The economic impacts of the Green Revolution have been studied widely, but not its social-cultural effects on different farming communities. The adoption of high yielding varieties (HYVs) of rice changed the nature of rice farming in the two West Bengal villages of Padulara and Naigachi. The villages present an interesting contrast of socio-economic and cultural change due to the differences in the level of adoption of agricultural technologies. This study documents the social and cultural impacts of agricultural technology adoption, specifically (...) the effect on rituals which guided the stages of traditional rice farming and communal life. Agricultural rituals are being modified to suit the processes of modern rice farming, while family rituals are holding strong. The study also shows the evolving nature of rituals as it reflects new found wealth, gender roles, and economic class in these villages. (shrink)
The interview to Ranabir Samaddar – translated from the original in Bengali by V. Ramaswamy – deals with the Naxalite decade in the perspective of the history it grew from, the history it was part of, and the history it created. The underlying question is: has this decade inaugurated a new phase in the Indian history of rebellions? Samata Biswas and Sandip Bandopadhyay, speaking on behalf of the Calcutta Research Group, engage in a deep dialogue on the novelties and (...) the legacy of the “dangerous decade” that the rulers have only wanted to put to death. The interview explores the evolving modes of popular politics of the past as well, shedding light on the unprecedented and stark opposition between activism and pacifism including submission to law and order. The answers are as much historical as political. (shrink)
This is a short introduction by the two authors Rada Iveković and Ranabir Samaddar to the issue of the French journal "Rue Descartes" (N. 62), titled "Terrors and terrorisms" or, in French "Terreurs et terrorismes". They start from the idea that what is called "terrorism" isn't in itself an independent phenomenon, but is rather historically produced and then fought by the state as well as by the international system of states, in a vicious circle that radicalises positions and violence. (...) But "terrorism" (or "terror") is nothing in itself, its definition is extremely vague, and it turns around the state and its power. (shrink)
Michel Foucault in this Post-Colonial Time In our time of globalisation and post-colonial existence what do the writings of Michel Foucault represent for us ? The article discusses the reception of Foucault in India. It shows how new research in the areas of law and extra-legal powers, into the nature of sovereignty and exceptions, combines Foucault’s ideas in a creative way, with a non-conformity and radicalism that post-colonial society is generating now. We cannot help remembering that this is not the (...) first time that existing social inquiries about the body and about the physical aspects of our political life have taken on an interesting new turn. This is nothing new. The entire tradition can be described by way of Lenin’s phrase, “militant materialism”. (shrink)
In this exploration into the close relation between terror and law, I attempt first to show that the relation between terror and law is not a simple question of relating violence to law, but to the very process of constitution making. Second, laws relating to terror may or may not find a formal place in the constitution, but this relation is essential to the working of the basic law, of the foundational concept of the rule of law. Third, intelligence gathering (...) occupies a key place in this relation, and this activity, which has no mention in the constitution almost anywhere in the world, is the fulcrum on which reasons of state stand. Fourth, intelligence is the close monitoring of human movement, of the body, of the physical activities, and in this physical form of politics we have the meeting of the body and reasoning, terror and constitution, violence and law. And finally, the article describes a specifically Indian experience; yet may have larger significance in terms of retrieving the history of constitution making. (shrink)
This paper closely examines Hegel’s Gita from the point of view of a theory of being and evaluates its consequences on his view of history and philosophy. Was there anything in the structure of a particular thought in the West in the nineteenth century, that reflected certain similarities with a particular thought in the East? The paper attempts to understand possibilities of a new line of enquiry, namely how much of the dialectic between two philosophies helps us to understand the (...) inner dialectic within one philosophy, beyond Orientalism and contextualism, and enables us to read a work in question in its own right? Hegel’s larger enquiries and engagements with India suggest that they formed an essential part of his broader formulations on philosophy, world history, aesthetics, and religion, and of course logic. If for Hegel Spirit was to be fully itself, mediated by history and the understanding of freedom, then the analysis of Indian philosophy raised a problem intrinsic to West. Hegel’s long commentary on the Gita shows his struggle to engage with the distinctions between the ideas and images of the Gita and his own philosophy, including the question: was there any divine instruction, and any sense, in war and destruction. Hence, Hegel’s reflections on Indian philosophy raised the question of the purpose of philosophy itself. (shrink)
In this brief piece in French the author Rada Iveković reviewed and commented some of the work (references in the text) that Ranabir Samaddar did on the theory and practice of dialogue in resolving political and social conflicts. The short piece works also as some kind of portrait of Samaddar. Some years later (2017) Samaddar publishes a challenging book on the crisis in Europe (not reviewed in this piece here): A Postcolonial Enquiry Into Europe's Debt and the (...) Migration Crisis. Publication Date: 2006 Publication Name: Rue Descartes. (shrink)
Recent interest in the epistemology of testimony can be traced to C. A. J. Coady's Testimony: A Philosophical Study (1992) and then a collection of papers edited by Bimal Krishna Matilal and Arindam Chakrabarti, Knowing from Words (1994). These two volumes framed several issues in the epistemology of testimony and largely set the agenda for work in that area over the next two decades. -/- One major issue in this literature is whether testimonial knowledge can be "reduced" to some (...) other kind of knowledge: Is testimonial knowledge sui generis, requiring its own distinctive treatment, or is testimonial knowledge merely an instance of, for example, inductive knowledge, requiring no special epistemology over and above that required for inductive knowledge in general? One way that testimonial knowledge might be special is that it involves social elements that make it distinctive. This possibility raises further issues that have been prominent in the literature: In what ways is testimonial knowledge a social phenomenon, and what are the consequences of this for the epistemology of testimony and for epistemology more generally? (shrink)
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.
An individual’s accountability to oneself leads to self-regulatory behaviour. A field experiment afforded an opportunity to test this relation, given that external accountability conditions were absent. A single group pre-test/post-test design was used to test the hypothesis. A group of full-time resident management students, n ≈ 550, take four meals during the day in the institute mess. As a part of the experiment, food wastage in the form of leftovers on the plates of subjects was measured. As a pre-test, the (...) measurement occurred at two levels. Subjects could see how much they are adding to the total waste by looking at a weighing scale placed under a waste basket, and they could also see the total waste data for each of the four meals for the day and a day earlier displayed at a prominent place. After 105 days, the weighing scale under the basket was removed, and as a post-test measurement, the total waste data for the four meals were noted down for another 72 days. A manipulation test indicated that the experiment has had the desired effect of invoking self-accountability in subjects during the pre-test phase, and diluting it during the post-test phase. Time series analysis of pre-test and post-test data indicated that the wastage data decreased in the pre-test phase. However, the post-test waste data showed an increase over a period of time. The results indicate that accountability conditions like social norms invoke self-accountability cognition leading to self-regulatory behaviours in individuals. (shrink)
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)
Comparative Philosophy without Borders, edited by Arindam Chakrabarti and Ralph Weber is an outstanding and groundbreaking anthology that is also a prolegomena to all future philosophy, not just comparative philosophy. The anthology sets forward an agenda that is arguably the next step for philosophy. Chakrabarti and Weber have a dream : Our dream is that future fusion philosophy will shed its local epithets, even the epithet “comparative.” All good philosophy should be unapologetically, and, eventually, unself-consciously, comparative and culturally hybrid....
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)
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)
The leading theme of the first volume of the Argument: Biannual Philosophical Journal is Subjectivity and Self-knowledge. Five contributors focused on this theme consider various aspects of the self, referring either to western authors (Włodzimierz Heflik, Roger Melin) or eastern thinkers (Marzenna Jakubczak), or undertaking a comparative perspective and discussing arguments given both by western and Indian philosophers (Arindam Chakrabarti, Sven Sellmer).