Academics Miscellaneous

Study:
Read, underline, take notes, refer
Revise, summarize, reflect, interpret, compare, criticise, evaluate, apply

Do a course in Study Method

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Christian Studies Curriculum

Supplementary Readings

Buy Indian Christian Theology by Robin Boyd – BOOK REVIEW
Four Views on Christian Spirituality – BOOK REVIEW
Psychology of Religion
Sociology of Religion
Christian theology of religions
Fundamental theology/philosophical theology
Christian theology in Asia
Comparative Religions
Christian Education
Transforming Religion (BOOK REVIEW)

Philosophy Miscellaneous

– Critical theory – Application of knowledge from the social sciences & humanities to critique society/culture. neo-Marxist Frankfurt school – using theories of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, etc. Sociology & literary criticism. Liberate human beings from the circumstances (ideologies) that enslave them. A gadfly of other systems!

– Literary theory – the nature of literature & the methods of analyzing it. Influenced by intellectual history, moral philosophy, social prophecy, etc.
Literary criticism – interpreting & evaluating works of literature.

– Theoretical thought ~ speculative reason. Theoria, as opposed to praxis/techne

– Deconstruction – Jacques Derrida’s Grammatology (1967). Theoretical enterprise in philosophy, literature, etc. Metaphysics of presence, pure presence, essential/intrinsic meaning, absolute truth, unmediated access to reality, conceptual hierarchy, logocentrism rejected! Language as a system of signs deriving meaning only from contrast-effects with other words. ‘Differánce’.
Each concept is constituted by the reciprocal determination of its opposite. To deconstruct the way these oppositions work to produce meaning & value – neologisms/undecidables – to mark the intervals of this eternal interplay!

Philosophy Curriculum

Supplementary Readings

An Introduction to Metaphilosophy (Kindle) (BOOK REVIEW)
History of Eastern & Western Philosophy (Middle East & Far East) – Radhakrishnan (BOOK REVIEW)
An Introduction to Indian Philosophy (BOOK REVIEW)
Introduction to Philosophy
Social & political philosophy
Christian philosophy; Theology & philosophy
Middle Eastern & Far Eastern philosophy
Philosophy of liberation
Philosophy of education
Critical Theory
Cultural Studies
Philosophy of language
Theoretical thought
Philosophy of mind

INTRODUCTION TO INDIAN PHILOSOPHY Notes

– Classical ~ ancient

– Axiology – the study of the nature, types, and criteria of values and of value-judgments especially in ethics

– Axial age – 800 – 200 BC (“The Origin & Goal of History” – Karl Jaspers). similar revolutionary thinking appeared in Persia, India, China and the Occident. Identified a number of key Axial Age thinkers as having had a profound influence on future philosophies and religions. Jaspers saw in these developments, a striking parallel without any obvious direct transmission of ideas from one region to the other, having found no recorded proof of any extensive intercommunication between Ancient Greece, the Middle East, India, and China. Jaspers held up this age as unique, and one to which the rest of the history of human thought might be compared.

– Explanations & implications

– Sruti – that which is heard

– Upanishad – “sitting down near”, referring to the student sitting down near the teacher while receiving esoteric knowledge.
Vidya – knowledge

– Thirukkural – Aratthuppaal (on virtue), Porutpaal (on wealth), Kaamatthupaal (on love)

– Smriti – that which is remembered. Refers to a specific body of Hindu religious scripture, and is a codified component of Hindu customary law. Smriti also denotes non-Sruti texts and is generally seen as secondary in authority to Sruti. The literature which comprises the Smriti was composed after the Vedas around 500 BCE. Smriti also denotes tradition in the sense that it portrays the traditions of the rules on dharma.

UNIT 1

– Speculation – theoretical/academic/hypothetical/abstract thought
Curious/uncertain

– Occidental & Oriental

– Solipsism – one can be certain only of the existence of one’s own mind and the actuality of anything outside of that (the world, other minds) cannot be known.

– Morality/ethics – regulating our animal instincts for the sake of individual & social welfare

– Distinguish:
Pleasure
&
Happiness
&
Bliss

– Hedonism is a school of thought that argues that pleasure
 is the only intrinsic good. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain
).
Ethical hedonism is the idea that all people have the right to do everything in their power to achieve the greatest amount of pleasure possible to them. Aristippus
 of Cyrene, a student of Socrates.

– Cynicism – For the Cynics, the purpose of life was to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. As reasoning creatures, people could gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which was natural for humans, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, sex, and fame. Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions.
The first philosopher to outline these themes was Antisthenes
, who had been a pupil of Socrates
 in the late 5th century BC. He was followed by Diogenes of Synope. He was followed by Crates of Thebes. Some have claimed that early Christianity adopted many of its ascetic and rhetorical ideas.

– Judgment – right or wrong?
Belief – true or false?
Action – good or bad?

– Mystical experiences & ecstatic utterances

– Social contract theory – natural & legal rights

– Mystical revelation, religious texts, philosophical reflection & cultural heritage

– Ethical principles » virtuous living » happy life

– Brahman » advaita; Vishnu » visistadvaita & dvaita; Shiva » Saiva Siddhanta

– Henotheism – differentiated monotheism

– Smartism (Brahman), Vaishnavism (Vishnu – Rama, Ganesha, Krishna) Saivism (Shiva) & Shaktism (Shakti – Parvati, Lakshmi, Durga, Kali; Tantra – expand consciousness & liberate it from bondage to matter)

– Sanskrit literature

– Symbols, chants, meditation

– Tattva – principles of reality
Mantra – sacred chants that enlighten-liberate

UNIT 2

– Agama tradition – a collection of Sanskrit, Tamil & Granta Scriptures – pre or post-Vedic texts. Nigama – Vedic tradition

– Amnaya – sacred tradition, received doctrine

– Mantra – sacred utterance, numinous sound

– Temple worship – oblations, sacrifices
Ancestor-worship
Polytheistic

– Rishis (seers) & rtviks (priests)

– Rig – praise/verse

– Soma/Sauma – Vedic ritual drink

– Hymns, formulas, chants, spells, incantations, 

– Vedic period – 1750 – 500 BC

– Shakha (branch/limb) – Vedic school

– Vasus – dweller (the fundamental elements); rudra – roarer (Shiva); Aditya (Sun god – Vishnu); Ashvinis (lunar/star god)

– Indra – god of weather & war

– Brahmasutra – canonical text of the Advaita school. Exposition of the Upanisads.

– Uttaramimamsa – last investigation – school of Hindu philosophy based on exegesis of the Vedanta

– Loka – world (Sanskrit)

– Bhautika – external manifest cause – physical/worldly/earthly/material

– Guru => sisya

UNIT 3

– Integrity in the person, love at home, & justice in the world

– Enjoyment with moderation. Self-control

– Knowledge is wealth

– Ambrosia – food of the gods (something very tasty/aromatic)

– Toddy – alcoholic liquor made with sugar, hot water & spices
Arrack – alcoholic drink made from coconut sap or rice

– Vide – see, consult, refer (for further information)

– Ambit – scope, extent, limits

– Veedu ~ sorgam/motcham

– Tirukkural as the Proverbs of the Indian Bible!

UNIT 4

– Deuterocanonical material

– Scripture (Sruti) & Tradition (Smriti)

– Philosophical truths, spiritual disciplines, religious rituals, social responsibilities

– Dharma – true way of life

– Sant – saint

– Sanatana dharma – eternal religion/cosmic order (Orthodox, as opposed to reformist, Hinduism)

– Authors & commentators; compilers & editors

– Kurukshetra – Kuru (ancestor of the cousins Pandavas & Kauravas) + kshetra – place. Battlefield in Mahabharata.

– Buddhi (that aspect of the mind that is attracted to truth/reality – Brahman – and therefore leads to wisdom) as opposed to manas (the egocentric, sensual, worldly mind).
The spiritual vs. Carnal mind!

– Intellect/doubt vs. Tradition/faith

– Coming to terms with the folly of human nature

– One is not afraid of what one has fully confronted & accepted

– Aristotle’s cardinal virtues – justice, prudence, equanimity & courage

– Drtarastra ~ Dharmaraya

– Mythologization & legendification of historical events & characters, with metaphysical insights, psychological observations & ethical (individual & social) lessons.

– Lakshman Rekha

– The (especially needy) guest as visiting deity

– Tirtha – holy place/sacred object

– Manu – title of the seven progenitors of mankind

– Gunas – operational principles/tendencies of universal nature (prakriti)
Sattva – creation; Rajas – destruction; Tamas – preservation/sustenance

– Five Gunas, five senses, five organs

– Bhakti – Trust & obey, for there is no other way… Understanding is secondary!

– Doing one’s duty to please God, & for social welfare, as opposed to personal interest.

– Kanda – chapter

– I can find liberation in slavery to this GOD, only if he is identical with my true/highest/deepest self!

– Arupa – formless

– Religion is the domain in which (the quest for) truth & (the discovery of) meaning are identical!

– ACPI (Association of Christian Philosophers of India) Encyclopedia of Philosophy