The Culture and Philosophy of Science in India
April 4-6, 2009
Venue: The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
Project on “Indian Perspectives in Science and Spirituality,”
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
in collaboration with
Indian Council for Philosophical Research
and Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata.
Seminar Director: Professor Makarand Paranjape, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The Project on “Indian Perspectives in Science and Spirituality,” whose Director is Dr Makarand Paranjape, Professor of English, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, JNU, has organized three seminars so far on the relationship between science and spirituality in India. The first of these on “Science and Spirituality in Modern India” was held in February 2006 at the India International Centre and JNU. With a special message of encouragement from the then President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and inaugurated by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, this conference brought together several luminaries from India and abroad from various disciplines, including spirituality, science, engineering, medicine, philosophy, literary criticism, sociology, and psychology. Attended by stalwarts such as Dr. Karan Singh, Professor D. P. Chattopadhyay, Dr. Kireet Joshi, Swami Gokulananda, Shrivatsa Goswami, Professor V. V. Raman, Dr. Sudhir Kakar, Professor P. L. Dhar, and so on, this three day conference explored the multi-dimensional contact, interaction, and dialogue between science and spirituality in modern India. The conference was supported generously by Global Perspectives in Science and Spirituality, Indian Council of Cultural Relations, and several other organizations such as JNU, IIC, ICSSR, and ICPR. A special issue of Life Positive magazine was released ahead of the conference to highlight the importance of the topic to a wider audience. A scholarly volume of the proceedings with the same title was published in 2007.
The second symposium was on “Information as Science and Spirituality.” It explored the possibility of information being the link between various disciplines. This event too invited a unique combination of artists, hard-core scientists, social scientists, philosophers, and literary critics. Held at the India Habitat Centre in March 2007, it was organized to coincide with the installation of a magnificent eight foot sculpture of the Kalayana Sundara Shiva by leading artist, Satish Gupta. The collaborators included the Visual Arts Gallery of the India Habitat Centre and the UGC Special Assistance Programme of the Centre of English Studies, JNU. A unique issue of the quarterly “I” magazine of the India Habitat Centre was released to coincide with the symposium. This issue had an interview with the Tai Situpa, the teacher of the second most revered personage in Tibetan Buddhism, the Karmapa. It was inaugurated by Swami Veda Bharati, an eminent scholar and teacher of Vedanta, and the Valedictory Address was given by Dr. Karan Singh.
The third seminar was on “Science and Spirituality in Healing.” Held just outside Coimbatore, in Anaikatti, at the Arsha Vidya Kendra, the ashram of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, in January 2008. The chief collaborator, in addition to the above mentioned ashram, was the Arya Vaidya Pharmacy (Coimbatore). The latter is not only a reputed manufacturer of Ayurvedic medicine, but runs a hospital and research programme in the area. Most of the participants were health professionals, including allopathic doctors, ayurvedic practitioners, homeopaths, in additional to philosophers and social scientists.
This is the fourth and concluding conference of the Project.
Historians have shown that what we today call “science” was earlier known as “natural philosophy.” The term “philosophy” was then considered as a generic description of all forms of human inquiry. Science itself simply means knowledge. The word “natural” was prefixed to the more general term philosophy to indicate that here the study was of nature and natural phenomena as opposed to other branches of study which included grammar, rhetoric, literature, fine arts, theology, and so on. The emergence of modern science occurred during and after the European renaissance, which also witnessed a huge expansion of European power, both economic and political. What drove this expansion and was in turn fuelled by it were new technologies. While many European nations expanded outward, colonizing the rest of the world, there was also fierce competition within Europe for dominance and survival. In such an environment, navigation, shipping, and military prowess became imperative. The colonies, in turn, yielded gold, silver, silk, cotton, spices, and a whole range of other natural resource. They also facilitated the flow of knowledge and ideas from China, India, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas to Europe and vice-versa. Finally, in the early 18th century, conditions were ripe for the industrial revolution in Europe. The Enlightenment had created a new thirst to know what was previously unknown: as Kant said, “Dare to know.” But more than that, it also enthroned rationality as the highest faculty of the human being, thus paving the way both for the retreat of Church dogma as the sole arbiter of truth and also for the establishment of empiricism and rationalism as the two dominant epistemological principles.
The aim of this broad sketch of the conditions that gave rise to modern science has been to show that science does not emerge in a vacuum, but needs certain preconditions. In other words, it is a certain set of cultural conditions and circumstances, which give rise to science. Here, by culture is meant the sum total of all the devices and methods that a society has at its disposal to control, direct, and modify the material conditions of its existence. Once science begins to flourish, it gives rise to its own culture, both in the specific sense of the culture of laboratories or research institutions in which science is produced and, in the larger sense, its impact on society as a whole. The culture of science is thus an important aspect of study. It not only includes the study of the relationship between science and religion, but also between science and philosophy, and science and society.
At the same time the concept of culture needs to be revisited, anchored as it is increasingly in our time on the material bases of civilization. Today culture relates itself more to the “human condition” and hence also the “human predicament,” understood both in terms of the misery that man creates for himself externally and therefore must suffer the backlash internally. Can science or culture of science mitigate this predicament?
Coming in the wake of the earlier three academic conferences, the proposed seminar on “The Culture and Philosophy of Science in India” intends to take the debate on science and society to another area, both academically and geographically. On the one hand, we hope to hold it in other parts of India, after the conferences in Delhi and Coimbatore. On the other hand, we also wish to open up the inquiry in fundamental issues such as culture and philosophy of science. The assumption is that science does not happen in a vacuum, but is either supported or resisted by the society and culture in which it functions. Of course, science as its own culture just as each culture has its own “science.” Yet, by culture of science is meant specifically three things: 1) the culture out of which science emerges, as in the European renaissance or late colonial India; 2) the kind of culture that science itself engenders, once it begins to take root; 3) the interaction between the two, that is between science, with its own specific norms and methodologies and the culture of the country or society in which it exists; 4) the institutionalization of science and its relationship to the state, which in turns shape the type of science that is encouraged.
By philosophy of science, we mean the logical, methodological, and epistemological assumptions of science as it is practised in India. This encompasses the clash or the uneasy co-existence between what we might call “traditional” science and what is now dominant and universal, that is, modern science. Here the crucial question is whether pre-modern science can be called science at all or simply an alternate knowledge system. But by science in India we also mean Indian science, that is, science as it was practiced in India before the advent of modernity, as well as science in colonial and post-colonial India. List of Participants (In alphabetical order)
Amita Chatterjee (Department of Philosophy, Jadavpur University)
Anuradha Veeravalli (Dept of Philosophy, University of Delhi)
Arumugam Arivazhagan (Vivekananda College, Chennai)
Asha Mukherjee (Department of Philosophy and Religion ,Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan)
Augustine Pamplany (Institute of Science and Religion, Kerala)
Bijoy Mukherjee (Department of Philosophy and Religion ,Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan
Binoy Pichalakkattu, S.J. (Vidya Jyoti College, New Delhi)
Debabrata Sensharma (Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata)
Godabarisha Mishra (Member-Secretary, ICPR)
Indrani Sanyal (Jadavpur University, Kolkata)
Job Kozhamthadam (Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune)
John Bosco Lourdusamy (Department of Humanities and Social Science, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai)
Joy Sen (Department of Architecture and Regional Planning, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur)
Madhumita Chattopadhyay (Department of Philosophy, Jadavpur University, Kolkata)
Makarand Paranjape (Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Manjari Chakraborty (Department of Philosophy and Religion ,Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan)
Mausumi Roy (Department of Philosophy and Religion ,Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan)
Nilanjana Sanyal (University of Calcutta)
Nirmalya Guha (Researcher,Department of Religious Studies,Lancaster University, UK
Piyali Palit (Department of Philosophy, Jadavpur University, Kolkata)
Probal Dasgupta (Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata)
Radharaman Chakrabarti(Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata)
Rajkumar RoyChoudhury, (ISI Kolkata)
Ramakrishna Rao (Indian Council for Philosophical Research)
Ramaranjan Mukherji (Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata)
R.P.Singh (Centre for Philosophy, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Sampadananda Mishra (Chief Coordinator, Sanskrit and Indian Culture, Sri Aurobindo
Sri Sitansu Sekhar Chakravarti (University of Toronto)
Subir Roy (Department of Philosophy and Religion ,Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan)
Suhita Chopra Chatterjee (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur)
Swami Jitatmananda (Swami Vivekananda Ancestral House and Cultural Centre, Kolkata)
Swami Prsannatmananda (Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata)
Swami Sarvabhutananda (Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata)
T.K Goswami (Statesman Newspaper)
V.V.Raman ( Rochester Institute of Technology, USA)
“The Culture and Philosophy of Science in India”
4th- 6th April 2009
Venue: RMIC, Kolkata
Day 1- Saturday, 4th April 2009
Inaugural Session: 09.15 am- 10.45 am
Chair – Swami Jitatmananda
09.15 am – 09.20 am Vedic chanting.
09.20 am – 09.25 am Welcome address: Swami Sarvabhutananda, (Secretary, RMIC).
09.25 am – 09.35 am Introduction to the conference: Professor Makarand Paranjape.
09.35 am – 10.05 am Professor Ramakrishna Rao: The Borders & Boundaries between Science & Spirituality: A Psychologist’s Perspective.
10.05 am – 10.35 am Swami Jitatmananda: Distinguished Chairman’s Address.
10.35 am – 10.40 am Sureshika: Vote of Thanks.
Key Note: 10.50 am- 11.45 am
Chair- Professor Ramakrishna Rao
10.50 am – 11.45 am Keynote by Professor V.V.Raman: Indian Culture and Science in the 21st Century.
Ist Session: 11.45 am- 01.10 pm
Chair- Professor Radharaman Chakraborty
Professor R.P.Singh: Dialectics of Culture and Science: A Philosophical Reflection.
Professor Bijoy Mukherjee: In Search of Consciousness: Reflections on Two Key Figures of Pre- Independence Bengal.
IInd Session: 02.00 pm- 03.30 pm
Chair- Professor Asha Mukherjee
Dr. Fr. Job Kozhanthadam: Modern Science in India and the Emergence of a New Worldview: Challenges and Opportunities.
Dr. John Bosco Lourdusamy: Science and Spirituality vs Science and Development.
IIIrd Session: 03.45 pm- 05.15 pm
Chair- Dr.Sitansu Sekhar Chakravarti
Professor Piyali Palit: A Methodological Approach to the Advaita Vedanta Theory of Pratyaksa.
Professor Madhumita Chattopadhyay: Analysis of Motion after Nagarjuna.
Day 2- Sunday, 5th April 2009
Ist Session: 09.30 am- 11.00 am
Chair- T.K Goswami
Pujya Swami Prsannatmananda: Swami Vivekananda and Modern Science.
Professor Indrani Sanyal: Exploring the Relation between Science and Spirituality in the Aurobindonian Discourse.
IInd Session: 11.15 am- 01.00 pm
Chair- Professor Probal Dasgupta
Professor Suhita Chatterjee: The Culture and Philosophy of Biomedicine in India: Critical Sociological Reflection.
Dr. Anuradha Veeravali: The Body in the System of Medicine: Charaka and William Harvey.
Dr. Sampadanand Mishra: Principles of Plant Taxonomy: A Fresh Insight into the Ancient Indian Methodology and Philosophy of Naming and Classifying the Medicinal Plants.
IIIrd Session: 01.45 pm- 03.30 pm
Chair- Dr. Fr. Job Kozhamthadam
Dr. Joy Sen: A Macro-micro Systems Approach to Frame Holistic Studies on Culture & Philosophy of Science in India.
Fr. Binoy Pichalakkattu: An Indian Reading of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems and its Religio- Philosophical Implications in the Indian Cultural Context.
IVth Session: 03.45 pm- 05.15 pm
Chair- Professor R.P.Singh
Professor Amita Chatterjee: Science in the Ānvīkshikī Culture.
Dr. Nirmalya Guha: Indian Deductive system: The Theoretical Basis for Indian Science
Day 3- Monday, 6th April 2009
Ist Session: 09.15 am- 11.15 am
Chair- Professor Suhita Chatterjee
Professor Nilanjana Sanyal: Perfectionism: A Boon or Peril to Spirituality?
Professor Probal Dasgupta: Knowledge and Science in the Context of Indian Languages
Professor Augustine Pamplany: Free Will and Consciousness: An Indian Appropriation o the Neuroscientific Finding
IInd Session: 11.30 am- 01.00 pm
Chair- Professor V.V.Raman
Brainstorming on starting an Indian Association for the Study of Science, Spirituality, and Society (IASSS)
Valedictory Session 01.45 p.m-3.30 pm
Chair- Professor Ramaranjan Mukherji
Professor Godabarisha Mishra (Member secretary ICPR)
Professor Debabrata Sensharma: Integral non- dualism and Modern Science: Some Reflections
Abstracts and Bio notes of Participants
(In alphabetical order)
Science in the Ānvīkshikī Culture
The Ānvīkshikī culture has all along been a dominant culture in India which was repressed in the civilizational process, especially during the colonial period. This is a culture which is not antithetical to the ‘Spiritual’ culture but is conducive to the development of sciences, being a repository of the so-called scientific norms and practices. The aim of this presentation is to bring out the salient features of this culture keeping in view the characteristic traits of modern science, its beliefs, method(s), philosophy, presuppositions and consequences. We hope that an account of the Ānvīks)ikī culture will help us address two important questions raised in the theme note of the conference, viz., (a) whether science flourishes in a typical culture and (b) whether “Indian science’ is a misnomer or an alternative to modern science.
A Professor of Philosophy at Jadavpur University. She as authored many books including:A Understanding Vagueness, Pragati Publications, New Delhi, 1994, Bharatiya Dharmaniti (ed.), Allied Publishers Ltd., New Delhi, 1998, Perspectives on Consciousness (ed.), Munshiram Manoharlal Publosher Private Ltd., New Delhi, 2003, Physicalism and its Alternatives (Bengali), jointly ed. Ashima Prakasani, Kolkata, 2003, Some Philosophical Issues in Indian Logic, jointly ed. Allied Publishers ltd, New Delhi, 2003, Edited (jointly) two volumes on Philosophical Concepts Relevant to Sciences in Indian Traditions, PHISPC Project of Center for Studies in Civilisation, New Delhi, 2006 and 2008 and Mental Reasoning: Experiments and Theories, jointly with Smita Sirker, forthcoming 2009.
The Body in the System of Medicine: Charaka and William Harvey.
The significance of the chapter on the foundation of the body (Sarirasthanam) in Charaka becomes evident only in comparing and contrasting it with the principles of the New post-Enlightenment system of medicine that came to be established with the publication and success of William Harvey’s The Circulation of the Blood in 1628. The latter established with decisiveness the effectiveness of the principles of scientific method, experiment and analysis of a new science for modern times. Working within the anatomical tradition of the European Enlightenment, Harvey’s method rested on his adoption of i) vivisection as a method of scientific investigation. ii) ‘autopsia’ or ‘seeing for oneself’ as a principle of observation that established the truth of the matter without doubt once and for all. iii) Objectivity determined by the possibility of public demonstration. In addition, Harvey consciously denied any association with philosophy, seeing his scientific method as in some way being theory neutral. In fact, his method of anatomical investigation was based on the clear separation of Psychology, Physiology and Anatomy as three distinct areas of investigation in medicine, whose independent results could be used however to assist one another in their understanding of the body and its workings. This then constitutes the epistemological and metaphysical presuppositions implicit in the method and classification that Harvey adopts: Mind, form and structure of the body, and the functions of the body can and are studied separately. The Sarirasthanam, on the other hand locates the union of mind and matter in the body, so that in effect the real object of study in its system of medicine is the person/purusa. The body and its modifications due to internal and external factors form the symptoms that reveal the nature and state of this relation of self and the mahabhutas. This theory of symptomatology clearly depends on principles of investigation and a theory of body fundamentally different from those of modern medicine. I will attempt to look at the implications of this theory of the body for a different science. In this, a consideration of Gandhi’s own experiments and his less well known book ‘Key to health’, its difference and similarity with the presuppositions of Ayurveda may hold the clue to an alternative theory of medicine for modern times.
Anuradha Veeravalli was a Lecturer at Hindu College, University of Delhi for 14 years before joining the Department of Philosophy, Delhi University in 2005. Her research interests include epistemology and philosophy of language in comparative perspective.
Asha Mukherjee is Professor in Philosophy and Ex Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan. She holds a Ph.D from Rajasthan University, Jaipur Rajasthan. She was awarded Fulbright Post-Doctoral Fellow, 1984-85 at Indiana University, Bloomington, US. She was a visiting Professor at Catholic University of America, Washington in 1997.Her areas of specialization are Analytic Ethics, Applied Ethics, Logic, Jaina Philosophy and Religion and Feminist Issues. She has published 3 Books which are Civil Society in Indian Cultures, (Jointly Edited), RVP, Washington, 2001, Cognition, Man and the World, (Ed.) Kalinga Pub. Delhi,2004 and Conditioning and Empowerment of Women, (Jointly Ed.) Gyan Pub. Delhi, 2004.She has published more than 50 articles in different Indian and international journals and anthologies .She also has attended many national and international conferences and delivered lectures in different countries including America, Canada, Scotland, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea and Spain.
Augustine Thomas Pamplany
Free Will and Consciousness: An Indian Appropriation of the Neuroscientific Findings.
Beginning with the lesions studies and later with the most sophisticated brain imaging techniques, neuroscientists have delved into the deeper recesses of the human brain. The developments in brain science have contributed a great deal to understand the neural underpinnings of those aspects of human beings which make us essentially human. Advances in neuroscientific researches raise a complex set of questions related to free will, consciousness, moral responsibility, etc. This paper focuses on, perhaps, the most revolutionary experimental research to date into the nature of mind and free will as completed by the neuroscientist Benjamin Libet and his team. These findings have many things to say as to whether we are completely defined by the deterministic laws of nature, or have some independence in making choices and actions. Discussing the historical setting of dualism and determinism, the paper presents a synopsis of the experimental approach of Libet and his philosophical conclusions. Then we situate the philosophical implications of the findings of Libet within the framework of the traditional debate between libertarianism and compatibilism. We argue that the new findings are not compatible with libertarianism and tend to be in consonance with compatibilism. However, the deeper nuances of the findings of Libet would require a new ontological perspective on moral responsibility altogether. In exploring the deeper ontological grounds of free will and responsibility, Indian philosophical and scientific perspectives on consciousness have a significant contribution to make.
Rev. Dr. Augustine Thomas Pamplany is currently Director of the Institute of science and Religion in Kerala, India and Vice Rector of Little Flower Seminary, Aluva. He holds a Ph D in Philosophy of Science from the International University, Colombo for his thesis on The Metaphysics of Quantum Physics. His teaching experience include Resident Lecturer (2000-)in the Institute of Philosophy and Religion, Little Flower Seminary, Aluva and Visiting Lecturer in Dublin City University, Ireland, Palacky University, Czech Republic, Jnanadeepa Vidyapeeth (Pontifical University), Pune, Paurastya Vidyapeetham, Kottayam. He has been conferred The Philosophy-Knowledge (Darsanika-Vaijnanika) Award of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Conference in 2007, Best Doctoral Thesis Award of the period from 1965-2007 in the Science and Spirituality section from the International University, Colombo, in 2007 & Fellowship from the European Commission for Erasmus Mundus Master in Bioethics from Katholieke Univerisiteit, Leuven; Njimegen, Holland and Padua University, Italy) in 2006, GPSS (Global Perspectives on Science and Spirituality) Fellowship from the Interdisciplinary University, Paris and the Elon University, USA in 2005. He is the Managing Editor and Publisher of Omega – Indian Journal of Science and Religion, published by the Institute of Science and Religion, Little Flower Seminary, Aluva, Kerala, India. Some of his publications include Theological Mysteries in Scientific Perspective (Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 2005), Cosmos, Bios, and Theos- Introduction to Philosophy of Science, Scientific Cosmology and Science-Religion Dialogue (Aluva: Institute of Science and Religion, 2004), East-West Interface of Reality - A Scientific and Intuitive Inquiry into the Nature of Reality (Pune: ASSR Publications, 2003). Co-authored with Dr. Job Kozhamthadam.
In Search of Consciousness: Reflections on Two Key Figures of Pre- Independence Bengal
Failure to understand the philosophical background and cultural moorings of a scientist may lead to serious misunderstanding or even complete failure to appreciate his research programme. In this connection works of two great personalities, Dwijendranath Tagore and Jagadish Chandra Bose, are discussed in this paper. I argue that such conclusions and/or skepticism were actually the product of Western Scientific paradigm with its basic belief in mind/matter divide. My submission therefore is to change our attitude towards these two stalwarts in Indian Science through new reading. Both of them were actually engaged in consciousness studies as we understand it today . They were active in the first two decades of the 20th century and produced remarkable research programmes with discovery of valuable local truths. While Dwijendranath was least known, Jagadish Chandra was the most celebrated. These two are also the classic cases where religious metaphysics generated research programmes which were largely misunderstood due influence of non-Indian paradigms and play of power. I conclude with the observation that their research programmes are still important and fresh research programmes can be generated from their work even today if we appreciate their concern for consciousness.
A Professor of Professor Mukherjee completed his Graduation in Physics and M A in Philosophy. He wrote his doctoral Dissertation on Foundation of Quantum Mechanics. He has specialized in the fields of Logic, Philosophy of Science, Culture Studies and 19-20th Century Bengal. He is currently Professor & Chair of the Department of Philosophy & Religion at Visva-Bharati.
An Indian Reading of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems and Its Religio-Philosophical Implications in the Indian Cultural Context.
This paper is an attempt to appropriate Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems from an Indian perspective. First we deal with the process that leads to Gödel’s incompleteness Theorems. Then we make an epistemological and hermeneutical reading of incompleteness in science. It leads to a question whether incompleteness is ‘real’ or ‘abstract’ or ‘beyond rationality’? We respond to this question using the symbols of zero and infinity in the Indian Number System and shunyata in Buddhist tradition. It affirms the religious dimension of science. It also reveals that science is a cultural construct and religion is a meaning dimension to culture. The interconnectedness between science, philosophy, religion and culture calls for the emergence of a holistic paradigm in the modern Indian scientific-religious-cultural context.
Binoy Pichalakkattu holds a M.Phil in Mathematics from M.S University in Tirunelveli and is currently pursuing a Masters in Theology at Vidyajyoti College, Delhi. He received a fellowship under the Science, Values and Vision Project of IISR, Pune for a period of three years, from 2005-2008. He has organized a national seminar on Science and Religion and participated in four International Symposiums. He also has published several articles in philosophical and theological journals on Science and Religion and conducts workshops and seminars on science and values for university professors, teachers and students in the undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Integral non-dualism and Modern Science: Some reflections.
Both the Saiva and the Sakta Tantrika schools of religio-philosophical though advocate the philosophy of non-dualism of integral kind (akhandadvaitavada). These schools therefore postulate one Reality named by them as the Samvid, Caitanyn or the Parasakti in the form of an abstract philosophical concept, and also as Param Siva, Paramesvara or Paradevi imagining the Reality having a form (Sakara). It is held by these schools that the supreme Reality is endowed with divine Sakti which pulsates ceaselessly in it to reveal its divine nature both as the transcendent Reality and also sometimes as the Immanent Reality, pervading the entire cosmos. In this light,an attempt will be made in this paper to relate the philosophy of Advaita (non- dualism) to modern science.
A Professor in Sanskrit who holds a Ph.D from Banaras Hindu University.His areas of specialization are Indian Philosophy and Religion and Kashmir Saivism. He has been a recipient of many awards including Certificate Of Honour from the President Of India for his contribution to Sanskrit learnings. He has published more than 60 research articles in different research journals and six books on Kashmir Saivism and Tantra of which some of them are Aspects of Tantra Yoga, Sattri and Introduction to the Advaita Saiva Philosophy of Kashmir.
Godabarisha Mishra is Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Madras. He worked as an Editor at Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, Chennai from 1985 to 1988. His specialization is Advaita Vedanta. He has published more than twenty research papers on Classical and Contemporary Indian Thought and Comparative Philosophy. His publications include Anubhutiprakasa of Vidyaranya (1992) and Sivajnanabodha-sangraha-bhasya of Sivagrayogin, co-editor (1993). Another book Pramapara: Essays in Honour of R. Balasubramanian co-edited with Srinivasa Rao has been published by Indian Council of Philosophical Research in 2003.
Exploring the Relation between Science and Spirituality in the Aurobindonian Discourse
This paper will focus upon Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine, Savitri, Letters on Yoga and on Different interpretations of the Upanishd to develop his viewpoint. To bring out clearly his position the views of his opponents like the materialists or rigid spiritualist will be also discussed.
Indrani Sanyal is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Coordinator of the Centre for Sri Aurobindo Studies at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. She has published On Essentialist Claims and co-edited books such as Wittgenstein: Jagat Bhasa O Cintan, Siksaksetre Parasparika Samparka, Understanding Thoughts of Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo and His Contemporary Thinkers, Dharmaniti O Sruti and Ethics and Culture.
Modern Science in India and the Emergence of a New Worldview: Challenges and Opportunities
In the past science was very much looked upon as a provider of important but dispensable amenities and comforts of life. However, today it is being recognized that science has and does play a far deeper and wider role in our world and society, thanks mainly to recent developments in science and technology, particularly in the field of the biological sciences. It can be said that today modern science is in a position to have an important say in determining not only what we have and want to have, but also what we are and want to become. Not only is modern science an integral constituent of our culture, it also is slowly but surely reshaping our culture, paving the way for the emergence of a new world order. India has always been the home of an ancient and rich culture, noted for its wide variety and deep spirituality. Today modern science is challenging to reshape India’s deep-rooted values and time-tested customs. This paper is a critical study of certain developments in modern science and technology which exert a profound influence on contemporary world culture in general and Indian culture in particular. After discussing briefly some of these important developments, I will point out that these changes have come to stay, and there seems to be no turning back. A new order is taking definite form in the world scenario, and a new culture is emerging in India, with all its well-effects and ill-effects, offering serious and almost unavoidable challenges. It is for us to transform these challenges into genuine opportunities in order to usher in a richer and nobler world. I will further argue that a creative and constructive interaction between modern science and spirituality can be of considerable help in this laudable venture by maximizing the well-effects and minimizing the ill-effects. Furthermore, India is in a privileged position to contribute substantially towards this dialogue since here both science and spirituality have always been taken very seriously.
Prof. Dr. Job Kozhamthadam, is at present the President of Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune, where he is also a Professor of Philosophy of Science. He is a member of the International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR), Cambridge, UK. He is a former member of the Indian National Commission for the History of Science, INSA. He is the founder-president of IISR (Interdisciplinary Institute of Science and Religion). His book, The Discovery of Kepler’s Laws: The Interaction of Science, Philosophy and Religion (Notre Dame University Press, USA, 1994) was selected by Choice Magazine as one of the outstanding academic books of the year 1994.
John Bosco Lourdusamy
Science and Spirituality vs Science and Development.
This paper looks at a significant shift in the discourse surrounding science in India in the first half of the twentieth century. Some of the early practitioners and advocates of modern science in India like Mahindralal Sircar, J.C.Bose and P.C.Ray attached considerable spiritual importance to science. However, with the succeeding generations (as represented by Meghnad Saha and S.N.Bose ) the discourse veered more towards ‘Science and the Nation’ and ‘Science and Development’ (though Saha and S.N.Bose were groomed by Ray and J.C.Bose) with less explicit allusions to the spiritual dimensions. In this context the paper raises a few questions such as:
Can ‘development’ not include spiritual development? Can science not contribute to the spirit anymore? Can spirituality have no influence on the paths of science? Whereas religion influences the polity in the public space (mostly in undesirable ways) why is it kept of the scientific public space?
In trying to answer these questions, the paper will raise the further question as to whether some of the answers to the above are related to the fact that we predominantly imbibed (the contemporary) western developmental paradigms. Finally the paper highlights the growing need for greater emphasis on an inclusive ‘Science, Spirituality and Development’ paradigm which can address some of the maladies of the current developmental paradigms such as gross disparities, energy crises and larger ecological harms.
John Bosco Lourdusamy is a member of the faculty of the Department of Humanities and Social Science, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India. He had obtained his doctorate from the University of Oxford [May 2000] for his thesis on Science and National Consciousness: A Study of the Response to Modern Science in Colonial Bengal, 1870-1930. While at Oxford, Lourdusamy had also been a Queen Elizabeth Visiting Scholar to the Department of History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. [1996-1997].
Hailing from the state of Tamilnadu in India, Lourdusamy had his early school education in neighbouring Pondicherry. He went to Loyola College, Chennai for his B.A. in History [1988-91]. Thereafter, he completed his M.A. [1992-1993] and M.Phil [1993-1995] at Pondicherry University before going to Oxford in October 1995. He also has authored two books : Science and National Consciousness in Bengal, 1870-1930, (2004) and Religion and Modern Science in Colonial Bengal (1870-1940), (2007).
A Scientific Approach to the Study of Indian Culture: Ecological Complimentarity Between Evolution And Involution.
There is a growing need of a holistic framework for conducting studies on Culture and Philosophy of Science in India. The framework tends to be holistic as two dimensions are best integrated. The two dimensions are - one, scientific experiments that are linearly modeled and level-based and the others, which are based on iterative hierarchy-based reciprocities. But the two are often viewed as conflicting notions as often shared by the classical scientific world. On the contrary, there is a new temper that increasingly views a spirit of complementarities between the two and such holism is shared by an emerging scientific vision in the contemporary times.
Conventional Scientific temper, as derived from classical Western schools is a product of particular level assessment. The temper is characteristically reductionist, Cartesian and linear in operation. The relationship is therefore limited to a linear cause-and-effect correlation, which is modeled and disjointed materially and economically. The objective is to serve a colonial-industrial paradigm that still rules the current globalization forces of development.
This paper addresses such a grave concern. It addresses a need to redraw complementarities between scientific pursuits at a particular level of knowledge with pursuits and inputs drawn from other levels. The other levels could be Culture, Philosophy and even normative sciences like psychology and bio-anthropology, which can extend up to ‘deep ecological’ concerns having moral, ethical and ‘spiritual’ dimensions. That takes us to the objective of setting indispensable iterations within the hierarchy - a holistic framework of an emerging ‘new science’. This is the very central theme of this paper.
Dr. Joy Sen holds a Ph.D from The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture & Planning, IIT Kharagpur. He has also been awarded Institute Silver Medal and The Mansara Award while pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture (Hons.). His areas of current academic and research interest are Sustainability and Deep Ecological applications in Community and metropolitan planning with complementary focus on:
l Livability studies in Settlement dynamics (PhD specialization)
l Indian and Asian Architectural Heritage Studies (2 Published Books)
l Settlement Planning History & Anthropology (ITPI, New Delhi, India Lecture Monographs)
He has published many books including Regional Strategies for New Economic Zones in a Metropolis – case study, Concept of Complete Religion – a key to unlock India’s complete contribution to Global religion, science and culture and Removing mobility hindrances. He also has attended many national and international conferences and delivered lectures in different countries including Japan, Turkey and Spain. He is the Editor for Planning Newsletter, Institute of Town Planners, India – West Bengal Regional Chapter and also holds the position of Joint Secretary at The Nehru Museum of Science & Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and is the Treasurer for The Technology Alumni Foundation, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.
Nāgārjuna’s Exposition of Motion: A Bridge between Science and Spirituality.
The concept of motion is one of the most important concepts in physics. It is dealt with in the area called dynamics. Philosophers, however, have tried to make fun out of this important concept. For example, in the early days of Greek Philosophy, Zeno has tried to prove the unreality of motion through his example of the flying arrow. The Buddhist logician Nāgārjuna with the help of his dialectical method concentrated on the metaphysical concepts of change and motion, without attempting to deny the concepts such as ‘the space already traveled’ (gata), ‘the space not yet traveled’(agata), or ‘the space being traveled at present’(gamyamāna). After a detailed analysis of each of these concepts from all possible alternatives he comes to the conclusion that an existing mover cannot exhibit motion, nor can a non-existent mover carry out the movement; nor can a person carry out the movement both existent and non-existent.Therefore, we cannot speak of movement, nor can we speak of a mover nor the space to be traveled. To state it properly we cannot make any utterance regarding motion. So, motion, truly speaking is beyond the scope of any description of word. It is indescribable, ineffable. The Ultimate Truths of Buddha are indescribable, ineffable. That is, Nāgārjuna’s attempt here is to show that the analysis of even a scientific concept proves the truth of Buddha’s teaching that language is not in itself an adequate means of describing the ultimate Reality. In short, even from a scientific concept we are lead to the area of spirituality.
Professor Chattopadhyay is at present Head of the Department of Philosophy at Jadavpur University. Her areas of specialization are Buddhist Philosophy, Buddhist Logic, Logic, Contemporary Indian Philosophy, Indian Ethics. She has received awards and scholarships like BDK Fellowship from Japan, Fulbright Visiting Fellowship, JSPS Fellowship from Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. She has published four books which are Walking along the paths of Buddhist Epistemology(2008), Ratnakirti on Apoha (2002), Ethics: An Anthology (2002) and Interpersonal Relations in Academy (2007).
Makarand Paranjape is a Professor of English at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. A critic, poet and novelist, he is the author of The Serene Flame, Playing the Dark God and Used Book (poetry); This time I promise it’ll Be Different and The Narrator (fiction); and Mysticism in Indian English Poetry, Decolonisation and Development, and Towards a Poetics of the Indian English Novel (criticism). The books he has edited include Indian Poetry in English, Sarojini Naidu: Selected Poetry and Prose, Nativism: Essays in Literary Crticism, The Best of Raja Rao, The Penguin Sri Aurobindo Reader, In Diaspora: Theories, Histories, Texts, and Saundarya: The Perception and Practice of Beauty in India, and Dharma and Development, and The Penguin Swami Vivekananda Reader. He is also the founding editor of Evam: Forum on Indian Representation and the current Chairperson, Centre for English Studies, JNU. He is also the principle investigator of the project Indian Perspectives in Science and Spirituality.
Perfectionism: A Boon or Peril to Spirituality?
Human life is laced with materialism in current era. Competitiveness is vibrant almost in every sphere of life. People are running after achievement-spree to earn a distinctive identity for themselves. A trend is there to be perfectionistic as much as one can be. Perfectionism is an attitudinal component, which can initiate a habit pattern of approaching goals in life in a systematic way, in its healthy form. The outcome is realization about one’s potentialities or awareness regarding self-actualization with an inherent feeling of positivity regarding life. In its unhealthy version, perfectionism is rigidity in character and total darkness regarding realization aspects of life. Result-wise, it brings more and more striving on the individual’s part with no sense of attainment and achievement. The soul keeps on suffering with elements of anxiety and depression. The contention of this article is to understand spirituality as the mental breathing space of mankind to avoid the typical sufferings of materialistic life. To reach to this destination, adoption of transpersonal attitude through self-actualization process, achieved through healthy disciplined perfectionistic orientation is needed. One needs to be serious, sincere, careful to delve into the depth of spiritualistic frame of mind, which can be achieved through healthy adaptive perfectionism. The maladaptive one is conceived to be a peril to spirituality, the ultimate resting place of mankind.
Professor Sanyal was the head of the Department of Psychology at The University College of Science, Technology & Agriculture, University of Calcutta. She is a Psychoanalyst and has taught in Calcutta University for the last 27 years. She is a Member of International Psychoanalytical Association, Indian Psycho Analytical Society, and the Editorial Boards of a number of Journals of Psychology. She holds life membership of Calcutta University Alumni Association, Indian Science Congress, Indian Psychiatric Society and Indian Association of Private Psychiatry. She is a recipient of 'Bhanu Dutta Memorial Medal' from C.U. for securing 1st. Class 1st. position in B.A. Examination, 1974, N.N. Sengupta Memorial Prize from C.U. for securing 1st. Class 1st position in M.A. Part - I Examination in 1975, Jawaharlal Nehru Award from Government of India for academic accomplishments in 1974, Calcutta University Gold Medal for excellence in academics at Post Graduate level in 1976 among many other awards. Her publications include 82 Scientific papers published in National and International journals and 6 book chapters at the National and International level .
Indian Deductive system: The theoretical Basis for Indian Sciences.
Every scientific system needs to be supported by a deductive system. The deductive system provides the sciences with deductive weapons and the language(s) for debate and discussion. Here I am going to present a deductive model based on an Indian deductive system. Indian deductive systems do not start with first principles. They start with a few assumptions or presuppositions based on the nature of ‘their’ universe. They have only one rule of inference: one can infer Y from X provided both X and Y are given in a specific system. Each of the Indian deductive systems assumes a model and operates on that. The model is constructed and described according to the ontological position of the system.
Mr. Guha holds a Master of Arts in Philosphy from The University of Madras (2003) and a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics from The Central University, Hyderabad (2000).The topic for his Doctoral Research (PhD) is Postulation: Arthāpatti in Indian Epistemology which he is perusing at Lancaster University, UK . He has been awarded the Mrs. Katre Memorial Prize for securing the highest marks in Linguistics in India(2000) and the T.M.P Mahadevan Prize for securing the highest position in M.A., Philosophy, Madras University. He has published many articles in various journals like Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research and Indian Philosophical Quarterly. He was a part time lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool, UK.
A Methodological Approach towards Advaita Vedanta Theory of PratyakSa.
In Advaita Vedanta epistemology antaHkaraNavRtti plays the key role in generating all sorts of cognition. It is admitted that in the case of pratyakSa or perceptual cognition, antaHkaraNa extends itself beyond the body and encapsules external objects before their expression in cognitive level. In case of internal perception, however, it only takes the form of the objects like pain and pleasure without external extension. Nature of antaHkaraNa being a ‘upAdhi’ itself – a product of avidyA – does not contradict itself thus embracing grAhya-grAhaka-bhAva and involving in ‘grahaNa-prakriya’ or process of adaptation.
In this paper an attempt will be made to rationalize the cognitive structure in PratyakSa generated through antaHkaraNavRtti following Vaisesika Formal Ontology introduced by Professor Navjyoti Singh. It may sound quite confusing how two extremely different cult of thinking come together on explaining a particular episode of PratyakSa in our experiential plenum. But, as exhibited by Professor Singh, formal reasoning in Indian tradition follows two simple methods through (i) Form of Contiguity and (ii) Form of Pervasiveness, it does not seem impossible to establish an Advaita Vedanta theory through Navya Vaisesika methodology, namely, Vaisesika Formal Ontology.
Professor Piyali Palit is with the Department of Philosophy, Jadavpur University, Kolkata and has been teaching in UG, PG, M.Phil level from 1989. Her areas of Interest include Indian Philosophy of Language, Vaisesika Formal Ontology, Analytic Philosphy , Navya Nyaya Language & Methodology. She was awarded Shivadasani Fellowship at Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also the Project Manager of Collaborative Research Projects between Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and Jadavpur University, Principal Investigator, UGC-sponsored major research project on Indian Philosophy and Research Methodology and the Founder-Member of International Forum for Studies in Society & Religion. She has authored a book titled Basic Principles of Indian Philosphy of Language and edited many books some of them include Samksepashariraka, Pancikarana-varttika and Arthasamgraha.
Knowledge and Science in the Context of Indian Languages.
What geometry was in the ancient Greek context, grammar was in the ancient Indian context. If some of us begin to look at the approach to knowledge and science that developed around the notions of grammar in ancient Indian thinking, this transformation we undergo opens up for us the field of inquiry in ways that are not exclusively Paninian. The present intervention contextualizes these debates in the context of generative reappropriation of ancient grammatical theorizing.
Probal Dasgupta completed his Ph.D. in Linguistics in 1980 from New York University. A Former Instructor of Linguistics in many International Universities including New York, Melbourne and Barlaston College. He has also been a lecturer in Indo-Aryan Linguistics in University of Calcutta. He is presently Professor of Linguistics, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. He co-edits Language Problems and Language Planning and co-edited book series such as Language and Development , Yearbook of South Asian Languages and Linguistics. He is a member of Akademio de Esperanto and a honorary member of Linguistic Society of America. He is currently the President of Universal Esperanto Association. Some of his publications include Antwerpen , Flandra Esperanto-Ligo and Samatat.
Dr. Chakrabarti served as a Vice Chancellor at the Netaji Subhas Open University. Currently he is involved in a UNESCO project called International Understanding for Human Unity that is running at the Rama Krishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata. He has authored many books such as UNO : A Study in Essentials, India’s External Relations in a Globalized World economy and Aspects of Political Thinking in India: Nationalism, Civil Society and Internationalism.
Professor Koneru Ramakrishna Rao is a philosopher, psychologist and educationist with vast experience in national and international arena as a teacher, researcher and administrator. Professor Ramakrishna Rao studied philosophy under the tutelage of professors Saileswar Sen and Satchidananda Murthy at Andhra University and with Richard McKeon at the University of Chicago and received Ph.D. and D.Lit. degrees. He worked with Dr. J.B. Rhine at Duke University and later headed his famous Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man as its Executive Director. In a career spanning over several decades Professor Rao made significant contributions to Gandhian thought, philosophy of mind and cross-cultural studies. He published nearly two hundred research papers and twelve books, ranging from his early book Gandhi and Pragmatism (Oxford & IBH, 1968) to the more recent one Consciouness Studies: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (McFarland, 2005). Along with Professor K. Satchidananda Murthy, Dr. Rao edited Current Trends in Indian Philosophy (Asia Publishing House and Andhra University Press, 1972). Prof. Rao is currently an Editorial Fellow in the Project History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture headed by Prof. D.P. Chattopadhyaya. Under this project Prof. Rao's book Cognitive Anomalies, Consciousness and Yoga is nearing completion and expected to be published soon. Professor Rao, who began his academic career in the Department of Philosophy of Andhra University, held over a period of thirty years various teaching and administrative positions and started a number of new programs there. He also undertook various important academic assignments abroad and taught at several universities in USA, including Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and California Institute for Human Science. Professor Rao has traveled widely and lectured at a number of universities and participated in a large number of national and international conferences. He visited and lectured at universities in USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Greece, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore and Sri Lanka. In addition to teaching and research Prof. Ramakrishna Rao served in several top level administrative, executive and advisory positions. Prof. Rao was Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University, Advisor on Higher Education to the Government of Andhra Pradesh, Chairman of the A.P. State Commissionerate of Higher Education (the predecessor of the present A.P. state Council of Higher Education), and Vice-Chairman of Andhra Pradesh State Planning Board with the rank of a cabinet minister. He chaired a number of state and national level committees such as the Committee on Governance of Universities in the State, Committee on Higher Education of Government of Andhra Pradesh, Committee on establishing a Rural University in Andhra Pradesh, Committee on Establishing an Institute for Professional Studies, and the Committee on Reforming School Education. The reports of all these committees are published. They were extensively discussed and became the bases for state legislation and administrative action. Prof. Ramakrishna Rao is currently Chair, ICPR and President of the Institute for Human Science & Service.
He has been a Professor of Sanskrit at Jadavpur University, The Former Vice -Chancellor of the Universities of Burdwan and Rabindra Bharati, a Former Chancellor of Tirupati Rastritya Sanskrit University and a Past President of the Association of the Indian Universities. He has authored a number of books and is regarded as a front ranking Scholar of Sanskrit & Indian Culture. The President of India has honoured him with award of Certificate honour for his significant contribution to the arena of Knowledge.
Dialectics of Culture and Science: A Philosophical Reflection.
The present millennium is different from all earlier such occasions. We have scientific knowledge which is the most delicate and advanced, technology which is the most capable and sophisticated, the fifth generation micro-soft with knowledge and information; but do we have wisdom to make use of all these so that there is a place for the indigenous culture impressed on these achievements? One of the features of human history has been that people, resources, ideas, values and consciousness move from one place to another and in the era of globalization these are moving all too fast and getting transformed gradually; but what has been the role of the culture and values in such movements and transformations? Dialectics could be used to overcome/sublate/transcend the contradictions/antinomies between culture and science.
With science and its methodology, there can be an attempt to evaluate culture in terms of the content and the intent of culture, the universalistic character of culture, the hierarchical status of culture and the pluralistic features of culture. Since different cultures represent different systems of meaning and visions of the good life, each realizes a limited range of human capacities and emotions and grasps only a part of the totality of human existence. Suppose I say that ‘Everybody has freedom to live a good quality of Life’. Now I split this statement into two parts- ‘Everybody has freedom’ and ‘to live a good quality of life’. So far as the first part is concerned, there is no contestation but the second part is extremely contested. One may ask the question- is Christianity or Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism, with a limited sense of science and technology etc. a good quality of life? Or is capitalism or socialism with revolutionary sense of science and technology a good quality of life? Or is liberalism, scientific temper, conservatism, or nationalism a good quality of life?
Dr. R. P. Singh is Professor at Centre for Philosophy, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University. His academic/research interests include Modern Western Philosophy, Postmodern Philosophy and Indian Philosophy with specializations on Rene Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Schopenhauer, Karl Marx, V. I. Lenin, Heidegger, Husserl, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, A.J. Ayer, Gilbert Ryle, Nietzsche, Ferdinand de Saussure, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Richard Rorty, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Jurgen Habermas, J.F. Lyotard, Upanishads, Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. He has got 16 books and 95 research articles published in different academic Journals in India and abroad. He has visited many Universities abroad.
Principles of Plant Taxonomy: A Fresh Insight into the Ancient Indian Methodology and Philosophy of Naming and Classifying the Medicinal Plants.
Proper nomenclature and classification play important role in the systematization of any branch of knowledge. In this regard the ancient Indian Rishis and Acharyas have shown much transparency in their scientific observations. To them to name was to touch the essence of the thing or object named. They could really enter into the soul or the consciousness of the thing or the object and then gave the name as per their experience. We find a clear reflection of this in the names of the plants as they appear in various texts of Ayurveda. From the various names given to one plant one can truly understand not only the various morphological characteristics of that plant but also the special medicinal properties that the plant has. This is still a mystery that how the ancient Indian Vaidyas or medical scientists could discover the exact property of a plant and its multidimensional aspects when there was no such facility what the empirical science has today. This paper brings a fresh insight into this aspect and throws light on the ancient Indian methodology and philosophy of naming and classifying the medicinal plants.
Dr. Sampadananda Mishra is a free-lance researcher. He was initiated to Sanskrit by his grandfather, Pandit Paramananda Mishra. He came in contact with Sanskrit from his very childhood. In 1993, after finishing his post-graduation in Sanskrit from Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, he came to do his M.Phil in Sanskrit in Podicherry Central University. There he was awarded Gold Medal for is excellent performance in the subject. In 1995, he got an invitation to work for an important project,“ The Wonder that is Sanskrit”, undertaken by Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry. In the past twelve years he has worked on many projects and published many books including The Wonder that is Sanskrit , The Century of Life, Chandovallari and Hasymanjari.
Sitansu Sekhar Chakravarti
Sitansu Sekhar Chakravarti holds a Ph.D in Philosophy from Syracuse, New York. He is at present a Visiting Scholar at New College, University of Toronto. Formerly a Visiting Professor in Comparative Religion, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan and a Visiting Professor in Philosophy, University of Rajasthan. His latest book is entitled Ethics in the Mahabharata: A Philosophical Inquiry for Today (Munshiram, New Delhi, 2006).
Suhita Chopra Chatterjee
The Culture and Philosophy of Biomedicine in India: Critical Sociological Reflections
The organization of biomedical knowledge in India is based on western scientific tradition. It reflects the epistemological and ontological commitments of the scientific paradigm. The paper argues that when applied in the Indian context, biomedicine needs to critically examine the central tenets of its philosophical assumptions. Illness, disease and health need to be understood using social and cultural constructs. Cultural sensitivity is especially needed in designing intervention programs, medical prescribing, understanding access and barriers to care, and determining the type and level of technology use. The paper takes help of existing theorization in the field of medical sociology to make a strong plea for Indianisation of biomedicine.
Suhita Chopra Chatterjee is a Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. She specializes in the field of Medical Sociology and Medical Ethics. She is currently engaged in research on End-of- life care, grief and bereavement.
Swami Jitatmananda is the Secretary of Swami Vivekananda’s Ancestral House and Cultural Center. A former Editor of Prabuddha Bharata, Swami Jitatmananda is presently the Head of Ramakrishna Ashram, Rajkot, Gujarat. He has authored several books, which include Modern Physics and Vedanta, Indian Ethos for Modem Management, Swami Vivekananda: Prophei and Pathfinder.
Swami Prsannatmananda is associated with the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata. He is in charge of the research division at the Institute.
Swami Sarvabhutananda is the Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata.
V. V. Raman
Culture and Science in the Indian Context.
This paper will discuss the dimensions of culture as aesthetic, ethical, and of worldviews, of which the last has two important components: the physical explanatory and the experienced conscious. It will explore these in the Indian context. The paper will also critique the post-modernist interpretation of modern science, and argue that India’s contribution has been, and will be, significant in the second aspect of worldviews.
A professor in Physics, he is also well versed in humanities, especially in Hindu traditions and culture. Dr. V. V. Raman has contributed stimulating papers to international conferences. He is also an impressive and thoughtful lecturer.
He is an Associate Editor in the subject area of “Hinduism and Science” for the 18 volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism, which is being prepared under the auspices of India Heritage Research Foundation. He has written important articles and meaningfully edited other articles in this field.