- In refusing to fight, what is Arjuna calling into question?
Arjuna is troubled by various facets of his war mission. The first and foremost is the killing of his kin and kith. Across the battle line in Kurukshetra stand his cousins, uncles and former gurus. How heartless one needs to be to be able to desimmate one’s own flesh and blood, he asks Krishna. Arjuna is also uncertain of the legitimacy of war itself. How can so much bloodshed be toward a noble cause, he queries Krishna. Moreover, Arjuna fails to see how the enterprise of war could lead to liberation from worldly existence. To his intuition it appeared as if war stood for all that was denounced in the Vedas.
- What is Arjuna’s duty according to the Vedic ideal?
According to the Vedic scriptures, Arjuna should act according to his Svabava and the resulting Swadharma. Svabava can be loosely . . . Read More
Ever since the ushering of the Enlightenment in the early 18th century, religious dogma has increasingly been questioned. In the contemporary era scientists offer clear and logical explanations for the evolution of life, the formation of the solar system, etc. In the face of such indisputable scientific evidence, it is no longer possible to accommodate religious dogma. Religious fundamentalism or the literal interpretation of scriptures offered a degree of solace to primitive people when their lives and livelihoods were under constant threat from natural disasters, epidemic diseases and barbaric warfare. But as civilization has progressed, modern societies are reasonably well-equipped in regulating nature and offering protection from its extremes. Therefore, there is no longer any necessity to hold on to blind faith as a source of consolation in a brutish world. If I was invited to a public debate on the conflict between religious fundamentalism and the methods of . . . Read More
While Utilitarianism as a practical philosophy can find application in affairs of democratic policy making and economics, its stature are a satisfactory system of morality is contested. The scholarly consensus as of date is that Utilitarianism is a partial system of morality and is somewhat inadequate on account of its authors’ reluctance to front up to complexities of ethics. Utilitarianism asserts that ‘It is morally good to act for the general happiness.’ As this assessment is taken at face value by most, the salient critical question is ‘What is it that is morally not good, which stands in opposition to this?’ In answering this question proponents say, ‘acting for unhappiness’. (Grote 123) Utilitarian moral philosophy thus has for its subject the ascertaining of what happiness is, which is placed in polar opposition to unhappiness. Having found what constitutes happiness, the philosophy strives to device methods to achieve that end. But real life . . . Read More
The philosophical sub stream of epistemology concerns itself with questions surrounding the modes, methods and capacities of human knowledge acquisition. It is a very complicated subject with a lot of debate and disagreement among scholars. There are those like John Horgan, who envision the decline of scientific scrutiny into these questions. They contend that the tools offered by science are inadequate to grasp a highly complex and variant natural biological process. For example, in his book The End of Science, John Horgan gloomily predicts “an impending dissolution of science, that the great era of scientific discovery is over or very nearly so… the great discoveries and revelations that have made up the history of science as now yielding to incremental, diminishing returns.” (Horgan, as quoted in Bauer, 1997) While this kind of doomsday pessimism might come across as overblown to some, they are not without any merit. Some of the observations made by scientists . . . Read More
Garrett Hardin offers an in-depth analysis of issues surrounding humanity’s common resources. There are various common resources alluded to by the author, prominent among them are the geographic commons (the wilderness areas), air waves for telecommunication, public spaces that carry hoardings, the air that we breathe, rivers and oceans, etc. As citizens of a nation, we are all entitled to utilizing the commons for our individual good, albeit respecting certain limitations. One such right to a common resource is the right to procreate. While this might appear at first to be an individual right, seen in terms of its broader consequences, it is akin to the commons. By procreation, an adult couple locks up a portion of the common resources for the sustenance of the child. This includes the air, water, food and other material necessities that the child would require for survival. But people don’t aspire to merely survive – they want to ‘enjoy’ life’s comforts. . . . Read More
The article in question offers an in-depth analysis of the emerging preference for genetic engineering (GE). The author identifies various reasons why instances of genetic engineering are on a rise and shows the fallacies and superficialities of those arguments convincingly. For this essay, the tendency to utilize genetic engineering for ‘enhancing’ an individual’s life is chosen as the most important item of criticism by the author. Sandel is in support of GE as a life-saving measure. He supports its incorporation into standard medical practice for strictly medical reasons. But where he is strongly critical is in co-opting this new technology so as to gain a competitive edge over peers in any walk of life. Sandel believes that just because a technology is available it should not be applied recklessly without considering all the moral dimensions of the practice.
Sandel highlights two areas where ‘performance enhancement’ is much sought after is in the worlds of . . . Read More
The Holocaust is without doubt the greatest human tragedy of the twentieth century. The literature surrounding Holocaust speak of the profound alienation of personality and loss of divine faith experienced by those affected. Those who survived to record these experiences are both lucky and unlucky. They are unlucky in that they had to continue to live the rest of their lives with tormenting memories and unanswered questions about human nature and God. Elie Wiesel is one such survivor, whose post-liberation life would be filled with mental anguish. In his seminal book Night, first published in Yiddish in 1955 and later appeared in English in 1960 we evidence how his faith in God as well as faith in humanity is challenged by the grave circumstances faced in German ethnic cleansing operations. The following passages will analyze how Wiesel’s faith in God and humanity is shaken to the core in the face of compelling circumstances and consequences.
In a poignant passage . . . Read More
The debate surrounding abortion has been a part of public policy discourse for more than half a century now. Despite widespread exposure to the issue and passionate presentation of views there is no generally accepted consensus. Apart from universally recognized pros and cons for legally permitting abortion, there are also localized cultural sensibilities to contend with. For example, regions of the country with a large religious demographic tend to oppose abortion even when it is practically unreasonable. On the other extreme, in the more liberal states region, there is the danger of abuse of the right to abortion by reckless, indulgent teenagers. This essay will argue that abortion must be exercised only under exceptional circumstances. Four key readings related to the topic are perused for constructing arguments.
Dan Marquis’ essay “Why Abortion is Immoral” clearly suggests that the author looks cannot see any genuine moral grounds for permitting . . . Read More
Plato’s speculations and assertions on the nature of human psyche have withstood the test of time and are a useful aid to modern managers. Plato defined the abstract and the rational as equivalent to the moral good. He equated self-knowledge with self-restraint, and proclaimed that knowledge is virtue. According to Plato, the psyche is not made of substance and it is immortal. Plato divided human psyche into three components – the rational, affective and appetitive. Plato understood that the human psyche is in constant exchange with the external social, cultural and political environment. The similarities between Plato’s and Freud’s conceptions of the psyche are relevant to modern business management because Freudian psychoanalysis is well entrenched in Human Resources Management practice. The continued utility of Plato’s theory of the psyche to modern managers is illustrated by its perusal in management seminars and . . . Read More
Thales of Miletus, usually referred simply as Thales, was an eminent pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. Hailing from Miletus of the Asia Minor region, he is regarded as one among Seven Sages of Greece. Though it was under Socrates, Plato and Aristotle that Greek philosophy found its highest expression, Thales’ discourse set the foundation for the subsequent flowering of Hellenistic thought. Even Aristotle acknowledges the valuable precedence set by Thales, by seeing Thales as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition.
Among the achievements of Thales is his adeptness in separating mythology from natural philosophy, where previously no such distinction existed. His major preoccupations included an analysis and search for ultimate physical reality and the dynamics of change. By refusing to refer to mythology in his philosophical musings, Thales can be said to have pioneered the earliest known scientific revolution in Western civilization. Such basic building blocks . . . Read More