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Elisa Freschi
I work on Sanskrit (and) Philosophy, with the hope of integrating Indian philosophy in "Philosophy" tout court
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My ideal curriculum for an Intro class in Philosophy is the one conceived by Jay Garfield and others and taught by Malcolm Keating and others at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, namely a completely non-Eurocentric introductory class (they have three main foci, namely Sanskrit, Chinese and European philosophy). But, what to... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2022 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
I received from Yujin Nagasawa (via Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad): I am starting a new Templeton-funded project called the Global Philosophy of Religion ( The aim of the project is to promote research involving philosophers of religion from all religious traditions and geographical regions. As part of the project, we are advertising... Continue reading
Posted Feb 29, 2020 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
We all know so many clever jokes about how hell should be preferred "because of the good company" and about how boring should heaven be. Let me take the chance to focus on the Śrīvaiṣṇava heaven, i.e., Vaikuṇṭha, and see whether they apply also to it. Why exactly is Vaikuṇṭha... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2020 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
In case you want to taste some South Asian ontological ideas which will remind you of Greece, but at the same time be different, please continue reading. In a work called Nyāyasiddhāñjana and in the Nyāyapariśuddhi, the 14th c. philosopher Veṅkaṭanātha discusses some fundamental ontological topics in order to distinguish... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2020 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
[EF: I discussed the blogpost "Job-market catastrophizing?: a conversation" with Krishna Del Toso, who continues to write and think as a philosopher but is no longer paid as one. He agreed to share his reflections below:] Here's my two cents. I must say that, as I see it, the root... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2019 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
If you write on Plato, you should start in medias res. If you write on Thomas Aquinas, you can do the same (unless you are writing for a journal specialising on something completely different, say, business ethics). If you write on a slightly less known author, I would suggest adding... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2019 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Gavin Hyman explains in his 2007 contribution to Martin's Cambdride Companion to Atheism as well as in his 2010 A Short History of Atheism that atheism is always the refusal of a given form of theism. In particular, in European history, atheism is the refusal of theism as conceived in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2018 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
While discussing a theory which is well-known in Europe and in the Anglophone world in comparison to (one or the other theory within) another philosophical traditions, say, premodern Indian philosophy, one can be faced with two alternatives: Either the theory is easily recognisable also in premodern Indian philosophy or it... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2018 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Thanks, Marcus. The problem is that you are operating with two distinct notions of God, one of a God as person (who can choose a suboptimal state of affairs, like not being completely omniscient) in order to benefit people He loves (let us call this the Hebrew option) and the other of God as perfect being (like in Aristotle, let us call this the Greek one). The latter is the consistent output of ontological and metaphysical arguments (like Aristotle's ones, but think also of Spinoza or Leibniz), but cannot choose to be different than what He is. Many comparable debates took case in Islamic philosophy between the God of philosophers and the God of Islam. I see from your note about a ''God as a kind of living agent, one who judges human beings, commands them, etc.'' that you (in this comment, I am not arguing about your overall beliefs!) might be inclined to privilege the ''Hebrew'' over the ''Greek'' God, but this leaves you with the very difficult problem of how to justify His existence, for metaphysical claims only lead to some sort of ''Greek'' God. Nor could it be otherwise, since the only thing you can prove inferentially (e.g., by inferring a cause out of its effect) is a rational and not-varying cause, not a whimsical one who might have done x or y. Last, let me add that the conflation of the two notions of God is widely found in many Christian thinkers, who indeed needed to find place for two different traditions (the ''Hebrew" and the "Greek" one).
Thanks for engaging, Marcus. (By the way, it is all but normal that you did not think a lot about omniscience if you never worked on philosophy of religion, given that in European and Angloamerican philosophy this is usually the only field in which it plays a role). As for your question, it has to do with one's conception of God (about which you might want to check this post: Basically, if you think of God as a perfect being, then you are very much likely to add that He is unchanging over time (because how could He have been perfect at time t1 and at time t2 if at time t1 He lacked something, namely the characteristic He acquired at time t2?). But if He is unchanging over time, He cannot acquire new knowledge, He must be omniscient ab initio, which means that He must have known forever all possible states of affairs, which should therefore be all simultaneously present in His mind. This, in turn, leads to problems relative to knowledge and temporality. Hope this is clear enough!
Dear readers, I have not been contributing much in the last months, since I focused almost exclusively on South Asian philosophy, which is not the main interest of most of you. Nonetheless, I thought of offering you a glance of a topic I worked on. I would be very grateful... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2017 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Marcus, it is private and you can invite whoever you want. Plus, people who have similar research interests get notified about the session and may ask to join it (you will have to allow it or not). But I see your point about the fact that some people dislike (perhaps we should dedicate a post to it? In my subfield, there has recently been a very interesting discussion of its pros and cons).
Thanks for putting some effort into it. However: Why not just using the "Session" feature on
Dear Marcus, thanks for doing these posts. Whenever I read them, I realise I should care more about my philpapers account (so, thanks for prompting me to update it from time to time!). Some small updates: 1. Elisa Freschi, Cathy Cantwell and Jowita Kramer (eds.). Reuse and Intertextuality in the Context of Buddhist Texts. Buddhist Studies Review 2016. Volume 33.1--2. 2. Elisa Freschi and Cathy Cantwell. "Introduction". In: lisa Freschi, Cathy Cantwell and Jowita Kramer (eds.). Reuse and Intertextuality in the Context of Buddhist Texts. 3. "Veṅkaṭanātha's engagement with Buddhist opponents in the Buddhist texts he reused" (article). Buddhist Studies Review. 2017. Volume 33.1--2, pp. 65--99. 4. Elisa Freschi and Philipp Maas (eds.). Adaptive Reuse: Aspects of Creativity in South Asian Cultural History. Wiesbaden: Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft, Harrassowitz. 2017. 5. Introduction. In: Elisa Freschi and Philipp Maas (eds.). Adaptive Reuse…. 6. Reusing, Adapting, Distorting? Veṅkaṭanātha's reuse of Rāmānuja, Yāmuna and the Vṛttikāra in his commentary ad PMS 1.1.1. In: In: Elisa Freschi and Philipp Maas (eds.). Adaptive Reuse…. 7. "Which kind of truth for the Veda as conceived by Mīmāṃsā authors?" (article) Samskrtacintanam. 2016. Volume 1, pp. 47--54. 8. "Veṅkaṭanātha". In: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2016 9. "Review of Hinduism and Environmental Ethics: Law, literature and philosophy, by Christopher G. Framarin". Cracow Indological Studies 2016. Volume XVIII, pp. 313--319.
thank you, Alison. This is another post which ---by being able to analyse the issue of what it means to have ''hobbies'' itself--- makes this series quite interesting.
Thank you, Marcus. IMHO, this is the most interesting post in the series (not because I did not like the others, but because of the interesting insights about the connection between your several "worlds" ---'hobbies' would not be enough). Also, I understand two of your theories better now that I now about their background.
Perhaps it might help to think that although it is *your* big day the other people on campus are human beings as well. They might have a really hard time at home or in their professional life and it is OK for them to be unable to engage in meaningful conversations. You do not need to take it as something personal. Sip a cup of tea, enjoy the sun (or the cloudy sky) and relax for some minutes!
Personally, I did answer to all the reviews I received, but for one (because it was published on a private google group and the author refused to republish it on a forum where I could have engaged with it). I think I, their authors, and the readers can learn a lot through a sincere effort to engage in a discussion and I am willing to try even when the reviewers are not particularly charitable. On the blog I moderate (Indian Philosophy Blog) we also publish reviews and invite authors to respond to them. This (unusual) experiment has yield so far very interesting results (less nasty reviews and more insightful discussions), see for instance here.
Dear Kenneth, many thanks for that. I did not know the article and found it extremely interesting (also because of its nice introduction on the sociological vs. doctrinary distinction). I hope to be able to find the time to discuss it in a separate post in a close future. As for your last question, Christianity surely mixes the two aspects you mention (with usually more emphasis on the former among the theologians, and more emphasis on the latter among the mystics). Nonetheless, I wonder whether the Aquinas' proposal as reproduced by Stump could not rather be described as putting together a brahman-like conception of God (the impersonal esse, or love as an abstract universal) with an Īśvara-like one (God as having a specific will to act in the world)?
As part of my attempts to go beyond my confort zone, Wednesday and Thursday last week I enjoyed two days of full immersion in the Analytical Philosophy of Religion. In fact, the conference I was attending was about the ontological status of relations from the perspective of Analytical Philosophy of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2016 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Thanks, Rob, also because you are the first among the ones who replied me who actually engages with my question. I see your point and this is more or less what I have been doing until now. In fact, this is also what scholars like Peter Adamson, J. Ganeri, B.K. Matilal, E. Thompson, C. Coseru, M. Siderits, J.N. Mohanty, and so on… have been doing. All of them (of us, si parva licet componere magnis) have been showing (in a compelling way, I would say) that philosophers such as Kumārila produced sound arguments and interesting conclusions (e.g., on the topic of the epistemology of linguistic communication). This makes me think that the lack of consideration is more an a priori than something due to the actual fact that scholars have failed to show that all that you say applies. Then there is the second problem: Suppose I manage to convince logicians that they really cannot think about logic without taking into account Dharmakīrti's theory of syllogism. If they would accept him and then shut the door to any other, not so much would have been gained for the discipline, who would continue to neglect important contributions. This being said, I am not a political activist and I personally believe in the power of incremental change. I will thus continue to try hard (but will not forget that resistances might be more psychological/sociological/political than intellectually motivated).
As a scholar of Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā I am well aware of how the normative is often disguised as descriptive. "It is seven o' clock" says the mother, but what she means is rather "Get up! You have to go to school". Similarly, complex discourses about the nature of philosophy, how... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2016 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
The authors of the Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta school (a philosophical school flourishing in South India from the 10th c. onwards) claim that the whole world is made of God/brahman and that everything else is nothing but a qualification of Him/it. This philosophical concept, it will be immediately evident, crashes against the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2016 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
I have a post-doc position in Europe (like Helen's ones, namely one for which I applied and won a grant). Whenever I discuss with colleagues from the US, I notice the same pattern of misunderstandings, based on a few points: 1. in the US one assumes that a person in my age should have a TT or permanent position (alternatively, she or he is just not good enough), due to the fact that there are *way* more teaching positions and it is in this sense easier to land in one (I know, US colleagues and friends will say it is not that easy, but it is still comparatively easier, due to the vast number of liberal art colleges and the like). 2. My US colleagues underestimate the amount of energy and work I and my European colleagues invest in grant-applications (and how prestigious they are). They look in my curriculum for different things, such as teaching awards, fail to find them and tend therefore to underestimate my teaching skills. 3. US letters are far more emphatic than any European one, so that the letters I can offer always look too shy in comparison, although they are realistic and trustworthy in their assessment. LONG STORY SHORT: I wonder whether a European scholar applying for a US job should not point such differences out in her cover letter, so as to make search committee aware of these differences. (European scholars, by contrast, take it for granted, that one will be paid during the Summer, that teaching loads will not be too bad and so on… but this will be discussed in a separate post about the European market for US applicants:)
Sorry for intruding so late. I appreciate X's concerns, since, as a reviewer who tries *not* to find out who the author is, I am often very annoyed by how authors leave obvious traces, such as using titles like "Studies in X, part 2", so that having read part 1 is enough to know who the author is. However, the solution is easy and advisable for all cases (since reviewers may have been at the same conference or at least read the program): Use different titles for conference papers and published versions thereof. Why don't we all agree about it?