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Profile: Shyam Ranganathan (York University)
  1. Reply to Nicholas Gier.Shyam Ranganathan - 2007 - Philosophy East and West 57 (4):564-566.
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  2.  39
    Vedānta, Śaṅkara and Moral Irrealism (Ethics-1, M10).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    This and the following lessons cover the topic of Vedānta and ethics. Vedānta has two meanings. The first is the literal sense – “End of Vedas” – and refers to the Āraṇyakas and Upaniṣads—the latter part of the Vedas. The second sense of “Vedanta” is a scholastic one, and refers to a philosophical orientation that attempts to explain the cryptic Vedānta Sūtra (Brahma Sūtra) of Bādarāyaṇa, which aims at being a summary of the End of the Vedas. We shall pursue (...)
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  3.  22
    Nāgārjuna and Madhyāmaka Ethics (Ethics-1, M32).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    Nāgārjuna’s “middle path” charts a course between two extremes: Nihilism, and Absolutism, not unlike earlier Buddhism. However, as early Buddhists countinanced constituents of reality as characterizable by essences while macroscopic objects lack such essences, Nāgārjuna argues that all things lack what he calls svabhāva – “own being” – the Sanskrit term for essence. Since everything lacks an essence, it is Empty (śūnya). To lack an essence is to lack autonomy. The corollary of this is that all things are interrelated. The (...)
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  4.  10
    From Philosophy to Ethics (Ethics-1, M01).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Dehli: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    This is the first lesson of the MA level 1 course in Ethics, which spans the European and Asian traditions. This lesson consists of three main components: Part 2 concerns the discipline of philosophy – its scope and aim. Part 3 is an elaboration of philosophy, the discipline, as an exploration of the GOOD and the RIGHT. This is called “ethics” or “moral philosophy.” In Sanskrit, these explorations fall under the heading of dharma. In Part 4 we shall address some (...)
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  5.  7
    Patañjali’s Yoga: Universal Ethics as the Formal Cause of Autonomy.Shyam Ranganathan - 2017 - In The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 177-202.
    Yoga is a nonspeciesist liberalism, founded in a moral non-naturalism, which identifies the essence of personhood as the Lord, defined by unconservative self-governance—an abstraction from each of us that is non-proprietary. According to Yoga, the right is defined as the approximation of the regulative ideal (the Lord) and the good is the perfection of this practice, which delivers us from a life of coercion into a personal world of freedom. It is an alternative to Deontology, Consequentialism, and Virtue Ethics, which (...)
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  6.  6
    Interpretation, Explication and Secondary Sources.Shyam Ranganathan - 2017 - In The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 103-122.
    This chapter serves as a conclusion to the opening part of this book: Western Imperialism, Indology, and Ethics. The topics covered in this opening part traverse the issues involved in the study of philosophy: these pertain to the philosophy of thought, language, translation theory, moral semantics, culture, imperialism, and proper procedure for research.
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  7.  6
    Moral Philosophy: The Right and the Good.Shyam Ranganathan - 2017 - In The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 5-34.
    I contrast the methodology that prioritizes truth—interpretation—with the prioritization of objectivity—explication. Explication, the cornerstone of philosophy, allows us to identify the basic concept ETHICS and DHARMA as what theories of ethics and dharma disagree about: THE RIGHT OR THE GOOD. This is objective: what we converge on while we disagree. Four basic moral theories that differ on this concept are: Virtue Ethics, Consequentialism (both teleological), Deontology and Bhakti/Yoga (both procedural). They are mirror images of each other. If we explicate Indian (...)
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  8.  6
    Kant: Freedom, Determinism and Obligation (Ethics-1, M23).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    In this module, I first explore the dialectic that leads to Kant’s substantive moral theory. In the second section, I explicate the roots of Kant’s ethical theory in terms of his attempt to resolve the antinomy of freedom and determinism. Kant’s solution is a Normative Compatibilism that resolves the inconsistency via morality, in general, and self-governance in particular. As noted in our lesson on Yoga, this is a strategy that Yoga endorses, and hence, predates the Kantian approach by over a (...)
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  9.  5
    Lao Tzu's Ethics: Taoism (Ethics-1, M35).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    This module is a review of the guiding ideas of Lao Tzu’s ethics of wu wei and the Tao, an account of Lao Tzu’s prioritisation of the feminine as a basic moral principle, the problem of masculinity for practical rationality, his criticism of language, doctrines and oppressive politics. Finally, we shall evaluate the moral import of Lao Tzu’s teachings, and close with some reflections on the synergy between Taoist and Madhyamaka Buddhist thought, which rendered the latter so easily received in (...)
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  10.  5
    The Scope of Moral Philosophy (Ethics-1, M02).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Dehli: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    In this lesson we review the philosophical foundations of ethics as a sub-field of philosophy. Ethics, moral or dharma philosophy is the confluence of dissenting theories and what they have in common as they disagree is the basic concept of ETHICS/DHARMA: THE RIGHT OR THE GOOD. Every theory of ethics or dharma is an account of this concept from some perspective. This allows us to identify three varieties of moral philosophical investigation: applied ethics, normative ethics and metaethics. It also involves (...)
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  11.  15
    Ethics and the History of Indian Philosophy.Shyam Ranganathan - 2007, 2017(2Ed.) - Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.
    Ethics and the History of Indian Philosophy (Motilal Banarsidass 2007). Regretfully, it is not an uncommon view in orthodox Indology that Indian philosophers were not interested in ethics. This claim belies the fact that Indian philosophical schools were generally interested in the practical consequences of beliefs and actions. The most popular symptom of this concern is the doctrine of karma, according to which the consequences of actions have an evaluative valence. Ethics and the History of Indian Philosophy argues that the (...)
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  12.  9
    Review of The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography, by David Gordon White.Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - Philosophy East and West 66 (3):1043-1048.
    In this short review, I provide a philosopher's assessment of White's book. It claims to be a study of the life of the Yoga Sutra, but is rather an account of secondary opinions, as though that amounts to the same thing as an account of the Yoga Sutra.
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  13.  4
    Confucius’s Ethics (Ethics-1, M34).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    Confucius, being one of the earliest of Chinese philosophers that we know of, seems uniquely responsible for setting the tone of Chinese philosophy. His focus on ethical questions of the Way no doubt serves as a reminder of the type of perennial questions that philosophers should answer. In this module, I outline the main concepts of the Analects, followed by an elaboration on the central Confucian ethical doctrines: The doctrine of the Mean, Filial Piety, Patriarchal Hierarchy and the Golden Rule. (...)
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  14.  4
    Kantian Ethics: Indian Responses (Ethics-1, M24).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    In this lesson, I review critical responses to Kant that can be understood as having non-Western, Indian roots. One criticism is articulated by the famous contemporary moral philosopher, Thomas Nagel. While Nagel is not a Buddhist, his criticism of Kant’s ethics is Buddhist in essence. The other response is based on an appreciation of the philosophy of Yoga. Yoga and Kantian thought are both versions of a kind of moral philosophy, which we could call Explanatory Dualism. Moreover, Yoga and Kantian (...)
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  15.  3
    The West, the Primacy of Linguistics, and Indology.Shyam Ranganathan - 2017 - In The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 59-84.
    Why are we saddled with Eurocentric Interpretation, which results in the depiction of Nonwestern thought as religious, and bereft of serious moral theory, while the history of European thought is depicted as the content of secular reason? Interpretation as a mode of explanation is part and parcel with the dominant account of thought originating in Europe as the meaning of language. Interpretation is imperialistic. As it spreads, so too does the European outlook, rendering anything deviant inexplicable and mysterious. Orthodox Indology, (...)
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  16.  3
    Yoga: Moral Freedom, Objectivity and Truth (Ethics-1, M39).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    In this module lesson on Patañjali ’s Yoga Sūtra (I am relying upon my translation, listed in the bibliography: Patañjali 2008), I shall explore Yoga’s critical response to Western moral theory. Yoga was not part of the Western tradition and the author or authors of the Yoga Sūtra were not responding to Western moralists Nevertheless, what Patañjali, the legendary author of the Yoga Sūtra, has to say about moral standing and reason serves as a response to standard accounts on those (...)
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  17.  3
    Ethics and Reality (Ethics-1, M06).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    In this lesson, I explore three areas of intersection between ethics and metaphysics: accounts of the self, the reality of value, and basic distinctions in ethical theory. I compare the account of the self as a chariot from the Kaṭha Upaniṣad (Deontology), early Buddhism from Questions of King Milinda (Consequentialism), and Plato's Phaedrus (Virtue Ethics). In each case, the metaphysical model is continuous with the moral theory of the same perspective and adopted to accommodate the moral theory. I also compare (...)
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  18.  47
    Of Language, Translation Theory and a Third Way in Semantics.Shyam Ranganathan - 2007 - Essays in Philosophy 8 (1):1.
    Translation theory and the philosophy of language have largely gone their separate ways (the former opting to rebrand itself as “translation studies” to emphasize its empirical and anti-theoretical underpinnings). Yet translation theory and the philosophy of language have predominately shared a common assumption that stands in the way of determinate translation. It is that languages, not texts, are the objects of translation and the subjects of semantics. The way to overcome the theoretical problems surrounding the possibility and determinacy of translation (...)
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  19.  2
    Three Vedāntas: Three Accounts of Character, Freedom and Responsibility.Shyam Ranganathan - 2017 - In The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 249-274.
    Indian thought is often said to be concerned with ethics (dharma) that leads to freedom (mokṣa). Either this means that we should treat freedom as the end that justifies the ethical life (Consequentialism), or that the ethical life is the procedure that causes freedom (Proceduralism). The history of Vedānta philosophy—philosophy of the latter part of the Vedas—largely endorses the latter option via the “moral transition argument” (MTA): a dialectic that takes us from teleology to proceduralism. It is motivated by a (...)
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  20.  2
    Yoga and Sāṅkhya: Freedom Versus Determinism (Ethics-1, M38).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    The Yoga Sūtra (YS) is perhaps the most popular book of Indian philosophy today the world over. It is widely regarded by practitioners of Yoga as a conceptual manual for yoga and there are several competing translations of the work on the market. Yet, the Yoga Sūtra is also widely regarded as a difficult text to read. It is written in a dense, aphoristic, sūtra format. In the introductory section, I tackle the question of methodology in reading the Yoga Sūtra. (...)
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  21.  2
    Ethics and Religion (Ethics-1, M03).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    This lesson explores the relationship between ethics and religion. There is a tradition of thinking that religion takes explanatory priority in ethics, but there is a counter tradition of philosophy that shows that philosophical questions of the right or the good take priority over religious questions: without answering the philosophical question we are not in a position to endorse a religious tradition as right or good. But on a global scale the issue is fraught with the realities of the colonial (...)
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  22.  2
    Early Buddhism I: Metaethics (Ethics-1, M-30).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    Metaethics is that part of moral philosophy that is interested in the conceptual resolution of the relationship between the RIGHT and the GOOD. Metaethics is, hence, one step removed from practical questions of how to live—but not disconnected from them. Our investigation will begin with the early Buddhist account of language as meaningful for intersubjective reasons. This gives rise to a critical awareness of the correspondence between linguistic meaning and reality. The correspondence is outside of our control, but also structured (...)
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  23.  2
    Jainism I: Metaethics (Ethics-1, M36).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    In this module I explore some the points of convergence between early Buddhist and Jain doctrine. Buddhism is a form of Consequentialism, as noted in our other modules. Jainism rather holds the distinct philosophical thesis: the essence of the self is virtue. Jainism is a version of Virtue Ethics. The implications of this radical Virtue Theory is that action is a confusion, and morality (dharma) is movement away from activity. In the fifth section, we shall wrap up with observations in (...)
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  24.  2
    Vedānta – Rāmānuja and Madhva: Moral Realism and Freedom Vs. Determinism (Ethics 1, M11).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    Vedānta has two meanings. The first is the literal sense – “End of Vedas” – and refers to the Āraṇyakas and Upaniṣads—the latter part of the Vedas. The second sense of “Vedanta” is a scholastic one, and refers to a philosophical orientation that attempts to explain the cryptic Vedānta Sūtra (Brahma Sūtra) of Bādarāyaṇa, which aims at being a summary of the End of the Vedas. In the previous module, I review the ethics of the End of the Vedas and (...)
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  25.  8
    Does Kant Hold That Ought Implies Can?Shyam Ranganathan - 2010 - In J. Sharma & A. Raguramaraju (eds.), Grounding Morality. Routledge. pp. 60-87.
    Undergraduate students of philosophy are often told that Kant is famous for teaching us that “ought implies can,” and furthermore that this principle implies that it makes no sense to tell someone that they ought to do something if they do not have the ability to execute the action in question. It is thus surprising to find that the words “ought implies can” do not appear conspicuously in popular English translations of Kant’s main moral philosophical texts (such as the Groundwork, (...)
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  26.  31
    An Archimedean Point for Philosophy.Shyam Ranganathan - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (4):479-519.
    According to the orthodox account of meaning and translation in the literature, meaning is a property of expressions of a language, and translation is a matching of synonymous expressions across languages. This linguistic account of translation gives rise to well-known skeptical conclusions about translation, objectivity, meaning and truth, but it does not conform to our best translational practices. In contrast, I argue for a textual account of meaning based on the concept of a TEXT-TYPE that does conform to our best (...)
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  27.  9
    Philosophy of Language, Translation Theory and a Third Way in Semantics.Shyam Ranganathan - 2007 - Essays in Philosophy 8 (1).
    In this paper I address anew the problem of determinacy in translation by examining the Western philosophical and translation theoretic traditions of the last century. Translation theory and the philosophy of language have largely gone their separate ways . Yet translation theory and the philosophy of language predominantly share a common assumption that stands in the way of determinate translation. It is that languages, not texts, are the objects of translation and the subjects of semantics. The way to overcome the (...)
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  28.  31
    Hindu Philosophy.Shyam Ranganathan - 2005 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The compound “Hindu philosophy” is ambiguous. Minimally it stands for a tradition of Indian philosophical thinking. However, it could be interpreted as designating one comprehensive philosophical doctrine, shared by all Hindu thinkers. The term “Hindu philosophy” is often used loosely in this philosophical or doctrinal sense, but this usage is misleading. There is no single, comprehensive philosophical doctrine shared by all Hindus that distinguishes their view from contrary philosophical views associated with other Indian religious movements such as Buddhism or Jainism (...)
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  29.  12
    Justification and the Truth-Connection Clayton Littlejohn Cambridge University Press, 2012; 269 Pp. $100.95 (Hardback). [REVIEW]Shyam Ranganathan - 2013 - Dialogue 52 (2):413-415.
    In this review, I summarize Littlejohn's excellent contribution and share some of my concerns.
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  30.  1
    Philosophy, Religion and Scholarship.Shyam Ranganathan - 2017 - In The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 35-58.
    In this chapter I respond to objections that we should shift our focus from truth to objectivity, from prejudice to research, and from doctrine to disciplinarity. Disciplines are the same practice from differing perspectives and they allow us to triangulate on objects of interest. This entails that objects are discipline relative, and hence the insertion of social scientific concerns in the study of philosophy, as is common place in Indology, is groundless. Having entertained and shown that disciplines aside from philosophy (...)
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  31.  1
    Ethics and Knowledge (Ethics-1, M05).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    In this lesson I explore the question of moral epistemology by way of the thought of Plato, Aristotle and the Pūrva Mīmāṃsā tradition.
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  32.  17
    The Virtue of Nonviolence (Review).Shyam Ranganathan - 2007 - Philosophy East and West 57 (1):115-120.
  33.  16
    Ramanuja.Shyam Ranganathan - 2004 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Rāmānuja (ācārya), the eleventh century South Indian philosopher, is the chief proponent of Vishishtādvaita, which is one of the three main forms of the Orthodox Hindu philosophical school, Vedānta. As the prime philosopher of the Vishishtādvaita tradition, Rāmānuja is one of the Indian philosophical tradition’s most important and influential figures. He was the first Indian philosopher to provide a systematic theistic interpretation of the philosophy of the Vedas, and is famous for arguing for the epistemic and soteriological significance of bhakti, (...)
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  34. Beyond Moral Twin Earth: Beyond Indology.Shyam Ranganathan - 2017 - In The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 85-102.
    The Linguistic Account of Thought holds that thought is the meaning of declarative sentences. According to Linguistic Internalism, two languages can share sentential meanings and hence express the same thought. According to Linguistic Particularism, thought content is relative to languages and is not shared. We can contrast these two accounts of thought with a third: the intension of a thought is a common disciplinary use of differing meaningful claims, and the extension of a thought is the collection of sentences or (...)
     
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  35. Early Buddhism II: Applied Ethics (Ethics-1, M31).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    In the previous module, I covered the basics of Early Buddhist metaethics. The core ideas here are: (1) linguistic representation is not the same as reality – linguistic representation depicts reality as static, but reality is relational and dynamic; (2) reality can drift away from linguistic representation causing disappointment – duḥkha; (3) choosing wisely now can result in a better future; (4) ethical choice involves appreciating the justifying relations of states of affairs. In this module, I explore the Four Noble (...)
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  36.  7
    Ethics-1, of Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala.Shyam Ranganathan (ed.) - 2016 - Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    The Department of Higher Education of the Government of India has created the e-PG Pathshala Program: an e-Graduate School initiative, consisting of free, online resources (essay-lectures, video lectures, and PowerPoint notes) for Master’s level education. Each course consists of about 30 to 40 lessons. Ethics-1 is the first year MA course in Ethics. All contributions were peer reviewed. This is the first historical survey of moral theory that spans the European and Asian traditions, and gives equal prominence to contributions from (...)
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  37. Jainism II: Normative and Applied Ethics (Ethics-1, M37).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    Normative ethics concerns the practical resolution of questions about the right and the good. Applied ethics concerns the case-based resolution of questions of the right and the good. In this module, we look at the implications of the radical Virtue Theory of Jainism for practical questions, such as life decisions, occupations, and diet –-- questions of normative and applied ethics. The Jain position is that the self is defined by virtue, and hence action (karma) is derivative and not essential to (...)
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  38. No Title Available: Dialogue.Shyam Ranganathan - 2013 - Dialogue 52 (2):413-415.
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  39.  6
    Patanjali's Yoga Sutra.Shyam Ranganathan - 2008 - Penguin Books.
    Patañjali’s Yoga Sutra (second century CE) is the basic text of one of the nine canonical schools of Indian philosophy. In it the legendary author lays down the blueprint for success in yoga, now practiced the world over. Patañjali draws upon many ideas of his time, and the result is a unique work of Indian moral philosophy that has been the foundational text for the practice of yoga since. The Yoga Sutra sets out a sophisticated theory of moral psychology and (...)
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  40.  13
    The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics.Shyam Ranganathan (ed.) - 2017 - Bloomsbury Academic.
    Featuring leading scholars from philosophy and religious studies, The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics dispels the myth that Indian thinkers and philosophers were uninterested in ethics. -/- This comprehensive research handbook traces Indian moral philosophy through classical, scholastic Indian philosophy, pan-Indian literature including the Epics, Ayurvedic medical ethics, as well as recent, traditionalist and Neo-Hindu contributions. Contrary to the usual myths about India (that Indians were too busy being religious to care about ethics), moral theory constitutes the paradigmatic differentia (...)
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  41. Vedas and Upaniṣads.Shyam Ranganathan - 2017 - In T. Angier (ed.), The History of Evil in Antiquity (2000BCE-450CE). New York: Routledge.
    This chapter explores the role of evil in the development of the Vedas and Upaniṣads. The Vedas and the Upaniṣads, or the Vedas are the repository of veda of the early Indo-European peoples of South Asia. Written and collected over a thousand-year period, from 1500 BCE to 500 BCE, the Vedas says many things about evil. However, the corpus presents a philosophical shift from naturalism to non-naturalism that also mirrors a shift from Consequentialism to Deontology. The problem with naturalism on (...)
     
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