Philosophical Papers. Vol 10 (March 2014) : [27] Collection home page


The Department of Philosophy, University of North Bengal is honoured to dedicate the present volume of Philosophical Papers to Prof. Raghunath Ghosh, who has made the department one of the most vibrant departments of philosophy in India by devoting most of his service as a teacher to the students and academic society of this University. He has joined this Department when he was very young and gradually developed himself as one of the most well-known Indian Philosophers in India. His popularity among students is enviable. He has lectured in almost all the corners of India and visited several countries of Asia, Europe and America for academic purpose. He has successfully run as Coordinator of SAP (UGC), Buddhist Study Centre (UGC), Ambedkar Study Centre for over a decade. He has extended his support to the University as a whole even as an administrator and took the charge of Women’s Studies Centre, Department of Mass Communication, Business Management, UGC Academic Stuff College etc. He was twice the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Commerce and Law. But, besides his career as a philosopher, probably his most remarkable contribution is to act as a cementing factor and lead the department as a unit. Of course in this regard, we should not forget the support of the previous and present colleagues he enjoyed. The present volume is only a token of gratitude and love to Prof. Raghunath Ghosh from the colleagues, research scholars and students of this Department. This volume would not have been possible without the support of the contributors from outside this University. Everybody has tried to give their best out of their love and respect for Prof. Ghosh. When we go through the different uses of the words sat and asat within the Advaita metaphysics, we find that they are not used in a single sense. They are used in double senses: absolute and relative. When the words sat and asat are taken in both the senses to understand the nature of different entities recognized by the Advaita metaphysics. Jagat Pal in the ‘Ontological Status of Entities in Advaita Metaphysics: Some Critical Reflections’ attempts to show that when the words sat and asat are taken in absolute senses, they leave no ontological gap for any entity to occupy space inside or outside the categories. The reason is that because once a gap is created between being sat and being asat, that new space can be occupied by any entity different from sat and also different from asat; the new gap enhances the logical possibility of sadāsadvilakṣaṇā entities. Subirranjan Bhattacharya considers the question of immortality of human soul following Immanuel Kant in his ‘Kant on the Immortality of the Soul’. In this, he is mainly concerned about the negative aspect of Kantian argument in which Kant criticizes Rational Psychologists’ view that soul is a simple substance. The point of their argument is that only composites are destructible by breaking up into parts and the simple cannot be destructed because it has no parts. Kant objects that the simplicity of the soul is proved on the basis of empirical evidences but the soul is not an empirical substance. The soul belongs to noumenon and therefore it cannot be known to be a simple substance empirically. Prof Bhattacharya concludes that the immortality of the soul is not theoretically justifiable according to Kant and he thus makes room for faith in order to demonstrate the same. Truth does not lie either in eternalism or in nihilism as both are extreme theories. It lies in the middle position. But this middle way has been used mainly in ethical sense by the Theravādins. Nāgārjuna uses it in metaphysical sense. Dilip Kumar Mohanta in his ‘Nāgārjuna’s Madhyamā Pratipad’ makes it crystal clear that what is meant by śūnyatā by Nāgārjuna is meant by pratītyasamutpāda is also meant by upādāya prajñāpti, conceptual dependence. This is, in fact, Madhyamā Pratipad. In ontology it means going beyond both the extremes of absolute existence and absolute nonexistence. Psychologically it indicates a position beyond absolute views of substantiality and non-substantiality. Morally, it advocates a balanced position. From epistemological consideration, its import lies in a balanced means between ‘no knowledge-claim is certifiable’ and ‘every knowledge-claim is certifiable.’ In this sense it is multi-dimensional in import. Nirmalya Narayan Chakraborty in his contribution ‘Psychologism, Necessity and Indian Logic’ attempts to explore the issue whether Indian logic is psychologistic in nature. With a brief account of the debate regarding psychologism in the context of Western philosophy, he tries to argue that one can give an account of Indian logic that does not succumb to psychologism. He tries to show that Indian logic could be said to involve the idea of necessity, but it must be cautioned here that this Indian notion of necessity is different from the idea of logical necessity that we find in the Western philosophical tradition. If we can make a distinction between the source and justification of the idea of necessity, then perhaps one could argue that in so far as the justificatory aspect is concerned Indian logic could be said to involve necessity but, of course, in a qualified sense. Kantilal Das in his article argues for building up a world community on the basis of cross-cultural communication, because, for him, language derives its structure from culture. Prof. Das uses the word culture in a wider sense of human knowledge or world view. In his search for universal language the author considers Kuhn’s analysis to a great extent. However, like Kuhn, he is not concerned with specific artificial language, rather with the “language of world view” and has tried to overcome the problem of incommensurability. Koushik Joardar is in search of an answer to the question ‘Why should we act morally?’ That is, he is looking for a moral standard. In the present article, he clearly takes a consequentialist standpoint and ‘survival’ is his answer. One may detest biological survival as a moral standard but he has tried to justify his position and banks on ‘Hormic psychology’ of McDougall for his purpose. However, he surely does not intend to say that we should act for individual survival. Ram C. Majhi ascertains the moral permissibility of a right to die under special cases and physician’s obligation to honour it. There is such a right already recognised in the literature of philosophy and has been legally recognised by some countries under euthanasia. Recently India has recognised the legality of passive euthanasia. I am, however, looking for a general right to die that covers other cases as well, especially the cases of older people who wish to discontinue their life. The article ‘Painted Veil: The Art of Rabindranath Tagore’ of Manjulika Ghosh has two sections one dealing with the genesis of Tagore’s paintings and the other is author’s critical reflection on his art. Ghosh opines that probably it was failure of words as a medium of expression lead Tagore to painting. Tagore was a self-tutored artist and evolved a style of his own. She classifies Tagore’s paintings into three groups: figures of animals, face-studies and landscapes. The author considers several interpretations of Tagore’s Art and she suggests that his art “embraces all kinds of human meanings with no essential concept, beauty or sublime running through it”. Ghosh raises an interesting question regarding the relation between Art and beauty that needs a separate philosophical discussion and we look forward to get it from her in near future. The term ‘justice’ has now acquired a transnational character. But the journey of the concept of ‘Justice’ has started long back ever since human beings claimed themselves as civilized persons. In the Republic, it is stated, justice is ‘to render to each their due’. After John Rawls publication of A Theory of Justice the term receives a new turn of appreciation and criticisms from different fields of intellectuals. As globalization has reshaped our world in an unprecedented way, it is time now to ask what effects this globalization has bring on the citizens of an interconnected world. Whether it is at all possible to get global justice or it is a myth as some intellectuals demand. Debika Saha tries to analyze this question as viewed by Immanuel Kant and John Rawls against the backdrop of globalization. In defining Upamāna, Goutama, the founder of the Nyāya system, says that Upamāna is the instrument of valid knowledge of an object derived through its similarity with a well known object. No elaborate discussion about Upamāna is seen in the Sūtra of Goutama. But later on Vātsyāyana, the commentator of Nyāyasūtra explains it elaborately in his Nyāya Bhāsya. Nirmal Kumar Roy in ‘is Upamāna a Pramāṇa?’ Some Observations’ views that Upamāna is nothing but a case of an inference can be refuted following the definition of anumiti, the inferential cognition. Sanghamitra Dasgupta claims that today, not only the existence of human but of all the creatures on this planet is in question. To get rid of it varied reflections on the concept of environment are taking off from different directions. Thinkers of environment are in search of the way to move to ‘eco-centrism’ from ‘ego-centrism.’ The journey from the anthropocentric to the cosmo-centric is the other name of environmental ethics where the sense of ‘ecospheric belonging’ is emphasized and it is possible only by the concept of interdependence which the Norway-based philosopher Arne Naess has considered as a cognitive basis for the sense of ecospheric belonging. Interdependence is the central concept of the law of Dependent Origination of Buddhism. In her endeavour she tries to expose that from environmental perspective the law of Dependent Origination (Patītyasamudpāda), may provide the foundation of environmental ethics and can open a space for ‘ecospheric belonging’. The Buddhist Law of Nature is known as the law of Dependent Origination or patītyasamutpāda teaches that everything of the earth exists interdependently; and not independently. Within this model individual entities are said to be by their very nature conditional as well as relational and therefore, none have any exclusive and separate entity. According to Buddhism, craving (tanhā), which itself is the effect of ignorance or lack of wisdom, is the cause of all our suffering. Until and unless we can acquire such wisdom the environmental degradation will be continued. Buddhist ethics also provides ways to acquire environmental wisdom which is an expression of connection of the decentred self with the whole universe. This paper is a humble attempt to this direction. “What is Indian about Indian philosophy?” What is the goal of Indian Philosophy”? “What is the responsibility of Indian philosopher? And “What is the future of Indian philosophy?” These questions were raised some thirty years ago and are still debated. D. Balaganapathi in his essay attempts to show that all these questions and conceptions presuppose that there is a body of knowledge called Indian philosophy, which is comprehensively understood. According to him there is a monolithic structure of Indian philosophy available in its entirety to understand, interpret and comment. This monolith has ‘frozen into a definite mould with its distinctive doctrines which have remained the same since times immemorial with no changes in them.’ For Saswati Chakraborty, aesthetic experience reveals the emotional mood in knowledge. It is blissfully free from all barriers and is often experienced as pleasurable and desirable. It gives life its true worth and meaning. This experience or ānanda is in no way related to our mundane life; rather it is supernatural or lokattara. A beautiful piece of art object can provide us aesthetic delight or ānanda which is not confined to a particular space or time. Every presentation of drama, dance, music and painting is aimed at evoking in the minds of the audience or spectator a particular kind of aesthetic experience, which is characterised as rasa. The aim of art is the creation of rasa or aesthetic experience. Rasa or aesthetic experience that originates from all forms of art relieves man from their mundane grief or sorrow and make them partner of lokttara ānanda (transcendental pleasure). Smita Sirker argues that traditional theories of rationality mostly engage in providing rational principles of human decision-making that reveal valuable insights into our cognitive system. If these rational principles are proven to be correct, then they would offer universal normative principles governing the cognitive system. However, situated theories of cognition would consider such a move to be faulty in terms of its incompleteness. In other words, for the situated theories, the above mentioned approach sidelines (if not ignores) the interaction of the mind (the decision maker) and environment - thereby ruling out the possibility of any measures of adaptability of the agent in consideration to the limits or possibilities that the immediate situation may offer. Ngaleknao Ramthing in his contribution ‘Conflicts of Interests in Business’ deals with certain issues like, is the conflict of interest a conflict between the employers and the employees? Or is it a conflict between the professional ethics or code of conducts and the moral laws? Or still could it be a conflict of interest between the business firms and the society at large? In a conflict of interest, either two duties conflict or a duty conflicts with self-interest; in either case one ought to determine which interest serve the best interest of all by appealing to one’s own reason. It is strongly believed that duty to society or humanity in general ethically supersedes duty to stockholders. An attempt has been made to explain what conflict of interest is and how such conflict arises in business activities and how they adversely affect business behavior. It also aims to strike a balance between the welfare of the corporation and the welfare of the society at large on an objective basis. The function of education is inevitable for giving direction to this social reconstruction that we need desperately to solve our social problems and realize our ideals. Education helps to make us strong enough to look after ourselves in any given situation. It keeps us aware of our given surrounding as well as the rules and regulations of the society we are living in. Bimal Chandra Pal refers to Russell and Vivekananda on the role of education and concludes that education should be pupilcentered, and hence, the educational process is a means to an end, and not an end in itself. The students need to be treated as an end in themselves and not as means to some national or religious ends. Education should aim for the happiness of each student. Children should acquire knowledge for material gain as well as knowledge for intellectual pleasure. Both the thinkers believe that education is the best means to reconstruct our society because it can reform the human mind. The phrase ‘Practical Vedānta’ does not appear with any great frequency in Vivekananda’s recorded teaching. Perhaps, it is The Brahmavādin that incorporated an article entitled: “The Ethics of Vedanta’ asking for a ‘foundation of ethical distinctions’. Laxmikanta Padhi tries to claim that any argument of Swami Vivekananda’s moral thinking must center on his strong nationalism articulated within a rigid binary of East and West. Since the militaristic and materialistic ‘West’ had successfully established its supremacy in India, resistance consisted in carving out a different sphere of power for the ‘East’ in its spiritual resources. But the colonial encounter had also opened up native society to being questioned by European modernity. It was important for the self-assertion of colonized subjects that the spiritual traditions they claimed as their own be capable of cleaning up the ills of poverty, caste-conflict, oppression of widows, child marriage, and the many other drawbacks in Indian society pointed out by the British. Situated in this context, Vivekananda’s mission of Practical Vedanta is an attempt to make the abstract theory of Classical Advaita relevant for an ‘enlightened’ ethics and social progress. An analysis of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy gives us a profoundly philosophical account of his idea of man. The central question of Sri Aurobindo’s metaphysics is, ‘Why does the world exist?’ and ‘What is the purpose of our existence in the world?’ Swagata Ghosh discusses the endeavour by Sri Aurobindo and Rabindra Nath Tagore to find responses to such fundamental questions. Sri Aurobindo experiences that we are in a constant process of searching. We all are in pursuit of certain values and we feel that attainment of such values constitute the meaning of our lives. One such ideal is Perfection. In Aurobindo and Tagore, we find a deep analysis of the necessity of man’s body which eventually paves the way for realizing the consciousness or the true self in man. Generally people believe that happiness is the ultimate aim of life and they try to acquire property, money etc. for getting happiness. But some people say that property does not give happiness to man. Because, most of the rich people in the present world suffering from numerous physical and mental problems. On many occasions our attempt to attain our own happiness engages us in violence at the cost of unhappiness of others. Samar Kumar Mandal in his contribution refers to Advaita Vedānta and claims that people engage themselves in violence due to lack of self knowledge or ignorance. So we have to remove this ignorance if we want to attain free from any kind of violence and consequently, we have to remove the primal cause of it. We have seen that lack of proper knowledge is the source of all types of violence and the key to the solution of it is hidden in the ancient Vedānta philosophy. So, if we regulate our conduct in the spirit of Vedānta philosophy, many kinds of violence may be eradicated. Purbayan Jha in his article deals with the existentialist concept of being human. He points out how death as a fact in others’ life constitutes the facticity of my existence. The anxiety of the dasein as being in time towards death is well captured by Dr. Jha. Due to the misconception of dharma the division and mistrust among human beings has been spread throughout the country. Dharma makes us blind. It is overall noticed that a man belonging to a particular sect or religion does not tolerate others belonging to another sect or religion. This situation is not found in present day due to understanding the wider notion of dharmas. Ranjit Kumar Barman in ‘Dharma in the Sense of Morality: an Analysis’ stated that an individual without dharma in the sense of morality is a beast (Dharmena hῑnā paśubhiḥ samānāḥ). Sushabhan Deb Barman in his paper ‘Religious Experience and Communication’ cites about the problem of the communication of religious experience. Religious experience is understood as the experience of God or any other divine figure. It can range from the experience of God revealing himself to man, to the experience of being aware of God’s present or even a miracle. The problem of communication of religious experience this not so much of its being personal. It is about the mystic aspect of the expression which makes it inessable, i.e., incapable of expression, in ordinary language. Religious experience which carries the news of another world requires special linguistic devices, like myth, parable, metaphor, etc. Religious experience is thus communicable in a special language and can be shared by those who have the sensitivity to delve in to the beeper meaning behind the apparent meaning. While female infanticide has at times been necessary for survival of the communityat-large, there have also been instances where it has been related to the general societal prejudice against females which characterizes most male-dominated cultures. Many philosophers believe that infanticide is intrinsically wrong, and seriously sofor the same reason, and to the same degree, as the killing of an adult human being. Most, however, are content to appeal to the fact that virtually everyone fells that infanticide is seriously wrong. There is a serious question whether philosophers who make such an appeal are right about the facts. Bhaswati De in ‘Female Infanticide is an Infantilism in our Society’ claims that there are a number of possible responses to the worldwide problem of female feticide. The contribution entitled ‘The Free-will Debate’ by Juhi Routh is written from the existentialist point of view and she rightly states that human freedom cannot be discussed without explaining the concept of action. She seems to agree with Sartre that we cannot but free. To understand the nature of aesthetic judgement we need to know what Kant understands by judgement. Anup Kumar Das attempts to highlight Kant’s View on Aesthetic Judgement which is propounded in Critique of Judgement. In Critique of Pure Reason Kant claims that to judge is to apply a concept or rule to particulars. In the introduction of the third Critique Kant wishes to call that kind of judgement ‘determinant’ judgement. He distinguishes it from reflective judgement where the particulars are given and the rule or concept under which it falls has to be found or discovered. This distinction between determinant and reflective judgement is important because aesthetic judgements are treated as reflective judgements or judgements of reflections. Sutapa Goswami, one of the young scholars of the department is in search of the Cartesian concept of human being. She followed the Cartesian methodology, i.e. the method of doubt until cogito is arrived at. The article points to the fact that the Cartesian cogito is thinking in the inclusive sense and also that body is not wholly neglected by Descartes. Indrani Choudhury also one of the young scholars of the department deals with the concept of sāmānyalakṣaṇa as a super-normal means of knowing with special reference to Navya Nyāya. For her, it is one among the three types of super-normal connection technically called pratyāsatti or alaukika sannikarṣa.


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Collection's Items (Sorted by Submit Date in Descending order): 1 to 20 of 27
Issue DateTitleAuthor(s)
2014-04The Concept of Samanyalaksana Pratyasatti in NavyanyayaChoudhury, Indrani
2014-03The Cartesian Human BeingGoswami, Sutapa
2014-03Kant on the Nature of Aesthetic JudgementDas, Anup Kumar
2014-03The Free-will DebateRouth, Juhi
2014-03Female Infanticide is an Infantilism in our SocietyDe, Bhaswati
2014-03Religious Experience and CommunicationBarman, Sushabhan Deb
2014-03Dharma in the Sense of Morality: An AnalysisBarman, Ranjit Kumar
2014-03Death, Temporality and Individuality: An Existential OutlookJha, Purbayan
2014-03Vivekananda on the Genesis and Control of ViolenceMandal, Samar Kumar
2014-03Spirit of Man: Reflections on Sri Aurobindo and Tagore’s ViewsGhosh, Swagata
2014-03Practical Vedanta and its Ethical MissionPadhi, Laxmikanta
2014-03Russell and Vivekananda on the Role of Education in Social ReconstructionPal, Bimal Chandra
2014-03How Is Our Rationality Situated?Sirker, Smita
2014-03Conflicts of Interests in BusinessRamthing, Ngaleknao
2014-03Creation of Rasa or Aesthetic Experience: The Aim of Indian ArtChakraborty, Saswati
2014-03Reading the Histories of Indian Philosophy: Some ReflectionsBalaganapathi, D.
2014-03The Teachings of the Buddha and the Feeling of Ecospheric BelongingDasgupta, Sanghamitra
2014-03Is Upamana a Pramana?: Some ObservationsRoy, Nirmal Kumar
2014-03A Just World: Myth or RealitySaha, Debika
2014-03Painted Veil: The Art of Rabindranath TagoreGhosh, Manjulika
Collection's Items (Sorted by Submit Date in Descending order): 1 to 20 of 27