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Global Philosophy Research Interest Group Talk (James Madaio, Czech Academy of Sciences)

Friday October 20, 2023, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The Global Philosophy Research Interest Group is delighted to welcome as guest speaker James Madaio, a research fellow at the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague. His areas of interest lie in Indian philosophical traditions, the historiography and genealogy of modern Hindu movements, Indic theories of the self, pedagogy, and hermeneutics, and cross-cultural philosophy and dialogues. Dr. Madaio is associate editor of the Journal of Hindu Studies and a regional editor (Indic traditions) for Bloomsbury’s Introductions to World Philosophies book series. He received his PhD from the University of Manchester, and was a postdoctoral fellow at New Europe College (Bucharest) and an affiliated researcher at the Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute (Chennai). Dr. Madaio was previously a lecturer at the University of Maryland, the University of Manchester, and Charles University (Czech Republic). He currently serves on the Curriculum Development Board for the Continuing Education Department at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He is the recent recipient of a multiyear research grant from the Czech Science Foundation.

This is an in-person event, but a livestream via Zoom is also offered.

Talk Title

Consciousness as Self-Revealing Play in the Advaita of Ramchandra Gandhi

Talk Abstract

This paper explores how the philosopher Ramchandra Gandhi (1937-2007) approaches plurality and ‘the other’ from an Advaita-informed philosophical hermeneutics. Broadly, I argue that R. Gandhi’s understanding of the līlā (or play) of communicative relationality parallels his understanding of the līlā of consciousness, which playfully becomes an alterity to itself in order to ‘play the great game’ of seeming self-discovery. More specifically, in the first section of the paper, I explore how R. Gandhi understands communication as an ‘everyday sādhanā’ (or spiritual discipline), which potentially leads to self-awareness and, ultimately, to the understanding that addresser and addressee are fundamentally non-different. The second part of the paper reconstructs R. Gandhi’s distinctive understanding of universal self/consciousness. In doing so, his approach is discussed in relation to both Advaita Vedānta and Śaiva non-dualism. The paper closes by drawing out broader practical and ethical implications of what I call his post sampradāyic (or post scholastic, lineage-based) Advaita.

The Global Philosophy Research Interest Group explores the benefits of drawing on diverse traditions of thought in approaching philosophical questions. These include novel insights into familiar problems, new questions and research directions, and fresh methodologies. We work to deprovincialize and decolonize all aspects of philosophy in the academy. The group currently has strengths in Sanskrit philosophy, and Chinese philosophy, Indian philosophy in English, and classical Islamic philosophy.



Friday October 20, 2023
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Global Philosophy Research Interest Group


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