This comprehensive Gandhi reader provides an essential new reference for scholars and students of his life and thought. It is the only text available that presents Gandhi's own writings, including excerpts from three of his books—An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Satyagraha in South Africa, Hind Swaraj —a major pamphlet, Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place, and many journal articles and letters, along with a biographical sketch of his life in historical context and recent essays by highly (...) regarded scholars. (shrink)
: Gandhi can serve as a valuable catalyst allowing us to rethink our philosophical positions on violence, nonviolence, and education. Especially insightful are Gandhi's formulations of the multidimensionality of violence, including educational violence, and the violence of the status quo. His peace education offers many possibilities for dealing with short-term violence, but its greatest strength is its long-term preventative education and socialization. Key to Gandhi's peace education are his ethical and ontological formulations of means-ends relations; the need to uncover root (...) causes and causal determinants and to free oneself from entrapment in escalating cycles of violence; and the dynamic complex relation between relative and absolute truth that includes analysis of situated embodied consciousness, tolerant diversity and inclusiveness, and an approach to unavoidable violence. (shrink)
Mircea Eliade, often described by scholars and in the popular press as the world's most influential scholar of religion, symbolism, and myth, was trained as a philosopher, received his Ph.D. in philosophy, and taught in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Bucharest in the 1930s. Although he became a historian and phenomenologist of religion within the field of religious studies, his approach, methodology, and analysis are informed by philosophical assumptions and philosophical normative judgments. In several of his writings, (...) he goes far beyond the history and phenomenology of religion and presents a strong critique of contemporary Western philosophy as part of his larger critique of contemporary Western culture. He submits that contemporary philosophy,as a development of the Enlightenment, claims to be universal, but is in fact ethnocentric and provincial; claims to be innovative and creative, but is in fact increasingly trivial, insignificant, and uncreative. Eliade repeatedly charges that contemporary philosophy is bankrupt and desperately in need of renewal. I shall provide his philosophical critique of dominant Western philosophy, his analysis of self-other encounters, and his alternatives for philosophical renewal through the emerging confrontations, engagements, and creative dialogues between Asian, other non-Western, and Western philosophical perspectives. (shrink)
In commemoration of the 150th birthday of M. K. ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi, Douglas Allen, author of Gandhi After 9/11, presents an overview of Gandhi’s philosophy focused on two key values or concepts: Truth (Satya) and Nonviolence (Ahimsa). The presentation is offered as an alternative to non-Gandhians, anti-Gandhians, or reactionary Gandhians who often over-idealized the man and his philosophy. With respect to Ahimsa or Nonviolence, it may be easy to see how the value works against overt, physical violence. However, for Gandhi such (...) examples are only a small part of violence overall. For Gandhi, violence and nonviolence are multidimensional, encompassing our personal ego-driven desires and our widespread economic exploitations. Each dimension of violence or nonviolence is both causal and conditioning, beginning with the experiences of children. Ahimsa should therefore be approached as relational and interconnected. Gandhi approaches the structural violence of the status quo by insisting upon transformative structural nonviolence. Gandhi’s approach to Truth or Satya requires a distinction between Absolute Truth and relative truth. Although Gandhi works with an experiential knowledge of Absolute Truth, he was not an absolutist. Gandhi’s primary focus was upon relative truth, which yields temporary and imperfect ‘glimpses’ of the absolute. In relations with others, we seek kinship with bearers of relative truth. This is the significance of Gandhi’s claim that means and ends are intertwined. With others we seek mutual discovery of relative truths generating greater relative truth. Gandhi’s well known Absolute Nonviolence may prevent us from apprehending its relationship to relative transformations in contextual situations. (shrink)
Comparative philosophy and religion can help us to understand the violence and terrror that often dominate our world. These new, creative studies - ranging in scope from ancient Biblical, Greek, Indian, and Chinese formulations to recent religious and philosophical positions - broaden and deepen our understanding of terror and present new possibilities for greater nonviolence, peace, and true security.
Sinceits founding by Jacques Waardenburg in 1971, Religion and Reason has been a leading forum for contributions on theories, theoretical issues and agendas related to the phenomenon and the study of religion. Topics include (among others) category formation, comparison, ethnophilosophy, hermeneutics, methodology, myth, phenomenology, philosophy of science, scientific atheism, structuralism, and theories of religion. From time to time the series publishes volumes that map the state of the art and the history of the discipline.
Gandhi can serve as a valuable catalyst allowing us to rethink our philosophical positions on violence, nonviolence, and education. Especially insightful are Gandhi's formulations of the multidimensionality of violence, including educational violence, and the violence of the status quo. His peace education offers many possibilities for dealing with short-term violence, but its greatest strength is its long-term preventative education and socialization. Key to Gandhi's peace education are his ethical and ontological formulations of means-ends relations; the need to uncover root causes (...) and causal determinants and to free oneself from entrapment in escalating cycles of violence; and the dynamic complex relation between relative and absolute truth that includes analysis of situated embodied consciousness, tolerant diversity and inclusiveness, and an approach to unavoidable violence. (shrink)
In this author-meets-critics dialogue, Sanjay Lal, author of, argues that Gandhian values of nonviolence raise aspirations of liberal democracy to a higher level. Since Gandhian values of nonviolence are closely associated with religious values, liberal democracy should make public commitments to religions on a non-sectarian basis, except for unreasonable religions. Critic Jeff Shawn Jose agrees that Gandhian values can strengthen liberal democracy. However, Jose finds a contradiction in Lal’s proposal that a liberal state should support reasonable religions only. A more (...) consistent Gandhian approach would focus on everyday interactions between citizens and groups rather than state-directed preferences. Critic Douglas Allen also welcomes Lal’s project that brings Gandhian philosophy into relation with liberal democratic theory; however, he argues that universalizing the Absolute Truth of genuine religion is more complicated than Lal acknowledges. D. Allen argues for a Gandhian approach of relative truths, which cannot be evaluated apart from contingency or context, and he offers autobiographical evidence in support of his critical suspicion of genuine religion. Critic Michael Allen argues that Lal’s metaphysical approach to public justification violates a central commitment of political liberalism not to take sides on any metaphysical basis. M. Allen argues that democratic socialism is closer to Gandhi’s approach than is liberalism. Lal responds to critics by arguing that Gandhi’s evaluation of unreasonable religions depends upon an assessment of violence, which is not as problematic as critics charge, either from a Gandhian perspective or a liberal one. Furthermore, by excluding unreasonable or violent religions from state promotion, Lal argues that he is not advocating state suppression. Finally, Lal argues that Gandhian or Kingian metaphysics are worthy of support by liberal, democratic states seeking to educate individuals regarding peaceful unity in diversity. (shrink)
This volume shows how Gandhi's thought and action-oriented approach are significant, relevant, and urgently needed for addressing major contemporary problems and concerns, including issues of violence and nonviolence, war and peace, religious conflict and dialogue, terrorism, ethics, civil disobedience, injustice, modernism and postmodernism, oppression and exploitation, and environmental destruction. Appropriate for general readers and Gandhi specialists, this volume will be of interest for those in philosophy, religion, political science, history, cultural studies, peace studies, and many other fields.
In this author-meets-critics dialogue, Douglas Allen, author of argues that Gandhi-informed philosophies and practices, when creatively reformulated and applied, are essential for developing positions that are ethical, nonviolent, truthful, and sustainable, providing resources and hope for confronting our ‘Gandhi after 9/11’ crises. Critics Sanjay Lal and Karsten Struhl applaud Allen’s demonstration that Gandhi’s nonviolence is serious and broadly adaptable to the twenty-first century. Yet, Lal poses two philosophical challenges, arguing first that the nonviolent message of the Bhagavad Gita is perhaps (...) more essential than Allen allows. Second, Lal raises difficulties involved in placing the needs of others first, especially in response to terrorism. Struhl wonders if the Gita is not more violent than Gandhi or Allen represent it to be. Struhl also questions whether relative claims are always resolved in the direction of Absolute Truth, as Gandhi and Allen assert. Finally, critic Struhl wonders how we can restrain institutions from escalating cycles of violence once we grant Gandhi-based exceptions that would allow violence to suppress terrorism. Against Lal’s objections, Allen defends a more open-ended reading of the Gita and agrees that our service to the needs of others cannot go so far as to embrace their terrorism. In response to Struhl, Allen agrees that there are indeed problems with a nonviolent reading of the Gita, but there are resources to support Gandhi’s view. Likewise, regarding relations between our limited truths and the Absolute, Allen grants that Struhl has identified real problems but that a final defense is possible, especially when we consider motivational factors. As for limiting cycles of violence, Allen argues that a Gandhi-informed use of violence implies considerations that limit its use. (shrink)
Traditional scholars of philosophy and religion, both East and West, often place a major emphasis on analyzing the nature of “the self.” In recent decades, there has been a renewed interest in analyzing self, but most scholars have not claimed knowledge of an ahistorical, objective, essential self free from all cultural determinants. The contributors to this volume recognize the need to contextualize specific views of self and to analyze such views in terms of the dynamic, dialectical relations between self and (...) culture.An unusual feature of this book is that all of the chapters not only focus on traditions and individuals, East and West, but include as primary emphases comparative philosophy, religion, and culture, reinforcing individual and cultural creativity. Each chapter brings specific Eastern and Western perspectives into a dynamic, comparative relation. This comparative orientation emphasizes our growing sense of interrelatedness and interdependency. Culture and Self includes many Asian and Western philosophical, religious, and cultural perspectives. Chapters focus on Vedanta, Samkhya-Yoga, and other Hindu approaches, as well as Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist and other Indian, Chinese, and Japanese perspectives. Studies present Cartesian and other dominant Western perspectives, as well as Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre, feminism, and other Western challenges to the dominant Western interpretations of culture and self.This volume will appeal to students and readers of philosophy, religious studies, Asian studies, and cultural studies. (shrink)