Sunday, September 27, 2015

Matilal, Daya Krishna, and Ganeri

Christian Coseru on 23 September 2015 at 10:42 pm said: 
I agree on there being an apparent asymmetry, but I think it’s rather between Buddhism-centric versus, say, Vaidika-centric approaches... There are perhaps some philosophical reasons as well, having to do with trends and perceived affinities:
1. Nyāya was better received when philosophy of language and Gettier problems were all the rage in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, much like Vedānta appealed to early generations still under the spell of Hegel and Bradley. Philosophy of religion has been on a decline for sometime (in philosophy programs), which might explain why it’s been hard to rally a lot of support for Mīmāṃsā scholarship. On the other hand, philosophy of mind and moral psychology have taken off, so studies in Buddhist Abhidharma and Buddhist theories of mind in general have found a niche.
2. The sort of hybrid or fusion-philosophy championed by Matilal, it seems, has worked better for Buddhist than Vaidika philosophy, resulting in more representation and better reception in the mainstream for the former.
3. Finally, philosophers trained in both the analytic and Continental traditions are therefore much more likely to engage with Buddhist or Chinese philosophy than with Indian/Vaidika philosophy.

The meeting of philosophical cultures seldom happens on equal footing: A hellenized Jew like Philo of Alexandria found new ways to articulate his ancestors’s lore in the language of Homer and Plato, just like Paramārtha learned to conceive of the phenomenology of first-person experience in the language of South China intellectual elites.
Matilal stands in a long lineage of (mostly Bengali) intellectual elites re-conceiving their philosophical insights in the language of Hume and the lexicon of Western philosophy. Unfortunately (or, depending on your perspective, fortunately), a great deal of work in Indian philosophy has taken the Daya Krishna route, generating needless anxiety among those daring to do write in an ‘alien idiom’ (‘Anybody who is writing in English is not an Indian philosopher’). Contrast that with the Buddhist penchant for vernaculars and hybrids (from ‘Buddhist Sanskrit’ to ‘Buddhist English’). That’s why we now have ‘analytic Buddhist philosophy’ and ’Buddhist philosophy of mind’ and interesting neologisms like pramāṇavāda. If it were not for Matilal, Ganeri and a handful of others, we would not be talking about ‘analytic philosophy in early modern India’.

Hinduism is complex to explain and can hardly be “scholarship” worthy when it is actually practiced by many people. Buddhism on the other hand has an eclectic feel to it. There seem to be no pagan rituals or mythological/historical characters to understand the philosophy of Hinduism.
Buddhism on first look is about monks who have renounced few things in life and are scholars on mind. People would get attracted to study Buddhism over Hinduism especially for a Western mind which have trouble understanding multiple Gods.Buddhism has a founder Buddha and he has disciples and between all of them produced lot of literature . Sounds very familiar to what Westerners would describe as a religion and can safely add to their repertoire of different thoughts be it Judaism,Christianity or Islam. Coming to Hinduism no definition fits. There is no founder, there is no central text and to top it every one practices it in their own way. The only reaction to complexity is to either simplify it to known memes which some research on Hinduism does or ignore it. 
Hinduism is not about one person. We think of Sankara as the intellectual answer to Buddha from Hinduism but his thought system is not the dominant one , or of Ramanjuacharya and Madhvacharya. There is Bhakti school of thought which is the present dominant way of expression. If only Hinduism was about Sankaracharya as founder, his Gita bhashya as main book and rest of his teachings like Vivekachudamani, Updesa Shasri as books to be read by serious followers. Hinduism would have had huge amount of modern scholarship. Unfortunately , that is just small part of it.
Similar problem exists in the world of economics, people like the elegant perfect models and study so much on it. The real practical world never really fits those elegant definitions. Most economists ignore the real world but do continue adding to the elegant model world with wonderful, complex math producing hundreds of thesis. Buddhism produces such wonderful economists.Hinduism just lives.

Feb 24, 2014 - Although works such as Roy Rappaport’s Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity (1999) began to lay the ground for a more nuanced treatment, the publication of Robert Bellah’s groundbreaking new work, Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age (2011), signals a new era in the study of long-term religious and cultural history in which scientific, social-scientific and historical approaches can be properly brought into conversation.
One of the key figures behind Bellah’s work is evolutionary psychologist Merlin Donald, who spoke with Jack Tsonis at the 2013 AAR meeting in Baltimore about his paper “Ritual, Religion, and the Drama of Daily Life: The continued dominance of mimetic representation”. 

Buy Religion in Human Evolution - From the Paleolithic to the Axial ... Robert Bellah
The evolution of religions in human societies 4 January 2012 By W. Cheung - The main bulk and main theme of the book (pages 175-566) describe how the structure of a society influences that of its religion, and vice versa - this is the "evolution" bit in the title. There is a sense that the very first communities were comparatively egalitarian. Then hierarchies developed but later on more "democratic" and thus more "egalitarian" cultures prevailed again. The author claims that we can observe similar developments in their associated religions. Examples to illustrate this are drawn from ancient Middle East, Greece, China and India.
After expounding all of the above views, in the conclusion (Ch.10), the author exalts religious pleuralism and tolerance and thus finishes the tome. So what's the verdict? This is a giant behemoth at times almost chaotic that is worthwhile to conquer but it will take much time and effort.

The Organisational Cycle: The Age of Reasoning (Part 2) - Continued from Part 1 Published in August 2015 issue of Sraddha, Vol. 7 (1), pp. 134-157. FAILURE OF THE CONVENTIONAL STAGE As indicated in some of the ope...

I’ve recently been talking to a number of folks associated with Integral Yoga who are interested in a deeper conversation about how IY relates to therapy and to psychology in general. I hope some of you who are interested might be interested in participating in a conversation here in the comments section (as far as I know, the comments are essentially unlimited – also, if you want to add a guest blog, you’re more than welcome).
Jan (my wife) and I are very much focused now on getting our website store online. We have a “text only” website – – and plan to have audio and video up soon. The site focuses a great deal on Dan Siegel’s particular formulation of what he calls “interpersonal neurobiology” – a fancy term meaning not only are our mind and body seamlessly connected but we’re all connected “interpersonally” as well – with each other, and in fact, with the world, and the whole universe. Though not “IY” – it is to me truly remarkable that psychology and neuroscience has arrived at a point where, if they took just a few steps further, they might really step past the threshold of materialist bias.

The Aim of the Integral Yoga - In order to appreciate the relation of the traditional practices of the Yoga of knowledge to the focus of the seeker of the integral Yoga, we must first ap...

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