Pluralism's renaissance, thanks to William Connolly, Chantal Mouffe and others, has established its position as the distinctive voice of late modern democracy. It thus calls for an explicit theory of tragedy to address the antagonisms and enmities it reflects and fosters. Treating Machiavelli, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Weber and Camus as members of a minor tradition of thought, I articulate a political conception of tragedy that flows not from the failures of politics but, ironically, from politics at its best. A tragic understanding (...) can provide a valuable re-description of intractable political conflicts that simultaneously de-moralizes them; it can also furnish vibrant ethical-political resources for an ethos of commitment and accountability suited to life in a democratic pluralist polity. Building on these thinkers, I propose the introduction of a Dionysian festival that subverts, even disables, mere patriotic celebration and turn to a classic in American cinema, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, to explore a tragic conception of political life that can be a source of inspiration and energy in a revitalized democratic community. (shrink)
Of Minds and Molecules is the first anthology devoted exclusively to work in the philosophy of chemistry. The essays, written by both chemists and philosophers, adopt distinctive philosophical perspectives on chemistry and collectively offer both a conceptualization of and a justification for this emerging field.
Minds Without Fear is an intellectual and cultural history of India during the period of British occupation. It demonstrates that this was a period of renaissance in India in which philosophy--both in the public sphere and in the Indian universities--played a central role in the emergence of a distinctively Indian modernity. The book is also a history of Indian philosophy. It demonstrates how the development of a secular philosophical voice facilitated the construction of modern Indian society and the consolidation of (...) the nationalist movement. (shrink)
Facial expressions have communicative properties that bear some importance to perceivers. Such expressions are informative with respect to the future behavior of the expressing individual and with respect to the conditions of the broader social environment. This article argues that appropriate responses to facial expressions are an important means by which people adapt to their social ecology. The immediate responses to facial expressions depend on contextual factors. It is more important for individuals to adapt to the ingroup than to other (...) groups, for this reason people should exhibit special sensitivity to ingroup facial expressions. It reviews the literature regarding the role of context in the recognition of facial expressions and regarding group membership and emotion recognition, with a special emphasis on the role of culture. It focuses on facial expressions of emotion if only because of available empirical literature. (shrink)
This book publishes, for the first time in decades, and in many cases, for the first time in a readily accessible edition, English language philosophical literature written in India during the period of British rule.
Daya Krishna was easily the most creative and original Indian philosopher of the second half of the 20th century. His thought and philosophical energy dominated academic Indian philosophy and determined the nature of the engagement of Indian philosophy with Western philosophy during that period. He passed away recently, leaving behind an enormous corpus of published work on a wide range of philosophical topics, as well as a great deal of incomplete, nearly-complete and complete-but-as-yet-unpublished work. Daya Krishna's thought and publications address (...) a broad range of philosophical issues, including issues of global philosophical importance that transcend considerations of particular traditions; issues particular to Indian philosophy; and issues at the intersection of Indian and Western philosophy, especially questions about the philosophy of language and ontology that emerge in the context of his Samvada project that brought together Western philosophers and Nyaya pandits to discuss questions in the philosophy of language and metaphysics. The volume editors have organized the volume as a set of ten couplets and triplets. Each draws together papers from different periods in Daya Krishna's life: some take different approaches to the same problem or text; in some cases, the second paper references and takes issue with arguments developed in the first; in still others, Daya Krishna addresses very different topics, but using the same distinctive philosophical methodology. Each set is introduced by one of the editors. These couplets are framed by two of Daya Krishna's finest metaphilosophical essays, one that introduces his approach, and one that draws some of his grand morals about the discipline. Daya Krishna's daughter, Professor Shail Mayaram of the Center for the Study of Developing Societies contributes a preface, and Professor Arindam Chakrabarti, a longtime colleague of Daya Krisha and a collaborator on some of his most important philosophical ventures has written the introduction. (shrink)
Baumard et al. make a good case that a sense of fairness evolved and that showing this requires reciprocity games with choice of partner. However, they oversimplify both morality and the evolution of morality. Where fairness is involved in morality, other things are, too, and fairness is often not involved. In the evolution of morality, other things played a role. Plus, the motive for being fair originally was self-interest, not anything moral.
The period of British colonial rule in India is typically regarded as philosophically sterile. Indian philosophy written in English during the British colonial period is often ignored in histories of Indian philosophy, or, when considered explicitly, dismissed either as uncreative or as inauthentic. The late Daya Krishna thought hard about this at the end of his life, and we have been thinking about this in conversation with him. We show that this dismissal is unjustified and that this is a fertile (...) period for Indian philosophy in which traditional Indian philosophical ideas were brought into dialogue with the West and advanced with great acumen. In this paper, we present one case study to illustrate this point. (shrink)
Despite the currently perceived urgent need among contemporary philosophers of chemistry for adjudicating between two rival metaphysical conceptual frameworks—is chemistry primarily a science of substances or processes?—this essay argues that neither provides us with what we need in our attempts to explain and comprehend chemical operations and phenomena. First, I show the concept of a chemical property can survive the abandoning of the metaphysical framework of substance. While this abandonment means that we will need to give up essential properties, contingent (...) properties can give us all the stability we need to account for chemical continuity as well as change. I then go on to show that this attention to clusters of contingent properties does not force us into the arms of an alternative process metaphysical framework either. Finally, I sketch a view I call particularism with respect to chemical properties on analogy with moral particularism. I conclude by sketching some of the implications for the field of philosophy of chemistry of my proposal that we abandon our interest in the metaphysical question of what chemistry is primarily about in favor of a broadly scientific particularism with respect to kinds and properties. (shrink)
My dissertation project addresses the problem of the legitimacy of "transcendental" arguments. This is an old, familiar problem that goes all the way back to Kant and The Critique of Pure Reason. There, for the first time, we have an explicit attempt to define, characterize and develop a distinct kind of argument. This kind of argument was intended to provide a model which could be used to establish the truth of a quite distinctive sort of proposition, the synthetic apriori. ;The (...) task of this dissertation is to articulate a central paradigm for transcendental arguments, that of being a conceivability argument of a rather special kind; and to reconstruct a Davidsonian argument in the philosophy of language that has all the features that are essential to the paradigm and to show that this argument avoids the familiar sorts of problem that have been claimed to attach to transcendental arguments in general. The project, if successful, serves to illuminate the kinds of features that we ought to care about in constructing and evaluating transcendental arguments. This dissertation suggests that we need to think of the nature of the transcendental in a way that is different from how it is normally understood, but which is such that it retains what is and has always been the truly deep and substantive reasons for interest in arguments of this kind. (shrink)
In this essay I first articulate what I take to be an influential and for the most part persuasive model in the western psychoanalytic tradition that is a response to tragic loss, namely, the one that we find in Freud’s little essay entitled ‘Mourning and Melancholia’ (1917). I then use a well-known Buddhist folk tale about the plight of a young woman named Kisagotami to underscore central elements from Buddhist psychology on the subject of suffering that is a consequence of (...) the loss of a young mother’s only child. Fortified by both traditions, I gather together the ingredients for a cross-cultural mental model that serves to explain and to justify as healthy a specific kind of response to a specific form of suffering, namely, the loss of ones’ loved one. I arrive at this model by asking a number of specific questions of both traditions. For instance, what constitutes a non-pathological response to this kind of suffering? What state of mind represents the cessation of such suffering? Is preoccupation with the dead beloved a way of escaping the fact that the person is dead? Is this a form of ignorance that needs to be removed? Is it a form of moral deficiency? Might certain forms and contexts of ignorance, in effect, put one on a path to enlightenment? (shrink)
India has been independent for 70 years now, and it is a good time to reflect on the political philosophy that underwrote the movement that gained that independence. When we do so, we discover the origins of a political vocabulary that is still in use today, although sadly not used with the same rigor and precision with which it was used then. We also find that those who recur to Indian political thought from the pre-independence period tend to return to (...) a single strand of that thought—the theorization of ahimsa by Mohandas K. Gandhi, as for instance in the recent essay on Indian political thought in The New York Times by Gopalkrishna Gandhi. In this discussion, we hope to draw attention to some of the less well-known resources offered by pre-independence Indian philosophy and in particular the political thought of the Arya samaji Congressman, philosopher and political activist, Lajpat Rai. His political philosophy is important for understanding the theorization of and debates within the Indian independence movement; we think that it also suggests ways to think about contemporary political and revolutionary movements and merits consideration in current debates in political philosophy. (shrink)