Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You and Your Team.

Learn More →

Conceptualizing Philosophical Tradition: A Reading of Wilhelm Halbfass, Daya Krishna, and Jitendranath Mohanty

Conceptualizing Philosophical Tradition: A Reading of Wilhelm Halbfass, Daya Krishna, and... COMMENT AND DISCUSSION ConceptualizingPhilosophicalTradition:AReadingofWilhelm Halbfass,DayaKrishna,andJitendranathMohanty Anna-Pya Sjödin SchoolofPhilosophy,DepartmentofCultureandCommunication, SödertörnUniversity This article takes as its point of departure the question of howWilhelm Halbfass, DayaKrishna,andJitendranathMohantyhaveconceptualizedtraditioninrelation to"Indian"philosophy.Theyhaveallreactedto,andcriticized,homogeneousand staticconceptionsofIndianphilosophies,andbyarticulatingdifferentwaysofapprehendingtraditiontheyhavetriedtocometotermswithsuchlimitingimages.My readingoftheirtextshasbeeninformedbyaquestioningofhowthey,inturn,conceptualizetradition.Mostofallthisisrelatedtothetendency,ontheonehand,to stressthattraditionisopen-endedanddynamicbutatthesametimetospeakoftraditionasonesingularanduniversalizablephenomenon,sometimesevenasareified phenomenon("it").Thisdiscussionisconnectedtoaconcernofmineregardinghow toconceptualizeapluralityandheterogeneitywhileavoidingareifying,generalizing language.TowardtheendIpresentareadingoftheNyyastraandhowtheconcept ofsiddhntacouldbeunderstoodinthelightofthreeofitscommentaries.Thisreadingishereframedasthepracticalandphilosophicaloutcomeofthereflectionsmade intheanalysisofHalbfass,Krishna,andMohanty. Darana and "Philosophical Tradition" in Sanskrit ThequestionconcerningwhattermsinSanskritwouldcorrespondtotheconceptsof "philosophy"(philosophia)and"tradition"hasbeendiscussedatlengthbyMohanty, Halbfass,andKrishna.Theirwritingsonthistopiccouldbeunderstoodasforming aninteractiveandcreativemeetingplacebetweenIndologyasaphilologicalundertakingandIndianphilosophyasaphilosophicalundertaking.InthefollowingIwill formulatewhatkindsofimagesaredrawnwithinthisplaceandthroughacritical readingtrytotakethediscussionastepfurther. Darana,initsSanskritlexicalform,means"seeing,""lookingat,"or"showing"; inaphilosophicalcontextitconveys"apointofview"or"perspective."Thisterm becamepopularinthelateeighth-totenth-centurywritingsofphilosophicalcompendiumsinIndia.Inthisgenreoftexts,whichcouldbecalleddoxographical,the authorsdescribedthemajortenetsofwhattheysometimescalledthedaranas.The term darana was subsequently taken up and used within the field of Indian and comparative philosophy as a term for the so called six classical orthodox Hindu schools of philosophy in India: Nyya,Vaieika, Skhya,Yoga, Mmsa, and Vednta.This use of the term darana for Indian philosophy has been contested Volume61,Number3July2011534­546 ©2011byUniversityofHawai`iPress anddiscussedinlaterIndianphilosophyandIndology.Halbfass,forexample,has pointed out that the use of the term darana is somewhat restricted to the doxographical discourse and, moreover, that it sometimes is extended to denote nonHinduphilosophiesaswell.1 Mohanty's,Halbfass',andKrishna'sdiscussionofdaranaandphilosophicaltraditioniscenteredwithintherelationbetween"Indian"and"Western"philosophy. Thatdifferentconceptualizationsof"Westernphilosophy"areatworkinthesediscussions,bothexplicitlyandimplicitly,isaveryimportantfacttobeawareof.In short,then,noneofthesescholarswritesinavacuum;theirthoughttranspiresfrom thecomplexwebthatconstitutestherelationship,oftenunequal,between"Indian" and"Western"philosophy.Mohantyutilizesdaranainordertoachieveacontrast between a Greek philosophia and an Indian darana. Halbfass discusses it in the contextofadebateoverwhichSanskrittermshouldbeusedfortheterm"philosophy,"andKrishnaquestionstheveryconceptofschoolsofIndianphilosophywithin theideaofa"philosophyproper." Tradition as "Styles of Thought" Krishna'sisperhapsthemostradicalandthought-provokingidearegardingtradition. Hearticulatesandcritiquesthreemythsabout"Indianphilosophy":themythabout spirituality,themythaboutauthority,andthemythaboutschoolsofthought.Forhim thequestionsonauthorityandschoolsofphilosophyareboundtogetherinsofaras suchanunderstandingofIndianphilosophyimpliesanunderstandingofafinished systemofthoughtcarryingwithititsowncorrectiveframework.Thisisathoughtthat followsakindofprimordialandself-sufficientunfolding(i.e.,Veda),which,inturn, determinesanypossiblefuturethoughtand,mostimportantlyaccordingtoKrishna, deniesthepossibilityofnewness.KrishnathuscriticizestheideaofIndianphilosophyingeneralasasystem-bound,non-personal,andnon-individualenterprise.2Itis importanttonoteherethatKrishna'simageofIndianphilosophycouldbeunderstoodinthelightof,andasareactionto,"partisanic/ethnic"conceptionsofIndian philosophy as spiritual and therefore more refined than itsWestern secular or despiritualizedcounterpart.Althoughsuchanissuemightappeardated,Krishnaapparentlyfelttheneedtocontinuetoaddressit,andsodoesMohanty,asweshallseein thenextsectionbelow.3 InordertounderstandKrishna'sownideasaboutIndianphilosophyitiscrucial tobeawareofthefactthatheexplicitlystrivestorescueIndianphilosophyfromits antiquarianstate,asheputsit,andreinstateitasaliving,evolvingactivity.Hisconcerngoesdeeperthanjusttofindandformulateaself-understandingbelongingto thephilosophersofthepast.Itseemsthat,forhim,adifferentoutlookwouldalso changehowwephilosophicallyinteracttodaywithaGageaoraNgrjuna.And accordingtoKrishna,thisisexactlyhowhewantsthem sindividuals,aspersonal --a namesforustorelateto: ThedeadmummifiedpictureofIndianphilosophywillcomealiveonlywhenitisseento bealivingstreamofthinkerswhohavegrappledwithdifficultproblemsthatare,philo 535 sophically,asalivetodayastheywereinthepast.Indianphilosophywillbecomecontemporarilyrelevantonlywhenitisconceivedasphilosophyproper.4 InKrishna'sthinking,itappearsthatphilosophy'spropernessliesinitscontemporaneity,whichisachievedonlywhenIndianphilosophyisbrokendownintoindividual philosophers and what he calls "styles of thought."These styles he articulates http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Conceptualizing Philosophical Tradition: A Reading of Wilhelm Halbfass, Daya Krishna, and Jitendranath Mohanty

Philosophy East and West , Volume 61 (3) – Jul 23, 2011

Loading next page...
 
/lp/university-of-hawai-i-press/conceptualizing-philosophical-tradition-a-reading-of-wilhelm-halbfass-FKH9DlQmzG
Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Hawai'I Press
ISSN
1529-1898
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

COMMENT AND DISCUSSION ConceptualizingPhilosophicalTradition:AReadingofWilhelm Halbfass,DayaKrishna,andJitendranathMohanty Anna-Pya Sjödin SchoolofPhilosophy,DepartmentofCultureandCommunication, SödertörnUniversity This article takes as its point of departure the question of howWilhelm Halbfass, DayaKrishna,andJitendranathMohantyhaveconceptualizedtraditioninrelation to"Indian"philosophy.Theyhaveallreactedto,andcriticized,homogeneousand staticconceptionsofIndianphilosophies,andbyarticulatingdifferentwaysofapprehendingtraditiontheyhavetriedtocometotermswithsuchlimitingimages.My readingoftheirtextshasbeeninformedbyaquestioningofhowthey,inturn,conceptualizetradition.Mostofallthisisrelatedtothetendency,ontheonehand,to stressthattraditionisopen-endedanddynamicbutatthesametimetospeakoftraditionasonesingularanduniversalizablephenomenon,sometimesevenasareified phenomenon("it").Thisdiscussionisconnectedtoaconcernofmineregardinghow toconceptualizeapluralityandheterogeneitywhileavoidingareifying,generalizing language.TowardtheendIpresentareadingoftheNyyastraandhowtheconcept ofsiddhntacouldbeunderstoodinthelightofthreeofitscommentaries.Thisreadingishereframedasthepracticalandphilosophicaloutcomeofthereflectionsmade intheanalysisofHalbfass,Krishna,andMohanty. Darana and "Philosophical Tradition" in Sanskrit ThequestionconcerningwhattermsinSanskritwouldcorrespondtotheconceptsof "philosophy"(philosophia)and"tradition"hasbeendiscussedatlengthbyMohanty, Halbfass,andKrishna.Theirwritingsonthistopiccouldbeunderstoodasforming aninteractiveandcreativemeetingplacebetweenIndologyasaphilologicalundertakingandIndianphilosophyasaphilosophicalundertaking.InthefollowingIwill formulatewhatkindsofimagesaredrawnwithinthisplaceandthroughacritical readingtrytotakethediscussionastepfurther. Darana,initsSanskritlexicalform,means"seeing,""lookingat,"or"showing"; inaphilosophicalcontextitconveys"apointofview"or"perspective."Thisterm becamepopularinthelateeighth-totenth-centurywritingsofphilosophicalcompendiumsinIndia.Inthisgenreoftexts,whichcouldbecalleddoxographical,the authorsdescribedthemajortenetsofwhattheysometimescalledthedaranas.The term darana was subsequently taken up and used within the field of Indian and comparative philosophy as a term for the so called six classical orthodox Hindu schools of philosophy in India: Nyya,Vaieika, Skhya,Yoga, Mmsa, and Vednta.This use of the term darana for Indian philosophy has been contested Volume61,Number3July2011534­546 ©2011byUniversityofHawai`iPress anddiscussedinlaterIndianphilosophyandIndology.Halbfass,forexample,has pointed out that the use of the term darana is somewhat restricted to the doxographical discourse and, moreover, that it sometimes is extended to denote nonHinduphilosophiesaswell.1 Mohanty's,Halbfass',andKrishna'sdiscussionofdaranaandphilosophicaltraditioniscenteredwithintherelationbetween"Indian"and"Western"philosophy. Thatdifferentconceptualizationsof"Westernphilosophy"areatworkinthesediscussions,bothexplicitlyandimplicitly,isaveryimportantfacttobeawareof.In short,then,noneofthesescholarswritesinavacuum;theirthoughttranspiresfrom thecomplexwebthatconstitutestherelationship,oftenunequal,between"Indian" and"Western"philosophy.Mohantyutilizesdaranainordertoachieveacontrast between a Greek philosophia and an Indian darana. Halbfass discusses it in the contextofadebateoverwhichSanskrittermshouldbeusedfortheterm"philosophy,"andKrishnaquestionstheveryconceptofschoolsofIndianphilosophywithin theideaofa"philosophyproper." Tradition as "Styles of Thought" Krishna'sisperhapsthemostradicalandthought-provokingidearegardingtradition. Hearticulatesandcritiquesthreemythsabout"Indianphilosophy":themythabout spirituality,themythaboutauthority,andthemythaboutschoolsofthought.Forhim thequestionsonauthorityandschoolsofphilosophyareboundtogetherinsofaras suchanunderstandingofIndianphilosophyimpliesanunderstandingofafinished systemofthoughtcarryingwithititsowncorrectiveframework.Thisisathoughtthat followsakindofprimordialandself-sufficientunfolding(i.e.,Veda),which,inturn, determinesanypossiblefuturethoughtand,mostimportantlyaccordingtoKrishna, deniesthepossibilityofnewness.KrishnathuscriticizestheideaofIndianphilosophyingeneralasasystem-bound,non-personal,andnon-individualenterprise.2Itis importanttonoteherethatKrishna'simageofIndianphilosophycouldbeunderstoodinthelightof,andasareactionto,"partisanic/ethnic"conceptionsofIndian philosophy as spiritual and therefore more refined than itsWestern secular or despiritualizedcounterpart.Althoughsuchanissuemightappeardated,Krishnaapparentlyfelttheneedtocontinuetoaddressit,andsodoesMohanty,asweshallseein thenextsectionbelow.3 InordertounderstandKrishna'sownideasaboutIndianphilosophyitiscrucial tobeawareofthefactthatheexplicitlystrivestorescueIndianphilosophyfromits antiquarianstate,asheputsit,andreinstateitasaliving,evolvingactivity.Hisconcerngoesdeeperthanjusttofindandformulateaself-understandingbelongingto thephilosophersofthepast.Itseemsthat,forhim,adifferentoutlookwouldalso changehowwephilosophicallyinteracttodaywithaGageaoraNgrjuna.And accordingtoKrishna,thisisexactlyhowhewantsthem sindividuals,aspersonal --a namesforustorelateto: ThedeadmummifiedpictureofIndianphilosophywillcomealiveonlywhenitisseento bealivingstreamofthinkerswhohavegrappledwithdifficultproblemsthatare,philo 535 sophically,asalivetodayastheywereinthepast.Indianphilosophywillbecomecontemporarilyrelevantonlywhenitisconceivedasphilosophyproper.4 InKrishna'sthinking,itappearsthatphilosophy'spropernessliesinitscontemporaneity,whichisachievedonlywhenIndianphilosophyisbrokendownintoindividual philosophers and what he calls "styles of thought."These styles he articulates

Journal

Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jul 23, 2011

There are no references for this article.