Monday, 28 September 2009

De Smet, secondary sources

Yesterday was an exciting day for me. I was continuing my editing of De Smet's essays on Sankara, and was trying to fill in his references. I came across names such as Tillmann Vetter, Michael Comans, George Cardona, besides already familiar ones such as Wilhelm Halbfass, Sengaku Mayeda and Paul Hacker. I search the net for the bibliography, and it's wonderful how, with some patience and luck, most of the time it is possible to find what you are searching for.

But what was exciting was that I came across De Smet being cited in at least three works:

Comans, Michael. The Method of Early Advaita Vedanta: A Study of Gaudapada, Śaṅkara, Suresvara and Padmapada. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2000. See esp. 225-231. Comans, however, disagrees with De Smet, feeling that De Smet has too readily assimilated Sankara to Thomas Aquinas. However, he candidly admits that he does not know too much about Aquinas!

Mayeda, Sengaku. “An Introduction to the Life and Thought of Śaṅkara.” Śaṅkara’s Upadesasahasri. Vol 2: Introduction and English Translation. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2006. See 49, 53-54, 66 notes 14, 17, 28, etc. De Smet himself cites Mayeda approvingly regarding the dating of Sankara and some other points; but Mayeda sticks largely to the classical 'acosmist' reading of Sankara, I think.

Padalkar, Shashikant. “Knowledge and Ignorance: A Student’s Note on Advaita-Vedanta.” 87 pp. as of 28 September 2009. Reference to De Smet on p. 28: the method of adhyāropa-apavada with its variations is analyzed by modern scholars such as Swami Satchidanandendra, Richard De Smet, Anantanand Rambachan and Michael Comans. No works of De Smet are mentioned, however. Still, this is something to be followed up. Who is Padalkar? Where has he studied? How did he come across the works of De Smet? Etc. Note that he deals with laksana in De Smet's sense too.

I have a feeling that more will be found. Once people like Mayeda begin quoting an author, it is inevitable that others do so too.

At any rate, I have finally come across the motherlode: a list of Indological books (especially on Sankara and Advaita) to be acquired for our library.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Knasas' critique of Lonergan, again

Some points in connection with the Knasas question:

Distinguish (1) apprehension under the formality of the true and of being, from (2) apprehension under the formality of the intelligible, and from (3) apprehension under the formality of the experienced. So it is always being that is attained, but under different formalities.

Again, even if, with De Smet and the Marechalians, we were to agree that judgment comes first, we would still have to distinguish what type of being it is that is attained: is it merely mathematical being, or merely possible being, or is it being that is 'independently existent' of the knower?

Study better this distinction of different 'spheres' of being in "Metaphysics as Horizon."

Sunday, 6 September 2009

De Smet, a life

The satisfaction of finishing the entry on De Smet for the EICP (Encyclopedia of Indian Christian Philosophy), as well as a longish life of De Smet running into some 40 pages together with the time line.

Where to send it for publication, is the question.

In the meantime, if anyone is interested in the two pieces, all you have to do is ask.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Lonergan and Knasas again

From Joaquim D'Souza again, on Lonergan and Knasas, on 4 September 2009:
In the little piece you sent me about my profile, I’m somewhat embarrassed to be called a specialist in Medieval Philosophy or an enthusiast of Maritain. I’m, I believe, just a simple student of Thomas Aquinas, trying to understand him with the help of Gilson as regards his historical interpretation, and with the help of Maritain as regards the creative development and application of Aquinas’ thought for our times. Both Gilson and Maritain were great Thomists, who tried to make the fundamental intuitions and principles of Thomas intelligible and relevant to our times. I don’t see Thomism as having only a historical value, but as being very relevant today. Gilson and Maritain converge on many points, and they influenced each other’s work. Where they differ (i.e. on the intuition of being or on critical realism), I am inclined to follow Maritain.

Both opposed the Transcendental Method of Marechal and held fast to immediate realism as being unequivocally the teaching of Thomas Aquinas. I too subscribe to immediate realism, for I fail to understand how anyone starting from the data of consciousness as immediately evident can through the dynamism of the intellect with its unrestricted quest for the Absolute ever arrive at the real existing apart from the conscious subject. If the data of consciousness is what I start with, the terminal point of the intellectual striving will still be a data of consciousness. In other words, the question of the real existing apart from the conscious subject would not even arise, as all I have from start to finish is data of consciousness. Unless, of course, I hold as evident from the start that the data of consciousness is the real obtained from sense knowledge. The data of consciousness therefore is not indifferent or neutral with regard to real existence, subsequently to be validated as real in the process of striving towards the Absolute, but from the start has the valency of real immediately evident in it perceived in sense knowledge. Otherwise, as Gilson says, one who begins with Descartes inevitably ends up with Hegel – a confirmed idealist.

Unfortunately, in my formative years I was not introduced to Lonergan. On my own, I read his Cognitional Structure and his The Subject, and some initial chapters of Insight, but no more than that. So I would be interested to know how he would respond to Knasas’ critique of the Transcendental Method in general, and of Lonergan’s position in particular.

Well, that’s about where I stand in my philosophical affiliations.

Knasas' critique of Lonergan

From Joaquim D'Souza, on 31 August 2009:
I had mentioned to you in Nashik about a critique of Lonergan re.
objectivity by John F.X. Knasas in his "Being and Some Twentieth Century Philosophers" (available in the Divyadaan Library). There is a response to the critique by Jeremy D. Williams in the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly (ACPQ 78 (2004) 107-130), followed by a rejoinder by Knasas (ACPQ 78 (2004) 131-150). Knasas also criticises Maritain in the book, Being and Some..., for surreptitiously introducing into Critical Realism of the straightforward type the technique of retorsion of the Transcendental Method. I'll need to look closely into that, but I'd be interested to have your opinion on the critique of Lonergan by Knasas, if you have the time. It could make a nice article for the Divyadaan Journal.