Thursday, 31 March 2011

Halbfass and Hacker

  • Halbfass, Wilhelm. Studies in Kumarila and Sankara. Reinbeck: Verlag fur Orientalistische Fachpublikationen, 1983.
  • Halbfass, Wilhelm. Tradition and Reflection; Explorations in Indian Thought. New York: SUNY, 1991. Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 1992. [DD: 170 HAL.W 36126]
  • Halbfass, Wilhelm. "Introduction: An Uncommon Orientalist: Paul Hacker's Passage to India." Philology and Confrontation: Paul Hacker on Traditional and Modern Vedanta. Ed. Paul Halbfass. Albany: SUNY, 1995. See as of 1 April 2011.
  • Franco, Eli and Karen Preizendanz, ed. Beyond Orientalism: The Work of Wilhelm Halbfass and Its Impact on Indian and Cross-Cultural Studies. Amsterdam / Atlanta: Rodopi, 1997. 
  • Halbfass, Wilhelm, ed. Philology and Confrontation: Paul Hacker on Traditional and Modern Vedanta. Albany: SUNY, 1995. 

Sankara as srutivadin

  • Rambachan, Anantanand. "Sankara's rationale for sruti as the definite source of brahma-jnana:  refutation of some contemporary views." Philosophy East and West 36 (1986) 25-40. [See Clooney, Theology After Vedanta (1993) 254.]
  • Halbfass, Wilhelm. Studies in Kumarila and Sankara. In his review, De Smet is happy to note that the second study here confirms his own thesis about Sankara as srutivadin. [Understanding Sankara 434 tentative.]
  • Halbfass, Wilhelm. "Human Reason and Vedic Revelation in Advaita Vedanta." Tradition and Reflection: Explorations in Indian Thought. [Albany: SUNY, 1991.] Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 1992 162-182. In the Preface the author notes that this article, which is ch. 5 in the book, is an enlarged and thoroughly revised version of the third of the four Studies in Kumarila and Sankara. [vii-viii.] There is no mention of De Smet in the notes or Index. In 204n208 Halbfass gives a list of studies that he found after completing the original version of this chapter (1982) dealing with reason and revelation in Sankara, but says they do not modify his thesis. 

Friday, 4 March 2011

Nature-grace and natural-supernatural

Sean Doyle, in Synthesizing the Vedanta: The Theology of Pierre Johanns, S.J. (2006) speaks interchangeably of the nature-grace distinction and the natural-supernatural distinction.

This needs to be explored, but I think the two are not coincident. Grace may be operative in both natural and supernatural religions, for example. The natural-supernatural distinction is based on proportion: truths that are proportionate to human nature are called natural truths; truths that are beyond the proportion of human nature are called supernatural truths. This distinction was drawn by Thomas. And Thomas admitted clearly the possibility of God revealing not only supernatural but also natural truths.

Vatican II clearly admits the possibility of grace operative in non-Christian religions and even among atheists. But that hardly does away with the natural-supernatural distinction.

Still, a certain amount of confusion followed after Vatican II. Having accepted the operation of grace beyond the boundaries of the Church, theologians did away also with the natural-supernatural distinction. I am not sure that this follows. And I am not sure whether maintaining such a distinction is politically incorrect. 

Thursday, 3 March 2011

The self and the good

In the opening chapter of Sources of the Self, Charles Taylor notes that it is not possible to get clear about the 'modern identity' - about the human agent, person, or self - "without some further understanding of how our pictures of the good have evolved. Selfhood and the good, or in another way selfhood and morality, turn out to be inextricably intertwined themes." (Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996] 3)

But there is another obstacle to this task:
Much contemporary moral philosophy, particularly but not only in the English-speaking world, has given such a narrow focus to morality that some of the crucial connections I want to draw here are incomprehensible in its terms. This moral philosophy has tended to focus on what it is right to do rather than on what it is good to be, on defining the content of obligation rather than the nature of the good life; and it has no conceptual place left for a notion of the good as the object of our love and allegiance.... (3)
As I begin to teach Moral Theology to the FMA novices here in Nashik, relying on notes that I had made 20 years ago, I realize how very true this is: the whole approach of my notes - derived from theology classes at Kristu Jyoti College? - is a focus on the moral act rather than on the nature of the good life.... And that was the focus also of Azzopardi's Ethics in JDV...

So is Taylor making common cause with MacIntyre, at least on this point?

And what might be the position of Giuseppe Abba, a much neglected figure in contemporary virtue ethics, not even finding mention in the current article on the topic in the Wikipedia?