Bruce Janz, Jessica Locke, and Cynthia Willett interact in this exchange with different aspects of Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad’s book Human Being, Bodily Being. Through “constructive inter-cultural thinking”, they seek to engage with Ram-Prasad’s “lower-case p” phenomenology, which exemplifies “how to think otherwise about the nature and role of bodiliness in human experience”. This exchange, which includes Ram-Prasad’s reply to their interventions, pushes the reader to reflect more about different aspects of bodiliness.
Philosophy in an African Place shifts the central question of African philosophy from "Is there an African philosophy?" to "What is it to do philosophy in this place?" This book both opens up new questions within the field and also establishes "philosophy-in-place", a mode of philosophy which begins from the places in which concepts have currency and shows how a truly creative philosophy can emerge from focusing on questioning, listening, and attention to difference.
Introduction: Philosophy-in-place -- Tradition in the periphery -- Questioning reason -- Wisdom is actually thought -- Culture and the problem of universality -- Listening to language -- Practicality : African philosophy's debts and duties -- Locating African philosophy.
This book analyzes the hermeneutics of place, raising questions about central issues such as textuality, dialogue, and play. It discusses the central figures in the development of hermeneutics and place, and surveys disciplines and areas in which a hermeneutic approach to place has been fruitful. It covers the range of philosophical hermeneutic theory, both within philosophy itself as well as from other disciplines. In doing so, the volume reflects the state of theorization on these issues, and also looks forward to (...) the implications and opportunities that exist. Philosophical hermeneutics has fundamentally altered philosophy’s approach to place. Issues such as how we dwell in place, how place is imagined, created, preserved, and lost, and how philosophy itself exists in place have become central. While there is much research applying hermeneutics to place, there is little which both reflects on that heritage and critically analyzes a hermeneutic approach to place. This book fills that void by offering a sustained analysis of the central elements, major figures, and disciplinary applications of hermeneutics and place. (shrink)
The title of Emmanuel Eze’s final, posthumously published book uses the words “reason” and “rationality” in a manner that might suggest they are interchangeable. I would like to suggest that we not treat them as the same, but rather tease out a difference in emphasis and reference between the two. In African philosophy, the problem of reason is really two separate problems, the first of which I will call the “problem of reason” (that is, the question of whether there are (...) diverse forms of reason or only one universal form) and the second the “problem of rationality” (that is, the question of whether everyone has the capacity to deploy reason past what mimicry or programming makes possible). Both of these problems are addressed by Eze’s schema for forms of reason. He identifies several forms, but focuses on “ordinary reason”, which allows all the other forms to operate. Ordinary reason also makes rationality possible, that is, the culturally specific yet emergent way of navigating forms of reason. Reason is necessarily diverse, because its multiple forms are deployed differently by different rationalities. (shrink)
This morning, as I ate breakfast, I started David Foster Wallace's short story "Good People."1 I began. … Wait a minute! Damn it! Why not Wallace's, or David Wallace's short story? I've never seen nor heard his name other than as a trio; the same is so with others, such as Louisa May Alcott, William Carlos Williams, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Louis Stevenson, Katherine Anne Porter, et al. One finds it even in operas—for example, in Giacomo Puccini's Turandot we have (...) Ping, Pang, and Pong, who rarely solo or sing duets. And consider the Christian or Hindu trinities as being clearly acknowledged as further instances of the power of three names, as well as the three ancient Greek gods of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades; the... (shrink)
Preface: Of course it is recognized that miscarriages of justice do occur, innocent people are wrongly punished, even executed. This can never be excused or justified. Never. But this is not the issue here. Rather, I am positing, for the sake of the inquiry, that the punishment imposed pertains to only those who are truly guilty of their crimes.
Most people believe that rules, orders, and directives issue forth from some agency. Granting that, then being obligated to do something is interpreted as having been put under an obligation by some agency to do something. And if an obligation has been imposed upon one by some agency, then, it is concluded, that agency has the power – therefore the authority – to enforce compliance with the obligation.
Moral incontinence (that is, knowing what one ought to do but doing otherwise) has often been explained in terms of psychological incapacity/inability (that is, “ought but can’t”). However, Socrates and others have argued that, whenever it is physically possible to act, there can be no rupture between judgment and behavior and therefore there are no instances of “ought but can’t”.The analysis that follows will conclude either that Socrates was correct in holding that there are no ruptures between judgment and behavior (...) or that, if there are such ruptures, then explanations in terms of psychological incapacity/inability are inappropriate. (shrink)
Few modern artists so consistently embodied a fuzzy logic of their own as did the Indian painter Maqbool Fida Husain (1915 – 2011). His critics tried to define him as a reckless defamer of Hindu values, but another way to define him is as a dutiful devotee of a vision that was inclusive, rather than exclusive, and that understood all boundaries and identities as fluid or blurry, rather than as fixed and immutable. Or one might say that Husain strove to (...) project what Ashis Nandy has called “Indian-style secularism,” celebrating creation, humanity, and beauty in the multiple religious forms of the subcontinent. Having lived and painted in India all his life, he was forced into exile in his nineties by right-wing Hindu politicians. In London, he continued to work on a new interpretation of Indian civilization as universally relevant, in a sequence of paintings with themes from the Mahabharata, while, in Doha, a royal patron commissioned him to paint a series relating Islamic and Christian civilization. The two series are shown, in this essay, to best exhibit Husain's view of “all distinctions” as “political, artificial.”. (shrink)
In this paper, I wish to consider Watsuji Tetsuro's (1889?1960) concept of climate (fudo), and consider whether it contributes anything to the relationship between climate change and ethics. I will argue that superficially it seems that fudo tells us little about the ethics of climate change, but if considered more carefully, and through the lens of thinkers such as Deleuze and Heidegger, there is ethical insight in Watsuji's approach. Watsuji's major work in ethics, Rinrigaku, provides concepts such as between-ness and (...) trust that enable his philosophy of climate to move from a theory of national characters (as Fudo is often seen to be) to an approach to living well within one's milieu. (shrink)
Boehme's concern was to outline a theory of knowledge that overcame the lifeless structure of traditional religion, and also made possible the real significance of individuals. He accomplished this by describing a dialectical system that began with a unique version of non-being, Ungrund, which was chaotic, and which was never negated throughout the entire dialectic. This system was one which provided a significant role for knowledge, in that the driving force of the dialectic was self-knowledge on the part of God. (...) The words he uses for the emergence of the dialectic are knowledge words--Verstand , Vernunft , Weisheit , Erkenntniss, Wissenschaft. This self-knowledge is a free movement that happens through the infusion of one force in the chaos, which Boehme calls Lust, into all the other forces, Begierde. The forces of Begierde have their craving for manifestation satiated, while Lust has its desire for self-knowledge met. The cooperation between these two is the entire story of dialectical creation, which Boehme calls Weisheit. One can either recognize this dialectical creation in the search for knowledge , or one can conceive knowledge as apart from that grounding . The second of these is a legitimate form of knowledge, but it becomes illegitimate if it does not recognize its dependency on Verstand. God has Verstand, in that God has knowledge of the dialectic, but this knowledge is conceptual, but particularized. Humans both gain Verstand and assume it, in their knowledge of the world through signatures. The result of this structure of creative knowledge is that: God is related to creation directly, without resorting to pantheism; Evil, which is simply a competing "Weisheit" or manifestation can be conquered; There is a place for positively conceived, named individuals; and, a third option is created, between static ontotheology in which there is an unquestioned foundation that legitimates all else, and pure perspectivism, in which the divine is simply one story that could be drawn from the world around. (shrink)
Islamic fundamentalism (Islamic neo-traditionalism) is an important component of Islamic identity struggles in the three South Asian nations of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The contested role, status, and legal rights of women provide a focus for comparative study, and the treatment of women in the courts showcases the problematic relation of religious and civil law. The cases of Shah Bano in India and Safia Bibi in Pakistan display (1) the radically different ways fundamentalism influences judicial processes; (2) the varying challenges (...) that confront Muslims in different polities (in India, the maintenance of Islamic identity; in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the evolution of a just and democratic Islamic state); and (3) the fact that the single gravest problem confronting Muslims regardless of political frontiers and varying structures of civil government is whether piety requires that religious law formulated in premodern cultures be regarded as fixed and binding today. (shrink)