August 30, 2010

Practices are not simply outside or secondary to philosophy

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga :: 'The Religious, the Spiritual and the Secular' by Robert Minor Reviewed by Debashish Banerji by Debashish on Thu 19 Oct 2006 01:21 AM PDT  |  Permanent Link
Minor concludes from this that the understanding of the terms "secular" and "religious" are highly ambiguous in the modern Indian context, creating serious difficulties in the rational constitution of a public domain. In this, he feels that the present key to the understanding of these terms lies with their Neo-Advaitic connotations, as developed by Radhakrishnan et al. As against this, he himself, quite obviously, leans more favorably towards Nehru's rational and western definitions of the terms.
These definitions, though clearly unambiguous from a mental standpoint, are a product of western liberal humanism, with its roots in the western Enlightenment and its faith in a rational humanity. Such a morally normative and idealistic faith, whatever its (highly questionable) utility in western socio-politics, finds little resonance in the Indian historical context, where the division between Church and State lacks much reality. Moreover, as far as Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's vision of a future society is concerned, this division into clear "secular" and "religious" domains is, in the long run, an impractical impossibility, alien to the transformed epistemological and ontological basis of an integral evolution of humanity. Thus all in all, the book is an interesting one, exposing some of the real difficulties pertaining to governance in modern India, without being able to provide any credible analytical insights or solutions to the problem.

Experimental Metaphysics? from Larval Subjects However, what role do practices play in philosophy? …
Putting this in less abstract terms, we could ask what role lens grinding played in Spinoza’s philosophy. Was Spinoza’s lens grinding a tangential activity outside his thought that he simply engaged in to make money, or was it central to the formation of his philosophy? Similarly, what of Leibniz’s many works in engineering, formations of library catalogs, etc? In Bogost’s case, what role has computer programming played in his thought? What role has being a musician and a part of various bands played in Cogburn’s thought? We could also ask what role his gaming has played in his thought. In my own case, what role has cooking, gardening, clinical practice, and playing simulators played in my own thought? What role has activist work played in the thought of Badiou? Likewise with Foucault’s various forms of political engagement and practices. How did Lacan’s clinical practice inform his thought?
The point here would be that these sorts of practices are not simply outside or secondary to philosophy, but rather problematize the world in such a way as to call for new metaphysics and epistemologies.

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