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India and Civilizational FuturesBackwaters Collective on Metaphysics and Politics II$
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Vinay Lal

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199499069

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199499069.001.0001

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Darsana as Theoria

Darsana as Theoria

Locations and Ends of Mnemopraxial Learning

(p.115) 5 Darsana as Theoria
India and Civilizational Futures

D. Venkat Rao

Oxford University Press

Plato’s Republic can be read as a philosophical defense of a new education, of a radical turn in the tradition of paideia. The traditional Homeric learning aimed at cultivating the best in man beyond the transient allurements of wealth, fame, and power. Abandoning the Homeric mnemocultural modes, Plato configured Truth, Good and Beauty as ends of learning and posited dialectics (dianoia against muthos) as the only means of attaining such ends. Judeo-Christian religion appropriated such configuration of learning for the spiritual foundation of man by means of the Word of God (Logos) and put an end to ancient pagan traditions. Over three and half millennia Indian traditions of learning have remained resolutely mnemopraxial: cultural memory put to work in actional lives. These traditions were drawn neither toward the dianoiac force nor the theological power of logos. This chapter attempts to undertake two tasks: (i) configure the modes and means of mnemopraxial traditions of learning and their heterogeneous dispersal; and (ii) the genocidal implications today of the epistemic rupture of these traditions unleashed by the European invasion.

Keywords:   learning, praxis, mnemocultures, theoria, logos, locations

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