Those philosophers who gave a negative answer to all four questions were called "eel-wrigglers" by the Buddhists. It was impossible to fix their position either for approval or for rejection. They would criticize any view, positive or negative, but would not themselves hold any. And it was difficult for a serious person to enter into any controversy with them.
I welcome the invitation of Eugene Freeman to contribute a paper on the subject of self, giving my own views. I have been devoted to comparative philosophy all my life, and I am naturally greatly influenced by Indian and Western thought. But I should warn both the Indian and Western readers against equating my views in their entirety with any of the past philosophies. It is also not possible to given an exhaustive theory of the self in a paper of (...) the present size. What is not given here may place my view in a wrong light and the reader may draw wrong conclusions. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophical activity in India is influenced not only by India's traditional philosophy but also by Western Philosophy. One of the results of the introduction, by Macaulay, of the Western system of education into India is the popularization of the study of Western Philosophy, and Indians took to it quite enthusiastically. Sanscrit philosophical texts were at first regarded as sacred, and Europeans could have no access to them. But in time, the prejudice abated, and Sanscrit texts began to be translated (...) into English. At the beginning, the motives behind Western interest in Indian Philosophy were mainly of two kinds: the rulers wanted to understand the culture and religions of the ruled in order to govern them without hurting their religious sentiments, and thus with the least friction; and secondly. Christian missionaries wanted converts and studied the religions and philosophies of the latter in order to find out defects in them and uphold the superiority of Christianity. But whatever be the motives and however biased the scholarship in the beginning, genuine academical interest in the philosophical literature of India came to be evinced, thanks to the work of men like Max Müller, Deussen, Rhys Davids, etc., and vast stores of Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina philosophical literature were unearthed not only in India but also outside. It should, however, be said that academical philosophers of the West did not take serious interest in Indian Philosophy as such; and not a single Indian philosophical concept has entered till now the discussions of Western technical philosophy, Schopenhauer was an exception: he made serious use of the concept of Maya. (shrink)
The problem of the individual has had both logical and metaphysical interest and is as old as Plato in the West and Gautama and Kanäda in the East. It is still a controversial problem for logicians and metaphysicians alike, and is now-a-days complicated by the change in meaning and also by the inherent ambiguity of the terms individual and particular.
The aim of this paper is not to enter into a detailed discussion of the nature of the Absolute and the Individual, but to show that on the Hegelian conception of the Absolute the individual self is not saved. Hegel is fond of reiterating that his Absolute is not a bare one, but a one in many, an organic whole, a perfect and harmonious system of an infinite number of individual selves. The individual, as in Spinoza and Schelling, does not (...) lose itself in the Absolute. The latter is not a lion's den into which all animals enter but from which none returns, not a mere darkness in which all cows are black, but a system of different individuals. (shrink)