Hegel on Indian Philosophy: Spinozism, Romanticism, Eurocentrism


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Spring 5-4-2017
Hegel on Indian Philosophy: Spinozism, Romanticism, Eurocentrism
Gino Signoracci
University of New Mexico

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Signoracci, Gino. "Hegel on Indian Philosophy: Spinozism, Romanticism, Eurocentrism." (2017). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ phil_etds/24
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Gino Signoracci
Candidate
Philosophy
Department
This dissertation is approved, and it is acceptable in quality and form for publication: Approved by the Dissertation Committee: Adrian Johnston, Chairperson John Taber Brent Kalar Iain Thomson Shannon Mussett
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HEGEL ON INDIAN PHILOSOPHY: SPINOZISM, ROMANTICISM, EUROCENTRISM
by GINO SIGNORACCI B.A., Philosophy, English, University of Notre Dame, 2004 M.A., Philosophy, Brock University, 2009
DISSERTATION Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Philosophy
The University of New Mexico Albuquerque, New Mexico July, 2017 ii

DEDICATION For Ally, for turning up, keeping up, putting up, picking (me) up, and never letting up:
with love, good humor, and wonder
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
There are seven people whose abiding support, encouragement, sensitivity, patience, and understanding are the reason I completed this dissertation at all: Adrian, Ally, Jane, Jon, Judy, Kaity, and Krupa. Thank you.
I appreciatively acknowledge the time, care, and energy that the members of my dissertation committee have devoted to me and my studies: my supervisor and committee chair Adrian Johnston, John Taber, Brent Kalar, Iain Thomson, and Shannon Mussett. It’s been my good fortune to learn as much as I have from each of you.
With deep gratitude I acknowledge the Bilinski Educational Foundation and the University of New Mexico College of Arts & Sciences for a Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship in the Humanities. Joann Comerford in the Office of the Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, as well as Professor Pamela Cheek and Professor Anita Obermeier, co-chairs of the Bilinski Committee, deserve special recognition.
In the Department of Philosophy, I sincerely thank Mary Domski, Ann Murphy, and Mercedes Nysus for invaluable support and assistance at various stages.
I gladly and gratefully acknowledge my whole family for their love, steadfastness, and interest, and for believing in me: my parents, my sister Julie and brothers Angelo and Pietro, aunts, uncles, and many cousins, and my grandparents who cared and prayed and looked out for me while they lived.
Wonderful friends have been by my side (in spirit if not in person) at every turn, always ready to listen to me without asking anything in return: Ryan Culpepper, Tucker Dammin, Julia Mandeville, and Justin Messmore especially. Thanks to Nick Mostovych
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and Celeste Neuhaus for conversations and suggestions. Sean Petranovich is the kind of dependable friend who would, and did, read the entire main text; thanks for the helpful (and prescient!) feedback.
Will Barnes, Dan Briggs, and Krupa Patel, my doctoral cohorts and friends: I am proud and lucky to have studied, worked, and been close with you over the years. I am a better thinker and a better person for knowing you.
Many other teachers, family members, friends, and acquaintances provided suggestions, encouragement, and wisdom at crucial moments, and I want you to know it all helped.
I would also like to acknowledge Nadine Ibrahim and Theo Kulczycki for friendship, meals, sympathetic ears, and child care in the final stretch; in fact, Theo and Roman are playing together as I write this.
Finally, Roman, you are the best diversion from dissertation writing a person could possibly have! Thanks for putting up with my absentminded and distracted behavior for, well, your whole life so far; I think things will change now…a little. I love you.
Ally, there is no first and foremost or finally for you; you are universal, allpervasive, ze best.
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HEGEL ON INDIAN PHILOSOPHY: SPINOZISM, ROMANTICISM, EUROCENTRISM
by Gino Signoracci
B.A., UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME, 2004 M.A., BROCK UNIVERSITY, 2009
Ph.D., UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO, 2017 ABSTRACT
This study examines nineteenth-century German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel’s appraisal of philosophies of India. In Hegel’s time, classical Indian texts such as the Vedas, Upaniṣads, and Bhagavadgītā had only recently been translated into European languages, and were generating tremendous controversy. Hegel carved out a unique and hugely influential position by devotedly reading fledgling translations of source texts alongside European interpretations, attempting to comprehend the philosophical significance of Indian thought. Hegel’s legacy proved deeply problematic, however, both because his views were not entirely consistent or unambiguous over time, and because his evident relegation of Indian ideas to pre- or unphilosophical status became the dominant practice among Europeans and Westerners through the twentieth century even while Hegel’s star, relatively speaking, went into a period of decline. While Hegel spent much more time and space discussing Indian philosophy in detail than did many philosophers who succeeded him in Europe and elsewhere, today his philosophy is too-frequently either reflexively labeled Eurocentric to legitimize ignoring or summarily dismissing it,
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or studied and written about exclusively in the context of “Western” ideas as if India were of little or no serious concern to him.
This work first situates Hegel’s interest in and attention to Indian ideas in the context of the philosophical trends of Spinozism and Romanticism that he sought to navigate from his earliest forays into theology and philosophy. It then interrogates his analyses and judgments of Indian philosophical systems over the course of his career, revealing the increasing depth and innovation in his engagement with India over time while also critiquing his readings of Indian texts and his characterizations of Indian thought and culture. In doing so, it endeavors to supply the complete account of Hegel’s approach to Indian philosophy in its full complexity.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction....................................................................................................................... 1
I. Problem....................................................................................................................... 1 II. Thesis and Overview of Argument ......................................................................... 2 III. Chapter Outline .................................................................................................... 11 Chapter One Continental Debates: Spinozist Pantheism and the Romantics’ Embrace of the Exotic Orient ........................................................................................ 16 I. Spinoza, pantheism, and Hegel............................................................................... 18
A. The re-emergence of Spinoza and the pantheism controversy ............................. 18 B. The charge of pantheism against Hegel ................................................................ 28 C. Hegel’s Spinozism ................................................................................................ 33 II. Romantic thought and the turn east ..................................................................... 43 A. Foundations and characteristics of Romanticism ................................................. 43 B. Hegel and Romanticism ........................................................................................ 48 C. Glorifying the exotic Orient? ................................................................................ 51 Chapter Two Hegel’s Estimation of India: Development, Maturation, and Crisis . 64 I. India in Hegel’s early writings................................................................................ 67 A. “Brahma” in “The Tübingen Essay”..................................................................... 67 B. “Spirit of the Orientals” (“Geist der Orientalen”) ............................................... 68 C. Other fragments and unpublished essays: “The Life of Jesus,” “The Positivity of the Christian Religion,” and “The Spirit of Christianity and its Fate” ...................... 77 II. The Phenomenology of Spirit and later published works ................................... 84 A. The Phenomenology ........................................................................................... 84
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B. Science of Logic and Encyclopedia....................................................................... 91 C. Philosophy of Right............................................................................................... 93 III. Lectures ................................................................................................................. 96 A. Aesthetics.............................................................................................................. 98 B. Philosophy of religion......................................................................................... 103 C. Philosophy of history .......................................................................................... 105 D. History of philosophy ......................................................................................... 108 IV. Hegel’s perplexity: crisis and response, 1821-1831.......................................... 112 Chapter Three Hegel’s Review Articles on the Bhagavadgītā and Indian Philosophy and Religion ................................................................................................................... 123 I. Background ............................................................................................................ 125 II. First article............................................................................................................ 131 III. Second article ...................................................................................................... 146 A. Yoga.................................................................................................................... 148 B. Caste.................................................................................................................... 151 C. Brahman .............................................................................................................. 157 IV. Appraising Hegel’s appraisal............................................................................. 164 Chapter Four Hegel’s Account of Indian Philosophy and the Question of Eurocentrism ................................................................................................................. 199 I. Hegel on the existence of Indian philosophy ....................................................... 201 II. Eurocentrism and Hegel ...................................................................................... 213 III. Hegel, India, and (the history of) philosophy ................................................... 226 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 251
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Hegel on Indian Philosophy: Spinozism, Romanticism, Eurocentrism