Item Code: IDE012
by G. SrinivasanHardcover (Edition: 1994)
Indian Council of Philosophical Research
Size: 8.8" X 5.8"
Weight of the Book: 340 gms
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The proper study of mankind, said Alexander- Pope, is man. What makes the study of man fascinating is the strange, but unavoidable combination of two different components in him—consciousness and body. This combination which is, indeed, paradoxical makes him at once the crown of all creation and the quintessence of dust. In the evolutionary development what is distinctive of the human being is not the possession of consciousness, because there is consciousness, implicit or explicit as the case may be in every being depending upon the level of evolution in which it is placed, but the way in which it functions in the human being as the revealing principle. There is no substitute or alternative to it. The mind and the senses which are accorded the status of the instruments of cognition are able to discharge their function by borrowing the power of revelation from consciousness. Therefore, consciousness is unique. That is why it is spoken of as ‘the light of lights’ (jyotisam jyotih) by the upanisad, as ‘the principle of principles’ by Husserl.
We may say in general terms that the work of consciousness is threefold: it reveals the beings of the world; ‘it turns back upon itself P so as to make itself a theme of its own study’ (p. 3), that is to say, it reveals itself; and finally it helps to have an encounter with Being. And so, the study of consciousness is challenging. It is this challenging study that Professor G. Srinivasan has undertaken in the present volume which is the fruit of his work as at Senior Research Fellow of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research a few years back.
Professor Srinivasan’s Insights into Inward Consciousness is a comprehensive and scholarly study of the nature and function of consciousness. Of the different approaches to the study of consciousness—cosmological, anthropological, epistemological, and psychological—he adopts ‘the inward approach’ taking advantage of the a phenomenological method used by Husserl, Heidegger, and others without however bound by any particular mode of approach of these western thinkers. The ‘inward approach’ to the study of conscious- ness is totally different from the ‘objective approach’ generally adopted in epistemology, psychology, and other disciplines. If consciousness is treated as one among the objects of the world, one will miss its essential nature as the revealing principle. It should not be thought that consciousness exists in splendid isolation from the things of the world. On the contrary, it is a being—in-the-world. As Professor Srinivasan puts it, ‘when consciousness "reflects" on itself and "sees itself from within" it discovers itself as being—in-the-world’. (p. 11) The inward approach to consciousness, as distinguished from outward approaches, is ‘the only method which can bring into the clear gaze of consciousness its own subjectivity, inwardness, and the "concreteness" of existence "lived" by it’. (p. 105) The inward approach to the study of consciousness has been adopted not only by the phenomenologists in the West, but also by Advaita Vedantins in India.
Professor Srinivasan’s acquaintance with phenomenology as well as Buddhism and Advaita helps him a great deal in his subtle analysis of the issues connected with the study of consciousness.
Since consciousness is a being-in-the—world, it has relation with the body, external objects, and other persons. Professor Srinivasan’s analysis of the relation between consciousness and the body deserves careful attention. The concept of ‘consciousness in—the—body’ refers to a unitary phenomenon such that we have to think of the relation between consciousness and the body in terms of, what Professor Srinivasan calls, ‘having’ and ‘being’, of` difference and identity. While the difference between them is obvious, their ‘identity’ be- comes the problematic. Professor Srinivasan’s observation that consciousness can view the body as its ‘immediate possession’ through an act of internal transcendence (p. 20) will be of interest to both the Heideggerian and Advaita scholars. His analysis of the relation between consciousness and other persons, which takes us to the problem of inter subjectivity, is equally interesting. When he high- lights not only the role and significance of communication as the medium through which the subjectivity of the other person comes to be known and recognized, but also the freedom of individuals as the presupposition of communication (pp. 24-26) , he reminds us of the discussion of the importance of the communicative competence by Habermas and others.
There is no phenomenologist without metaphysical orientation. Professor Srinivasan admits that his ‘inward description’ of consciousness has a metaphysical orientation. He maintains that the ‘encounter with being in the poise of pure consciousness’ is the culmination of the progressive inwardization of consciousness. (p. 105) in his description of pure consciousness he avoids the two Extreme metaphysical positions of Buddhism and Advaita and follows ‘a middle course’. (p. 102) Professor Srinivasan suggests that Being which is encountered in pure consciousness may be described in ‘personal’ or ‘impersonal’ terms. Whether Being is personal or impersonal, will always remain an ‘open’ question. What is really important, according to him, is the transformation that takes place in ‘the individual’s attitudes and activities in his being-in-the—world’ Q! 21 result of such an encounter with Being. (p. 104) Professor Srinivasan’s approach to the issues connected with consciousness is scholarly; his presentation of ideas is lucid and logical; and some of the views he holds and the conclusions he has drawn are provocative. I am happy to commend his volume to the attention of scholars interested in this theme.
From the Jacket:
The purpose of this treatise is to descriptively analyse the structure of consciousness from 'within'. The method adopted is the 'inward' approach in which consciousness turns back on itself and comports itself towards its own understanding. The 'inward' description of the structure of consciousness in this treatise follows its own distinct line of development, resulting in a 'unified wholeness' of perspective without being confined to the constraints of any particular brand of phenomenology. Temporality, dread, death, etc. are described as inherent to human existence and emphasis is laid on the urge for inner transcendence to the poise of pure consciousness in which Being is encountered. The truths expressed in the treatise are 'experiential', accessible to all those who seek to live in full understanding of the nature of their existence in the world.
About the Author: G. Srinivasan (b. 1930) was educated at Mysore University. He taught philosophy at Sri Venkateswara University (1955-66) and Mysore University (1966-90). After retirement, he was awarded the Senior Fellowship Research, New Delhi, for two years (1991-93).
Professor Srinivasan has a large number of books to his credit. His major publications include The Existentialist Concepts and the Hindu Philosophical Systems; Personalism: An Evaluation of Hindu and Western Types; Studies in East-West Philosophy; Whitehead's Concept of God; The Phenomenological Approach to Philosophy; Philosophical Perspectives: East and West.
|Foreword by R. Balasubramanian||ix|
|1. METHOD AND THEME OF STUDY|
Inward Approach to Consciousness
Uniqueness of Consciousness
The Notion of Being
|2. INTERNATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS |
Consciousness and Things
Consciousness and the Body
Consciousness and Other Persons
Consciousness and Temporality
Consciousness and Causality
Transcendent Perception and Immanent Perception
Consciousness and Freedom
Consciousness and Aesthetic Experience
Consciousness and Death
The Inner Duality
|3. INNER TRANSCENDENCE |
Nullification of Mental Modes
Revealment of Being
Inner Dynamism of Consciousness
|4. REFELECTIONS IN RETROSPECT |
Some Implications of International Consciousness
Consciousness and Value
Order of Psychological Priority
Pure Consciousness and the 'I'
Time and the 'Timeless'
Death and Dread
Nothingness and Freedom: Different Contextual Meaning
Meaning of Choice less Awareness
Consciousness as 'Openness'
Some Metaphysical Questions
|5. CONCLUDING REMARKS||103|
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