Inclusivism, Perspectivism and Pluralistic Tendencies in the History of Indian Culture

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Abstract

This article provides a survey of approaches and conceptual means elaborated in recent decades in the studies of pluralistic tendencies in Indian culture. The concepts of inclusivism, perspectivism, antologizing and polyphony are discussed in a close relation with the specific context in which they were introduced, as well as with the implicit presuppositions of the scholars who elaborated them. In particular, the interpretations of inclusivism introduced by Paul Hacker and Gerhard Oberhammer were inextricably intertwined with the views on Indian religions these scholars developed. The concept of perspectivism was introduced in a philosophical context, mainly with respect to Bhartṛhari’s and Jaina philosophy. Antologizing and polyphony can be characterized as a more cautious way to conceptualize pluralistic tendencies in Indian traditional discourse, because they focus on narrative strategies that enable expressing alternative views in the frames of a single text. From a historical point of view pluralistic tendencies might be stipulated by the diverse social reality in Ancient India where heterogeneous cultural phenomena coexisted in a process of mutual reinterpretation and adaptation. Another possible presupposition of perspectivism could be the cyclic concept of time that was predominant in Indian traditional discourse. In Indian intellectual systems pluralistic practices were usually legitimized with the view that there are different levels of truth. Though instances of inclusivism can be discovered in the cultures of different regions, it was in India that inclusivism became a dominant trend in the cultural history.

About the authors

Evgeniya A. Desnitskaya

Institute of Oriental Manuscripts RAS

Author for correspondence.
Email: khecari@yandex.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7890-2061

CSc in Philosophy, Researcher at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts

18, Dvortsovaya emb., St. Petersburg, 191186, Russian Federation

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