Disciplines, Interdisciplinarity, Multidisciplinarity etc. in Sanskrit (and) Philosophy

If you have ever felt comfortable in one discipline… lucky you!

As for me, I have always been struggling: I tell my colleagues in Philosophy departments that “Philosophy” does not stop at Königsberg and I disappoint my colleagues in South Asian departments by telling them that I am not particularly interested in Vedic poetry, not to speak about Indian cooking and Bollywood movies.

Disciplines are a rigid frame, one over-loaded with historical and accidental elements, so that the advantages they offer (a methodology shared by a group of people, shared background knowledge and the like) are often overshadowed by the limitations they involve. Do philosophers of language really want to avoid discussing with their colleagues of Linguistics? Can linguists endure being cut off researches on living or dead languages, just because they are done within a different framework (e.g., that of “philology”?) Can philological analyses of mathematical treateses be sound, if done by people lacking a mathematical training? And so on.

But what is the alternative to disciplinary/disciplinated research?

Multidisciplinarity is the juxtaposition of several disciplinary perspectives, without aiming at constructing a broader framework. It is good for a first encoutner of scholars working on different topics.

Interdisciplinarity, by contrast, aims exactly at the construction of such a broader framework. The problem is that interdisciplinary frameworks (also called “Transdisciplines“) often crystallise into disciplines (cf. the case of “Structuralism” or “Marxism”).

Instead, I aim at a dynamic encounter of scholars who are ready to question what they are doing while keeping on doing it. I would like to do philosophical work on texts while I am critically editing them with the help of all linguistical and philological tools. To avoid a supermarket-like form of eclecticism, which would end up with the choice of just what fits with one’s own preferences or implicit biases, this must be done within an open team of different people, so that the component of critical questioning is never appeased. (This is also the rationale of the Coffee Break Project).



Comments and discussions are welcome. Be sure you are making a point and contributing to the discussion.

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