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Professor Akeel Bilgrami

 

In continuation with its attempt to engage with academic and scholarly issues as initiated in occasional lecture series where scholars from India and abroad are invited to deliver lectures on issues of contemporary concern, the Forum on Contemporary Theory invited distinguished Professor of philosophy and Director of the Heyman Centre for the Humanities from Columbia University, Akeel Bilgrami to deliver a talk on 21st January, 2008 at the Centre for Contemporary Theory, Baroda. Professor Bilgrami spoke on “Some Scattered Thoughts on the Relationship Between Literature and Philosophy” where he proposed and discussed the concept of “miscellaneous” in terms of self-knowledge in contrast with several processes guiding integration, which is not an epistemological notion but normatively value-laden.  He drew certain significant differences in the relationship between literature that is expressive and philosophy that is deliberative. Discordant with the idea of integration immanent to philosophy and fundamental sciences, “miscellaneous” draws out the relationship between thought and expression not necessarily being incongruous or dichotomous with how we express our emotions. That thought and emotion can be made compatible locates “miscellaneous” in the domain of self-knowledge that constitutes four important aspects: importance of self knowledge from other forms of knowledge, place of freedom and agency in a deterministic universe, place of consciousness in the intentional states and place of values in the irreducible universe. Literature thus becomes pertinent as life offers manifold aspects that are miscellaneous and irreducible.  Prof. Bilgrami is also the author of Belief and Meaning: The Unity and Locality of Mental Content (Blackwell, 1992) and Self-Knowledge and Resentment (Harvard, 2006). The lecture was attended by the local members of the Forum, students and teachers from M. S. University of Baroda, and people from other professions.  

 

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