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Publication Details

The Development of Ethical and Anthropological Views Indian Philosophy

(Original title: Vývin eticko-antropologických názorov v ranej filozofii Indov)
Filozofia, 24 (1969), 1, 53-64.
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
The actualness of the problem of European or Asian centrism makes us study the possibility of all-round, harmonic unfoldment of man’s personality by means of a synthesis of the spiritual cultures of East and West. These tendencies manifest themselves clearly even in the contemporary Indian philosophy (S. Radhakrishnan, P. T. Raju, R. Mukerjee, A. K. Coomaraswamy, S. Sivananda etc.) and in the endeavor of their representatives to create a theory of integral humanism which would be connected with the development of the ethical and anthropological views in Indian philosophy and which would also respond to contemporary problems of the philosophy of man. These tendencies will be understood better if we know their spiritual predecessors. The philosophy of the Upanishads belongs amongs them. Besides the elucidation of basic principles of existence and the essence of the cosmos, it also investigated into some questions of the ethics of human relations, thus forming the foundation of the theory of man which can be considered as a starting point of all following ethical-anthropological views in the Indian thought. The idea of man in the Upanishads is conceived as a part of the broadly understood idea of god. From this standpoint considerations on the position of man among people are then, as a rule, suppressed by the reflection on mutual relation between man and the absolute divine principle of the world as totality. The searching of the man of the Upanishads period for an individual spiritual principle which would be, by means of its universality, at the same time a principle concerning all the world, was the expression of the endeavor to find and explain the unity of man as an intellectually and physically defined individuality and of the world as the all-involving, contradictorily arranged totality. Characteristic of this conception was the view according to which man is not opposed to the cosmos but that in mutual relations of both of them a higher spiritual principle can be found which is common to both of them though it manifests itself in each one differently. The ontological idealism of the Upanishads was quite naturally projected also into ethical idealism. The ideal of a virtuous life was not presented as the result of a certain concrete attitude of man to man but as the „knowledge of the eternal life". The philosophers of the Upanishads did not yet know any exclusively human level of inquiring into man which would be differentiated from the natural level. This does not, however, contradict the fact that the question of the cause of human existence and of its sense was formulated for the first time in the Upanishads.
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