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.
Critiques of the ‘global’ have, in recent years, concerned the alleged implication of cultural dominance and secondly—and more philosophically—discerned therein foundationalism/essentialism. These charges will be examined. I next turn to the bearing of organizational/faculty matters on our theme, drawing on teaching experience in more than one country. The relocation of philosophy cannot but raise questions about how the subject itself is conceived. In the final section I suggest that the original humanist import of philosophical studies needs recovery, with ‘globality’ examined (...) critically not only over space but across time. This would involve not only due appreciation of argument (for no discipline lacks this) but of language, standpoint and attitude. (shrink)
Religion has in the past, it may be truefully admitted, done more than its share of fostering the spirit of ‘we’ over against ‘they’. Economic and political factors have unfortunately, throughout history, clogged the channels of communication between men of one faith and those of another. The most unhappy aspect of the relation between religion and society has been the way in which the former has fostered the distinction between the insider and the outsider. Typical of this is the fact (...) that most religious communities have a word which describes the religious outsider and the word is never a flattering one. That there should be religious diversity in the first place should occasion no surprise. Diversification is the order of things in the biological realm and we would not expect to find a sudden departure from this, that is, a move towards convergence, in the sphere of religion. But unless diversification is matched with understanding and with communication we face the future at our peril. It is for this reason that the question of inter-religious communication, the ground of its possibility, can be regarded not only as the most pressing of problems for the student of comparative religion but as a matter of pressing urgency for all. (shrink)
In what follows I shall reflect on some of the things Professor Lewis has said in various contexts on the theme of inter-religious understanding, but taking a cue mainly from remarks made in his recent book Jesus in the Faith of Christians . Our sights will be set on the extent to which understanding is possible and, going on from there, the extent to which a sharing of insights is possible. The theme suggests a certain progression within experience. There is (...) by now a considerable literature on the subject. Some of it gives the impression of what, with due respect to one of the greatest poets of all time, might be called a kind of Rabbie Burns Prinzip in reverse. Would that we could understand the ‘other’ as we understand ourselves. This Prinzip runs into a problem right away, for how far does our self-understanding reach? Those familiar with the psycho-analyst's couch or even those unfamiliar with this particular discipline, for discipline it is, find it to be an endless process. How far, moreover, does our ‘understanding’ of our own faith and tradition extend? Is ‘understanding’ the right word anyway? To speak of entering more deeply into the Divine mystery, as the man of faith well may, is, ipso facto , to witness to the inadequacy and even irrelevancy of all categorial nets. The prayer to ‘Lighten our darkness’ is less a philosopher's plea for intelligibility than a cry for succour, that the clouds of doubt and unbelief may be, through Divine grace, in some way which we cannot understand, penetrated and dispelled. (shrink)
The rival claims of religion, philosophy and science as dispensers of light have come to the fore in successive periods of history. Betwixt and between them all is the discipline known as theology, a rational study of the concept of God and attendant concepts connected with theistic belief. The dominant period of the connection between religion and philosophy in the west extends from Neo-Platonic thought to the seventeenth century. Before that for the most part philosophy tried to steer clear of (...) ‘mysteries’, and after that philosophy made strenuous efforts to free itself from religion, and even more, from theology. Secular influences on religious language are legion. I mention only a few: governmental analogies , agricultural analogies , analogies from art , historical approaches of the early Romantic movement , and influences from science . Recent interest in religious language is part of the last of these influences in so far as the desire to find some empirical moorings for various types of discourse is one of the early springs of the analytical movement. This interest is symptomatic of the trend to rethink ontological matters in terms of epistemology, a trend for which Galileo and Kepler bear a considerable responsibility. Earlier interest in religious language, it must be remembered, was deeply rooted in ontological concern. I refer to the skilled use by Catholic theologians of the method of analogia entis . The basis of this method, and it was a method of argument, was specific beliefs concerning the distinction between finite and infinite being and the relation between them. (shrink)
Margaret Chatterjee's new work Hinterlands and Horizons—a collection of nine phenomenological essays ranging across cultures and time periods—studies the historical and cultural evolution of the idea of amity and the concomitant concepts of fraternity, friendship, and tolerance. The work starts with the Enlightenment's idea of fraternity and its destruction during the fratricide of the French Terror. It includes chapters focusing upon the encounters between colonizers and missionaries, the impact of the Holocaust on the search for amity, the prospect for amity (...) in contemporary multiculturalism, and the potential of religion to deepen the experience of amity. An incisive interdisciplinary analysis of the bases of discord and harmony, of history and memory, Hinterlands and Horizons will be an enduring contribution to the history of ideas. (shrink)