Modes of Theory – Sundar Sarukkai

In the Indian community, the idea of theory seems external to intellectual traditions. When we engage with Indian texts to create a source of theory, there is a charge of revivalism. The West is comfortable dealing with Aristotle and Plato, while keeping aside their problematic views on slavery and women. In contrast, when we look at India, the specific characteristics of thinkers enter the theory. For example, we talk about Brahminical theory, which would alter the perspective of the theorist. Why is it so?

In western thought, thinkers like Husserl went on record to say that there is no such thing as Indian philosophy. The argument: the concept of theory itself is something that varies. ‘Theory’ means different things at different points of time, in different places and cultures. Are there different theories of theories? What are the non-universal notions of theory that will help us strengthen the sub-divisons within anthropology? What are the conflicts and difficulties of engaging with theory in our own practices?

Sundar Sarukkai


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