Exclusivism, Inclusivism or Gradualism? Udayana and the Plurality of World-Outlooks

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Abstract

It is an issue of already longstanding significance in philosophy of religion after John Hick, that is of differing models of religious consciousness, in the frame of interreligious relations which is tackled in the paper but it is done on the basis of the texts of a concrete philosopher and the narratives around his figure. One of the most eminent Naiyayikas, Udayana (11th C.A.D.), is singled out, as the author of the very renown composition in verse Nyāyakusumaňjali offering arguments for the existence of God (Īśvara) in the framework of polemics with the anti-theistic schools and the anti-Buddhist fundamental compendium Ātmatattvaviveka, along with the stories about his very resolute and victorious struggle against Buddhism in the epoch of the latter’s final extirpation from India. The author comes to conclusion that the features of exclusivism, inclusivism and gradualism are detected in his texts and traditions around him and, therefore, any univocal authentication of his attitude to otherwise-minded and those of other faiths is impossible. While participating in the supplantation of Buddhism from India, Udayana displays very resolute exclusivism. When he addresses the educated audience sermonizing his philosophical theism, he uses purely inclusivistic strategy of uncovering implicit knowledge of Īśvara even with those very far removed from the truth. And when he attempts to locate Nyāya on the map of philosophical world-views he uses gradualism (along with implicit inclusivism) as “philosophy of ascent” of the truth from lower to higher levels. As is impossible as well to mark out of his attitudes the so-called pluralism (the conception of equivalency of religions) considered by Hick as fundamental advantage of Eastern religions over the Western ones. Comparativistic parallels along with differences (Calvin’s conception of “the seed of religion”, Rahner’s conception of anonyme Christians and Hegel’s gradualism are taken into account) and some specification of the main categories of interreligious relations are also offered in the paper.

About the authors

Vladimir K. Shokhin

Рeoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Author for correspondence.
Email: vladshokhin@yandex.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2111-8740

Doctor of Sciences in Philosophy, Professor, RAS Institute of Philosophy; Purushottama Research Centre (RUDN-University)

6, Miklukho-Maklaya str., Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation

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