Dear Indian Philosophy Bloggers and Readers
I would like to share with you news of my in-press book. It is scheduled to be out in July, which is late to be considered for September teaching and research, so I thought I would announce it now, in case it is relevant to your fall research or teaching work.
The book is called Hinduism: A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation (Routledge 2019).
Its part of a larger series, titled Investigating Philosophy of Religion. Each peer reviewed volume is dedicated to a single religion. So far the volumes for Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are in-press or released.
Here is the publisher’s back of book blurb:
Hinduism: A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation explores Hinduism and the distinction between the secular and religious on a global scale. According to Ranganathan, a careful philosophical study of Hinduism reveals it as the microcosm of philosophical disagreements with Indian resources, across a variety of topics, including: ethics, logic, the philosophy of thought, epistemology, moral standing, metaphysics, and politics. This analysis offers an original and fresh diagnosis of studying Hinduism, colonialism and a global rise of hyper-nationalism, as well as the frequent acrimony between scholars and practitioners of Hindu traditions.
This text is appropriate for use in undergraduate and graduate courses on Hinduism, and Indian philosophy, and can be used as an advanced introduction to the problems of philosophy with South Asian resources.
Here is the TOC:
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Hinduism and the Limits of Interpretation
Chapter 3. Bhakti: the Fourth Moral Theory
Chapter 4. Logic: The Nectar of Immortality
Chapter 5. Subcontinent Dharma, the Global Alt-Right and the Philosophy of Thought
Chapter 6. Jñāna: Pramāṇa, Satya and Citta (Not: Justified, True, Belief)
Chapter 7. Moral Standing: Who Counts, Gods and the After Life
Chapter 8. Metaphysics: Two Truths
Chapter 9. The Politics of the Milk Ocean: Mokṣa
Chapter 10. Conclusion
Just to clarify: the book is not primarily about Hindu philosophy. It’s an account of Hinduism, the religion. Hence, to get to this point, I provide a general account of how something comes to be identified as a religion in our world (it is political and has to do with the tradition I call the West—italicized upper case “W”) and note that Hinduism is the odd member of this club: whereas most religions are identifiable with some minimal comprehensive view, figure, text, or doctrine, Hinduism is simply the microcosm of philosophical disagreements, with a South Asian twist. So in the end, I do review and explore Hindu philosophies but as a means of representing Hinduism in terms of its disagreements. The other topic of this book is the West, a tradition that identifies its cultural contingencies with the very content of thought itself, disappearing alien moral and political theorizing and in its place identifying religions to be studied social scientifically and not as a contribution to philosophy. The methodological distinction between interpretation (the method of the West) and explication (the method of philosophy) plays an important part in this argument too.
The project, while philosophical (focused on an analysis of Hinduism, the concept), is largely informed by scholars of Hinduism (who frequently take opposing views) whose contribution to the field informed my thinking about that massive religion called Hinduism. Just when I thought I had some idea about what Hinduism is, a scholar would share their work and I would have to revise my conception of Hinduism, eventually leading me to the idea that it’s just more accurate to talk about Hinduism in terms of its disagreements than some common platform.