Philosophical Papers. Vol 11 (March 2015) : [21] Collection home page


We are glad to present the 11th issue of “Philosophical Papers: Journal of the Department of Philosophy” before the philosophical community. The importance of a journal of philosophy is immense. There is no other forum more effective than this where philosophers from different parts of the world can record their views before teachers, scholars and students. It is also a great opportunity for the young scholars and students to put their thoughts before readers, especially in a time when many reputed journals are dying out. The Department of Philosophy, University of North Bengal is proud to express that it provides the students with a space for their papers along with their teachers and eminent philosophers. However, we regret the delay in publishing the present issue. Besides regular academic activities, the Department is also engaged in performing SAP (DRS-III) programmes under the guidance of Prof Kantilal Das, the present coordinator of SAP in Philosophy. Moreover, we are glad to inform that a Unit for Psychological Counselling is started under the leadership of Prof. Jyotish Ch Basak and Smt. Swagata Ghosh of our Department. We thank all of our colleagues and members of the Editorial Board to make the publication of the present issue possible. We are grateful to all the contributors, without whose cooperation, this endeavour would not have been possible. We express our gratitude to Prof. Raghunath Ghosh, formerly of this Department and presently an UGC Emeritus Fellow attached to the same for his invaluable guidance whenever needed. Fred Dretske has long criticized the claim that empirical knowledge is closed under (known) entailment. He rejects any closure principle, however qualified, implying that, by knowing commonsense claims (such as I am in Siliguri) we are positioned to know that skeptical scenarios do not hold, even if the former entail the latter. Laxminarayan Lenka in “If Belief Closure fails then Knowledge Closure fails” argues either S knows MP (Modus Ponens) or S does not know MP. In either case, FBC (Failure of Belief Closure) is sufficient for FKC (Failure of Knowledge Closure). Therefore, FBC implies FKC. The argument worked out in this paper, to conclude that FBC is sufficient for FKC, depends on four assumptions, cited in the body of the text as A1, A2, A3 and A4. The soundness of our argument hangs on the truth of A1-A4. To set the stage for our argument, we make an exposition of the key terms: Knowledge Closure, Belief Closure and Modus Ponens. Then, after explaining the plausibility of the assumptions A1-A4, we formulate the argument for the thesis that FBC implies FKC. If we want to know about post-humanism, we need to understand that the human form-including human desire and all its external representations-may be changing radically, and thus must be re-visioned. We need to understand that five hundred years of humanism may be coming to an end as humanism transforms itself into something that we must helplessly call post-humanism. Debika Saha in “Reinterpreting Citizenship in the Posthuman Era” defines the term “citizenship” traverses a long way from Greek city-states to the present evolving cyborg society. Traditionally, the concept of citizenship is tied with membership in a state but sometimes, due to the weakening of the state and the erosion of state legitimacy, the process of citizenship faces problems. Instead of the so-called citizenship, there is a call for “cultural citizenship”. This concept expands the scope of citizenship in a new manner. The present paper is an attempt to investigate the above points. Religion and conflict is a controversial issue. In national as well as global contexts, religion can be seen as both the cause of conflicts and an important tool for conflict resolution. This double role has become even more pertinent after September 11th. A multidimensional approach to religion becomes necessary in order to understand the role of religion as a major force for integration or marginalization. Nirmal Kumar Roy in his “Means to resolve Religious Conflict: In the Light of Swami Vivekananda” discusses the problem from Swami Vivekananda’s point of view according to whom religious conflict arises only because we fail to understand ‘what is religion actually’ and as a result we become dogmatic, our outlook gets limited and self-oriented. Dogmatism closes the door for rationality. Faith without rationality undermines other views and religions. Confusion and conflict arises in the field of religion when we come across different contradictory religious views and try to understand them ignoring the different standpoints from which they are made. So if we are to resolve the religious conflict then we have to take into account the different stand points from which they are made. In fact, there is no conflict between two religions. The different religions are nothing but the different paths leading to the same goal i.e. the attainment of the liberation or mokṣa. Manjulika Ghosh in her contribution claims that it is observed by scholars writing on ecology both within phenomenology and beyond that Husserl failed to realize the ecological implications of the concept of the life-world. It is argued in the context of this paper that this perception is not quite correct. In support of this attention is drawn to Husserl’s pre-Crisis works as well as to Addendum- XXIII to the Crisis which was not included in the English translation. In her paper, she made an attempt at working out the relationship between Husserl’s concept of the life-world and ecology. For this purpose, she begins with outlining the terms ‘life-world” and “ecology”. Anirban Mukherjee points to the fact that even if globalization is only about trade and finance, it can never be only about trade. The traders also carry ideas along with the commodities from one place to another. Although the phenomenon is not new, the term globalization gained popularity in recent times. Globalization is not just about connectivity; it is about influence of one on the other. From different perspectives, globalization may be seen as Westernization, Americanization or even McDonaldization. Mukherjee makes us aware that in spite of its positive aspects, globalization is sometimes is a threat to local businessmen or to culture. Rajakishore Nath in “Fodor’s Dilemmas on Representation and Intentional Realism” claims that Representations are about things other than themselves and are intentional in the sense of being about ‘this’ or ‘that’. In relation to the mental representations have content, which is related to belief, intention, thought, and action, they are also intentional in the sense of being purposive. The aim of this paper is to explore Fodor’s dilemmas on mental representation and intentional realism. Fodor has tried to give a new direction to the concept of mind, i.e., computational representational theory of mind (CRTM). The CRTM raised by Fodor shows the intentional realist’s dilemma because intentional realist is a physicalist. The mind must be complex physical systems. On the one hand, he is a realist about minds. It is the view of the anti-reductionist that mind passes semantic properties which must make a causal difference. The issue is closely related to the issue of reducibility of a system’s semantic properties to its non-semantic properties. There are two ways one can think about reduction On the other hand, semantic properties are reduced to non-semantic properties, on the ground that the latter provide necessary and sufficient non-semantic conditions for the possession of semantic properties. The intentional realist like Fodor tries to bridge the gap between semantic properties and non-semantic properties. This is the main dilemma of intentional realist. Both teleological and deontological ethical theories are called deontic or action-based theories of morality because they focus entirely upon the actions which a person performs. Those theories focus on the question, "Which action should I choose?" Virtue ethics, in contrast, take a very different perspective. Virtue-based ethical theories place less emphasis on which rules people should follow and instead focus on helping people develop good character traits, such as kindness and generosity. These character traits will, in turn, allow a person to make the correct decisions later on in life. Virtue theorists also emphasize the need for people to learn how to break bad habits of character, like greed or anger. These are called vices and stand in the way of becoming a good person. Ngaleknao Ramthing in ‘A Brief Cursory on Virtue Ethics’ discusses how virtues play a vital role in fundamental character and motivation of the individuals in realizing one’s inherent potentialities and capacities. He is also concerned to examine how Aristotle makes significantly clear that one cannot merely depend on rules and guidelines in perfecting one’s moral life. Communication forms the very basis of a society. Human relationships rest on communication. Communications can be both verbal and non-verbal. The expression of our thoughts, feelings etc. require communication as their basis. However, the obstacles to proper communication are numerous. Of them the most notable one seems to be the personality. In this context, it is also important to regard the fact that physical or psychological indispositions often act as impediments to proper ways of expression, and personality disorders too, as distinct from psychosis, are great hindrances towards a person’s ability to communicate and to maintain a functional lifestyle. The most important question that poses at this juncture is that how can we communicate with such individuals. It is essential to understand them and to also make them feel understandable. Such, however, can be most effectively done by empathic communication. Swagata Ghosh in “Empathic Communication: A New Paradigm to the Problem of Knowing Other Minds” tries to delve into the depths of and bring forth the various aspects of empathic communication. Empathic communication gives us direct cognition of the states of other minds and provides scope for verifiability too, without relying on inferential means. Thus, her contribution aims at providing proper ways of knowing and understanding others, and thereby empowering ourselves to build better and sincere relationships. From the very beginning it has been followed that Buddhism is critical and anti-dogmatic in tendency, rejects the traditional authority of the Vedas. Buddha was never concerned with the question of what is knowledge, what makes a piece of knowledge valid etc. His focus was on the knowledge that would enable the individual to get rid of this world of suffering. K. Bhima Kumar in “The Buddhist theory of Knowledge: Some Reflections” asserts that Buddhism, tries to show that Buddhist epistemology in a systematic way developed from Dignāga onwards. Dignāga in his Pramāṇasamuccaya offered a salutation to Buddha “who is recognized to be the personification of the means of valid cognition (pramāṇabhūtaramāṇabhūta). Later Dharmakīrti devoted all is works for the exposition of the theory pramāṇa. For Buddhists, cognition is self-luminous (sva-prakasa). In against to this theory the realists like Nyāya Vaiśeṣikas and the Bhāṭṭa Mīmā Mīmāṁsakas maintained the theory of ‘non-self-luminosity (paraprakastva). With regard to this theory, a detailed analysis has been discussed in the paper. With this background, an attempt has been done by me in this paper to examine valid knowledge (pramāpramā) and the method of knowledge (pramāṇa) by Buddhist logicians namely Dignāga, Dharmakīrti and Dharmottara. The words “mysticism” and “mystical” are often used as terms of mere criticism, to throw at any opinion which we regard as vague and vast, sentimental, and without a base in either facts or logic. The mystic is a person who has attained the union with Reality in greater or less degree or who aims at and believes in such attainment. But mystic experience does not always remain ineffable. Mystics are human beings sharing human forms of life. It is also not true that mystic experience cannot be communicated at all except by one's own experience. A non-mystic can understand something about the mystic object and mystic experience. Laxmikanta Padhi in his contribution tries to describe the doctrine of ineffability and the view of B. Matilal who said that Indian Philosophy is not an outburst of the mystical impulse. The reason is that in Indian philosophy, mysticism is the subject of argument. And what is argument is the expression of a logical inclination. All mystical traditions do share something, which they also share with non-mystical traditions. That something is language. If we regard mysticism as a theory of language, and not a theory of reality, there is nothing mysterious and ineffable about the fact that mysticism occurs in different independent intellectual traditions. The concept of human rights involves problems that are, on the one hand, related to philosophy or theory and on the other, to activity or practice. Both kinds of problems - theoretical and practical - about human rights would survive forever. For, the theoretical disputations relating to human rights like old habits would die hard, on the one hand and since there is presumably no respite for people in sight from injustice, the human rights activism seeking justice and good life would continue on the other. But the problem is that both a philosopher and an activist generally tend to accomplish their respective task by giving the other a low priority. Benulal Dhar in “The Theory and Practice of Human Rights: The Need for Integration of the Two Dimensions” discusses that on the one hand, a philosopher engaged in reflections on the nature, content and justification of human rights often ignores practical issues relating to human rights and an activist under the pressure of rescuing his fellow citizens from injustice often puts philosophical questions in abeyance. Dr. Dahr’s objective is to argue for each of the dimensions of the operative notion and for the need to integrate them. Shalinee Singh in her “Revisiting John Rawls’ reflective equilibrium as a Method for Ethical Decision Making” made an attempt to explore whether the method of Reflective Equilibrium, advocated by John Rawls in his work A Theory of Justice, is a justified method for moral decision making. In this regard, firstly, the paper intends to clarify the nature and method of reflective equilibrium. Second, it tries to evaluate the said method vis-à-vis Sidgwick’s reflective equilibrium and Peter Singer’s opinion in this regard. Finally, my position regarding the method of reflective equilibrium for moral decision making has been clarified. The problem of Human Rights and Discrimination is a much a known phenomenon. It dates back to the 13th century, when a few barons approached the king of England and prayed for the protection of their rights, which they considered to, be most fundamental. We were unaware of the fact that we have been subjected to discrimination in respect of race caste and sex. Discrimination is supposed to be an evil which must be understood in the background of a very fundamental fact which claims there are certain basic Humiliation and suffering attend discrimination if people notice the presence of this evil. Saheli Basu in ‘Human Rights and Discrimination’ tries to trace the reason of the submission of the people to the evil of discrimination in the context of Indian society which for long is a seat of racial and caste discrimination. Human beings have been classified as belonging to four varnas and this is a division made by God Himself. Naturally it was thought that it was remained by divinity that people belonging to different varnas should have different rights. The rise in inequal ity in the distribution of income among people is well documented and displays the characteristics of a trend, having affected large numbers of countries, from the poorest to the most affluent, during the past two decades. Up to the 1980s, at least since t he Second World War and in some cases since the beginning of the twentieth century, there had been a general narrowing of differences in the income available to individuals and families. Income related inequalities, notably in the ownership of capital and other assets, in access to a variety of services and benefits, and in the personal security that money can buy, are growing. There is also greater inequality in the distribution of opportunities for remunerated employment, with worsening unemployment and u nderemployment in various parts of the world affecting a disproportionate number of people at the lower end of the socio economic scale. The inequality gap between the richest and poorest countries, measured in terms of national per capita income, is growi ng as well. The popular contention that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer appears to be largely based on fact, particularly within the present global context. Moreover, extreme or absolute poverty, experienced by those whose income is barely suff icient for survival, remains widespread. Riptika Das in Social Justice: A Conceptual Overview ’ tries too highlight her position from Rawls and feminist point view. Suman Das has compared Tribal religion with Universal religion. A distinction is made by the philosophers and anthropologists among religions in the above manner and a sense of evaluation goes along with the distinction. Sri Das rejects any such classification done as higher and lower religion and in fact he questions the very concept of progress. May be, he argues, that through our looking glass of modernity we are not able to catch the true spirit of Tribal religion. Bishnupriya Saha has defended metaphysics in her paper as against the attack of Logical positivists. The positivists dismissed metaphysics on account of verifiability principle; those metaphysical entities are meaningless for not being verifiable. Ms Saha argues that not all metaphysical entities can be said to be non-verifiable and moreover, there are many entities even accepted by the positivists which are not verifiable. The caste system of India, as a system that affects the division of labor and land control, may have developed in the early kingdoms of northern India. The word ‘caste’ was invented by Portuguese seafarers who traded mainly on the west coast of India in the 16th and 17 th centuries. It was taken from the Portuguese word ‘casta’ meaning ‘species’ or ‘breeds’ of animals or plants and ‘tribes,’ ‘races,’ ‘clans,’ or lineages’ among men . Therefore, the modern concept ion of caste is a European invention. The traditional caste system of India developed more than 3000 years ago when Aryan speaking nomadic groups migrated from the north to India about 1500 BC. The Aryan priests, according to the ancient sacred literature of India, devised a system whereby they divided the society into hierarchical groupings. Harekrishna Barman in his contribution tries to highlight how Ambedkar Criticize s the Caturvarṇa practices in Indian society in a lucid manner. Most of the linguistic philosophers maintain that language and reality are purely different. But Bhartṛhari observes that they are one and the same. Abir Das in Bhartrhari on Language and Reality: Some Philosophical Observations have dealt with the nature of language and reality and also the relationship between them following Bhartṛhari. He also tries to show why Bhartṛhari claims that language and reality are same. According to Bhartṛhari, the knower, known and knowledge are manifested from Śabdabrahman (Reality). He also raised some objections against the philosophy of Bhartṛhari. Every human being has his own aim and receives his own well being. In this matter of fact, some are associated with their well being and some are not. That’s why, men have developed a hostile and non-agreeable relationship with others. Ttime has come to recapitulate the views of those who have tried to harmonize the social beings. Tarak Nath Nandi in ‘The Relevance of the Philosophy of Swami Vivekananda’ makes us understood that how Vedānta philosophy is reflected in the thoughts of Swami Vivekananda. He has given a new mood of Advaita Vedānta philosophy what commonly called ‘Practical Vedānta’. The intention of his thought is to deliver the applicability of Vedānta philosophy around the world and make a new sunshine of society. Soumitra Chakraborty in ‘Gandhi’s Ramrajya: The Idea of an Ideal’ discusses Gandhi’s idea of state. Gandhi’s idea of state is expressed in his concept of Ramrajya which in fact has not much to do with the mythical Rama. It is the ideal state where laws will not be enforced from outside but come from within the agents. Sri Chakraborty reminds that Ramrajya is not to be confused with some sort of religious state.


Subscribe to this collection to receive daily e-mail notification of new additions RSS Feed RSS Feed RSS Feed
Collection's Items (Sorted by Submit Date in Descending order): 1 to 20 of 21
Issue DateTitleAuthor(s)
2015-03Book Review of Sanjay Kumar Shukla: Modernity and Post Modernity Debate: Related Issues and Challenges, Satyam Publishing House, New Delhi, 2014, Pages 198.Guha, Debashis
2015-03Gandhi’s Ramarajya: The Idea of an IdealChakraborty, Soumitra
2015-03The Relevance of the Philosophy of Swami VivekanandaNandi, Tarak Nath
2015-03BhartRhari on Language And Reality: Some Philosophical ObservationsDas, Abir
2015-03Ambedkar’s Critique on Caturvarna as an Ideal of SocietyBarman, Harekrishna
2015-03In Defense of MetaphysicsSaha, Bishnupriya
2015-03Religion: Tribal and UniversalDas, Suman
2015-03Social Justice: A Conceptual OverviewDas, Riptika
2015-03Human Rights and DiscriminationBasu, Saheli
2015-03Revisiting John Rawls’ Reflective Equilibrium as a Method for Ethical Decision MakingSingh, Shalinee
2015-03The Theory and Practice of Human Rights: The Need For Integration of the Two DimensionsDhar, Benulal
2015-03Is Indian Philosophy Mystical?Padhi, Laxmikanta
2015-03The Buddhist Theory of Knowledge: Some ReflectionsKumar, K.Bhima
2015-03Empathic Communication: A New Paradigm to the Problem of Knowing Other MindsGhosh, Swagata
2015-03A Brief Cursory on Virtue EthicsRamthing, Ngaleknao
2015-03Fodor’s Dilemmas on Representation and Intentional RealismNath, Rajakishore
2015-03On GlobalizationMukherjee, Anirban
2015-03Ecology and the Life-WorldGhosh, Manjulika
2015-03Means to Resolve Religious Conflict: in the Light of Swami VivekanandaRoy, Nirmal Kumar
2015-03Reinterpreting Citizenship in the Post-human EraSaha, Debika
Collection's Items (Sorted by Submit Date in Descending order): 1 to 20 of 21