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About Discourse and Truth

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  • kalawar
    Is the description of truth-teller in overlap with our understanding of Guru in Indian tradition? excerpt: parrhesiazesthai means to tell the truth. But
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 5, 2007
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      Is the description of truth-teller in overlap with our understanding
      of Guru in Indian tradition?

      excerpt:

      ""parrhesiazesthai" means "to tell the truth." But does the
      parrhesiastes say what he thinks is true, or does he say what is
      really true? To my mind, the parrhesiastes says what is true because
      he knows that it is true; and he knows that it is true because it is
      really true. The parrhesiastes is not only sincere and says what is
      his opinion, but his opinion is also the truth. He says what he knows
      to be true. The second characteristic of parrhesia, then, is that
      there is always an exact coincidence between belief and truth.

      It would be interesting to compare Greek parrhesia with the modern
      (Cartesian) conception of evidence. For since Descartes, the
      coincidence between belief and truth is obtained in a certain (mental)
      evidential experience. For the Greeks, however, the coincidence
      between belief and truth does not take place in a (mental) experience,
      but in a verbal activity, namely, parrhesia. It appears that
      parrhesia, in his Greek sense, can no longer occur in our modern
      epistemological framework.

      I should note that I never found any texts in ancient Greek culture
      where the parrhesiastes seems to have any doubts about his own
      possession of the truth. And indeed, that is the difference between
      the Cartesian problem and the Parrhesiastic attitude. For before
      Descartes obtains indubitable clear and distinct evidence, he is not
      certain that what he believes is, in fact, true. In the Greek
      conception of parrhesia, however, there does not seem to be a problem
      about the acquisition of the truth since such truth-having is
      guaranteed by the possession of certain moral qualities:when someone
      has certain moral qualities, then that is the proof that he has access
      to truth–and vice-versa. The "parrhesiastic game" presupposes that the
      parrhesiastes is someone who has the moral qualities which are
      required, first, to know the truth, and secondly, to convey such truth
      to others.

      If there is a kind of "proof" of the sincerity of the parrhesiastes,
      it is his courage. The fact that a speaker says something dangerous –
      different from what the majority believes– is a strong indication that
      he is a parrhesiastes. If we raise the question of how we can know
      whether someone is a truth-teller, we raise two questions. First, how
      is it that we can know whether some particular individual is a
      truth-teller; and secondly, how is it that the alleged parrhesiastes
      can be certain that what he believes is, in fact, truth. The first
      question – recognizing someone as a parrhesiastes – was a very
      important one in Greco-Roman society, and, as we shall see, was
      explicitly raised and discussed by Plutarch, Galen, and others. The
      second skeptical question, however, is a particularly modern one
      which, I believe, is foreign to the Greeks."

      from the link:

      http://foucault.info/documents/parrhesia/foucault.DT1.wordParrhesia.en.html
    • Balagangadhara
      Dear Friends, This is the second time that I notice the dishonesty of Pankaj Jain: he writes messages and deletes them later. The first time was when he wrote
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 5, 2007
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        Dear Friends,

        This is the second time that I notice the dishonesty of Pankaj Jain:
        he writes messages and deletes them later. The first time was when he
        wrote his 'criticisms' of my book, only to delete the message later.
        Now he has done it again: he wrote messages of 'contrition' and they
        are again deleted. People who do not have the integrity and
        intellectual honesty to let their 'mistakes' stand are not worthy of
        being members of this group.

        Friendly Greetings

        Balu
      • Balu
        Dear Jayant, Forgive me for publicly rebuking you: neither you nor this guy knows what either of you is talking about. I am getting tired of your
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 5, 2007
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          Dear Jayant,



          Forgive me for publicly rebuking you: neither you nor this guy knows what
          either of you is talking about. I am getting tired of your pseudo-profound
          questions. Should you not be raising them elsewhere, instead of here?





          Friendly greetings



          Balu




          <http://456898.signature1.mailinfo.com/confirm2.6/040D0409/0B0F4F07/050E4E03
          /10821273.jpg>



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        • kalawar
          Dear Balu, I agree that I do not know what I am talking about, hence the questions. How some questions can be qualified as psuedo profound etc I do not
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 5, 2007
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            Dear Balu,

            I agree that I do not know what I am talking about, hence the
            questions. How some questions can be qualified as psuedo profound etc
            I do not understand.

            Michel Foucalt appeared to have something to say about Greek
            traditions which appeared to differentiate it from post Enlightenment
            European thinking and I was trying to see if I could relate to it with
            my experience of Indian traditions. Of course I am woefully short of
            getting to it.

            I will try not to post on this forum hence forth - there are some
            questions I come across which I do not know where else to go with.
            There is a sense of vibrancy on this forum that makes me come back to it.

            Best wishes,

            Jayant

            --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "Balu" <balu@...> wrote:
            >
            > Dear Jayant,
            >
            >
            >
            > Forgive me for publicly rebuking you: neither you nor this guy knows
            what
            > either of you is talking about. I am getting tired of your
            pseudo-profound
            > questions. Should you not be raising them elsewhere, instead of here?
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Friendly greetings
            >
            >
            >
            > Balu
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            <http://456898.signature1.mailinfo.com/confirm2.6/040D0409/0B0F4F07/050E4E03
            > /10821273.jpg>
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
          • Balu
            Dear Jayant, There are questions, questions and questions: some are asked by people who want to know, some by those who disagree, some skeptical and yet others
            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 5, 2007
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              Dear Jayant,



              There are questions, questions and questions: some are asked by people who
              want to know, some by those who disagree, some skeptical and yet others
              challenging and so on. In and of itself, there is nothing interesting about
              the attitude of raising questions. You say that you do not understand, while
              it is unclear what you do not understand. Do you not understand Foucalt? Or
              his interpretation of the Ancient Greeks? Is it that you do not understand
              what a Guru is? Or, perhaps, you do not understand the classical Greek
              language. You want to know what Guru's are, and yet you cite someone else
              citing Foucalt who uses Greek words and concepts. You are not at home with
              Foucalt, and even less with the Greek language or their philosophy. You know
              next to nothing about the French and the German traditions that use the
              Ancient Greeks, their language and their thoughts to make a point which is
              obscure even to the latter's students. Yet, you want to use that to
              understand the Indian thinking about Gurus! Tell me, if this is not being
              pseudo-profound, what else it is.



              The pseudo-profundity lies in this attitude of picking up snippets from
              other people and their thoughts, not having put in the effort to study the
              subject matter, but coming up with sentences that are formulated in an
              interrogative 'tense'. Is Foucalt's interpretation of a Greek word, as
              reported by someone else, something similar to the notion of Gurus? Rich,
              coming from someone, who, not so long ago, came up with Sanskrit words like
              'pramana' and 'anumaana' and spoke of "Indic categories" and such like!



              Jayant, raise all the questions you want. When you do, however, be a man
              enough to take knocks if they come your way. Do not come up with silly
              stories about your 'ignorance' when, in some of your earlier posts, you
              chided other people for their ignorance. If you think I am not reporting
              "the truth", go back a bit and check your own posts.





              Friendly greetings



              Balu




              <http://456898.signature1.mailinfo.com/confirm2.6/06000701/0D0A4904/07024D0B
              /22519425.jpg>



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • kalawar
              Dear Balu, All your points are well taken. I have been inconsistent and am not thorough. Since you raise the man enough issue: the questions I have raised
              Message 6 of 9 , Jun 5, 2007
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                Dear Balu,

                All your points are well taken. I have been inconsistent and am not
                thorough. Since you raise the man enough issue: the questions I have
                raised whether on this board or in person, the inconsistent arguments
                I have come up with, have given you insights which have gone towards
                helping you write public responses. The openness with which I have
                interacted with you, supported you on a personal level to the best of
                my ability, regardless of how you respond to me - I have been
                consistently supportive of you over the last 6 years, have high regard
                for you and hope you will succeed in your endeavour which I see are of
                crucial importance. Will you be man enough to accept and acknowledge
                that?

                Best Wishes,

                Jayant

                --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "Balu" <balu@...> wrote:
                >
                > Dear Jayant,
                >
                >
                >
                > There are questions, questions and questions: some are asked by
                people who
                > want to know, some by those who disagree, some skeptical and yet others
                > challenging and so on. In and of itself, there is nothing
                interesting about
                > the attitude of raising questions. You say that you do not
                understand, while
                > it is unclear what you do not understand. Do you not understand
                Foucalt? Or
                > his interpretation of the Ancient Greeks? Is it that you do not
                understand
                > what a Guru is? Or, perhaps, you do not understand the classical Greek
                > language. You want to know what Guru's are, and yet you cite someone
                else
                > citing Foucalt who uses Greek words and concepts. You are not at
                home with
                > Foucalt, and even less with the Greek language or their philosophy.
                You know
                > next to nothing about the French and the German traditions that use the
                > Ancient Greeks, their language and their thoughts to make a point
                which is
                > obscure even to the latter's students. Yet, you want to use that to
                > understand the Indian thinking about Gurus! Tell me, if this is not
                being
                > pseudo-profound, what else it is.
                >
                >
                >
                > The pseudo-profundity lies in this attitude of picking up snippets from
                > other people and their thoughts, not having put in the effort to
                study the
                > subject matter, but coming up with sentences that are formulated in an
                > interrogative 'tense'. Is Foucalt's interpretation of a Greek word, as
                > reported by someone else, something similar to the notion of Gurus?
                Rich,
                > coming from someone, who, not so long ago, came up with Sanskrit
                words like
                > 'pramana' and 'anumaana' and spoke of "Indic categories" and such like!
                >
                >
                >
                > Jayant, raise all the questions you want. When you do, however, be a man
                > enough to take knocks if they come your way. Do not come up with silly
                > stories about your 'ignorance' when, in some of your earlier posts, you
                > chided other people for their ignorance. If you think I am not reporting
                > "the truth", go back a bit and check your own posts.
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Friendly greetings
                >
                >
                >
                > Balu
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                <http://456898.signature1.mailinfo.com/confirm2.6/06000701/0D0A4904/07024D0B
                > /22519425.jpg>
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • synektix
                ... wrote: Dear Balu, Wow. While I know I lack perspective on what led to the violence of this public put-down, since I haven t been here for many weeks, I am
                Message 7 of 9 , Jun 7, 2007
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                  --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "Balu" <balu@...>
                  wrote:

                  Dear Balu,

                  Wow.

                  While I know I lack perspective on what led to the violence of this
                  public put-down, since I haven't been here for many weeks, I am
                  astonished by such a post from you. Since back in the days when you
                  were briefly a member of IndDiaspora, some of us, myself included,
                  always held you in high esteem for the even-tempered and patient manner
                  in which you conducted your discourses. I believe I actually said as
                  much in one of my emails to you.

                  This quote from Tiruvalluvar's Tirukkural will either make you madder
                  still or --as I am hoping -- get you to relax and take things more
                  lightly --

                  " If men would see their own faults as they see the faults of others,
                  verily evil would come to an end in this world."

                  I'm off to India. Have a wonderful summer, everyone, and may Peace
                  prevail.

                  -- Chitra
                • vnr1995
                  Balu, There are three kinds of doing research that I have identified, which Indian intelligentsia love. 1. To us, research is tantamount to collecting snippets
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jun 9, 2007
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                    Balu,

                    There are three kinds of doing research that I have identified, which
                    Indian intelligentsia love.

                    1. To us, research is tantamount to collecting snippets that agree
                    with our views, and refuting theories (or disliking theories) is
                    equivalent to citing sources that disagree with the theories in
                    question. That's why we respect Inden's Imagining India, because the
                    latter's work 'explained' why the west described Indian culture the
                    way it did. That's why we use buzz words like epistemic arrogance,
                    epistemic colonialism, colonial epistemology, and so on.

                    2. Mastering languages and linguistics. In order to refute your
                    theory, we need to dig out sanskrit sources, and etymological histories.

                    3. The kinds of explanations that Indians sell--whether the latter are
                    of management type or educated in sciences. They love to sell peddle
                    plausible explanations. When their plausible explanation is countered
                    with an equally plausible explanation, they resort to the 'evidence'
                    that they collected in (1) and (2).


                    Jayant told us while we were at his home, you are short tempered. That
                    means, you might have privately told him. I do not consider you short
                    tempered. In fact, you have answered questions from many intelligent
                    but lay people on this forum and on sulekha board.


                    More importantly, we believe that the only way to evaluate a theory of
                    its truth is to assess the way how one has come out with a such a
                    theory. That's why we bring in philosophical objections even before
                    reading a book.

                    About the words like fault and 'be a man enough'. These phrases are
                    used in many contexts by zillions of people. No one has identified
                    identity criterion--let alone individuating criterion: that is, they
                    meant objectively different in various contexts. That's why we bring
                    in snippets from other contexts to disagree with others.





                    > The pseudo-profundity lies in this attitude of picking up snippets from
                    > other people and their thoughts, not having put in the effort to
                    study the
                    > subject matter, but coming up with sentences that are formulated in an
                    > interrogative 'tense'. Is Foucalt's interpretation of a Greek word, as
                    > reported by someone else, something similar to the notion of Gurus?
                    Rich,
                    > coming from someone, who, not so long ago, came up with Sanskrit
                    words like
                    > 'pramana' and 'anumaana' and spoke of "Indic categories" and such like!
                  • Balu
                    Dear Jayant, Indeed, you have done everything you have said and more during the last six years. However, I fail to see its relevance to the matter at hand. My
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jun 10, 2007
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                      Dear Jayant,



                      Indeed, you have done everything you have said and more during the last six
                      years. However, I fail to see its relevance to the matter at hand. My
                      responses were directed against three things:



                      1. On this forum, we have had many-a-discussion on the notion of 'Indic
                      categories'. I have always opposed the idea of "Indic Categories", while you
                      have insisted that they are both useful and necessary. Consequently, I
                      expressed my ire at your attempt to use someone's report of someone else's
                      habit of analyzing an Ancient Greek word about "truth-telling" in order to
                      understand the Indian 'Guru'. This ire was compounded by the fact that
                      Ancient Greek is not a language you know and because you are not familiar
                      with the French and German philosophical traditions that use Ancient Greeks
                      language to make obscure philosophical points.



                      2. Whenever people disagreed with you on this forum, you have shown a
                      tendency to do two things: either (a) become sarcastic and sharp towards
                      them instead of picking up their questions and carrying the debate forward;
                      or (b) withdraw behind a shield of self-confessed ignorance. While indeed,
                      as you say, your questions have their roots in your ignorance, more often
                      than not, they do not express the desire to learn and know: in fact, in your
                      eagerness to raise 'critical' questions, you have regularly failed either to
                      read the post (or the article) in question properly or to understand them.
                      If someone points this out, you act deeply injured and become even more
                      sarcastic.



                      3. The result is that the discussions become focused on persons instead
                      of being focused on the issue. Ignoring such posts works for a time, like
                      the way I kept ignoring your references to 'coffee-shop talk'. However, a
                      stage arrives when one cannot ignore such posts any longer precisely because
                      of the regard one has for the other. At such moments, accumulated irritation
                      gets expressed publicly.



                      Quite apart from these things, please remember that I teach. I keep teaching
                      my students the need to unlearn: unlearn the desire to 'show off' their
                      erudition; unlearn 'jargon'; unlearn shallowness and so on. I am more than
                      convinced that whatever we have learnt about human beings can be formulated
                      in a jargon-free language and in a simple manner. There is no need to appear
                      'mysterious and profound'; nor is there a need for exhibiting one's
                      erudition or 'critical capacities'. On all these counts, most of Foucalt's
                      writings (and that of his commentators) can only call forth anger and
                      irritation.



                      Friendly greetings



                      Balu_




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                      /75249507.jpg>



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