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Friday, December 18, 2009

Do we have to co-work in order to understand South Asia?

Some scholars prefer to work alone and maintain that working together, though sometimes useful, is fundamentally a waste of time. In my Italian blog on Verbal Communication as the founding element of (Indian) Philosophy, I have already argued that lonely work is just impossible. One always relies on other people's work. Hence, to work alone just means that contacts are mediated through (mostly) reading instead of direct contact. It is hardly the case that asking direct questions to the person whose text one is reading would not enhance one's understanding of it and the text itself.
I will hence assume that many people will agree about the necessity of joint work.
So, my present question is only: Is joint work even more necessary in case of South Asia (and, particularly, of its philosophy)?
My provisional (as usual) answer is yes. 1. insofar as dealing with another culture cannot but be enhanced through the multiplication of points of view. 2. insofar as philosophy itself often requires a constant and engaged dialogue. It is, I believe, not a description of something (be it ontology or ethics), but rather a prescription to think along with what is said. 3. One of the main purposes of "regional studies" is mediation. And mediation necessarily involves many people.

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