings and also situates the works in their proper contexts. Gautama Buddha by (...) Iqbal Singh views the life of the Buddha in the context of the eventful age in which he lived, keeping in mind the significant connection of the personality of Gautama and his understanding of the nature of human experience and destiny, the deeper problems of our age. The Dhammapada or the path of virtue is the founding text of Buddhist teaching. The verses of the Dhammapada are believed to have been the utterances of Gautama the Buddha himself. Presented here in both Pali and English this classic edition was translated, edited, and annotated by S. Radhakrishnan, one of India s foremost philosophers. The Philosophy of Religion by Arvind Sharma interrogates key philosophical issues such as the nature of evil, belief or disbelief in God, human destiny, immortality, karma, and reincarnation, from the perspective of Buddhist philosophy and compares them with the tenets of the Western-dominated philosophy of religion. (shrink)
This paper encapsulates the debate as to whether or not tarka is an additional source of knowledge. In this regard, Jaina thinkers opine that they are, unlike Buddhists and Nyāya thinkers, an additional source of knowledge, for what we come to know through tarka is not known through any other means of knowledge. En route, Jaina’s understanding of tarka is put forth, thereafter their criticism of others’ understanding is supplied. Eventually, some recent discussions over this debate are intimated that seem (...) to go in support of Jaina understanding of tarka. These recent discussions hint at the direction in which Jaina thinkers need to advance their stand. (shrink)
Ethics consultation is a commonly applied mechanism to address clinical ethical dilemmas. However, there is little information on the viewpoints of health care providers towards the relevance of ethics committees and appropriate application of ethics consultation in clinical practice. We sought to use qualitative methodology to evaluate free-text responses to a case-based survey to identify thematically the views of health care professionals towards the role of ethics committees in resolving clinical ethical dilemmas. Using an iterative and reflexive model we identified (...) themes that health care providers support a role for ethics committees and hospitals in resolving clinical ethical dilemmas, that the role should be one of mediation, rather than prescription, but that ultimately legal exposure was dispositive compared to ethical theory. The identified theme of legal fears suggests that the mediation role of ethics committees is viewed by health care professionals primarily as a practical means to avoid more worrisome medico-legal conflict. (shrink)
The author o ers a brief report of introducing the study of religion in India since 194 While doing so he refers to the Constitution of India, so-called Nehruvian Consensus, the Kothari Commission which made an important distinction between ‘religious education’ and ‘educa- tion about religion’, as well as several other bodies responsible for national policy on education, which gave a unique shape of Indian secularism.
The issue of free will versus fate can be analysed in three ways in relation to the Bhagavadgīā,: by focusing on those verses of the Gita which address themselves to this question; by focusing on the figure of Arjuna himself who, as will be shown, crystallizes around his person the issue of free will and fate; and by focusing on the Kauravas who are similarly involved in the issue.
Salt model building has long been considered a severe bottleneck for large-scale 3D seismic imaging projects. It is one of the most time-consuming, labor-intensive, and difficult-to-automate processes in the entire depth imaging workflow requiring significant intervention by domain experts to manually interpret the salt bodies on noisy, low-frequency, and low-resolution seismic images at each iteration of the salt model building process. The difficulty and need for automating this task is well-recognized by the imaging community and has propelled the use of (...) deep-learning-based convolutional neural network architectures to carry out this task. However, significant challenges remain for reliable production-scale deployment of CNN-based methods for salt model building. This is mainly due to the poor generalization capabilities of these networks. When used on new surveys, never seen by the CNN models during the training stage, the interpretation accuracy of these models drops significantly. To remediate this key problem, we have introduced a U-shaped encoder-decoder type CNN architecture trained using a specialized regularization strategy aimed at reducing the generalization error of the network. Our regularization scheme perturbs the ground truth labels in the training set. Two different perturbations are discussed: one that randomly changes the labels of the training set, flipping salt labels to sediments and vice versa and the second that smooths the labels. We have determined that such perturbations act as a strong regularizer preventing the network from making highly confident predictions on the training set and thus reducing overfitting. An ensemble strategy is also used for test time augmentation that is shown to further improve the accuracy. The robustness of our CNN models, in terms of reduced generalization error and improved interpretation accuracy is demonstrated with real data examples from the Gulf of Mexico. (shrink)
With the improvements in medical care and resultant increase in life expectancy of the intellectually disabled, it will become more common for healthcare providers to be confronted by ethical dilemmas in the care of this patient population. Many of the dilemmas will focus on what is in the best interest of patients who have never been able to express their wishes with regard to medical and end-of-life care and who should be empowered to exercise surrogate medical decision-making authority on their (...) behalf. A case is presented that exemplifies the ethical and legal tensions surrounding surrogate medical decision making for acutely ill, never-competent, profoundly intellectually disabled patients. (shrink)
Jvanmukti or 'living liberation' has been identified as a distinguishing feature of Indian thought; or, upon drawing a narrower circle, of Hindu thought; and upon drawing an even narrower cocentric circle of Vedānta - of Advaita Vedānta. In some recent studies the cogency of its formulation within Advaita Vedānta has been questioned - but without reference to the testimony of its major modern exemplar, Rama a Mahar i (1879-1950). This paper examines the significance of the life and statements of Rama (...) a Mahar i for the current debate in the context of neo-Hinduism. (shrink)
Three doctrines have often been identified in the context of Hindu civilization as its distinctive markers: the doctrine of the varṇas (or the doctrine of the four classes), the doctrine of āśramas (or the doctrine of the four stages of life), and the doctrine of the puruṣārthas (or the doctrine of the four goals of life). The study of the last of these has been comparatively neglected and the doctrine has even been dubbed a myth (Krishna 1996, 189-205). The purpose (...) of this article is twofold: to establish the cogency of the doctrine of the puruṣārthas in the face of such criticism and to indicate the directions in which the doctrine could be developed further. (shrink)
We studied the dynamics of large networks of spiking neurons with conductance-based (nonlinear) synapses and compared them to net- works with current-based (linear) synapses. For systems with sparse and inhibition-dominated recurrent connectivity, weak external inputs in- duced asynchronous irregular ﬁring at low rates. Membrane potentials ﬂuctuated a few millivolts below threshold, and membrane conductances were increased by a factor 2 to 5 with respect to the resting state. This combination of parameters characterizes the ongoing spiking activity typ- ically recorded in (...) the cortex in vivo. Many aspects of the asynchronous irregular state in conductance-based networks could be sufﬁciently well characterized with a simple numerical mean ﬁeld approach. In particular, it correctly predicted an intriguing property of conductance-based net- works that does not appear to be shared by current-based models: they exhibit states of low-rate asynchronous irregular activity that persist for some period of time even in the absence of external inputs and with- out cortical pacemakers. Simulations of larger networks (up to 350,000 neurons) demonstrated that the survival time of self-sustained activity increases exponentially with network size. (shrink)
Introduction: Decisions to withdraw or withhold curative or life-sustaining treatment can have a huge impact on the symptoms which the palliative-care team has to control. Palliative-care patients and their relatives may also turn to palliative-care physicians and nurses for advice regarding these treatments. We wanted to assess Indian palliative-care nurses and physicians’ attitudes towards withholding and withdrawal of curative or life-sustaining treatment. Method: From May to September 2008, we interviewed 14 physicians and 13 nurses working in different palliative-care programmes in (...) New Delhi, using a semi-structured questionnaire. For the interviews and analysis of the data we followed Grounded-Theory methodology. Results: Withholding a curative or life-sustaining treatment which may prolong a terminal cancer patient’s life with a few weeks but also has severe side-effects was generally considered acceptable by the interviewees. The majority of the interviewees agreed that life-sustaining treatments can be withdrawn in a patient who is in an irreversible coma. The palliative-care physicians and nurses were of the opinion that a patient has the right to refuse life-saving curative treatment. While reflecting upon the ethical acceptability of withholding or withdrawal of curative or life-sustaining treatment, the physicians and nurses were concerned about the whole patient and other people who may be affected by the decision. They were convinced they can play an important advisory role in the decision-making process. Conclusion: While deciding about the ethical issues, the physicians and nurses do not restrict their considerations to the physical aspects of the disease, but also reflect upon the complex wider consequences of the treatment decisions. (shrink)
Jīvanmukti or ‘living liberation’ has been identified as a distinguishing feature of Indian thought; or, upon drawing a narrower circle, of Hindu thought; and upon drawing an even narrower cocentric circle of Vedānta—of Advaita Vedānta. In some recent studies the cogency of its formulation within Advaita Vedānta has been questioned—but without reference to the testimony of its major modern exemplar, Rama a Mahar i. This paper examines the significance of the life and statements of Rama a Mahar i for the (...) current debate in the context of neo-Hinduism. (shrink)