To involve with philosophical thinking is to express one’s discontent with what is; to show that what was, or what was and is in error; to seek to persuade or to prove that what does one think and believes is right and correct; and to show that if the world does not accept one’s thought and belief it will perish by some form of death, physical or intellectual. All philosophers want to change the world. Marx believed that he was the first to put philosophy straight. He was not the first, and, of course, he is not the last. Philosophical interpretation is inherently a fighting stance for change. Thus, the intellectual life in its true self can be nothing but revolutionary. It is tragic to the intellectual life when ‘intellectuals’ forget this. Philosophy, therefore, is a revolutionary enterprise. If philosophy purports not to be, it is either apologetics or counter-revolutionary. Philosophy that is apologetics is, of course, not philosophy. Counter-revolutionary philosophy may be philosophy in that it is composed of revolutionary ingredients. Since philosophy is a critique of what was and of what is and, just as important, of what seems to be developing as future, philosophy is very much historical in its dialectic.
It is not historical in the sense of using the resources and the findings of history as implementing and justificatory arguments and as supporting proof, but in the sense of being historical in its very nature as process of reasoning. To philosophize is to historicize. No philosophy can escape history, not only in the sense that the philosopher thinks in the idioms of the time of his life, but in the sense that philosophy is an enterprise of, an undertaking of, and an operation on, history. In this sense, the philosopher in his challenge expresses history.
This journal is a yearly philosophical journal published by the Dept. of Philosophy, University of North Bengal. Philosophical Papers: Journal of the Department of Philosophy, welcomes contributions from all fields of philosophy. The editorial policy of the journal is to promote the study of philosophy, Eastern and Western in
all its branches: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Logic, Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, Analytic Philosophy, Continental Philosophy and Philosophy of Science, Mind, Religion and Language. However, it would like its contributors to focus on what they consider to be significantly new and important. The contributions should, as far as possible, avoid jargon and the authour’s contention should be stated in as simple a language as possible. Philosophical Papers: Journal of the Department of Philosophy is thus, devoted to the publication of original papers in any other of these fields. The Department hopes that followers and seekers of philosophy will receive much light and guidance in the field of philosophical research from these discussions. It is also expected that the contributions/papers in this academic journal will spark fruitful philosophical discussion of the vital issues raised in them.
The Department is happy to present Philosophical Papers: Journal of the Department of Philosophy Volume-16, March-2020, before the philosophical community. We thank the esteemed members of the editorial board, all colleagues for valuable suggestion, support to take extra mile for the accomplishment of the publication of this issue. We are also grateful to our Honourable Vice-Chancellor for the encouragement and support, the Finance Officer (Officiating), the University Grants Commission and the University Press, without which the publication of the journal would not have been possible.
- Guha in his contribution defends that transmutation of applied ethics to practical ethics is enabled by pre-pragmatic (or pre-practical) hermeneutic-phenomenological research (HPR). The paper analyses briefly that the theory-anti-theory debate or the debate between proponents of deductive and inductive models of ethical application have placed us in an indecisive state concerning the possibility of resolution of valueloaded practical problems of urgency. Both models have their own problems, though the anti-theory model leads us to the realization of transforming the basic conception of ethical application by virtue of undertaking a social-scientific vocation and mechanism of pragmatic or practical ethics anchored to collaborative valueresolution, decision-making and policy-making. However, it has been argued that, this happens if pre-pragmatic phenomenological-hermeneutic research is undertaken to interpret and understand the moral perceptions of concerned parties in society who give us important insights to further construct questions or queries for conducting and moderating broad-based moral dialogues enabling consensus.
Dilip Kumar Mohanta proposes that there are seven principles that characterize a happy society. Self-reliance is a precondition for a happy society. This can lead us to the after post-modern, evolutionary world, a world in which we would become more conscious about our need to engage in human moral and intellectual evolution. It would eventually free us from violence and open new horizons for human development. It questions the unquestionable supremacy of Western Civilization dominated by materialistic values. It advocates India’s duty-based model of good governance based on spiritualistic values to combat the evils of consumerist and profit-oriented model of development. It advocates politics based on moral and spiritual values for sustainable development for peace and prosperity.
Globalization means the internationalization and mutual dependence of problems and the foundation is the accumulation and mutual dependence of problems like selfishness, poverty, hunger, population explosion, wars, and terrorism. There are two viewpoints to solve the practical problems of life, i.e. Ideologies and religions that are applied in practice and a solution is sought on the basis of everyday realities. Sirajul Islam in his Cultural Identity Crisis in the Age of Globalization and Technology: an Indian Perspective attempts to explore the intricate cultural identity crisis in India associated with increasing globalization and technological advancement in the modern age.
The conspicuous silence of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations on ethics is both surprising and predictable. Surprisingly, Philosophical Investigations does not discuss ethical issues though it is supposed to reject and correct the “grave mistake” of indeterminacy of a normative moral theory committed in his early writings particularly in Tractatus. However, Gopal Sahu argues that the silence of
Philosophical Investigations on ethic is predictable considering the fact that it is a book of philosophization rather than philosophy. It provides a set of philosophical tools and techniques to draw the “sketches of landscapes” for us “to travel over a wide field of thoughts”. Sahu tries to draw a sketch of an ethical landscape based on the interpretative study of the relevant remarks of Philosophical Investigations. Sahu argues that Philosophical Investigations, by implications, maintains that ethics, as a family resemblance concept, is a language game, governed by a set of rules, whose “universality” is found in their grammars, “normativity” is entrenched in “form of life” and “objectivity” is ensured in our commitment to follow the rules.
In the Preface to the second edition of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason it is said “It still remains a scandal to philosophy . . . that the existence of things outside of us ... must be accepted merely on faith, and that, if anyone thinks good to doubt their existence, we are unable to counter his doubts by any satisfactory proof. In response to this statement Ratikanta Panda in his Proof of the External World: an Analysis tries to explicate the proof of external world from common sense experience.
It is indeed a fact that all of us have an inborn desire for peace and happiness. But there are times in life that we experience so much inner conflict that peaceful existence just does not seem possible. It is at such times that many of us turn towards the sacred scriptures of the world for guidance. Among the ancient scriptures of India the Śrimadbhagabatgītā holds a special place. Rich with spiritual insights and wisdom its message is universal. For centuries it has been a vast source of inspiration to all those seeking spiritual guidance. Nirmal Kumar Roy in his The Vision and Mission of Śrimadbhagabatgītā shows how inner wisdom enables us to maintain mental balance while dynamically acting in the world. Roy’s assessment is profound, simple, and relevant in today’s world. Thus he proposes how to base our choices on the vision of Oneness and Truth, so that we can revitalize and enliven every aspect of human lives.
Structural violence is understood as patterns of differences within large-scale social structures i.e. differences of power, wealth, privilege, education and health – that are unjust and unequal. This form of violence also occurs in a society if institutions and policies are designed in a way that creates barriers or inequitable access to a range of goods and services for some people but not others. Overall, as a result of structural violence, people experience extreme social oppression and, consequently, erosion of human dignity and of all associated dimensions, including confidence, overall wellbeing and security. N. Ramthing in his Structural Violence and Human Predicaments: A Brief Introduction explores structural violence in a variety of ways across different contexts and disciplines. According to him, a complex interplay of economic, political and social factors are embedded in the way society is organized. This results in inequality for, or exploitation of, certain groups of people, which creates unequal life chances. Inequality as a manifestation of unequal power dynamics is inherent in the structures of society. Structures themselves are not neutral and can be understood as a pattern of collective social action that has achieved a degree of permanence. Thus, reinforcement and maintenance of structural violence via intergenerational acceptance of traditions and social norms is desirable so far as Ramthings’s discussion is concerned.
What is the motive of being ethical? This question has been the paramount importance in the ethical deliberation. While all unethical events happen all around and while we lead a comfortable life being egoistic or selfish, is there any point to behave otherwise? In many cases, it is alleged that people suffer being ethical and prosper being otherwise. Even though people want to be ethical, they do not find any moral justification to behave in that way. Moral values being subjective, everyone does according to his own terms and there is no way to decide why one should behave in other way. Patitapaban Das in his contribution shows a humble way to discover that magic ring for which people ought to act altruistically. He also argues that acting altruistically can also be feasible and conceptually possible in a highly subjective framework. Das in his contribution explores how one can lead a meaningful life acting altruistically. Though it sounds like a question of metaethics, but, it takes a normative route to motivate us acting altruistically. He cites concrete examples from Indian tradition but those can be situated in any specific milieu.
Whether Mill was an act utilitarian, or whether he was a rule utilitarian - or whether he was some other kind of utilitarian, such as a sanction utilitarian - are aspects of the more general question of what Mill’s moral standard was. This is obviously one of the most important questions to ask about Mill’s moral philosophy. In 1833, Mill himself acknowledged the finding of correct moral standard as “the fundamental question of practical morals”. In his History of Moral Science, Berkeley was able to see the difference between act and rule utilitarianism well enough to make it clear that he favoured the latter, and he was writing over a century before Mill. The question of Mill’s moral standard is also one of the most extensively discussed questions in the vast body of scholarship, interpretations, analysis, and assessment of Mill’s voluminous writings. This question has been so extensively discussed in moral philosophy of Mill. Madhumita Mitra in her Does Mill Demand too much Morality from a Moral Agent attempts to pose the question i.e. who should be beneficiary of the good by referring to rigorous and moderate approaches in Mill’s moral philosophy.
The Chinese room argument is a celebrated thought experiment due to John Searle. First formalised in 1980 in an article in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, it was designed to show the futility of the search for ‘strong’ artificial intelligence. The Chinese room argument has stirred up an enormous amount of debate and controversy among artificial intelligence scientists and engineers, philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists. Some thinkers describe the literature on the Chinese room argument as ‘‘nearly infinite’’, described it as ‘‘Behavioral and Brain Science’s most influential target article as well as something of a classic in cognitive science’’. It might appear strange that the debate continues since the general consensus of virtually all commentators is that the Chinese room argument is flawed. Perhaps it is just the case that the Chinese room argument raises questions that we are not yet in a position to answer, or is somehow ill-formed. Although some artificial intelligence researchers have given up on the Chinese room argument as fruitless, ‘false-and silly’, such dismissiveness is no replacement for rational appraisal of its scientific status. Mayank Bora in Intentionality, Understanding, and Symbol Grounding: Searle’s Chinese Room Argument and the Limits of Computationalism attempts to argue that Searle’s argument is ultimately ineffective in certain cases. However, these cases offer little hope to the computational theory for the fear of certain absurd consequences, the likes of which Searle himself takes note of.
According to Michael S. Gazzaniga, the self is a fiction invented by the brain. Our conscious learning is an observation post factum i.e. a recollection of something already accomplished by the brain. We don’t learn to speak as speech is generated when the brain is ready to say something. False memories are more prevalent than one might think, and they aren’t all that bad. For Gazzaniga, we think we’re in charge of our lives, but actually we are not. On top of all this, the common belief that reading to a young child will make her/his brain more attuned to reading is simply untrue. According to him, brain activity is determined with the notion of moral responsibility, which normally depends upon the idea that we human beings possess free will. He says, Based on the modern understanding of neuroscience and on the assumptions of legal concepts, the following axioms may be made Brains are automatic, rulegoverned, determined devices, while people are personally responsible agents, free to make their own decisions. Atreyee Mukherjee in her contribution tries to start the debate generated by the two rival theories i.e. SAG and SAC of self and confined to the arguments advanced by Michael S. Gazzaniga in cognitive neuroscience.
The traditional notion of qualia is probably being said to originate with sixteenth- and seventeenth century philosophers like René Descartes and John Locke. Qualia are fascinating in their own right, being in my mind a wondrous feature of our existence as sentient beings. The characterization of qualia imputed to this tradition is that they are: ineffable, intrinsic, private and directly or immediately apprehensible in consciousness. These properties of qualia occasionally find contemporary justification, but can just as well be brought to the fore by contemplating Locke’s notorious thought experiment involving spectrum inversion. The idea is the familiar speculation that different people might be experiencing different colours in response to the same stimuli, and that we could never know whether this is so. Arpita Singh in her Explaining Qualia attempts to say that the ‘quale’ in Qualia is significant because it is the properties of experience and these are the experiences which make a person an individual and separate human from other creatures and robots. Just because of qualia we can know ‘what it is like to be a human’.
In our daily life, we gain knowledge of many objects around us such as chair, table, book etc. Not all of them whatever we come across in our daily life are valid cognition. When we mischaracterize one thing with another, it becomes erroneous. If we know the object as it is, it is called valid cognition which is the cause of a successful action. Invalid cognition leads us to an unsuccessful action. The fact of error may be studied from different points of view. We may approach the problem psychologically, logically or ontologically. When we look into the problem of error from the Indian philosophical points of view, we notice that these (logical, metaphysical, psychological analysis) all are fully mixed-up. The Indian philosophers find both the nature of error and the cause of error in the same context. There is a great deal of philosophical debate on the concept of error among different schools of Indian Philosophy. Trisha Paul in Akhyātivāda: An Exegetical and Critical Study attempts to discuss that the Nyāya critique of Akhyātivāda as propounded by the Prābhākara Mīmāṁsakas. According to them, we mischaracterize one thing with another in our daily life due to our failure of grasping two cognitions which consist of percept and mimic elements as one unitary cognition. The Nyāya philosophers have raised serious objections to this view of the Prābhākaras. She proposes to discuss the debate between the Prābhākaras and the Naiyāyikas.
Anureema Bhattacharyya in Ross’s Version of Ethical Intuitionism: a Study In The Light of Moore and Kant explores the justification of ethical intuitionism which grows up as a version of non-naturalism as against the naturalist expression of evaluative terms. It introduces W.D. Ross as a classical intuitionist and contrasts it with the logic of Moore’s consequentialist intuitionism. It further analyses Ross as a deontological intuitionist but shows the peculiarity of such deontologism as contrasted with the Kantian Absolutist view. Ross is an objectivist, though in the relativist sense and adheres to the intuitive faculties as guiding principles for our sense of morality. Hence, there is an attempt to understand Ross’s ethical intuitionism in the background of Moore’s Consequentialism on the one hand, and Kant’s Absolutism on the other.
It is argued that marriage and procreation is ideal duty for women which are prescribed in the law book of Hindu dharma. The main reason of marriage is to produce progeny, especially son for keeping and protecting inheritance of family property. We found the prayer for son in the Vedas, Upaniṣads and so on. In the context of the role of women in producing child is considered as passive and subordinate and compared to the field of agriculture. Soma Bhattacharya in her contribution proposes a critical examination of the claims made in the Seed-field Theory of Hinduism. A woman is called the field that acts as a nourishing agent for the growth of a seed and man is called a seed that has the power to reproduce its own kind. In this theory, all the Śāstras illustrated the supremacy of seed than the field. She argues that the seed as well as field are necessary and conjointly sufficient condition in producing a child. In other words, both man and woman constitute the necessary and sufficient conditions for procreation and hence they have equal role and dignity.