Writing from the vantage points of history, philosophy, and cognitive science, the contributors to this volume clarify the nominalist apoha theory and explore the relationship between apoha and the scientific study of human cognition.
In contemporary Western analytic philosophy, the classic analogical argument explaining our knowledge of other minds has been rejected. But at least three alternative positive theories of our knowledge of the second person have been formulated: the theory-theory, the simulation theory and the theory of direct empathy. After sketching out the problems faced by these accounts of the ego’s access to the contents of the mind of a “second ego”, this paper tries to recreate one argument given by Abhinavagupta (Shaiva philosopher (...) of recognition) to the effect that even in another’s body, one must feel and recognize one’s own self, if one is able to address that embodied person as a “you”. The otherness of You does not take away from its subjectivity. In that sense, just as every second person to whom one could speak is, first, a person, she is also a first person. Even as I regret that I do not know exactly how some other person is feeling right now, I must have some general access to the subjective experience of that other person, for otherwise what is it that I feel so painfully ignorant about? My subjective world is mine only to the extent that I recognize its continuity with a sharable subjective world where other I-s can make a You out of me. (shrink)
As the first comprehensive collection of essays in English on the perennial problem of free will and agency in Indian philosophies, Free Will, Agency, and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy, edited by Matthew R. Dasti and Edwin F. Bryant, richly deserves to be read widely and critically by philosophers, Asianists, and global historians of ideas. It is an excellent endeavor in comparative philosophy. So, like every exercise in comparative philosophy, it must face a frustrating double bind. Let me start this review (...) essay by illustrating this double bind with an anecdote. Many years back, in a large freshmen's Introduction to Logic class at Montana State University, as a zealous young visiting professor from India, I was... (shrink)
Besides seeing a rabbit or seeing that the rabbit is grayish, do we also sometimes see barely just the particular animal (not as an animal or as anything) or the feature rabbitness or grayness? Such bare, nonverbalizable perception is called "indeterminate perception" (nirvikalpaka pratyakṣa) in Nyāya. Standard Nyāya postulates such pre-predicative bare perception in order to honor the rule that awareness of a qualified entity must be caused by awareness of the qualifier. After connecting this issue with the Western debate (...) concerning the "myth of the given," seven distinct arguments are presented showing that the very notion of such indeterminate perception is epistemically otiose and that the Nyāya theory of perception is better off without it. (shrink)
Although memory is pivotal to consciousness and without it no perceptual judgment or thinking is possible, Nyāya epistemology does not accept memory as a knowledge source. Prof Matilal elucidates and defends Udayana’s justification for calling into question the knowledgehood or even truth of any recollection. Deepening Matilal’s argument, this paper first shows why, if a remembering reproduces exactly the original experience from which it borrows its truth-claim, then there is a mismatch between the time of experience and the time of (...) recall and the remembering ends up being false. To correct that error, if we change the tense in the content of recollection, the added past-ness goes beyond the original experience and violates the purely reproductive nature of memory. The paper ends by responding to this Nyāya position using arguments from Dvaita Vedānta and Jaina epistemology where remembering can be veridical and memory is accepted as an important knowledge source. The additional element of past-ness cannot be derived from sense perception. It has to be a spontaneous contribution of the inner sense. (shrink)
It is not a semantic accident that four key notions of social ethics are also key concepts of theater. These are the concepts of character, playing a part/role, performance, and acting. Of course, one could object that there is a touch of pun in this claim: A character in a drama is not quite the same as good or bad character in a virtue ethics; acting in theater is mere play-acting, whereas acting in social and personal life is serious business. (...) But the distinction between play and serious business does not mean that the former is any less important than the latter. In Homo Ludens, his magisterial study of the play-element in culture, Johan Huizinga remarks: “Play is a thing by itself. The play-concept as such is.. (shrink)
Idealism is a sticky doctrine. Each of us believes that there are lots of things existing and taking place beyond our actual or possible knowledge. Yet we have to live with the predicament that we cannot put our finger on any one such item without somehow touching it with our language and mind. Even our imagination seems to suffer from this incurable ambivalence between self-containment and self-transcendence.
Witnessing the fate of the various definitions of truth, Donald Davidson has recently called the very drive to define truth a “folly.” Before him, Kant and Frege had given independent arguments why a general definition of truth is impossible. After a quick summary of their arguments, I recount several reasons that Gangeśa gave for not counting truth as a genuine natural universal. I argue that in spite of defining truth as a feature of personal and ephemeral awareness episodes, the Nyāya (...) ya realists such as Gangeśa could maintain that truth is independent of recognition of truth. In the course of my argument, I also show that Roy Perrett’s alleged proof against realism does not succeed. I conclude that realism does not need nonmental atemporal truth-bearers (propositions) which are eternally wholly true (or wholly false), and that knowledge-independence from truths and things can be shown without admitting the existence of unknowable things or truths. (shrink)
Daya Krishna(Photo courtesy of Jay Garfield)Govind Chandra Pande(Photo courtesy of his daughter amita sharma)Daya Krishna was the public face of Indian philosophy in the first half-century after Indian independence. Nobody on the Indian scene in that period came close to him in influence or in contribution to the profession. Nobody else in the world thought as hard or as fruitfully about the relation of Indian philosophy to that of the rest of the world, and nobody else dared to think as (...) creatively and even as heretically about the history of Indian philosophy itself. To be sure, the Indian philosophical scene during this period was always a vibrant and creative matrix of thought, and many contributed to that .. (shrink)
The _Mahabharata _is at once an archive and a living text, a sourcebook complete by itself and an open text perennially under construction. Driving home this striking contemporary relevance of the famous Indian epic, _Mahabharata Now _focuses on the issues of narration, aesthetics and ethics, as also their interlinkages. The cross-disciplinary essays in the volume imaginatively re-interpret the ‘timeless’ classic in the light of the pre-modern Indian narrative styles, poetics, aesthetic codes, and moral puzzles; the Western theories on modern ethics, (...) aesthetics, metaphysics, psychoanalysis, and philosophy of science; and the contemporary social, ethical and political concerns. The essays are all united in their effort to situate the _Mahabharata_ in the context of _here _and _now _without violating the sanctity of the ‘written text’ as we have it today. The book will be of interest to scholars and students of Indian and comparative philosophy, Indian and comparative literature, cultural studies, and history. (shrink)