May 16, 2015

New Blog

I have started a new blog: In Search of an Ideal.

In "The Rough Ground" I tried to express some of my experiences in academic philosophy, and think about some structural features of academia. This blog, like its predecessor "Philosophy in Everyday Life", was therefore mostly critical and was stating some of the problems.

What, though, are the solutions? That is what I want to think about now. In order to do that I find it helpful to step back from my own experiences, and take a broader perspective. That is the aim of the new blog.

7 comments:

  1. Bharath, for me the link to your new blog, "IN Search of an Ideal," doesn't work. I should add that I find your story very interesting. It resembles mine in a number of ways. Like you I had an early interest in spiritual matters, especially as conveyed by poets like George Herbert and Gerard Manley Hopkins. But also like you, I traveled (as an adult) in circles that didn't encourage that interest. I studied philosophy at Oxford and got a PhD at Cornell, with a dissertation on Bradley and Hegel on ethical theory. Pursuing my reading of Hegel and intensifying my interest in Plato, I concluded that both of them have deep and important things to say about what we call spirituality. I wasn't strongly attracted to present-day philosophy of religion because I find it too exclusively Christian in orientation, whereas I feel a lot of affinity for Buddhism, Vedanta, and Taoism as well as for the Abrahamic religions. I see a lot of similarity between Platonism and the Asian traditions, as well as (obviously) the Abrahamic traditions that it influenced. So I am writing recently about the philosophical theology that I think Plato and Hegel basically share. In any case, I wonder whether you have considered going back to school to build up your credentials in Sanskrit and Indian philosophy generally, so that you could then market yourself as one of the "pluralistic" philosophers whom you call for in your recent interview. I think you would find an enthusiastic reaction from many undergrad students if you could teach the spiritual side of western philosophy together with Vedanta and Buddhism. Isn't this what your heart wants to be working on? Or am I projecting my own interests onto you?

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  2. P.S. As you've probably noticed, there is a conspiracy of silence among the current generation of Plato specialists about Plato's spirituality (and about Aristotle's spirituality as well, for that matter). But we don't have to be limited by them! I admire your candor about ahimsa and so forth, in your recent writings. We can speak from our hearts, and clarify what that involves in the best analytic manner. The great thing about analytic philosophy in the last few decades is that it really has opened its doors to topics that were verboten in the mid-twentieth century. So let's take them at their word and extend the discussion to the topics that speak to our hearts.

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  3. Bob, Thanks for the headsup about the link; it should work now. And I agree about the spiritual side of western philosophy, including thinkers like Plato, Spinoza and Hegel, and how this aspect of western philosophy gets ignored. My main interest, and you are right about this and not just projecting your interests, is to live a spiritual/philosophical life which incorporates diverse global traditions. I have thought of going back to study Indian philosophy in a way I didn't earlier, but I am also interested in pursuing a non-academic path, and speaking not only to undergrads in classes, but more broadly.

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  4. Your main interest is identical to mine. And I too am very interested in speaking to an audience that's wider than the academic and undergraduate one. Much of my writing is aimed at a wider audience; and I lead a group that reads spiritual poetry, especially Rumi. Many people are so turned off by whatever exposure they've had to "philosophy" that one needs to find other channels entirely. This is a good exercise, in any case, for a mind that can easily fall into "intellectualizing." To practice appreciating and celebrating daily life and everyday people.

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  5. I also think that many non-academics are very ready to appreciate and engage in a more or less Platonic kind of philosophizing (usually, of course, not under that name). This is what so many great poets do, and thereby enrich us so much; and we less gifted folks also do it much of the time.

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