Thursday, March 7, 2013


BIS Mumbai                                  





By: Br. Nigel Pinto


DIVYADAAN- NASHIK, MARCH 07, 2013:  Six new books were added to the list of Bibliographies of the world as the Second year M. Ph. brothers of Divyadaan defended their dissertation papers here at Divyadaan, Nashik. The papers were the outcome of more than a year's hardwork, dedication, patience and sacrifice, under the able guidance of their guides. The defense, which was the culmination of the whole research was adequately prepared for by the brothers. The students sat before a panel of three professors, all veterans in the field of philosophy and an audience consisting of the B. Ph. students of the Institute. The defense of each brother began with the moderator introducing the topic of research to the audience, a prayer by the student, followed by a brief exposition on the theme of the paper by the student.  An intense session of clarification and questioning then followed.


First up was Cl. Daniel Adaikalam's paper entitled "A Critical Analysis of the Educational Philosophy of Ivan Illich", in which the current modern school system was analyzed and found to be in need of change and transformation. His paper explained why Illich's concepts of "De-schooling" and the "Educational Web" go a long way in serving as milestones in the advancement of our educational system today.


Next up was the dissertation "The Levinasian Subject" by Bro. Manu Michael which attempted to encounter the concepts of "Subject" as proposed by Emmanuel Levinas. The first chapter of this study makes a historical presentation of the life, works and major influences of Levinas. The second chapter discusses the Levinasian understanding of the Other as infinity which refers to the radical Otherness, which is far from the Same. It is explored under two headings, i.e., the Same and the Other with a reference to the metaphysical tradition of the West, which tried to reduce the Other to the Same. The third chapter 'The Levinasian Subject' treats the understanding of subject according to Levinas in which key concepts such as the Face, Responsibility, Substitution, and Relationship to the Other, etc. are discussed. The relevance of the Levinasian subject today is explored in the fourth chapter. The dissertation concludes by pointing out the rich implication of Levinasian philosophy especially from the point of view of the subject, a subject who is responsible, weak, docile, hostage and even as one striving for difficult justice, and who is ready to substitute for the Other.


The defense continued with Br. Bosco Carvalho's paper on "Sankaracarya's Notion of Identity with Brahman through an Exegesis of Tat Tvam Asi", which explored Sankaracarya's understanding of the identity of one's inner Atman with Brahman. He adopted the implied meaning as a hermeneutic tool to understand tat tvam asi and realize the truth of non-duality – that one is not different from God, but totally dependent on Him. The identity principle shows the divine present in every person. The understanding on non-duality is on the pure consciousness level. Br. Bosco then explained that this is taken further by Christians who assert that the pure conscious God has a personal relationship with man, which he expresses through his love for creation and for his neighbour. Tat tvam asi reiterates the truth that one is made in the image and likeness of God, and thus all people have the same nature and the same origin.


Br. Nobin Narzary's thesis entitled "Gabriel Marcel's Notion of the Human Person and Intersubjectivity" spoke of the humans as having intrinsic eternal value, a value that comes as a gift from the Absolute Other (God). The human person realizes this real self of oneself through the process of intersubjectivity. Intersubjectivity is the experience of a genuine relationship where in the two persons are able to relate to each other with respect and dignity. It is in the process of intersubjectivity that a person realizes one's true identity as person.    


Br. Naresh Neelam's research on the theme "The Meaning of Language Games according to Wittgenstein" highlighted "language" as the house of being that provides a linguistic support and a linguistic meaning in our relations. Wittgenstein's method is insightful as he begins to find meaning in the daily usage of language in customs, cultures and in daily practices. This method is therefore called as a therapy and a treatment for all linguistic problems and misconceptions. To solve these problems he introduces the concept of language games in which he pays attention to the use of words, grammar and rules in our daily language. In Wittgenstein's notion of language games, words are like tools having multiple usages. The meaning of words is only in the situation and in the context of the game.  


And finally the thesis "Evolution and Its Implications Today According to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin" presented by Br. Pritam Barla attempted to delve into the notion of evolution and its implications. Br. Pritam asserted that Teihard's  theory  of progressive evolution consists of four spheres namely Geosphere, Biosphere, Noosphere and Christosphere. The details of this evolutionary process are fully observable only upon our planet, though Teilhard believes that an evolutionary interpretation is to be placed on the universe as a whole. On the earth, the great critical moments in the process have been first, the appearance of life when molecules of sufficient complexity had been built up, and next, the appearance of man as the bearer of reflective thought. This second event is called 'hominization', with it, the evolutionary process becomes conscious of itself, and man becomes its spearhead. The appearance of life and then of thought has, as it were, added two new envelopes to the earth in addition to its physical layers – the 'Biosphere' and the 'Noosphere', which includes not only men themselves but also their works – their fields and factories, cities and communications, and so on. Pritam then highlighted the fact that Teilhard, by becoming more speculative seeks to infer the evolutionary process into the future. He sees the process converging in God. In this view, God is the final rather than the efficient cause of the universe, drawing all things towards perfection in Himself.


The defence concluded at 3.45 p.m. The brothers were applauded and commended for their relentless efforts in making a contribution, certainly of no less significance to the world of speculative thought and philosophy.





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