Philosophy

The Bhagavad Gita Revisited
Why the Bhagavad Gita is an overrated text with a deplorable morality at its core. Part 1 is on the Gita’s historical and literary context. Part 2 is the textual critique.

   Part 1 (The Appetizer)

   Part 2 (The Main Course)

What Do We Deserve?
Of particular relevance to market-based societies is the question, ‘What do we deserve?’ For our learning, natural talents, and labor, what rewards and entitlements can we fairly claim?

The Inner Lives of Animals
Do non-human animals live entirely in the moment? Given the spate of behavioral studies, what can we justifiably say about the inner lives of animals?

On the Void of Nagarjuna
The works of Nagarjuna, a Buddhist monk-philosopher who lived in South India 1800 years ago in a city we call Nagarjunakonda, represent "something of a watershed ... in the history of philosophy as a whole."

Being Liberal in a Plural World
In the absence of a consensus on the ‘truly universal’ values of liberalism, and hence rights—whether on empirical or practical grounds—how, and on what basis, should I as a liberal act in the world?

On Knowledge Without Wisdom
Philosophy today, as pursued by much of the Anglo-American academy, is not how the Greeks understood it. It now paves the way for the acquisition of theoretical knowledge as an end in itself.

The Dearth of Artificial Intelligence
Despite big advances in computing—for example, today’s supercomputers are ten million times faster than those of the early 90s—AI has fallen woefully short of its ambition and hype.Why is AI in such a braindead state?

On Eating Animals
Raised unnaturally and inhumanely, over a million birds and mammals are violently killed in the U.S. every hour, yet the idea persists that Americans love animals.

Asian Food for Thought
India and China offer a striking illustration of the vast range and malleability of the human palate, and the power of ideas in shaping it.

In Light of Nalanda
What was ancient Nalanda University like? Here is a portrait based on the accounts of Chinese scholars of 7th century CE and a recent personal visit.

The Basis of Belief
Do we arrive at our beliefs in a systematic manner or through an intuitive process ? Are we predisposed towards some beliefs while being skeptical about others ? Do life experiences play a strong role in what we believe ? Does scientific training enable us to...

The Politics of God
In response to 9/11 and the alarming role of evangelical Christianity in US politics, a host of loud atheistic voices have emerged. Most belong to concerned citizens driven by their secular ideals...

Atheistic Materialism in Ancient India
It comes as a surprise to many that in ancient "spiritual" India, atheistic materialism was a major force to reckon with. Predating even the Buddhists, the Carvaka is one of the earliest materialistic schools of Indian philosophy.

Pinker, the Storyteller
Many evolutionary psychologists, including Steven Pinker, professor at Harvard, claim that our minds at birth are not a blank slate, and further, that evolution has endowed humans with a "moral instinct".

What Confucius Said
No person has left a deeper mark on Chinese culture than Confucius, who lived 2500 years ago in an age of social turmoil.

A Mousetrap for Metaphysics
Is it possible to reduce the vast range of humankind's metaphysical responses down to a few distilled outlooks that have shaped (and continue to shape) human culture?

On Being Spiritual
Spirituality is cool these days. Its warm and fuzzy aura now appeals to more and more people in the West. Here are my provisional thoughts on what being spiritual means to me.

Candles in the Dark?
Beyond Belief, an annual symposium that seeks to promote the constituency of reason in society, was held this year [2008] from 3-6 October in La Jolla, CA.

Wise Man Socrates
Socrates, like Jesus and the Buddha, never committed his ideas to writing.* Our main sources on him are Plato, his student, and Xenophon, the historian. The picture that emerges from their accounts make him perhaps the greatest man of Classical Greece.

The Wonder That Was India
Various societies at different times have dazzled with their bursts of creative and intellectual energy. Historians have a penchant for dubbing them Golden Ages. Examples include the Athens of Herodotus, the Baghdad of Haroun al-Rashid, and the India of the Buddha.

Servitors of the Divine Consciousness
Auroville aspires to be "a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and harmony, above all creeds, all politics, and nationalities."

Rediscovering Golem
What is life anyway, and how did it really happen upon this world? As a physical phenomenon, is life an accidental and rare occurrence?

Advice to a Young Artist
The idea for writing this came to me from an interview in which an author was reverentially asked, ‘Sir, what would be your advice to a young artist?’  The author turned his nose up and gave a pat, patronizing answer but the question stayed with me. How would I answer it?

On Early Islam
This five-part series on early Islamic history begins with the rise of Islam, shifts to its golden age, examines two major currents of early Islamic thought—rationalism and Sufi mysticism—and concludes with an epilogue.

Part 1: The Rise of Islam

Part 2: The Golden Age

Part 3: The Path of Reason

Part 4: The Mystic Tide

Part 5: Epilogue

 

 


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