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date: 21 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The brilliant philosopher Krishnachandra Bhattacharyya (1875–1949) powerfully argued for freedom from the intellectual slavery brought by colonial occupation of India. He called on philosophers to show reverence for the classical Indian philosophical traditions. Yet reverence for him was not a nativist, uncritical return to the past but an attitude combining aesthetic sympathy for the living fabric of a philosophical outlook with openness to enrichment from metaphors from without. For him this formed the basis of an Indian notion of the classical that provincialized European classicism. The chapter argues that Bhattacharyya develops a powerful alternative idea to gloomy traditionalism and radical modernism: that of an immersive cosmopolitanism, which explains why he took such a keen interest both in Indian aesthetics and in the pluralist Jaina theory of standpoints, combined with detailed interpretations of several Indian philosophical systems and Indian commentaries on Kant, all in the service of a theory of subjective freedom.

Keywords: Krishnachandra Bhattacharyya, freedom, intellectual decolonization, cosmopolitanism, modernity

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