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Disenchanting IndiaOrganized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India$
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Johannes Quack

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199812608

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812608.001.0001

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Indian Rationalists

Indian Rationalists

(p.8) (p.9) 1 Indian Rationalists
Disenchanting India

Johannes Quack

Oxford University Press

The first chapter gives an overview of the Indian rationalist movement and reviews the sparse literature on this topic. It starts with a discussion of the work of Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya on ancient Indian materialism, continuing with Amartya Sen's historical argument, and ends with Hans-Joachim Klimkeit's study of anti-religious movements in South India. The chapter further introduces the way in which representatives of the rationalist movement describe their worldview as being based on naturalism and empiricism, and the way in which atheism is seen as following logically from rationalism. Finally, it is argued that rationalism stands for a worldview that has repercussions for all aspects of life, as well as for concrete social activism, i.e. attempts to transform India into a more just and secular society.

Keywords:   naturalism, empiricism, materialism, secularism, Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, Amartya Sen, Hans-Joachim Klimkeit, social activism

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