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Shyam Ranganathan
York University
  1. Idealism and Indian philosophy.Shyam Ranganathan - 2021 - In Joshua Farris & Benedikt Paul Göcke (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Idealism and Immaterialism. Oxfordshire: Routledge.
    In contrast to a stereotypical account of Indian philosophy that are entailments of the interpreter’s beliefs (an approach that violates basic standards of reason), an approach to Indian philosophy grounded on the constraints of formal reason reveals not only a wide spread disagreement on dharma (THE RIGHT OR THE GOOD), but also a pervasive commitment to the practical foundation of life’s challenges. The flip side of this practical orientation is the criticism of ordinary experience as erroneous and reducible to the (...)
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  2. Ethics and the Moral Life in India.Shyam Ranganathan - manuscript
    To talk about ethics and the moral life in India, and whether and when Indians misunderstood each other’s views, we must know something about what Indians thought about ethical and moral issues. However, there is a commonly held view among scholars of Indian thought that Indians, and especially their intellectuals, were not really interested in ethical matters (Matilal 1989, 5; Raju 1967, 27; Devaraja 1962, v-vi; Deutsch 1969, 99). This view is false and strange. Understanding how it is that posterity (...)
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  3. Vedas and Upaniṣads.Shyam Ranganathan - 2017 - In Tom Angier, Chad Meister & Charles Taliaferro (eds.), The History of Evil in Antiquity: 2000 Bce to 450 Ce. London: Routledge. pp. 239-255.
    Evil in the Vedas and the Upanishads undergoes a theoretical transformation as this literature itself moves away from its consequentialist and naturalistic roots to a radical procedural approach to moral questions. The goods of life on the early account were largely natural: evil was a moral primitive that motivated a teleological approach to morality geared towards avoiding natural evil. The gods of nature (such as fire, and rain, intimately involved in metabolism) were propitiated to gain beneficent results, and to avoid (...)
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  4. Hinduism, Belief and the Colonial Invention of Religion: A before and after Comparison.Shyam Ranganathan - 2022 - Religions 13 (10).
    As known from the academic literature on Hinduism, the foreign, Persian word, “Hindu” (meaning “Indian”), was used by the British to name everything indigenously South Asian, which was not Islam, as a religion. If we adopt explication as our research methodology, which consists in the application of the criterion of logical validity to organize various propositions of perspectives we encounter in research in terms of a disagreement, we discover: (a) what the British identified as “Hinduism” was not characterizable by a (...)
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  5. Just War and the Indian Tradition: Arguments from the Battlefield.Shyam Ranganathan - 2019 - In Comparative Just War Theory: An Introduction to International Perspectives. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 173-190.
    A famous Indian argument for jus ad bellum and jus in bello is presented in literary form in the Mahābhārata: it involves events and dynamics between moral conventionalists (who attempt to abide by ethical theories that give priority to the good) and moral parasites (who attempt to use moral convention as a weapon without any desire to conform to these expectations themselves). In this paper I follow the dialectic of this victimization of the conventionally moral by moral parasites to its (...)
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  6. Yoga—The Original Philosophy: De-Colonize Your Yoga Therapy.Shyam Ranganathan - 2022 - Yoga Therapy Today:32-37.
    This article, addressed to Yoga Therapists, sorts out the historical roots of our idea of Yoga, elucidates the colonial interference and distortion of Yoga, and shows that trauma and therapy are the primary focus of Yoga. However, unlike most philosophies of therapy, Yoga's solution is primarily moral philosophical---Yoga itself being a basic ethical theory, in addition to Virtue Theory, Consequentialism and Deontology. This article goes some way to elucidating that it is quite ironic (and absurd) that many feel the need (...)
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  7. Vedānta – Rāmānuja and Madhva: Moral Realism and Freedom vs. Determinism (Ethics 1, M11).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    Vedānta has two meanings. The first is the literal sense – “End of Vedas” – and refers to the Āraṇyakas and Upaniṣads—the latter part of the Vedas. The second sense of “Vedanta” is a scholastic one, and refers to a philosophical orientation that attempts to explain the cryptic Vedānta Sūtra (Brahma Sūtra) of Bādarāyaṇa, which aims at being a summary of the End of the Vedas. In the previous module, I review the ethics of the End of the Vedas and (...)
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  8. Nāgārjuna and Madhyāmaka Ethics (Ethics-1, M32).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    Nāgārjuna’s “middle path” charts a course between two extremes: Nihilism, and Absolutism, not unlike earlier Buddhism. However, as early Buddhists countinanced constituents of reality as characterizable by essences while macroscopic objects lack such essences, Nāgārjuna argues that all things lack what he calls svabhāva – “own being” – the Sanskrit term for essence. Since everything lacks an essence, it is Empty (śūnya). To lack an essence is to lack autonomy. The corollary of this is that all things are interrelated. The (...)
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  9. Bhagavad Gītā II: Metaethical Controversies (Ethics1, M09).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    In the previous module we examined the dialectic that Krishna initiates in the Bhagavad Gītā. Arjuna’s despondency and worry about the war he must fight is captured in his own words by teleological concerns – consequentialism and virtue theoretic considerations. In the face of a challenge, a teleological approach results in the paradox of teleology---namely, the more we are motivated by exceptional and unusual ends, the less likely we are to pursue our ends given a low expected utility. Krishna's solution (...)
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  10. Vedānta, Śaṅkara and Moral Irrealism (Ethics-1, M10).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    This and the following lessons cover the topic of Vedānta and ethics. Vedānta has two meanings. The first is the literal sense – “End of Vedas” – and refers to the Āraṇyakas and Upaniṣads—the latter part of the Vedas. The second sense of “Vedanta” is a scholastic one, and refers to a philosophical orientation that attempts to explain the cryptic Vedānta Sūtra (Brahma Sūtra) of Bādarāyaṇa, which aims at being a summary of the End of the Vedas. We shall pursue (...)
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  11. Context and Pragmatics.Shyam Ranganathan - 2018 - In Piers Rawling & Philip Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Philosophy. London: Routledge. pp. 195-208.
    Syntax has to do with rules that constrain how words can combine to make acceptable sentences. Semantics (Frege and Russell) concerns the meaning of words and sentences, and pragmatics (Austin and Grice) has to do with the context bound use of meaning. We can hence distinguish between three competing principles of translation: S—translation preserves the syntax of an original text (ST) in the translation (TT); M—translation preserves the meaning of an ST in a TT; and P—translation preserves the pragmatics of (...)
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  12. An Archimedean Point for Philosophy.Shyam Ranganathan - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (4):479-519.
    According to the orthodox account of meaning and translation in the literature, meaning is a property of expressions of a language, and translation is a matching of synonymous expressions across languages. This linguistic account of translation gives rise to well-known skeptical conclusions about translation, objectivity, meaning and truth, but it does not conform to our best translational practices. In contrast, I argue for a textual account of meaning based on the concept of a TEXT-TYPE that does conform to our best (...)
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  13. Review of The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography, by David Gordon White. [REVIEW]Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - Philosophy East and West 66 (3):1043-1048.
    In this short review, I provide a philosopher's assessment of White's book. It claims to be a study of the life of the Yoga Sutra, but is rather an account of secondary opinions, as though that amounts to the same thing as an account of the Yoga Sutra.
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