Philosophical Papers. Vol 08 (March 2011) : [17] Collection home page


We are obliged to the members of the editorial board for painstakingly correcting the drafts of the contributors. We are thankful to our esteemed colleague, Prof. Raghunath Ghosh, the academic coordinator of our SAP (DRS-II) programme of UGC for his support and suggestions. Our other colleagues Prof. Kantilal Das, Dr. Koushik Joardar, Dr. Anirban Mukherjee, Dr. Nirmal Kumar Roy and Mr. N. Ramthing in the department have earnestly supported us in bringing out this volume, for which we are thankful to them. Thanks to the University Grants Commission, our Honourable Vice-Chancellor, Development Officer and Finance Officer for providing and helping us with the financial grant. Our sincere thank goes to the University Press, for publishing this volume. There are three classical arguments for the existence of God, namely, the ontological, the cosmological and the physico-theological (teleological). The ontological proof argues for the necessary existence of a supremely perfect being solely through its concepts. Subirranjan Bhattacharya considers Kant’s treatment of the ontological argument and divides his arguments into four sections. In the first section, a brief formulation of the ontological argument as given by St. Anselm and Descartes has been stated. In the second section, he explained the arguments offered by Kant against the ontological argument. In the third section, he intends to consider one of the objections of Shaffer against Kant’s view and show that this objection is due to complete misunderstanding of Kant. And in the concluding section, he makes a few elucidations on the connection between Kant’s theory of knowledge and his critique of the ontological argument. The concept of social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. There is a wide acceptance that social structure from Indian perspective is ridden with castes and communities, and that this has led to barriers and segregation and condemnation of obnoxious vice of social inequalities and untouchability. Raghunath Ghosh uses the term ‘justice’ alone that can convey the desired meaning as a social being alone can do justice. However, ‘justice’ for him is always a social phenomenon and hence, there cannot be ‘justice’ which is social. ‘Justice’ in the above-mentioned sense is frequently found in different philosophical literature available in ancient Indian tradition starting from the Vedas, Upanisads and Śrutis to the Pitakas of Buddhism. Ritual is understood as the routine of worship. However, outside the domain of religion any formalized social interaction may be characterized as ritual. In recent years there has been a spate of literature, written mainly by anthropologists, relating rituals to performative utterances conceived and so-called by the English philosopher, J.L.Austin. Manjulika Ghosh attempts to link up Austin’s concept of performatives to understand ritual acts. For that purpose, she divided her discussions into three sections. In the first section, she defines the concept of ritual. In the second, she has outlined the nature of performative utterances. In the last section she tried to make a link between rituals and performatives. She concludes: the great insight of the speech act theory and its relevance for rituals is that it brings back language to the collective scene of human community. An objective basis for morality can be found in an evolutionary account of its origin and development. Morality is a key factor in the success of human groups whether in competition or in co-existence with each other. One of Kant’s formulations of moral theories, say for example, is the ‘Categorical Imperative.’ It is commonly known as the ‘Formula of Humanity.’ It commands us to “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in any other person, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means.” In recent years, this moral principle has become extremely popular not only among the self-proclaimed Kantians but also among those who are unwilling to accept Kant’s moral theory. It is popular among contemporary Kantians because the content of its command promises to enrich a theory commonly associated with formalistic rationality. It is popular among the non-Kantians because of the values that float in uncertainty of this command are values that vibrate with us when we must make life-altering decisions about medical treatment, personal interactions, and social policy. Kantilal Das critically explores in what sense and how far Kantian moral theory is claimed to be universalizable, although contested. It is a fact that death is an important feature of human experience. Yet, while the event of death is purely beyond human control, the process of dying has increasingly been brought into the domain of medication and life-extending technologies. The decision to use life-extending technologies is a moral choice, because it involves a decision about a fundamental human good, the preservation and intrinsic/inherent value of life. Yet, in some circumstances, to choose for a technology to stave off death comes at the price of compromising another fundamental human value, i.e. the quality of that life. Decisions about continuing treatment for the dying, or of allowing death to take place by foregoing or terminating such treatment, or even by physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia, are thus, both existentially and ethically agonizing. Jyotish Chandra Basak makes an effort to trace the origin of the controversy that takes us back from the ancient Greeks like Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle to the contemporary period. He tries to say that if voluntary euthanasia were accepted as a legitimate form of medical assistance in dying, then it must be acceptable for noncompetent patients. By legalizing voluntary active euthanasia, one must bite the bullet and also accept nonvoluntary active euthanasia or must concede that if nonvoluntary active euthanasia is regarded as too dangerous or unpalatable, then this is a valid and cogent reason for rejection of voluntary active euthanasia as well. The Naiyāyikas unanimously accept that tarka is not an independent instrument of knowledge; rather it is just a condition for it. That is why for the Naiyāyikas, tarka itself is not a pramāna but a promoter to a pramāna. Sometimes tarka plays the role of a promoter to a pramāna and it does not establish that tarka can not be an independent pramāna itself. Nirmal Kumar Roy attempts to deal with the view of Jayatirtha regarding the nature and role of tarka. Especially he focuses on the probable answer that may be put forward from the part of the Nyāya school against the position of Jayatirtha in particular and that of the Mādhvas’ school in general. In his concluding remarks, he mentioned that how tarka helps in eliminating the impediment and thereby becomes an auxiliary factor to an accredited organ of knowledge. The central question of philosophy is ‘where does man find his good’? It seems that it is not possible to achieve the highest good in the arena of worldly scene because the world is considered unreal by Indian Philosophers. If life has no value at all then all our efforts are meaningless and it would be mere mechanical actions like robots. But Radhakrishnan refutes such charges and remarks vividly that human life has value in this earth. Bimal Chandra Pal describes the metaphysical standpoint of Radhakrishnan’s philosophy which can be considered as monistic idealism. The absolute reality which is present in the soul of man as its secret ground provides a driving force to that man to harness his life in this world. This purposive act of man makes human life valuable and worthy to live on earth. The value of life is to realize the divinity. For Radhakrishnan, in the ever growing flow of nature there is neither repose nor halt. Nature is never satisfied with the level it has reached. So our destination of life is to find out a meaningful way to overcome the present situation of life. In search of certainty and supreme reality our life is meaningful and worthy in this world. Environmental problems have expanding on a global scale. Ozone depletion and acid rain are examples of natural environmental destruction. Environmental pollution and pollution of food are examples of social environmental destruction. Modern people’s human-centred world-view and mental pathology are examples of mind-environmental destruction. Additionally, the endocrine disruption problem is the biggest current crisis affecting all life forms. If we are to solve environmental problems we must establish the principles of environmental ethics and life philosophy of the great personnel like Tagore, Gandhi, Vivekananda and of course Arne Naess and Aldo Leopold. This is the basis for environmental morals and the production of environmental philosophy. Sanghamitra Dasgupta attempts to show how Tagore’s views on environment provide a single motivating force for all the activities and movements aimed at saving planet Earth from human exploitation and domination. Philosophy is the systematic study of ideas and issues, a reasoned pursuit of fundamental truths, a quest for a comprehensive understanding of the world, a study of principles of conduct, and much more. Every domain of human experience raises questions to which its techniques and theories apply, and its methods may be used in the study of any subject or the pursuit of any vocation. In the concluding chapter of My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi opines that “to describe truth, as it has appeared to me, and in the exact manner, in which I have arrived at it, has been my ceaseless effort.” In these Gandhian words an effort to describe truth no doubt was there but what about truth as an experiment? Koushik Joardar tries to examine the concept of ‘Truth and truths’ and explains that Gandhi was certain of the Truth that he was experimenting with from the very beginning of his experiments and for him this Truth was God. Human beings have historically maintained animals for food production, labour, and companionship. Human history and the religious tradition to some extent portray human beings as being dominant over other life forms. For approximately the last three decades, attention paid to the issue of the moral consideration of animals has grown spectacularly. Moreover, this has been one field in which philosophers from Aristotle to Bernard Rollin have been particularly influential. Philosophers’ contributions have played an important role in the increase of social awareness of the issue which, in turn, has also fuelled the academic debate on it. In spite of this, this subject needs further development. Among other things, there is much work to do concerning the clarification of the philosophers’ view that would be necessary to examine properly. Laxmikanta Padhi tries to tackle this task by providing some classical as well as contemporary philosophical arguments both in support and against the moral status of animals that should play a more significant role. For him, debates in animal ethics are largely characterized by ethical monism, the search for a single, timeless, and essential trait in which the moral standing of animals can be grounded. The consequence of Rorty’s antirepresentationalism is his conversationalism that denies that the world-by-itself rationally constrains choices of vocabulary with which to cope with it. He claims to find a viable notion of interpretive constraint in the solidarity of interpretive communities. Sutapa Roy endeavours to outline Rorty’s sociological theory of knowledge, especially with reference to the notion of truth. According to Rorty, the persuasive power of the language of sciences comes not from its relation to reality, but from its historically contingent utility. Thus, we do not have access to any objective truth; all we have are the vocabularies we create. This would amount to recognition of what Rorty calls contingency of language, which means there is no way to step outside the various vocabularies employed and find a metavocabulary which sits in judgment over all the vocabularies. He intends to dispense with the notion of objective truth as correspondence to reality. Rorty is convinced that truth cannot be a goal of inquiry and hence it does not deserve the attention which philosophers have given to it. Metaphysics and epistemology are very closely interrelated in Samkara’s Advaita philosophy. In his epistemology Samkara expressed distrust for a kind of logical reasoning that is rhetorical and therefore was looking for a ‘metaphysical principle’ which was to be established solely on the basis of experience, though supplemented by logic as well. Surya Kanta Maharana in this regard, makes a humble attempt at understanding and examining the metaphysical position of Samkara pertaining to an enquiry into the metaphysical principle called as Brahman, the Supreme Being or Reality and its relation to the world. In this attempt, he further intends to submit that there is hardly any distinction between Reality, Self and Consciousness as they are synonymous to each other. Samkara asserts that everyone’s true Self is nothing other than Brahman, the Absolute Reality. Such an Absolute Reality is of the nature of Consciousness (Cit). It is a contentless consciousness in which there is no consciousness of either ‘I’ or ‘This’, ‘Aham’ or ‘Idam’. It is eternal, pure, unobjectified and distinctionless infinite-reality. It is a transcendental and a foundational consciousness with no distinction of ego and non-ego. In his Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein introduces a linguistic method which is therapeutic in nature. For Wittgenstein, “The philosopher’s treatment of a question is like a treatment of an illness.” A philosopher takes a curative measure while dealing with a philosophical question. In this sense, a philosopher is both a doctor and a patient. Like a doctor, he is aware of the root cause of philosophical problem, the very nature of it and then finds out a proper solution of it. Hasen Ali Ahemed by supporting Wittgensteinian approach attempts to show that so long a philosopher fails to understand the locus and nature of philosophical muddle, his solution to this problem would be ad hoc and superficial in nature. Language has many layers that transfer human cognition into various modes of thought. Because there are so many methods of language learning, it makes a huge coverage for language in terms of its capacity to promote cognition. Meaning is not only confined to the walls of verbal communication, it has several other aspects. Language produces awareness of aesthetic concepts, visual imagery, music and cinema. In every sector of life meaning has made its way, thought is shared into multifaceted forms, human development urges for more communicational efforts. We are always on the verge of expressing our ideas, be it by verbal or non-verbal mode. Purbayan Jha attempts to discuss a creationist approach to prove to the world that human beings have the most gifted art of expression, but whether our approach does succeed or not is a question to be pondered over. Husserl’s phenomenological analysis of meaning has come under severe criticisms from Jacques Derridea. Sudip Goswami undertakes a brief account of Edmund Husserl’s theory of meaning and present Derrida’s opposition to Husserl, explaining various ramifications. He discusses the phenomenological analysis of our appreciation of music in order to throw light on Derrida’s interpretation-cum-critique of Husserl. This will help us to evaluate Derrida’s criticism of Husserl and also we will be in a better position to trace the significance of the development of Husserl’s philosophical ideas with regard to meaning in particular and communication in general.


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Collection's Items (Sorted by Submit Date in Descending order): 1 to 17 of 17
Issue DateTitleAuthor(s)
2011-03Ranjan K. Ghosh: Great Indian Thinkers on Art: Creativity, Aesthetic Communication, and Freedom. Black and White (An Imprint of Sundeep Prakashan), Delhi, pp. viii+105, Rs. 295/-Dhar, Benulal
2011-03Ratna Datta Sharma: Nyayadarsane Nigrahastan, Jadavpur University, Kolkata in association with Mahabodhi Book agency, Kolkata , 2011, price: Rs.400/Ghosh, Raghunath
2011-03Meaning And Music: Some ReflectionsGoswami, Sudip
2011-03Art and Music in Language-game: Private Language Problem RevisitedJha, Purbayan
2011-03A Reflection on Wittgenstein’s Therapeutic PhilosophyAhemed, Hasen Ali
2011-03Metaphysics of Consciousness in Samkara’s AdvaitaMaharana, Surya Kanta
2011-03Rorty’s Sociology of KnowledgeRay, Sutapa
2011-03The Moral Status of AnimalsPadhi, Laxmikanta
2011-03Truth and truths: Experiments Gandhi MadeJoardar, Koushik
2011-03Environmental Concern and Rabindranath Tagore: Some ReflectionsDasgupta, Sanghamitra
2011-03The Value of life in Radhakrishnan’s PhilosophyPal, Bimal Chandra
2011-03Is Tarka Pramana or an Accessory to a Pramana?: Some ObservationsRoy, Nirmal Kumar
2011-03Ethical Issues about Voluntary EuthanasiaBasak, Jyotish Chandra
2011-03Moral Universalizability: A Kantian ApproachDas, Kanti Lal
2011-03Rituals and PerformativesGhosh, Manjulika
2011-03The Concept of Social Justice in the Srutis and DharmasastrasGhosh, Raghunath
2011-03On Kant’s Treatment of the Ontological ArgumentBhattacharya, Subirranjan
Collection's Items (Sorted by Submit Date in Descending order): 1 to 17 of 17