Rationality and madness: The post‐modern embrace of Dionysus and the neo‐vedānta response of Radhakrishnan

Asian Philosophy 9 (1):39 – 50 (1999)
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Following the lead of Nietzsche, several post-modern philosophers challenge the Western notion of rationality and its representational model of thought and embrace the Dionysian element in Nietzsche's philosophy, which can take the form of embracing madness (Foucault), desire (Deleuze and Guattari), or carnival (Kristeva). This paper will place Radhakrishnan into the context of a hermeneutical dialogue with these figures from post-modern philosophy, and it will attempt to address the issue of the post-modem attack on rationality by these post-modern philosophers by comparing their concept of rationality with that espoused by Radhakrishnan. It will also be demonstrated that for Radhakrishnan reason supplies conceptual clarity, is subordinate to intuition, and justifies the validity of intuition which transcends reason. It will be argued that Radhakrishnan agrees with the post-modernist that reason is not universal, but he does not share their radical scepticism as his philosophy seeks wholeness, unity, order, and rationality in conjunction with intuition in contrast to the choice of these post-modernist for diversity, difference, and chaos, and madness.



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