Friday, April 22, 2011

What is the purpose of comparisons?

I recently had the pleasure to listen to two lectures by Prof. Kamaleswar Bhattacharya, in Rome. In one of them, he discussed the usage of Western symbolic logic to "translate" Navya Nyāya. What is the purpose of it? Is it only meant to have Navya Nyāya look "modern" (as suggested by Mohanty' in JIPh 1)?
The objection is more than sound, and applies to comparative philosophy in general. Hence, it induced me to express the point of view I embraced while writing my book.

Since the present author believes that history of philosophy is a fundamental part of philosophy, the book is not only an exercise in comparative philosophy. Comparisons are more than frequent in it, and are meant to:
  1. 1. make the approach to Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā easier to Western readers,
  2. 2. make readers aware of the philosophical interest of the materials discussed,
  3. 3. make readers who are not familiar with Western philosophy aware of new interpretative tools.
For the same reasons, the book also includes distinct chapters dedicated to the historical context of the Tantrarahasya and of Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā in general.

I would be glad to read the readers' opinions about it. How do you use comparison?

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