When the humanistic world view has its beginning in Protagoras’s declaration that man is the measure of things, it was very soon condemned as a subjective, individualistic doctrine without being understood. Yet, since the importance of humanism in the making of a meaningful, value based understood. Yet since the importance of humanism in the making of a meaningful, value based society can never be overlooked, humanistic ideals kept trickling in over the years in both western and Indian philosophical speculations and it came to be increasingly speculations and it came to be increasingly realized that nothing un human can be of interest to man and nothing human can be alien to human thinking. However, humanism now days has become somewhat of a cliché, so much so that almost everybody engaged in some sort of intellectual exercise claims to be a humanist. What are required, therefore, are proper analysis and understanding of humanism and its implication on, and applicability to the present social scenario.
With this objective, this book has focused on the various aspects of humanism and the authors have attempted to carve out suitable models thereof for effective social structuring and nation building. Readers will benefit by the in-depth analyses of the concept in its multifarious dimensions and its application to various aspects of intellectual discourse.
Facets of Hinduism will be immense use to students and researchers in philosophy and the social sciences.
P.K. Mohapatra, the General Editor of Utkal Studies in Philosophy series, got his Ph.D. from the University of Keele, England where he worked as a common wealth scholar during 1974-77 and had been to the United States as a Fulbright Visiting Professor in 1989. A specialist in philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of values he has authored two books, entitled personal Identity and concept and Problems, edited five books and published a number of articles. He has been the president of the Metaphysics section of the Indian Philosophy Congress in 1983, and also the General President of the All Orissa Philosophy Association in 1998.
Currently, Dr. Mohapatra is the senior most professor of Philosophy at Utkal University Bhubaneswar.
S.C. Panigrahi, editor of this volume has been teaching in Utkal University for over 15 years. Dr. Panigrahi, a specialist in Indian Philosophy, Philosophy of mind and political Philosophy, has published two books and several articles.
The other editors of Utkal Studies in Philosophy series Dr. T. Patnaik, Dr. S. K. Mohanty and Dr. G.P. Das are Readers in the Dept. of Philosophy at Utkal University and recognized scholars in the areas of analytic philosophy and India Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of mind and Action, Philosophy of Wittgenstein and analytical study of Advaita Vedanta, Political Philosophy and Philosophy of values.
Humanism, as a philosophical world-view had its distinctive beginning with Protagoras’s declaration that man is the measure of things. But this pronouncement was as starting as it became too misleading almost immediately after it was made. The centrality of human interest and human well-being that underlie the Protagorian dictum was soon to be drowned in subjectivism and individualism. Under the tyranny of Socratic objectivism and Platonic contempt for particulars protagorianism was suppressed and shunned as sophistry rather than understood humanism in its infancy did not get a fair deal. However, concern for man and the central significance of the human point of view could never be overlooked and hence humanistic ideals kept trickling in over the ages both in western and Indian philosophical speculations. The Buddha’s stress on the here and now the Mimamsakas vision of Purusarth as purusaya ayam, Kant’s Copernican revolution and his approach to human beings as ends in themselves all strives to make the point that man is the centre of the universe. Protogoras’s dictum after all gets a resounding acceptance in the modern version of humanism in F.C.S. Schiller and even Jean Paul Sartre, with the specter of subjectivism taken care of by transpersonal standard of objective knowledge and truth. The abstract metaphysical standard of objectivity was exposed for what it is. Be it language, morals, knowledge, truth or reality, nothing has significance (is any of these conceivable?) if is not concerned with the human world. For nothing human can be alien to man and nothing unhuman can be fruitfully discussed. It follows, therefore, that humanism is opposed to transcendentalism and supernaturalism insofar as they are unconcerned about man and the social reality. A mortal’s god lies in helping fellow mortals said pliny the elder, and service to man is service is God, said Gandhi. Every sphere of discourse must therefore recognize the dignity of man and the human value, take not of the person as an autonomous being endowed with free thinking and freedom of the will.
Humanism thus has to assume the most pervasive proportions. This however may have the danger of making it appear too simplistic and too much trivial. Indeed, one finds now a day’s almost everybody engaged in some sort of intellectual exercise claiming to be a humanist. Careful study of the logic of the concept with its various aspects need to be done. Essays included in this volume aim precisely at this objective. They are grouped under two parts. In part I the essays generally focus on the meaning and implication of humanism the application of the concept to different spheres of life and intellectual discourse.
The editors are grateful to the scholars and philosopher for their illuminating contributions to this volume. The University Grants Commission deserve our gratitude for the grant to publish this book under the D.S.A. programme. We thank M/s Decent Books, New Delhi for associating themselves with our Department a special Assistance in the publication of the volume.
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