Semantic Destruction and Philosophical Thought

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Intermediate—Year

In this course we will focus on the plurality of philosophical positions as itself a problem for philosophical reflection. We will set the stage by considering several approaches to this problem, among them those of Nietzsche, Bakhtin, Foucault, Kuhn. We will then focus on the approach proposed by Zilberman, first by learning to explicate the paradoxes of pluralistic understanding by studying his “Cultural Relativism and Radical Doubt” and then by moving on to selections from The Birth of Meaning in Hindu Thought. In the second semester we will concentrate on “Revelation in Advaita Vedanta as an Experiment in the Semantic Destruction of Language” (chapter 5 of the book) and its relation to Hegel’s philosophical project in the Phenomenology of Spirit (we will study the Introduction and several key chapters of the Phenomenology). In conference students will be able to explore in greater depth any of the thinkers we examine in class. A prior background in philosophy is required.