The Routes of Philosophy: Paul Deussen, Indian Non-Dualism and Universal Metaphysics

Daly, Deirdre. 2010. The Routes of Philosophy: Paul Deussen, Indian Non-Dualism and Universal Metaphysics. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

It is the nature of comparative philosophy to reflect on different orders of knowledge and different forms of discourse. The question of the validity of knowledge is essential to the comparative works of Paul Deussen. By analysing metaphysics into its basic elements, he was able to gather and compare the efforts of many different times and places. This is to say that Deussen endeavoured to use the elements of metaphysics to reconcile the mutually incompatible claims of Reason and Revelation. He pursued this reconciliation in a non-Hegelian manner which did not exclude revelation and which allowed the status of religion, philosophy and science to be preserved, whether eastern or western in origin. While Deussen agrees to an extent with the Hegelian postulate that philosophy only ever emerges in a particular alignment with science and ethics, he insists on including religion in the account of the origin of philosophy. For this reason, he was able to include India's exegetical traditions of the fundamentally theologico-philosophical treatises of the Veda in his comparative and historical work. This was an entirely unprecedented and an untimely philosophical enterprise, and one which remained unparalleled for almost half a century.

My thesis explores the manner in which he articulates and validates a unified, universal science of metaphysics. It examines his transformation of the scientific resources of physiology and psychology into the principle of the Will and follows his elaboration of a metaphysical morality based on the negation of this Will. However I also explore the potential in the most significant text for this thesis, The System of the Vedanta (1883), for a non-metaphysical way of thinking and acting. I argue that Deussen's text marks the creation of a singular relation to the Outside of the type of existence ordered by western thought. Deussen's history of philosophy leads me finally to evaluate his project for the renewal of philosophy and culture on the basis of universal metaphysics. From this emerge the suggestions for further work concerning Nietzsche's relationship to the Vedantic concept of 'beyond good and evil' in particular and to Indian philosophy and the revaluation of all values in general.

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Thesis (Doctoral)

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Reason, Revelation, treatises of the Veda, Vedantic concept, non-Hegelian manner, metaphysics, physiology



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Date Deposited:

24 Jun 2020 16:04

Last Modified:

18 Oct 2022 12:37


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