Identity as Reasoned Choice

Identity as Reasoned Choice : A South Asian Perspective on The Reach and Resources of Public and Practical Reason in Shaping Individual Identities

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In an increasingly multi-religious and multi-ethnic world, identity has become something actively chosen rather than merely acquired at birth. This book essentially analyzes the resources available to make such a choice. Looking into the world of intellectual India, this unique comparative survey focuses on the identity resources offered by India's traditions of reasoning and public debate. Arguing that identity is a formation of reason, it draws on Indian theory to claim that identities are constructed from exercises of reason as derivation from exemplary cases. The book demonstrates that contemporary debates on global governance and cosmopolitan identities can benefit from these Indian resources, which were developed within an intercultural pluralism context with an emphasis on consensual resolution of conflict. This groundbreaking work builds on themes developed by Amartya Sen to provide a creative pursuit of Indian reasoning that will appeal to anyone studying politics, philosophy, and Asian political thought.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 498.95g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 1441196579
  • 9781441196576
  • 3,266,831

Table of contents

Preface; Introduction: The Reach and Resources of Reason; PART I: PUBLIC REASON PROMOTED; 1. An Ideal of Public Reason; Public reason in the Questions of Milinda; An ideal of public reason in the Nyaya-sutra; 2. Ancient Indian Logic as a Theory of Case-Based Reasoning; A model of reasoning in the Nyaya-sutra; The theory transformed; Retrieving the ancient case-based model; 3. Neutrality: a Theory From the Time of Asoka; A Buddhist treatise on public reason: the Elements of Dialogue; Eight stances in a dialogue; The 'way forward' and the 'way back'; 4. Local Norms: the Priority of the Particular; Rules versus cases; Three models of particulars as standards; Particulars as paradigms in the Nyaya-sutra; Particulars as prototypes in the Ritual Sutras; PART II: PRACTICAL REASON RESOURCED; 5. The Critic Within; Multiple Hinduisms; A dissenting voice; Meeting reason with reason; Evidence, expertise and assent; Religion and reason; 6. Adapt and Substitute; The hermeneutics of ritual; Ethics in the Hindu canon; The reason of sages; Adaptive reasoning from paradigms; 7. Model Humans and Moral Instincts; Persons as paradigms of exemplary conduct; Ethical dilemmas: the 'case'; The heart's approval: moral instinct; PART III: DISSENT; 8. Implied Voices of Dissent; The paradox of inquiry; Inquiry as adjudication; The challenge reformulated in Sa?kara; 9. Can One Seek to Answer any Question? Srihar?a; On questioning: the pragmatics of interrogative dialogue; The prior knowledge argument; Against aiming; The longing for knowledge; PART IV: IDENTITY, FOUND OR FASHIONED?; 10. On the Formation of Self; Spiritual exercises and the aesthetic analogy; Philosophy as medicine; Plutarch and the Buddhists: returning oneself to the present; A life complete at every moment; Taming the self; Philosophy and the ends of life; 11. Problems of Self and Identity; Reincarnation and personal identity; Higher and lower selves; Bad thoughts and conscience; No self?; Being true to your individual self; 12. Identity and Illusions about the Self; Speaking about the self; Polestar and compass: two modes of practical reason; The ethics of self-deception and the reach of reason; Cognitive stories; 13. "What You Are You Do Not See, What You See is Your Shadow"; The philosophical double; The double in Mauni's fiction; Self to self; Inhabiting an identity; PART V: IDENTITY & THE MODERN INTELLECTUAL; 14. Interpreting Intellectual India; Questions of method; Objectivity; Immersion; 15. An Exemplary Indian Intellectual; Bimal Krishna Matilal; A conversation among equals; A common ground?; 16. India and the Shaping of Global Intellectual Culture; Covert borrowings; Other routes of influence; Concluding Summary; Bibliography.
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Review quote

"Drawing on premodern answers to rethink postmodern questions, and doing so with a philosopher's rigor, a non-philosopher's readability, and enormously creative thinking, Jonardon Ganeri does two important things at once. He suggests how to move forward into the future on the thorniest problems of self-identification, while revealing the depths of India's intellectual past and the resources it can offer for that task." -Sheldon Pollock, Columbia University "Recent philosophical writing on the subject of identity. though often focused on distant parts of the globe, has failed to tap the philosophical traditions outside the West in the analyses it provides. This ambitious book admirably overcomes that limitation and locates in the tradition of Indian philosophy a basis for the idea that our identities are not given to us but are rationally chosen. Its range of historical reference --from Manu to Matilal-- is impressive and presented with confidence and verve. It will add rigour and detail and historical depth to a concept ('identity') that still remains relatively indisciplined in its deployment in the study of politics and culture." - Akeel Bilgrami, Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University, New York.
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About Dr. Jonardon Ganeri

Jonardon Ganeri is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex, UK. His research draws upon analytical, Indian and European traditions of philosophical thought. He has published four books, including The Lost Age of Reason: Philosophy in Early Modern India 1450-1700 (Clarendon Press, 2010). He was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, and a research fellow at King's College London and at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
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