Marxism and Asian Philosophy
Asia is the birthplace of a number of the world's great 'civilizational' philosophies including Buddhism from Nepal, Confucianism and Taoism from China, and a number of Indic philosophies from India. Studies of ancient Asian civilizations have revealed both tremendous diversity and profound depth of thought concerning the workings of the natural world, ethics, politics, society and life itself. In recent centuries there has been something of a renaissance in Asian philosophical thinking. Under the rubric of "the common destiny of human civilization" put forward by China, Professor Liu Xiaoting has recently raised the question of a distinctively Asian philosophy as a subject that every Asian philosopher must reflect upon. Exchanges between Asian and Western schools of thought have been going on for centuries, and have created greater understanding and mutual appreciation. During the colonial era parts of Asia also endured bitter experiences with the imposition of Western concepts of civilizational superiority. However from the 19th century it is Marxism that has arguably been the most influential Western philosophy in terms of both theory and practice, as witnessed by its role in the great Asian liberation movements and the fact that Asia has the greatest number of socialist countries in the world today. At this time, however, besides the rise of extreme sectarian nationalism under the banner of Hindutva in India, throughout the region one can also observe deep inroads at the individual, societal and national levels, of Western economic neoliberalism, consumerism, and individualism. Such inroads are occurring in the most populous part of the globe at a time of unprecedented global ecological crisis; a time when the survival of not just this or that civilization, but humanity itself depends upon wise and bold collective action. At this juncture we believe it is a critical task to study both Asian philosophies and Marxism in depth, and to explore their commonalities, differences, points of intersection, and the possibilities for their practical application to the socio-political, cultural and ecological challenges of our times.
The joint organizers of this conference, the Nepal Society for Dialectics Research (Marxiya Gurukul), Nepal Sanskrit University Research Center and Nepal Open University.
1. To engage in dialogue between students of Asian philosophies and Marxism
2. To compare the theoretical frameworks of Asian philosophies and Marxism.
3. To examine commonalities and differences on such topics as: understanding and valuation of nature, the nature of the state, "good governance", "social security", "sustainable development", rule of law, polity-citizen relations, rights, duties and obligations in human community, liberty, labour, wealth, progress, anthropocentrism.
4. To further the development of progressive Asian philosophies.
5. To promote ongoing intellectual exchange at the institutional and individual level.
Themes/Topics include but are not limited to:
1. Origins, characteristics and contemporary development of Asian philosophy/philosophies.
2. Ancient and Medieval Asian thought and its impact on modern day thought including ethics, political and legal philosophy, ecological thought.
3. Comparison of foundational concepts in Asian and and Marxist thought (e.g. materialism in Charvaka, Samkhya and Marxism; economic perspective of Kautilya and Marx)
4. Future directions for Asian philosophies/ relevance to contemporary problems (e.g., environmental, production and consumption, exploitation, war…).
5. Contemporary Marxism/s around the globe and future directions for Marxism in Asia.
6. Marxist Perspectives on Asian philosophy, Asian philosophical perspectives on Marxism, and the relation of Marxist and Asian philosophies.
7. South Asian and Chinese philosophies compared /South Asian and Chinese Marxism(s) compared.
8. Comparative Perspectives on Marxism and Buddhism/Hindu philosophies/Jainism.
9. Ecology in Marxism and Asian philosophies.
10. Comparison of Marxist and Sanskrit texts on key topics of the conference.
11. Analyses of inequality (class, race, caste, gender…) in Marxism and Asian philosophies.
12. Theories of the material world, consciousness, liberty and liberation in various Asian philosophies such as Zoroastrian, Yavana, Jainism, Sufism, Baul, Islam, and in Marxism.
Date: 17-20 August, 2019
Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
More informations please contact :-
Dr. Premraj Neupane (Secretary, Conference Organizing Committee)
Lecturer, Dept. of Buddhist Studies
Nepal Sanskrit University, Balmiki Campus,
Ashesh Ghimire (Member, Conference Organizing Committee)
Janata Publication and Broadcasting Pvt.Ltd.
New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, Nepal