October 28, 2005

Jürgen Habermas, Sri Aurobindo and Beyond

Knowledge and Human Liberation: Jürgen Habermas, Sri Aurobindo and Beyond by Ananta Kumar Giri, MADRAS INSTITUTE OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES, CHENNAI, INDIA; European Journal of Social Theory, Vol. 7, No. 1, 85-103 (2004)DOI: 10.1177/1368431004040021© 2004 SAGE Publications
Knowledge and human liberation are epochal challenges and a key question here is what the meaning of knowledge and the meaning of human liberation are. This article argues that knowledge means not only knowledge of self, society and nature as conceived within the predominant dualistic logic of modernity but also knowledge of transcendental self beyond sociological role playing, knowledge of nature beyond anthropocentric reduction and control, and knowledge of cosmos, God and transcendence in an interconnected spirit of autonomy and interpenetration. Liberation means not only liberation from oppressive structures but also liberation from one’s ego and the will to control and dominate. The article discusses the transformative link between knowledge and liberation through a critical dialogue with Jürgen Habermas and Sri Aurobindo, focusing mainly on their works, Knowledge and Human Interests and Synthesis of Yoga. The article does not simply compare and contrast Habermas and Sri Aurobindo or compare and contrast the so-called Western rationality and Eastern spirituality but seeks to create a condition for transformative criticism for both.
Key Words: global conversation • human liberation • knowledge • liberatory aspiration • self-cultivation • social movements, References:
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