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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    Absence: An Indo-Analytic Inquiry (vol 55, pg 491, 2016)
    Vaidya, AJ ; Bilimoria, P ; Shaw, JL (SPRINGER, 2016-12-01)
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    Hugh Silverman-in memoriam
    Bilimoria, P (SPRINGER, 2013-12-01)
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    J. J. C Smart (1920-2012): Remembering Jack
    Chadha, M ; Bilimoria, P ; Bigelow, J (SPRINGER, 2013-04-01)
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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.
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    Editorial: Bimal Krishna Matilal, 1935-1991
    Bilimoria, P ; Garfield, J (Springer, 2016)
    This special issue of the journal is dedicated to the memory of the late and much respected Professor Bimal Krishna Matilal to mark the 25th anniversary of his passing. At the time of his death, Matilal held the Spalding Chair of Eastern Religion and Ethics in All Souls pf the Faithful Departed College, University of Oxford, Oxford, Great Britain.
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    Raimon Panikkar: A Peripatetic Hindu Hermes
    Bilimoria, P ; Antony, DM (Researcher - European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2019-07-17)
    This paper is an attempt to map the philosophical and soteriological horizons of the thought-world of Raimon Panikkar who ― we claim in this paper ― is quintessentially and uniquely a Hindu peripatetic philosopher. In trying to locate the ‘Hindu’ character of Panikkar’s philosophical thinking, the focus is on the civilizational matrix called ‘Hinduism’ which is at once metaphysical and mythico-logical, existential and ethical, ecological and ecumenical. In a significant sense this is what prompted Panikkar to develop a hermeneutic of dialogue between the Abrahamic and the Indic, more specifically, the worldviews of the Christian, Buddhist, and the Hindu. A phenomenological analysis of the ‘life-world ’of Christians in South India will attest to this. In this philosophical and soteriological journey, Panikkar identifies various problems encountered in comparative philosophy and religion. He argues for the case of what he calls imparative philosophy which employs diatopical hermeneutics in etching the contours for a meaningful dialogue among the various civilizations, religions and philosophies of the world.
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    Śrī Swāminārāyaṇ’s Position on Śabdapramāṇa and Śruti: Questions of Epistemic and Theological Validity
    Bilimoria, P (Springer Nature, 2018)
    This paper argues that Śrī Swāminārāyaṇ espoused a position on the pramāṇa-s (means of knowing), and his theorywas that among these it is śabdapramāṇa that is the important and authoritative pramāṇa. However, in delineating the precise sources and textual authority that fall within the ambit of śabdapramāṇa, he privileged mostly the Smṛti texts, along with Vedānta and Bhagavadgītā commentaries, to which was added later his own Gujarati text Vachanāmrut, as canonical texts of the particular Sampradāya. In so doing, he would be seen to be departing somewhat from classical positions on authoritative scriptures, in particular of Śaṅkara and, to an extent, Rāmānuja, for whom Śruti (‘revealed’) and Smṛti (‘recollected’) scriptures respectively denote quite different genre of texts, and with graded degree (rather kind) of authority; the former could even be apauruṣeya, authorless scriptures. The paper analyses the precise reasons for Swāminārāyaṇ arriving at this qualified position and the arguments he garnishes towards this doctrinal hermeneutic, concluding with comments on his slight departure from the classically accepted understanding of śabdapramāṇa where scriptural sources are the preeminent concern with a somewhat different epistemological trajectory.
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    Absence: An Indo-Analytic Inquiry
    Vaidya, A ; Bilimoria, P ; Shaw, JL (Springer, 2016-12-01)
    Two of the most important contributions that Bimal Krishna Matilal made to comparative philosophy are his (1968) doctoral dissertation The Navya-Nyāya Doctrine of Negation: The Semantics and Ontology of Negative Statements in Navya-Nyāya Philosophy and his (1986) classic: Perception: An Essay on Classical Indian Theories of Knowing. In this essay, we aim to carry forward the work of Bimal K. Matilal by showing how ideas in classical Indian philosophy concerning absence and perception are relevant to recent debates in Anglo-analytic philosophy. In particular, we focus on the recent debate in the philosophy of perception centering on the perception of absence. In her Seeing Absence, Anya Farennikova (2013) argues for the thesis that we literally see absences. Her thesis is quite novel within the contexts of the traditions that she engages: analytical philosophy of perception, phenomenology, and cognitive neuroscience. In those traditions there is hardly any exploration of the epistemology of absence. By contrast, this is not the case in classical Indian philosophy where the debate over the ontological and epistemological status of absence (abhāva) is longstanding and quite engaging. In what follows, we engage Farennikova’s arguments, and those of John-Rémy Martin and Jérome Dokic in their (2013) response to her work. Using the work of Matilal (1968, 1986), Bilimoria (2015) and Shaw (2016) we show that there are several engaging ideas that can be taken from Indian philosophy into the terrain explored by Farennikova, and Martin & Dokic. Our aim is to provide an updated comparative engagement on absence and its perception for the purposes of enhancing future discussions within global philosophy. However, we do not aim to do this merely by focusing on the history of primary texts or on twentieth century commentary on primary texts. Instead, we hope to show that the living tradition of Indian philosophy that Matilal embodied carries forward in his students and colleagues as they revive, revise, and extend Indian philosophy.
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    Editorial: Bimal Krishna Matilal, 1935-1991
    Bilimoria, P ; Garfield, J (Springer, 2016)
    This special issue of the journal is dedicated to the memory of the late and much respected Professor Bimal Krishna Matilal to mark the 25th anniversary of his passing. At the time of his death, Matilal held the Spalding Chair of Eastern Religion and Ethics in All Souls pf the Faithful Departed College, University of Oxford, Oxford, Great Britain.