The scholastic mode of intellectual enquiry has been looked down upon in Western philosophical circles over the last few centuries, not least because of the central role of authorities shaping the reasoning that takes place and because of the fine distinctions and disputational mode of discourse it employs. The scholastic approach is, however, a prime example of philosophy as therapeia, of intellectual inquiry and reflection concerned with the healing transformation of human life, with what kind of knowledge and behaviour brings (...) about human happiness. The scholastic approach is motivated and determined by consideration of what the final human goal might be and what are the means to achieve it. Authorities are important because they tell us about the goal and means. Distinctions and disputation are important because they help us learn in a way that transforms our minds and actions. (shrink)
Of the many interrelated themes in Pierre Hadot's Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault, two strike me as having a particular centrality. First, there is the theme of attention to the present instant. Hadot describes this as the ‘key to spiritual exercises’, and he finds the idea encapsulated in a quotation from Goethe's Second Faust : ‘Only the present is our happiness’. The second theme is that of viewing the world from above: ‘philosophy signified (...) the attempt to raise up mankind from individuality and particularity to universality and objectivity’. Insofar as both attention to the present and raising oneself to an objective view imply the mastery of individual anxiety, passion and desire, they belong to a single conception, that conception being one of a ‘return to the self’: Thus, all spiritual exercises are, fundamentally, a return to the self, in which the self is liberated from the state of alienation into which it has been plunged by worries, passions, and desires. The ‘self’ liberated in this way is no longer merely our egoistic, passionate individuality: it is our moral person, open to universality and objectivity, and participating in universal nature or thought. (shrink)
The learned editor of this new four-volume collection from Routledge argues that its subject matter is ‘a vast—and vastly undersurveyed—body of inquiry into the most fundamental problems of philosophy. As the broader discipline of philosophy continues to evolve into a genuinely international field, "Indian Philosophy" stands for an unquantifiably precious part of the human intellectual biosphere. For those who are interested in the way in which culture influences structures of thought, for those who want to study alternative histories of ideas, (...) and for those who are merely curious to know what some of the world’s greatest thinkers have thought about some of the most intractable and central philosophical puzzles, Indian Philosophy is a domain of unparalleled richness and importance. And in its potential for cross-fertilization with ideas from other philosophical cultures—Greek, Chinese, European, African, Arabic, and Anglophone—Indian Philosophy is a resource that any creative philosopher can and should draw upon.’ The first of the four volumes collects the best scholarship on how Indians have understood the purpose and importance of philosophy; what philosophy as a discipline consists of; the relationship between the study of philosophy and the aims, arts, and ways of life; and, indeed, whether philosophical inquiry is possible. Volume II, meanwhile, surveys the great diversity of Indian thinking about the mind, with particular emphasis on the vibrant and dynamic work done by a new generation of scholars working at the interface between Buddhist Studies, Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Mind, and Phenomenology. Volume III focuses on the thought of the most important individual thinkers in the Indian tradition, including: Nāgārjuna, Śankara, Dignāga, Dharmakīrti, Patañjali, Kumārila, and Śrīharṣa. The final volume in the collection collates canonical and cutting-edge pieces on Indian theories of being and what there is; realism and antirealism; the nature of truth and representation; and language and logic. The materials gathered here will enable users to get a grip on the remarkable range of Indian thinking about the structure of the world and its fundamental constitution, as well providing insight into fundamental Indian theories about how we reason and how we talk. With a comprehensive introduction, newly written by the editor, this ambitious collection of major works simultaneously presents Indian philosophy as an autonomous intellectual tradition, with its own internal dynamic and approach, while also demonstrating how the richness of this tradition can have a crucial role in a newly emerging global and international discipline of philosophy, a discipline described by the collection’s editor as one ‘in which no one philosophical tradition claims priority for itself, but rather in which a diversity of traditions exchange ideas and grow through their interaction with one another’. (shrink)
Perceptual disjunctivism is a controversial thesis about perception. One familiar characterization of the thesis maintains that there is no common epistemic kind that is present in both veridical and non-veridical cases of perception. For example, the good case, in which one sees a yellow lemon, and the bad case, in which one hallucinates a yellow lemon, share a specific first-person phenomenology, being indistinguishable from the first-person point of view; however, seeing a yellow lemon and hallucinating a yellow lemon do not, (...) according to the disjunctivist, share a common epistemic kind. There are two types of disjunctivism: epistemological vs. metaphysical. John McDowell, 243–255, 2011, Philosophical Explorations, 16, 259–279, 2013) has articulated, refined, and defended one kind of disjunctivism. Tyler Burge, 1–78, 2005, Philosophical Explorations, 13, 43–80, 2011) has objected to many forms of disjunctivism, arguing that they are all inconsistent with the proximality principle in the vision sciences. PP requires an ability-general kind in common between relevantly similar perceptual states, such as seeing a yellow lemon and hallucinating a yellow lemon, which disjunctivism denies. Against the background of this debate some analytic epistemologists, such as Michael Martin, Alan Millar, 176–198, 2007), Berit Brogaard, 46–73, 2011), Duncan Pritchard, and Heather Logue, 105–133, 2013) remain attracted to some version of disjunctivism. Brogaard and Pritchard each have gone on to articulate and defend a version. Pritchard’s, for example, defends epistemological disjunctivism. Martin, Millar, and Logue, by contrast, have defended the idea that the disjunctivist is right about something, but perhaps not wholly correct about the nature of perception. In what follows, I articulate and defend the view that an interesting kind of disjunctivism is to be found through a reading of the Nyāya School of classical Indian philosophy. I articulate a version of perceptual disjunctivism informed by Nyāya perceptual theory that is not derivable from any single Nyāya philosopher. The view I offer is inspired by work on disjunctivism both in Anglo-analytic philosophy and in Nyāya scholarship, such as by Dasti and Phillips, 535–540, 2010), Ganeri, 541–550, 2010), Dasti, 1–15, 2012), Phillips, Vaidya, 562–585, 2013), and Schiller, 1–18, 2019). Importantly, the causal account I offer is distinct from Grice’s single-factor causal theory of perception by crucially involving a multi-factor causal theory of perception. My work on Nyāya perceptual theory derives primarily from Jaysankar Shaw’s account of Nyāya on the sources of knowledge, which is distinct from Stephen Phillips’ well-known account of Nyāya epistemology. Shaw’s theory has been developed and refined through textual analysis and dialectical engagement with the twentieth century Nyāya Pundit Philosopher, Viśvabandhu Tarkatīrtha. Like other modern Nyāya scholars, such as B. K. Matilal, A. Chakrabarti, 1–8, 2010), M. Chadha, J. Ganeri, and S. Phillips, 104–113, 2001, 2012), J. Shaw’s account shows how Nyāya epistemology is a living and continuing form of Indian philosophy. My goal here is twofold. On the one hand, I articulate multi-factor causal disjunctivism and show how it can be applied to the McDowell-Burge debate over the viability of disjunctivism and naïve realism. On the other hand, I aim to start a cross-cultural epistemological conversation with those that have contributed to the Anglo-analytic debate in anthologies, such as Haddock and Macpherson, Byrne and Logue, and introductions, such as Soteriou. The hope is that a cross-cultural epistemological investigation into disjunctivism will lead to better epistemic theorizing about the nature of perception. (shrink)
Jonardon Ganeri presents a radically reoriented account of mind, to which attention is the key. It is attention, not self, that explains the experiential and normative situatedness of humans in the world. Ganeri draws together three disciplines: analytic philosophy and phenomenology, cognitive science and psychology, and Buddhist thought.
Original in content and approach, Philosophy in Classical India focuses on the rational principles of Indian philosophical theory, rather than the mysticism usually associated with it. Ganeri explores the philosophical projects of a number of major Indian philosophers and looks into the methods of rational inquiry deployed within these projects. In so doing, he illuminates a network of mutual reference and criticism, influence and response, in which reason is simultaneously used constructively and to call itself into question.
ABSTRACTEpisodic memory is the ability to revisit events in one's personal past, to relive them as if one travelled back in mental time. It has widely been assumed that such an ability imposes a metaphysical requirement on selves. Buddhist philosophers, however, deny the requirement and therefore seek to provide accounts of episodic memory that are metaphysically parsimonious. The idea that the memory perspective is a centred field of experience whose phenomenal constituents are simulacra of an earlier field of experience, yet (...) attended to in a way that presents them as happening again, is, I suggest, a better one than that the memory perspective consists in taking as object-aspect the subject-aspect of the earlier experience, or the idea that it consists in labelling a representation of the earlier experience with an I-tag. (shrink)
Hidden in the cave : the Upaniṣadic self -- Dangerous truths : the Buddha on silence, secrecy and snakes -- A cloak of clever words : the deconstruction of deceit in the Mahābhārata -- Words that burn : why did the Buddha say what he did? -- Words that break : can an Upaniṣad state the truth? -- The imperfect reality of persons -- Self as performance.
Jonardon Ganeri gives an account of language as essentially a means for the reception of knowledge. The semantic power of a word and its ability to stand for a thing derives from the capacity of understanders to acquire knowledge simply by understanding what is said. Ganeri finds this account in the work of certain Indian philosophers of language, and shows how their analysis can inform and be informed by contemporary philosophical theory.
What is the rational response when confronted with a set of propositions each of which we have some reason to accept, and yet which taken together form an inconsistent class? This was, in a nutshell, the problem addressed by the Jaina logicians of classical India, and the solution they gave is, I think, of great interest, both for what it tells us about the relationship between rationality and consistency, and for what we can learn about the logical basis of philosophical (...) pluralism. The Jainas claim that we can continue to reason in spite of the presence of inconsistencies, and indeed construct a many-valued logical system tailored to the purpose. My aim in this paper is to offer a new interpretation of that system and to try to draw out some of its philosophical implications. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim has argued (Kim 2006a) that the two key issues for emergentism are to give a positive characterization of the emergence relation and to explain the possibility of downward causation. This paper proposes an account of emergence which provides new answers to these two key issues. It is argued that an appropriate emergence relation is characterized by a notion of ‘transformation’, and that the real key issue for emergentism is located elsewhere than the places Kim identifies. The paper builds (...) on Victor Caston’s important work on ancient philosophy of mind (Caston 1997, 2001), but appeals to sources he has not considered. (shrink)
David Lewis modified his original theory of causation in response to the problem of ‘late preemption’ (see 1973b; 1986b: 193-212). However, as we will see, there is a crucial difference between genuine and preempted causes that Lewis must appeal to if his solution is to work. We argue that once this difference is recognized, an altogether better solution to the preemption problem presents itself.
This book examines the theories of meaning or artha in different schools of philosophical thought highlighting the significant relationship between 'word' and 'meaning'. It demonstrates that classical Indian theory of language can inform and be informed by contemporary philosophy.
The thesis of this paper is that the capacity to think of one’s perceptions as cross-modally integrated is incompatible with a reductionist account of the self. In §2 I distinguish three versions of the argument from cross-modality. According to the ‘unification’ version of the argument, what needs to be explained is one’s capacity to identify an object touched as the same as an object simultaneously seen. According to the ‘recognition’ version, what needs to be explained is one’s capacity, having once (...) seen an object, to reidentify that same object by touch alone. According to the ‘objectivity’ version, what needs to be explained is one’s capacity to think of one’s perceptions in different modalities as perceptions of one and the same object. The third version seems to establish that one must conceive of oneself substantially, as the numerically identical owner of one’s experiences, a conclusion in agreement with recent work in developmental psychology claiming to show that an infant’s cross-modal capacities are essentially implicated in their development of a sense of self. There is further work to be done if this is to be tumed into an argument against reductionism: there is no swift route from the epistemology of self-consciousness to the metaphysics of the self. In the §3, I will claim that there is, nevertheless, an argument linking the two. What I propose is an argument derived, not from the token-reflexive rule for the first-person, but resting on its anaphoric behaviour spanning intensional operators. (shrink)
When J. L. Austin introduced two “shining new tools to crack the crib of reality”—the theory of performative utterances and the doctrine of infelicities—he could not have imagined that he was also about to inaugurate a shining new industry in the philosophy of the social sciences. But with its evident concern for the features to which “all acts are heir which have the general character of ritual or ceremonial,” Austin’s theory soon became indispensable in the analysis of ritual, linguistic and (...) every kind of social action. While Indianists such as Frits Staal, Bimal Matilal and David Seyfort Ruegg have made good use of the work of Austin and his “ordinary language” school, it is Quentin Skinner who has attempted to turn Austin’s insights into a general “theory and method” for the study of intellectual cultures. The question I want to address in this paper has to do with the applicability of Skinnerian techniques to the study of literary and intellectual Sanskrit culture in premodern India. If not all of Skinner’s methods transfer to the new context, identification of the points at which they breakdown helps to clarify the distinctive contours of Indian intellectual history, and suggests appropriate methodological innovation. (shrink)
The much-welcomed recent acknowledgement that there is a plurality of philosophical traditions has an important consequence: that we must acknowledge too that there are many philosophical modernities. Modernity, I will claim, is a polycentric notion, and I will substantiate my claim by examining in some detail one particular non-western philosophical modernity, a remarkable period in 16th to 17th century India where a diversity of philosophical projects fully deserve the label.
It has become a common-place to read the ‘no-self’ theory of the Buddhist philosophers as a reductionist account of persons. In Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit himself seemed to endorse the association, having learned of the Buddhist theory from his colleague at All Souls College, Bimal Krishna Matilal. The Buddha’s denial that there are real selves metaphysically distinct from continuous streams of psycho-physical constituents lends itself, to be sure, to a reductionist interpretation. I believe, nevertheless, that there are good grounds (...) for scepticism, and I think it is time for scholars of Buddhism to be more cautious about the identification than they have been up until now. Different Buddhist schools, not to mention different thinkers within particular schools, have given widely varying philosophical construals of the Buddha’s claim about ‘no-self’, and, while some thinkers and some schools might favor a reductionist reading of the claim, others, I would argue, do not. In this paper, I will examine the theory of persons of one such, the Mādhyamika Buddhist Candrakīrti. Candrakīrti’s interpretation of the “no self” slogan is, I believe, anti-reductionist but irrealist: persons are not reducible to psycho-physical streams, nor are they real existents distinct from the stream. How is it possible for him to say both these things? Let us see. (shrink)
The thesis of this paper is that the capacity to think of one's perceptions as cross-modally integrated is incompatible with a reductionist account of the self. In §2 I distinguish three versions of the argument from cross-modality. According to the `unification' version of the argument, what needs to be explained is one's capacity to identify an object touched as the same as an object simultaneously seen. According to the `recognition' version, what needs to be explained is one's capacity, having once (...) seen an object, to reidentify that same object by touch alone. According to the `objectivity' version, what needs to be explained is one's capacity to think of one's perceptions in different modalities as perceptions of one and the same object. The third version seems to establish that one must conceive of oneself substantially, as the numerically identical owner of one's experiences, a conclusion in agreement with recent work in developmental psychology claiming to show that an infant's cross-modal capacities are essentially implicated in their development of a sense of self. There is further work to be done if this is to be turned into an argument against reductionism: there is no swift route from the epistemology of self-consciousness to the metaphysics of the self. In the §3, I will claim that there is, nevertheless, an argument linking the two. What I propose is an argument derived, not from the token-reflexive rule for the first-person, but resting on its anaphoric behaviour spanning intensional operators. (shrink)
This essay defends the view that “modern science,” as with modernity in general, is a polycentered phenomenon, something that appears in different forms at different times and places. It begins with two ideas about the nature of rational scientific inquiry: Karin Knorr Cetina's idea of “epistemic cultures,” and Philip Kitcher's idea of science as “a system of public knowledge,” such knowledge as would be deemed worthwhile by an ideal conversation among the whole public under conditions of mutual engagement. This account (...) of the nature of scientific practice provides us with a new perspective from which to understand key elements in the philosophical project of Jaina logicians in the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries c.e. Jaina theory seems exceptionally well targeted onto two of the key constituents in the ideal conversation—the classification of all human points of view and the representation of end states of the deliberative process. The Buddhist theory of the Kathāvatthu contributes to Indian epistemic culture in a different way: by supplying a detailed theory of how human dialogical standpoints can be revised in the ideal conversation, an account of the phenomenon Kitcher labels “tutoring.” Thus science in India has its own history, one that should be studied in comparison and contrast with the history of science in Europe. In answer to Joseph Needham, it was not ‘modern science’ which failed to develop in India or China but rather non-well-ordered science, science as unconstrained by social value and democratic consent. What I argue is that this is not a deficit in the civilisational histories of these countries, but a virtue. (shrink)
I would like to thank the editors of Philosophy East and West for courteously asking me if I would like to respond to Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips' very thoughtful remarks about the review I wrote of Phillips' translation and commentary on the pratyakṣa chapter of Gaṅgeśa's Tattvacintāmaṇi, prepared in collaboration with N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya (Phillips and Tatacharya 2004). Let me begin by reaffirming what I said at the beginning of my review, that the book is "a monumental and (...) momentous achievement, one whose importance cannot be understated." I have indeed enormous admiration for the magnitude of their achievement and respect for the contribution they have made through this translation to the field of .. (shrink)
Following H. T. Colebrooke's 1824 'discovery' of the Hindu syllogism, his term for the five-step inference schema in the "Nyāya-sūtra," European logicians and historians of philosophy demonstrated considerable interest in Indian logical thought. This is in marked contrast with later historians of philosophy, and also with Indian nationalist and neo-Hindu thinkers like Vivekananda and Radhakrishnan, who downgraded Indian rationalist traditions in favor of 'spiritualist' or 'speculative' texts. This article traces the role of these later thinkers in the origins of the (...) myth that Indian thought is spiritual and arational. The extent to which nineteenth-century European philosophers were aware of Colebrooke's 'discovery' is documented, and then their criticisms of the Hindu syllogism and its defense by orientalists like Ballantyne and Müller are examined. (shrink)
The article reviews the book " Epistemology of Perception : Gaṅgeśa's Tattvacintāmaṇi, Jewel of Reflection on the Truth : The Perception Chapter Transliterated Text, Translation, and Philosophical Commentary," by Stephen H. Phillips and N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya.
The studies of the Czech phenomenologist Jan Patočka has been flourishing recently. Martin Ritter’s book Into the World: The Movement of Patočka’s Phenomenology offers an important contribution to the debate and a long-awaited critical presentation of Patočka’s asubjective phenomenology as well as creative re-reading of Patočka's central doctrine of the movements of existence.