A concise open-access textbook intended for an undergraduate audience, which brings together essential selections from Gandhi on nonviolence with supplementary materials, including: a preface; boxes providing examples, historical notes, extended explanations, and related philosophical work; overviews of post-Gandhian developments in nonviolence; diagrams, tables, and photos; discussion questions; reading and viewing suggestions; and a glossary.
“Violence” and “nonviolence” are, increasingly, misleading translations for the Sanskrit words hiṃsā and ahiṃsā—used by Gandhi as the basis for his philosophy of satyāgraha. I argue for rereading hiṃsā as “maleficence” and ahiṃsā as “beneficence.” These two more mind-referring English words capture the primacy of intention implied by Gandhi’s core principles. Reflecting a political turn in moral accountability detectable through linguistic data, both the scope and the usage of the word “violence” have expanded dramatically, making it harder to convincingly characterize (...) people and actions as “nonviolent.” New terminology could clarify the distinction between hiṃsā and ahiṃsā, and, thereby, prevent misunderstandings of Gandhi. Training in beneficence would reflect Gandhi’s psychological path to reducing avoidable harm: ego-detachment, universal love, and seeking truth by experiment. -/- NOTE: An extended, unpublished version, with additional arguments and evidence, is also available on PhilPapers as "The Primacy of Intention and the Duty to Truth: A Gandhi-Inspired Argument for Retranslating Hiṃsā and Ahiṃsā, with Connections to History, Ethics, and Civil Resistance". (shrink)
What is Gandhi’s Satya? How does truth entail peace? Satya or truth, for Gandhi, is experiential. The experiential truth of Gandhi does not exclude epistemological, metaphysical, or moral facets of truth, but is an unequivocal acknowledgement of the subjective basis of the pursuit of objectivity. In admitting my truth, your truth, our truth, their truth, etc., Gandhi brought into clear focus the reality of I and we—the subjects (or viewpoints) of subjective experiences (views). The totality of these subjective viewpoints, along (...) with their mutual relationships, constitutes an objective frame of reference for reconciling or putting together seemingly irreconcilable perceptions into a unitary whole of mutual understanding and an ever more refined comprehension of reality, thereby engendering peace. Considering the generality of the basic tenet—viewpoint dependence of views—of Gandhi’s satyagraha and in view of the kinship between positive conception of peace and unity, I put forward ‘satyagraha for science’ as a method to address numerous foundational problems in various branches of science centered on unity such as the binding problem in neuroscience. (shrink)
One is occasionally reminded of Foucault's proclamation in a 1970 interview that "perhaps, one day this century will be known as Deleuzian." Less often is one compelled to update and restart with a supplementary counter-proclamation of the mathematician, David Lindley: "the twenty-first century would be a Bayesian era..." The verb tenses of both are conspicuous. // To critically attend to what is today often feared and demonized, but also revered, deployed, and commonly referred to as algorithm(s), one cannot avoid the (...) mathematical and philosophical legacies of probability. // But attending to these probabilistic or Bayesian legacies must include an undeniable theological legacy in which they remain entangled. // We are not, today, discovering quirky theological metaphors in contemporary technics. It's the other way around. The technologies are mere metaphors of past theologies. (shrink)
The words "violence" and "nonviolence" are increasingly misleading translations for the Sanskrit words hiṃsā and ahiṃsā -- which were used by Gandhi as the basis for his philosophy of satyāgraha. I argue for re-reading hiṃsā as “maleficence” and ahiṃsā as “beneficence.” These two more mind-referring English words – associated with religiously contextualized discourse of the past -- capture the primacy of intention implied by Gandhi’s core principles, better than “violence” and “nonviolence” do. Reflecting a political turn in moral accountability detectable (...) through linguistic data, both the scope and the usage of the word “violence” have expanded dramatically. The expanded scope of “violence” reflects greater consciousness of the various forms that serious harm can take, but also makes it harder to convincingly characterize people and actions as “nonviolent.” New translations could clarify the distinction between hiṃsā and ahiṃsā, and thereby prevent some misunderstandings of Gandhi. Training in beneficence would reflect Gandhi’s psychological path to reducing avoidable harm: detachment from the ego, learning to love universally, and seeking truth by experiment. (shrink)
"[O]ther contributors argue that taste has a clear epistemic function. Brower cites Agamben as claiming that taste is a priveleged locus for knowledge...A phenomenology of taste, then, is no mere trivial or personal matter, but one with wide-ranging consequences. And some of these conseqences are ethical...[D]oes the debasement of taste indeed breed xenophobic oppression, as Brower is sure that it does? [sic:)] These are contentious claims. Surely a person of exemplary aesthetics and gustatory taste can still be a moral monster...aesthetic (...) delicacy does not entail ethical virtue. It has been a long time since beauty was associated with moral good, yet the connection persists...It has been a long time since beauty was associated with truth, as well, and yet, again, the conection endures..." (Eds' Preface, ix-x). (shrink)
Man is a seeker by nature. He searches for truth. An ordinary man cannot be indifferent to truth because of the deep quest within him for truth. Gandhi lived his whole life in the perpetual quest for truth. He lived and moved in pursuit of this goal. This pursuit of seeking truth under the banner of philosophical education makes educational philosophizing moral. One can perfect these ideologies of different schools and make philosophizing in education better by placing truth in the (...) center. Thus, an idealist can evolve a realization of truth, a naturalist can bring about the true nature and potentialities of the individual, and pragmatists can rejuvenate the minds with a truth-oriented strategy and existential thinkers can invite truth into them so that they can avoid fear and dread. The Gandhian vision of Satya offers us the key to integral education. Following the footprints of Satya not only satisfies the Gandhian aims for education but it also helps the human person to continue his role on the earth as the seeker of truth. The aim of my research is to explore whether the concept of the truth of Mahatma Gandhi could be used as a platform for philosophical education? Can we take inspiration from Gandhian thoughts so that philosophizing may not engage itself in hermeneutical violence to bring out the truth (of our making) but a hermeneutical ahimsa that lets the truth show itself? Truth for Gandhi was equal to one of his lungs. He spoke the truth, wrote on truth, and exhorted people to be truthful. Gandhi made the concept of truth central to metaphysics, epistemology, morality, and the philosophy of religion. Truth was the guiding principle for Gandhi in all these disciplines. When we bring in truth as the guiding principle in the philosophy of education we envisage an educational community of all truth seekers traveling together in freedom to come to an ever-increasing approximation of truth. Should philosophy stop the pursuit of truth (satya) as Rorty claims? Is communication of truth irrelevant as no truth is ascertainable as skeptics claim? Is the will to communicate truth senseless since truth is an illusion? Do these approaches satisfy the philosophical minds that are after truth? The methodology I pursue in this thesis is an exploratory, analytical, and critical approach. a) Analytical: The basic method to be used is to analyze the existing works and apprehend their significance in the area of education, in particular philosophical education. b) Critical: a critical and comprehensive analysis of the concept of truth is followed in the research to represent the significance of truth in philosophical education. Man cannot be indifferent to truth since there is a longing for truth in the heart of every human being. Hence the need to search for it with all one’s might through success does not come everyone’s way in the same measure. The reason for this is that there are certain factors that impede our search and they even distort our understanding. They are natural limitations of reason, inconsistency of the heart, worldly concerns, and fear of the demand that truth makes. Hence it is necessary to overcome these in the search for truth. In his dealings with others, the human person wishes that the other may communicate his truth and only truth. Gandhian invitation is to be an experimenter with truth. Truth is that all seek and want above everything. No one wishes to compromise on that. When we bring in truth as the guiding principle in the philosophy of education we envisage an educational community of all truth seekers traveling together in freedom to come to an ever-increasing approximation of truth. They are compelled to study and defend truth in a better way when they are confronted. They will be forced to discern the core of truth from its formulations. That is the role of the experimenter with the truth. -/- In this research paper, I attempt to present M. K. Gandhi as an educationist giving emphasis only on his concept of truth. It is a limited approach to Gandhian educational philosophy because when I attend only to the concept of truth I fail to include very many other aspects of his educational philosophy like craft-centered education, teaching methods, education for different sections of society, etc. It also limits me to criticizing Gandhian dislike for the higher education system appropriately. However, the notion of truth is a common platform that could be shared by three important branches of philosophical education, namely the naturalistic, the idealistic, and the pragmatic. (shrink)
A prevailing view among specialists is that Indian philosophy "proper" can only be philosophy written in Sanskrit and a few other Prakrits (any of the several Middle Indo-Aryan vernaculars formerly spoken in India), in a doxographical style, and along more or less clearly drawn scholastic lines. As such, it encompasses the entirety of speculative and systematic thought in India up to the advent of British colonial rule in the 19th Century. Minds Without Fear challenges this dominant view of the history (...) of Indian philosophy, arguing that Indian philosophy produced in English during the Raj does not mark a radical departure from its indigenous cultural forms so much as their appropriation in the service of intercultural philosophy. While necessarily politically fraught (given the status of English as the language of colonial power), the new vernacular becomes a vehicle for Enlightenment ideas of rationality and scientific progress, and serves as a new "scholarly metalanguage" in the formation of a modern Indian philosophical canon. (shrink)
The Power of Nonviolence, written by Richard Bartlett Gregg in 1934 and revised in 1944 and 1959, is the most important and influential theory of principled or integral nonviolence published in the twentieth century. Drawing on Gandhi's ideas and practice, Gregg explains in detail how the organized power of nonviolence exercised against violent opponents can bring about small and large transformative social change and provide an effective substitute for war. This edition includes a major introduction by political theorist, James Tully, (...) situating the text in its contexts from 1934 to 1959, and showing its great relevance today. The text is the definitive 1959 edition with a foreword by Martin Luther King, Jr. It includes forewords from earlier editions, the chapter on class struggle and nonviolent resistance from 1934, a crucial excerpt from a 1929 preliminary study, a biography and bibliography of Gregg, and a bibliography of recent work on nonviolence. (shrink)
Alongside Bindhu Puri’s The Tagore-Gandhi Debate on Matters of Truth and Untruth and Predrag Cicovacki’s Gandhi’s Footprints (see further discussion in this issue) can be placed Anuradha Veeravalli’s Gandhi in Political Theory: Truth, Law, and Experiment as a significant contribution to the aim of showing the academic bona fides of Gandhian philosophy. Though technically, Veeravalli’s explicit emphasis is on understanding Gandhi as a political theorist and not as a philosopher per se, the philosophical import of her attempts to explicate the (...) profound theoretical and experimental underpinnings of Gandhi’s work is undeniable. (shrink)
The question of how to arrive at a consensus on human rights norm in a diverse, pluralistic, and interconnected global environment is critical. This volume is a contribution to an intercultural understanding of human rights in the context of India and its relationship to the West. The legitimacy of the global legal, economic, and political order is increasingly premised on the discourse of international human rights. Yet the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights developed with little or no consultation from (...) non-Western nations such as India. In response, there has developed an extensive literature and cross-cultural analysis of human rights in the areas of African, East-Asian, and Islamic studies, yet there is a comparative dearth of conceptual research relating to India. As problematically, there is an lacuna in the previous literature; it simply stops short at analyzing how Western understandings of human rights may be supported from within various non-Western cultural self-understandings; yet, surely, there is more to this issue. The chapters in this collection pioneer a distinct approach that takes such deliberation to a further level by examining what it is that the West itself may have to learn from various Indian articulations of human rights as well. (shrink)
In Gandhi's Printing Press, Isabel Hofmeyr introduces readers to the nuances of the newspaper in a far-flung colony in the age when mail and news traveled by ship and when readers were encouraged by Gandhi to read slowly and deeply. This article explores the ways in which Thoreau's concept of slow reading influenced Gandhi and Hofmeyr herself. She discusses the community that surrounded Gandhi and the role it played in supporting the newspaper. Yet, I argue, the role of women of (...) all races as well as Coloured and black South African men in leading, modeling, and shaping the movement of resistance to pass laws and other racist legislation might have been integrated more into the main narrative. Gandhi's newspaper, Indian Opinion, reported on the pass law protests of the African women of Bloemfontein, and Abdurahman's APO newspaper (popular in the Coloured community) reported on Gandhi's protests. Indian Opinion included speeches given by John Dube, and it often praised Dube and the work at Ohlange and reprinted stories from the black press. I offer these remarks to supplement Hofmeyr's fascinating account by providing additional information in portraying the newspaper in its historical and social context. (shrink)
The encounter with critics of Western civilization, from vegetarianism and British anti-industrialist socialism, Thoreau's theories of civil disobedience and Tolstoy's evangelical Christianity, led Gandhi to a rediscovery of Indian tradition. Unlike other forms of Afro-Asian cultural nationalism, this claim was neither conservative nor separatist but led to a fresh reading of some key concepts from the Indian tradition combined with ideas from the Christian, the Islamic and the European humanistic traditions.