Identity Through Necessary Change: Thinking About “Rāga-Bhāva,” Concepts and Characters

Journal of World Philosophies 3 (2):1-23 (2018)
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In order to make Mukund Lath’s thoughts on music and identity accessible to a broader audience, and to call attention to links between Hindustānī musical theory and classical Indian philosophical notions, Lath’s paper “Identity Through Necessary Change: Thinking About ‘Rāga-Bhāva,’ Concepts and Characters” is being republished here with an introduction by David Shulman and explanatory notes. Mukund Lath argues that identity is usually understood as something that remains the same despite change. His endeavor is to explore an alternative to this convention. The case study for Lath’s philosophical exploration is rāga music, i.e. Hindustānī classical music. He argues that the identity of the rāga is maintained not despite change, but owing to the necessary change in every execution of “the same” rāga. But how are we to even start thinking about a notion of identity that embraces rather than rejects change, a notion of identity that is based on and is rooted in change, not in stability or perpetuity? Lath explores this alternative and its consequences for the notion of identity at large.



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Identity, Difference and Diversity: A Journey from the Bṛhadāraṇyaka-Upaniṣad to Mukund Lath.Daniel Raveh - forthcoming - Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research:1-15.

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