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Sutras (and stuff)

Sutras (and stuff)

By Malcolm Keating
In this informal bi-weekly podcast, we'll talk about a range of ideas found in South Asian philosophy, along with their connections to the modern day. Your host is a philosopher who reads Sanskrit texts and thinks about how the modern and premodern are intertwined.
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Much Ado about Religion: Part 2
How does a 9th century Nyaya philosopher addresses the intersection of religious conflict and ruling power in India? Are feelings of offense reason to exclude certain religious practices? What lessons can we take from Nyaya philosophers on religious toleration, and are they internally consistent here? To read the whole play, get the Clay Sanskrit Library translation of Much Ado about Religion by Csaba Dezsö, published 2005 by NYU Press. https://nyupress.org/9780814719794/much-ado-about-religion/ Maniacal laugh sound effect from: https://freesound.org/s/367738/
16:46
January 31, 2021
Episode 9: Much Ado about Religion, Part 1
Join our hero Sankarshana as he travels around the kingdom, vanquishing foes...with reason. Part 1 of 2. To read the whole play, get the Clay Sanskrit Library translation of Much Ado about Religion by Csaba Dezsö, published 2005 by NYU Press. https://nyupress.org/9780814719794/much-ado-about-religion/
12:08
January 15, 2021
Episode 8: Equivocating and other ways to lose
When is a door not really a door? When it's ajar! That old joke equivocates on two meanings of "ajar" In this episode we look at how equivocation can impact our reasoning, like when we ask, When is a doctor not really a doctor? We explore a few other ways that reasoning can go wrong and force us to lose in a debate. And listen until the end to hear what's planned for Episode 9. Sources: Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips, The Nyaya-sutra: Selections with Early Commentaries, Hackett Publishing, 2017. https://www.hackettpublishing.com/new-forthcoming/the-nyaya-sutra Much Ado About Religion adapted from the Csaba Dezsö translation in the Clay Sanskrit Library, New York: NYU Press, 2005. https://nyupress.org/9780814719794/much-ado-about-religion/ Definition of "doctor" from Merriam-Webster Online https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/the-history-of-doctor OED "doctor, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2020. Web. 20 December 2020. Clips: Good Morning America, December 15, 2020 "Women rally behind Jill Biden after WSJ op-ed asks her to drop 'Dr.'" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJHm2rzMJ-Q%200:49 “Hair-raising hare” (Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies, 1946) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnPRB00xgoQ "Expertise" (Sutras (and stuff) Season 1, Episode 6) https://anchor.fm/dashboard/episode/edfmbj Billy Madison (Universal Pictures, 1995) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec7rCsNFn30 Music: Brittle Rille by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3460-brittle-rille License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Sounds: Monastery Bell https://freesound.org/people/florianreichelt/sounds/440606/ Buzzer https://freesound.org/people/qubodup/sounds/211103/ by qubodup
12:51
January 1, 2021
Season 2 Announcement
Quick announcement about Episodes 8 through 10.
01:20
December 30, 2020
Counterfeit Reasons
When is a reason not a reason? According to Nyaya philosophers, when it's all smoke and no fire. In this episode we'll talk about how reasoning can go wrong when people use "counterfeit reasons," which don't actually support their claims. Music: Brittle Rille by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3460-brittle-rille License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Sources: Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips, The Nyaya-sutra: Selections with Early Commentaries, Hackett Publishing, 2017. https://www.hackettpublishing.com/new-forthcoming/the-nyaya-sutra Monty Python and the Holy Grail https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lu5_5Od7WY Ruptly, "USA: "Democrats had this election rigged right from the beginning" Dec 2, 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI7tRZ28dvg CBS Evening News, "Trump continues to deny election results despite legal losses" Dec 7, 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dvLEScIKkg
12:24
December 15, 2020
Debating
If you've ever watched a political debate on TV, you may wonder what the point is. After all, aren't both participants committed to their own viewpoints, and just aiming to win? Why would we ever think that debate is a useful activity. Nyaya philosophers were big proponents of debate, but not the kind of debate you see on network TV. In this episode we'll explore why they think arguments between two opposing parties aren't just a spectacular waste of time. Music: Brittle Rille by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3460-brittle-rille License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Sources: Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips, The Nyaya-sutra: Selections with Early Commentaries, Hackett Publishing, 2017. https://www.hackettpublishing.com/new-forthcoming/the-nyaya-sutra Monty Python, "Argument Clinic" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohDB5gbtaEQ President Trump: If Joe Biden wins... (Sept 25, 2020) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK4jZTD1Y-w Trump and the truth: His supporters weigh in (CNN, Dec 16, 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8mJO78dXdc
16:28
November 23, 2020
Doubting
Doubts can feel paralyzing, but according to the early Nyaya philosopher Uddyotakara, the right kind of doubt is actually useful. In this episode we'll apply his thinking about doubt to the 2020 US presidential election. Music: Brittle Rille by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3460-brittle-rille License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Sources: Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips, The Nyaya-sutra: Selections with Early Commentaries, Hackett Publishing, 2017. https://www.hackettpublishing.com/new-forthcoming/the-nyaya-sutra CNBC, September 29, 2020, Donald Trump on Election Integrity, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHysqu3gnSc Washington Post, November 4, 2020, Biden confident he’s on track to win election https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWbuWdwSjmI
15:53
November 6, 2020
Testify!
In this increasingly partisan world, many of us are listening only to people we already agree with. But can we learn things from the speech of people on the "other side"? In this episode, we learn how Nyaya philosophers think testimony can be a powerful tool for conveying knowledge, regardless of religion or political affiliation. Music: Brittle Rille by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3460-brittle-rille License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Sources: Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips, The Nyaya-sutra: Selections with Early Commentaries, Hackett Publishing, 2017. https://www.hackettpublishing.com/new-forthcoming/the-nyaya-sutra Allen Guelzo on the Ben Shapiro Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfy89mRW1SQ Gerald Horne on Democracy Now! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPyG8i2YxtQ
14:54
October 23, 2020
Announcement about Episode 4
Sutras (and stuff) will return next week for a new episode. Apologies for the delay and thanks for your patience!
03:21
October 16, 2020
Inferring
The climate is changing due to human activity. Scientists today are arguing for this crucial claim, warning us that it has dire consequences. But how can we know that the past has an effect on the present? How can we draw connections between unseen things and what we observe? In this episode, we’ll see how Nyaya philosophers could help science communicators like Bill Nye in their mission to demonstrate the reality of climate change. And we’ll see if climate change deniers have a snowball’s chance in Oklahoma of refuting it. Clips: Bill Nye on climate change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UEhUFLuD7A Bill Nye on Rachel Maddow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm05Mcah0i8 Jim Inhofe in the US Senate:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E0a_60PMR8 Sound Effects https://freesound.org/people/Aurelon/sounds/476655/ https://freesound.org/people/mike_stranks/sounds/341605/ Music: Brittle Rille by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3460-brittle-rille License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Sources: Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips, The Nyaya-sutra: Selections with Early Commentaries, Hackett Publishing, 2017. https://www.hackettpublishing.com/new-forthcoming/the-nyaya-sutra
15:39
October 1, 2020
Knowing
We can’t directly see it but we know it exists by extending our vision with special tools. We can reason about when it’s present based on associations. We can share facts about it with each other. And we can learn its name by comparing it to other similar kinds of things. I’m talking about the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, and in this episode we’ll focus on how early Nyāya philosophers might explain our knowledge about this disease, and how they think all human beings have the ability to know using a special set of natural abilities. Music: Brittle Rille by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3460-brittle-rille License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Sound: Zapsplat.com dersuperanton at https://freesound.org/s/435876/ FreqMan at https://freesound.org/s/20049/ Trump clip from Feb 27, 2020 (AP footage): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15XjckAOTwU Sources: Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips, The Nyaya-sutra: Selections with Early Commentaries, Hackett Publishing, 2017. https://www.hackettpublishing.com/new-forthcoming/the-nyaya-sutra Complete translation of the Nyaya-sutras: Ganganatha Jha, The Nyaya-sutras of Gautama, Volume 1, 2, 3, and 4, Motilal Banarsidass Publishing, 1984.
14:35
September 18, 2020
Introduction to Season 2
How can we become better thinkers and better human beings? What’s the connection between critical thinking and reducing suffering? In this intro episode to Season 2, we’ll learn about the Indian tradition known as “Nyaya,” who says these things are very closely related, and whose ideas we’ll be focusing on in detail this coming season. Music: Brittle Rille by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3460-brittle-rille License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Sources: Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips, The Nyaya-sutra: Selections with Early Commentaries, Hackett Publishing, 2017. https://www.hackettpublishing.com/new-forthcoming/the-nyaya-sutra Complete translation of the Nyaya-sutras: Ganganatha Jha, The Nyaya-sutras of Gautama, Volume 1, 2, 3, and 4, Motilal Banarsidass Publishing, 1984. Vol 1 https://archive.org/details/nyayasutrasofgautamaganganathajhavol1mlbd_202003_324_z/ Vol 2 https://archive.org/details/nyayasutrasofgautamaganganathajhavol2mlbd_202003_441_o Vol 3 https://archive.org/details/nyayasutrasofgautamaganganathajhavol3mlbd_202003_171_B Vol 4 https://archive.org/details/nyayasutrasofgautamaganganathajhavol4mlbd_202003_922_k
11:17
September 4, 2020
Announcement: Season One Ending
When I started this podcast in February 2020, I envisioned a first season of ten episodes. I wrote, recorded, and scheduled the most recent episode (Episode 8) before the nationwide protests  against police brutality began in the United States, which is my country of origin and my current home while I am on leave from my college. Given current events, even though I strongly believe that philosophy, and even premodern Sanskrit philosophy, has an important role to play in shaping a more just and equitable society, I have decided to put a pause on recording and disseminating these episodes. I'll be taking the summer off to focus elsewhere, and plan to return in the fall with the second season. Why not write more episodes which focus on connections between social justice, the current protests, and Sanskrit philosophy? Perhaps I will in the future, but right now I feel like my voice isn't the one that needs to be heard. Rather, as a white person, I want to listen to, and have my fellow Americans hear, the voices of black people, along with others historically oppressed in this country. I plan to return September 1, 2020, with a new season.
01:48
June 4, 2020
Episode 8: Binging
Binge-watching. You sit down, popcorn and soda at the ready, and before you know it, three hours have gone by and Netflix pops up with a message: “Are you still watching?”  While binge-watching is a fairly new English phrase (attested by the OED back to 1998 in verb form) in the sense of “overindulgence,” binging goes back to the 19th century, associated with gluttony. While binging on television may be a particularly modern phenomenon, the connection between gluttony and aesthetic taste is not. Today on Sutras (and Stuff) we’ll look at the Sanskrit thinker Abhinavagupta on aesthetic gluttony. Would he binge-watch the Tiger King or even the Ramayana on Netflix? Sources Locana commentary on Anandavardhana’s Dhvanyaloka, Jeffrey Moussaeiff Masson, M.V. Patwardhan, Daniel H.H. Ingalls, Harvard University Press, 1990. https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674202788 Śāntarasa and Abhinavagupta's Philosophy of Aesthetics, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, J. L. Masson, M. V. Patwardhan, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1969. On Amazon. The Triadic Heart of Siva: Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupta in the Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir,  Paul E. Muller-Ortega, State University of New York Press, 2010. https://www.sunypress.edu/p-857-the-triadic-heart-of-siva.aspx For further listening & reading: History of Philosophy podcast about rasa more generally: https://historyofphilosophy.net/node/764 This episode's sounds are from Sandpiper tweeting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_sandpiper Spotted sandpiper alarm call: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdqpvJ7FO4w Sideways Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBzJR4Emxvo Community Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWRuxQyzFcM Theme music from Ramayana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJJTPXLlWDU
14:01
May 29, 2020
Episode 7: Craving
Do you wish things were different right now? Is there some experience you used to have that you miss? Are you having unpleasant feelings? If so, you've got a lot in common with Buddhist practitioners and philosophers from the 4th century CE. In this episode, I speak with Bryce Huebner, Provost's Distinguished Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. We talk about how some Buddhist philosophers think our mental lives are interrelated with our emotions, how this idea relates to contemporary cognitive science, and why that may help those of us who are wishing things were different right now. Sources and Links Bryce Huebner is Provost's Distinguished Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. To learn more about Yogacara Buddhism, cognitive science, and the relationship between the two check out: Jonathan Gold, Paving the Great Way Maria Heim, The Forerunner of all Things Evan Thompson, Waking, Dreaming, Being
17:01
May 15, 2020
Episode 6: Expertise
Who should you listen to? Now, more than ever before, we have access to advice from a range of self-proclaimed experts. Anyone with a webcam and an Internet connection can dole out advice. But how do we tell if someone is trustworthy? In this episode, I test some so-called experts based on the requirements from Nyaya philosophers. Let's see who makes the cut... Sources and Links Quotes from Caraka’s Compendium are from Domink Wujastyk’s The Roots of Ayurveda and the Caraka Samhita Online Quotes from the Nyayasutra are from The Nyaya-sutra: Selections with Early Commentaries translated by Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips Clips of Dr. Phil and Dr. Fauci are from The Laura Ingraham Show on Fox News (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GLwsH8EwgA), an interview with Dr. Phil (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDGKsWPOq1w ), and an interview with Dr. Fauci (https://achievement.org/achiever/anthony-s-fauci-m-d/#interview)
16:19
May 1, 2020
Teaser: Episode 6
Who should you listen to? Now, more than ever before, we have access to advice from a range of self-proclaimed experts. Anyone with a webcam and an Internet connection can dole out advice. But how do we tell if someone is trustworthy? In the next episode, I test some so-called experts based on the requirements from Nyaya philosophers, with a litle help from Caraka. Let's see who makes the cut... Background music by junkfood2121 on freesound, used under Creative Commons Attribution License. *Oops! This is a trailer for episode six!
00:47
April 24, 2020
Episode 5: Contagion (part two)
Love, happiness, and disease. These are a few things that today we call  "contagious." But how did thinkers in the Indian subcontinent, before  the discovery of viruses, understand diseases and their treatment? This  podcast is part two of a two-part interview with Patricia Sauthoff, an  expert in the history of alchemy and medicine in India.  Sources and links  Dominik Wujastyk, The Roots of Ayurveda Caraka Samhita online Patricia Sauthoff is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Alberta with the The AyurYog project.
15:10
April 17, 2020
Episode 4: Contagion (part one)
Love, happiness, and disease. These are a few things that today we call  "contagious." But how did thinkers in the Indian subcontinent, before  the discovery of viruses, understand diseases and their treatment? This  podcast is part one of a two-part interview with Patricia Sauthoff, an  expert in the history of alchemy and medicine in India.  Sources and links  A Planet of Viruses, Carl Zimmer  Patricia Sauthoff is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Alberta with the The AyurYog project.
16:37
April 3, 2020
Announcement: Opening up the "phone lines"
I want to hear from you. Send me a voice message through Anchor or email me at sutrasandstuff@gmail.com and I might use your messages on an upcoming episode. Be well, everyone.
01:07
March 28, 2020
Episode 3: Reclining
If you’re going to recline your seat on an airplane, you should do it  gently. And if you’re going to kill your enemy with the shyena ritual,  you should build a brick altar. But should we do either of these things? Mimamsa and the logic of troubling commands. Sources and Links BBC clip from “Corona Virus: What is social distancing?” Kei Kataoka (2011), Kumarila on Truth, Omniscience, and Killing. Elisa Freschi, Andrew Ollett & Matteo Pascucci (2019), "Duty and Sacrifice: A Logical Analysis of the Mimamsa Theory of Vedic Injunctions, History and Philosophy of Logic." Our guest speaker today was Elisa Freschi, currently at the University of Vienna, joining the University of Toronto in fall 2020.
16:06
March 27, 2020
Episode 2.1: Disease and debate
What does an ancient Sanskrit text have to tell us about reasoning about the coronavirus and debating with people about its treatment? Caraka’s Compendium, a medical treatise, gives some guidelines for when to bother debating with people, and whom we should trust with our health. Sources & links Online Searchable Caraka Samhita Translation of Caraka Samhita from the episode    Philosophy and Medicine in Classical India Project BBC Interview with Prof. Robin Shattock, Imperial College London The Trish Regan Show and the coronavirus 
13:23
March 20, 2020
Episode 2: The Man
Taylor Swift does it, and so does Kalidasa. How does figurative speech work and why do we enjoy it so much? In this episode, I talk about how figurative language from Sanskrit poetry to William Shakespeare to Taylor Swift. Sources and Links Taylor Swift, “The Man” music video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqAJLh9wuZ0 Yigal Bronner, Extreme Poetry http://cup.columbia.edu/book/extreme-poetry/9780231151603 Kālidāsa, Raghuvaṃśa https://archive.org/details/raghuvamsaofkali00kliduoft/page/n5/mode/2up Malcolm Keating, Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/language-meaning-and-use-in-indian-philosophy-9781350060777/ Richard III Soliloquy https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/56973/speech-now-is-the-winter-of-our-discontent Official podcast website
15:37
March 13, 2020
Episode 1: Threads
Introduction to the podcast and, what do sutras and Twitter have in common? What do ancient Sanskrit aphorisms have in common with modern Internet  communication? In this episode, Malcolm talks about sutras and Twitter,  bedbugs and textual interpretation. Sources & Links Reply All: Bedbugs & Aliens: https://gimletmedia.com/shows/reply-all/kwh23r/148-bedbugs-and-aliens English translation of the Nyāya-sūtra by Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips: https://www.hackettpublishing.com/the-nyaya-sutra-4119 A paper (in French) about Sanskrit insults: https://orbi.uliege.be/bitstream/2268/186660/1/Verpoorten_2002-tournures-pejoratives.pdf Official podcast website
12:57
February 29, 2020