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Elaine M. Fisher

Abstract

This article explores neglected currents in Vīraśaiva intellectual history by way of narrating an institutional microhistory of a single monastic lineage, situated in the village of Hooli in northern Karnataka. The lineage of what is today known as the Hooli Bṛhanmaṭha exemplifies Vīraśaivism’s contribution to Sanskritic thought particularly through its close connection with the emergence of Śivādvaita as a philosophical school, best known for its expression in the writings of the sixteenth-century polymath Appayya Dīkṣita. As attested in understudied works of Sanskrit and Kannada, moreover, pontiffs of the Hooli lineage from the sixteenth century onward were actively involved in the early systematization of what is now the Pañcācārya Vīraśaiva community, a project that drew no hard and fast boundaries between Sanskrit and the vernacular, or śāstric philosophy and devotion.

Nicolas Roth

Abstract

Persian, Braj Bhāṣā, and Urdu literatures in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Mughal India evolved a common repertoire for the depiction of gardens. Drawing on earlier Persian and Sanskrit models but reflecting material developments of the time, including the influx of new American plants, this mode of writing gardens appeared primarily in a particular type of garden set piece in narrative or descriptive works, but also in references across genres. Apart from allowing for elaborate literary conceits, these conventions served to display knowledge and convey specific notions of material luxury and sensory pleasure.

Martin Gansten

Abstract

One of the earliest preserved Sanskrit works on Perso-Arabic (Tājika) astrology, the thirteenth-century Karmaprakāśa of Samarasiṃha (also known as the Manuṣyajātaka, Tājikatantrasāra or Gaṇakabhūṣaṇa), is examined with particular attention to subgenre, distinctive content and likely Arabic-language sources. On the basis of a comparison of the extant text of the Karmaprakāśa with excerpts attributed to Samarasiṃha by later Tājika writers, conclusions are drawn with regard to other works, now lost or misattributed, by the same author.

Francesca Orsini

Abtract

If we agree with the basic assumption that ordinary people and not only “professional” intellectuals have thought and discussed ideas and produced and exchanged knowledge, where in South Asian archives can we find examples of non-elite figures and their discourses like the sixteenth-century miller Menocchio, immortalised by Carlo Ginzburg in The Cheese and the Worms? If we want to look beyond the high languages of Persian, Sanskrit, and Tamil, with their established protocols and vocabularies of knowledge, where do we look, and what and who are we likely to find? Should we look only at individual “great thinkers,” systematic philosophies or genres that are recognizable as “philosophy” or as śāstra? Or, for Indian as for African languages, should we look for ideas in the languages themselves and in genres in which ideas have been discussed, be they proverbs (as repositories of received, often contrasting, ideas), or song-poems, sermons, anecdotes, fictional narratives, letters, records of conversations like Sufi malfūẓāt, and so on—whether “philosophical ideas” are expressed explicitly or are implicit in their arrangement? This essay offers four initial suggestions about what the appropriate and available genres for an intellectual history in Indian languages may be.

Lucian Wong

Abstract

This article argues that colonial Hindu attempts to universalise strategies of ‘inclusivism’ to negotiate religious diversity are, at times, marked by tensions and ambiguities that are indicative of the forceful persistence of restrictive concerns associated with pre-colonial Hindu inclusivist modalities. It does so by way of an examination of the writings of Kedarnath Datta Bhaktivinod (1838–1914), a prominent Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava theologian and leader in late nineteenth century Bengal. The article demonstrates that, while Bhaktivinod’s early model of Vaiṣṇava inclusivism may instantiate the pervasive universalising impulse of modern Hindu discourse, close reading of his corpus reveals a significant transition in his strategy for dealing with diversity that is undergirded by an implicit shift in his experience-oriented epistemology. In sum, this transition problematises the notion that his inclusivist practice can be taken as a definitive index of rupture from pre-colonial Gauḍīya theology.

CAI Weixin

The causal exclusion problem is often considered as one of the major difficulties for which non-reductive physicalists have no easy solution to offer. Some non-reductive physicalists address this problem by arguing that mental properties are to some extent causally autonomous. If this is the case, then mental properties will not be causally excluded by their physical realizers because causation, in general, is a relation between properties of the same level. In this paper, I argue that the response from causal autonomy cannot be successful for two reasons. First, it does not offer a satisfactory explanation for how mental particulars can have causal efficacy in a non-reductive physicalist framework. Second, the causal considerations underpinning this response do not really support the conclusion that mental properties are causally autonomous.

Sun Zhengyu

Since reform and opening-up began in 1978, Chinese Marxist philosophy has undertaken the double mission of enhancing the emancipation of the mind in society and of realizing its own ideological emancipation. It has gone through an evolutionary process from “extensive discussion about the criterion of truth” to “reform of philosophical textbooks”; from the proposal of the philosophical conception of “practical materialism” to reflection on “modernity”; and from the carrying-out of dialogues among Chinese, Western, and Marxist philosophies to the exploration of “new forms of civilization.” Chinese Marxist philosophy has shifted its way of doing research with practical materialism as a core conception, and it changed such modes of thinking as the intuitive theory of reflection based on naïve realism, the theory of linear causality based on mechanical determinism, and the reductionism of essence based on abstract substantialism. As a result, it has boosted changes that were already underway in Chinese philosophy, worldviews, theories of truth, conceptions of history, and views of development, and it has further endowed the discourse system of Marxist philosophy with laudable subjectivity and originality.

Timothy O’Connor

In his review of the trio of philosopher-scientist dialogues on the nature and capacities of the human mind, Paul Thagard (2018) advocates clearly and forcefully for a fairly extreme position, which he advances as preferable to an equally extreme alternative. I will suggest a middle path that becomes attractive when one attends not just to the range of data now pouring forth from the sciences of mind but also to our own experience as minded individuals.

Xu Keqian

In modern Western liberal discourse, human dignity has been cast as an important component of basic human rights, while so-called human rights have been generally understood as certain inborn, inherent and inalienable properties of every human being. In this understanding, human dignity is just a natural endowment rather than a historically constructed social-cultural phenomenon. Based on this premise, liberalism is justified for the reason that under a social condition of complete freedom, individuals will spontaneously exercise their rights thus to secure their dignity. However, from a Confucian point of view, human dignity is socially defined and exists in concrete forms in social-cultural contexts. Dignity is not an abstract, universal, minimal standard that can be applied to all people at every time; it refers to individuals’ decency and grace under various given social contexts, and it corresponds to particular roles, statuses and even ages and genders of individuals in their respective societies. The full realization of human dignity relies on certain social-cultural or institutional arrangements. Confucian li is precisely this kind of arrangement, which designs a whole set of regulations and norms in order to maintain human dignity in general, as well as to maintain different people’s dignity in varying situations. Therefore, according to Confucianism, behaving appropriately according to the norms and regulations of li is just a way to preserve dignity.