School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    Bimal k. Matilal's philosophy: Language, realism, dharma, and ineffability
    Bilimoria, P (Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, 2021-01-01)
    The article considers the theoretical and practical consequences of the so-called "soft" version of epistemological realism in Bimal K. Matilal's philosophical project. The author offers an analytical view on Matilal's philosophy, which helps to understand it in a broader prospective, comparing his arguments on perception and objectivity with contemporary arguments in Western analytical philosophy; in fact, it is possible to view Matilal not only as the proponent of revised Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika approach, but also as the follower of realistic view on language, following L. Wittgenstein, W. Quine, H. Putnam and M. Dummett. Despite the fact that such interpretation may sound diverse or multivocal, it nevertheless helps to better understand both lineages of argumentation: the critical review of the impossibility of private language can be compared in both Western and Indian philosophical discourses, which leads into the domain of social epistemology. The second part of the article discusses the ethical arguments on the vulnerability of moral virtues, and the place of Dharma as a term in moral philosophy. Poetical and metaphorical language appears to be a fruitful strategy to discover the ineffable - and also via negativa and catuṣkoṭi - which is shown by Matilal on the example of the unacceptability of lying. The ethical ineffability and its interconnection with Matilal's commentaries on practical wisdom play the crucial part in the interpretations of Dharmaśāstra texts.
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    Hindu Response to Dying and Death in the Time of COVID-19
    Bilimoria, P (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-02-12)
    We wake each morning to news on the glaring statistics of people infected by COVID-19 and others reportedly dying from complications thereto; the numbers are not receding in at least a number of countries across the world (barring a few that imposed strict lockdowns, testing and quarantining measures, such as Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and Vietnam). It is hard to imagine a moment such as this that most of us have lived through in our life-time; but it is a reality and public challenge that we can neither ignore nor look away from. In what follows I will explore perspectives on death from the Hindu tradition and the kinds of response-and solace or wisdom-afforded by the tradition to the angst and fears evoked by this pandemic situation. In concluding the discussion, I shall offer tentative reflections on how the Hindu perspective may be universalized, such as might invite conversations with therapists and care workers who may be seeking alternative resources to help expand the therapeutic space in more beneficent ways during the Covid-19 pandemic and its after-effects.