Chapter

Gandhi’s philosophical credentials, his lapses, and his distance from other philosophers

Richard Sorabji

in Gandhi and the Stoics

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644339
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745812 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644339.003.0012
Gandhi’s philosophical credentials, his lapses, and his distance from other philosophers

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Gandhi's credentials as a philosopher are corroborated in the light of examples encountered. So is the idea that exploring his philosophy reveals the comparative consistency of his positions. He did not always live up to his ideals. But his ideals were counsels of perfection, recognised as unattainable, but designed to raise his sights. Gandhi not only resembled other philosophers by subjecting his ideas to criticism, but he invited nation-wide and international public criticism of his proposals in relation to actual situations. That is not how he acquired his ideas in the first place. He acquired his initial idea of non-violence from Tolstoy. But it is how he applied his initial ideas to new cases and refined the ideas of himself and others. It is one more example of his insistence on truth (satyagraha). It also reveals the sense in which he claimed to be performing ‘experiments’ with truth.

Keywords: Gandhi as philosopher; Gandhi's consistency; counsels of perfection; public criticism; satyagraha (insistence on truth); experiments with truth

Chapter.  3430 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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