[INDOLOGY] Joydeep Bagchee's membership to INDOLOGY

Shyam Ranganathan shyamr at yorku.ca
Fri Apr 19 17:31:45 UTC 2019

Hello all,

I'm not surprised that some members of this list conflate being 
professional with being a philologist (see below), as though that's all 
Indology could be. I'm not surprised as I've written on this for some 
time, and there are cultural roots to this focus on language as the 
source of knowledge about an area of study. That too I've written on. 
And for the record, I'm not a philologist. I'm a philosopher.  I suppose 
that some would think that I don't belong on this list. At least one 
member publicly claimed as much when I asked a question not too long 
ago.  That member was not removed from the list, though their attack on 
me was ad hominem.

And one of the things that I teach, as a philosopher, are courses on 
logic and critical thinking. Ad hominem arguments fall under the heading 
of informal fallacies. An ad hominem argument is not an argument where 
one criticizes a person as instantiating something generally 
objectionable. An ad hominem argument is where you denigrate a person, 
and thereby their credibility as a witness, or reasoner.

In philosophy we are routinely pressured to provide examples of a more 
general point, and what Bagchee did was just that. Of course, you could 
dispute the general point he was making, or the relevance of the 
specific examples (the examples could be false or misrepresented), but 
it seems to me that excluding him from the list simply because he 
provided such examples for a general point he was making is strange. For 
even if he didn't name names, we could have understood what examples 
from professional Indology fall under the general point he was making.

I myself wouldn't have made the argument. But I have noticed for much 
time that Indology is a hostile place for philosophy and the practices 
of philosophers. Any time ethical questions come up on this list, they 
are shot down as irrelevant to Indology. If Indology excludes 
philosophy, then yes, talking about ethical questions would be out of 
bounds---and talking about examples of a general ethical point would 
also be a distraction from Indology. But if Indology excludes philosophy 
it's strange that so much attention is given to the history of Indian 
philosophy by Indologists and that they are routinely called upon to 
referee peer reviewed articles on Indian philosophy.

Best wishes,


Shyam Ranganathan

Department of Philosophy

York Center for Asian Research,

York University, Toronto

On 19/04/2019 6:53 a.m., Roland Steiner via INDOLOGY wrote:
> I absolutely second the postings of Arlo Griffith, Walter Slaje, 
> Birgit Kellner and Andrew Ollett. We should read Joydeep Bagchee's 
> message as professionals, namely as philologists, and thus cannot but 
> regard his posting as full of inacceptable insinuations.
> With best regards,
> Roland Steimer
> _______________________________________________
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Shyam Ranganathan

Department of Philosophy

York Center for Asian Research
York University, Toronto

shyam-ranganathan.info <http://shyam-ranganathan.info/>

/Hinduism: A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation 

/The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics 

/Patañjali`s Yoga Sūtras 
<http://penguin.co.in/book/classics/patanjalis-yoga-sutra/>/ (Translation, 
Edition and Commentary)

/Translating Evaluative Discourse: The Semantics of Thick and Thin 
Concepts <https://philpapers.org/rec/SHYTED>/

Full List, Publications <https://philpapers.org/profile/22035>

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