Reason Reasoned

Bina Gupta is Curators’ Professor at the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Her new book, published by the Indian Council for Philosophical Research is Reason and Experience in Indian Philosophy.

Reason and Experience in Indian Philosophy is a philological and critical analysis of two crucial philosophical concepts, viz., "reason" and "experience." The study shows that, though there is no word in Sanskrit which may be taken as equivalent of Western "reason" and "thought," such terms as "tarka," etc., clearly capture parts or aspects of what is meant by "reason" and "thought" (Denken). The second goal of the study is to show that it is misleading to translate "sruti" as revelation." Construing "sruti" as revelation." Construing "sruti" as revelation surreptitiously import a Semitic theological concept into the Vedic tradition. The case of "experience" is more promising because we have such Sanskrit worlds as "anubhava" or "anubhuti," that do translate into "experience." However, "experience" in Western thought has acquired many shades of meaning, and the study determines in what sense the Indian "anubhava" captures the Western "experience." Finally, the book demonstrates that Indian Philosophy provides an account of the cognitive process that begins with perception and culminates in wisdom (highest experience).

The whole process may be called "reason," at both ends of which we can talk of experience, which places experience not in an external opposition to reason, but rather as something that belongs to it internally. Thus, the modern Western opposion between reason and experience collapses and the two together yield an integrated process of acquisition, validation, and practical application of knowledge.

In our Philosophy section, 305 pages in hardcover, Rs 500. ISBN: 9788189963071