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Indian Administrative Service Philosophy Paper 2 Section- B, Questions- 7,8_ Solutions




7.a. "An unquestionable acceptance of only one Absolute Truth will inevitably result in religious exclusivism." Discuss.


Answer- The concept of Absolute Truth is central to many religions and belief systems. The idea that there is one ultimate truth or reality that underlies all of existence is often seen as a cornerstone of religious faith. However, an unquestionable acceptance of only one Absolute Truth can lead to religious exclusivism, which is the belief that one's own religion or belief system is the only true and valid one.


Religious exclusivism can manifest in various ways, including religious intolerance, discrimination, and even violence towards those who hold different beliefs. When people believe that their religion is the only one with access to Absolute Truth, they may feel justified in attempting to convert or "save" those who hold different beliefs. This can lead to conflict and tension between different religious groups and even to acts of violence.


Furthermore, an unquestionable acceptance of only one Absolute Truth can also lead to a lack of openness to other ways of understanding the world and can limit intellectual and spiritual growth. When individuals or communities are closed off to other perspectives and ways of understanding, they may miss out on valuable insights and experiences that can deepen their understanding of themselves and the world around them.


It is worth noting that not all religious beliefs and practices necessarily lead to exclusivism. Many religious traditions have a long history of openness, dialogue, and respect for other beliefs. The key difference is in the attitude towards the concept of Absolute Truth. If one recognizes that different religious beliefs and practices can lead to similar insights and experiences of the Divine, then there is less likely to be an exclusive and intolerant attitude towards other religions.


In conclusion, an unquestionable acceptance of only one Absolute Truth can lead to religious exclusivism, which can result in intolerance, discrimination, and even violence towards those who hold different beliefs. It can also limit intellectual and spiritual growth. However, it is possible to hold strong religious beliefs without necessarily being exclusivist if one recognizes the value of other perspectives and ways of understanding the world.




b. Is it possible to have an idea of Liberation without the conception of a real agent? In this context, discuss the difference between Advaita and Viistadvaita systems of thought.


Answer- The concept of liberation, or moksha, is central to many Eastern religious traditions, particularly in Hinduism and Buddhism. While there are different ways of understanding liberation within these traditions, it generally refers to a state of freedom or release from the cycle of birth and rebirth (samsara) and the attainment of a higher spiritual state.


In Advaita Vedanta, one of the major schools of Hindu philosophy, liberation is understood as the realization of the non-dual nature of reality, where the individual self (atman) is ultimately identical with the Ultimate Reality (Brahman). According to this view, the concept of a real agent is seen as an illusion, since the individual self is ultimately nothing more than a temporary manifestation of the Ultimate Reality.


In contrast, the Vishishtadvaita school of Hindu philosophy, which was founded by Ramanuja, emphasizes the reality of the individual self and its relationship to the Ultimate Reality. According to this view, the individual self is seen as an integral part of the Ultimate Reality and is ultimately dependent on it for its existence. While the individual self is not identical with the Ultimate Reality, it is still seen as a real and important entity in its own right.


The difference between these two schools of thought lies in their understanding of the relationship between the individual self and the Ultimate Reality. In Advaita Vedanta, the individual self is ultimately seen as illusory, while in Vishishtadvaita, the individual self is seen as a real and important part of the Ultimate Reality.


In terms of the question of whether it is possible to have an idea of liberation without the conception of a real agent, both schools of thought offer different answers. In Advaita Vedanta, the concept of a real agent is seen as an illusion, and therefore liberation is understood as the realization of this non-dual nature of reality. In Vishishtadvaita, the individual self is seen as a real entity, and therefore liberation is understood as the attainment of a higher spiritual state through the recognition of the individual self's relationship to the Ultimate Reality.


In conclusion, while both Advaita Vedanta and Vishishtadvaita offer different understandings of the nature of reality and the relationship between the individual self and the Ultimate Reality, they both offer paths towards liberation. Whether the concept of a real agent is necessary for this liberation depends on the particular school of thought and its understanding of the nature of the self and the Ultimate Reality.


c. Discuss the nature and variety of religious experiences as presented by William James,


Answer- William James, a prominent American philosopher and psychologist, wrote extensively on the topic of religious experiences in his seminal work "The Varieties of Religious Experience." In this work, James argues that religious experiences are a fundamental part of human life, and that they can take many different forms.


According to James, religious experiences are not limited to any particular religion or tradition, but can be found in a wide range of human experiences. He identifies four main characteristics of religious experiences: ineffability, noetic quality, transiency, and passivity.


Ineffability refers to the idea that religious experiences cannot be fully expressed or communicated through language. James argues that religious experiences are often so profound and personal that they defy description or explanation.


The noetic quality of religious experiences refers to the sense of knowledge or insight that often accompanies these experiences. James suggests that religious experiences can provide individuals with a deep understanding of the world and their place in it.





Transiency refers to the temporary nature of religious experiences. James notes that these experiences are often fleeting and cannot be sustained indefinitely.

Passivity refers to the sense that religious experiences are often beyond an individual's control. James argues that individuals do not actively seek out religious experiences, but rather they are often unexpected and spontaneous.


In addition to these characteristics, James also identifies several different types of religious experiences. These include the mystical experience, which involves a sense of union with the divine or ultimate reality; the conversion experience, which involves a radical transformation in an individual's beliefs and behavior; and the prayer experience, which involves a sense of communion or communication with a divine being.


Overall, James' work on the nature and variety of religious experiences highlights the subjective and personal nature of religious belief and practice. He suggests that religious experiences can take many different forms, and that they are an important part of human life and spiritual development.


8.a Discuss the main points of distinction between a priori and a posteriori arguments for the existence of God. Which one according to you should be preferred over the other? Give reasons and justifications for your answer.


Answer- The distinction between a priori and a posteriori arguments for the existence of God is an important one in philosophy of religion.

A priori arguments are those that rely on reason and logic alone, without appeal to any empirical evidence or experience. These arguments are often deductive in nature, meaning that they start from certain premises and arrive at a conclusion that necessarily follows from those premises. Examples of a priori arguments include the ontological argument and the cosmological argument.


On the other hand, a posteriori arguments are those that rely on empirical evidence or experience to support the existence of God. These arguments are often inductive in nature, meaning that they start from observations or evidence and arrive at a conclusion that is probabilistic rather than necessary. Examples of a posteriori arguments include the teleological argument and the moral argument.


The choice between a priori and a posteriori arguments ultimately depends on one's philosophical commitments and epistemological assumptions. Some philosophers argue that a priori arguments are more reliable, as they are based on reason and logic alone and are not subject to the limitations of empirical evidence. Others, however, argue that a posteriori arguments are more convincing, as they are based on observable phenomena and are thus more likely to be persuasive to a wider audience.


Personally, I believe that both a priori and a posteriori arguments have their strengths and weaknesses, and that both can be useful in supporting belief in the existence of God. A priori arguments can be compelling in their logical rigor and can provide a strong foundation for belief in God's existence. A posteriori arguments, on the other hand, can be persuasive in their appeal to empirical evidence and can provide a more tangible sense of God's presence in the world.


Ultimately, I believe that the most convincing arguments for the existence of God are those that draw on both a priori and a posteriori elements. By combining reason and empirical evidence, these arguments can provide a more complete and compelling case for the existence of God, and can help to bridge the gap between faith and reason.


b. Discuss the nature of Soul and Bondage according to Jainism.


Answer- According to Jainism, the nature of the soul (jiva) is that it is eternal, indestructible, and possesses consciousness. The soul is believed to be distinct from the body, and each soul is considered to be individual and unique.


In Jainism, the soul is bound by karma, which is the accumulation of actions and intentions that have moral significance. Karma is believed to stick to the soul and to be the cause of bondage, or the cycle of birth and death, known as samsara. Through the accumulation of karma, the soul becomes attached to the material world and is unable to achieve liberation, or moksha.


Jainism recognizes two types of karma: good karma (punya) and bad karma (papa). Good karma is accumulated through actions that are virtuous and lead to positive consequences, such as helping others, practicing self-control, and observing the vows of ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (celibacy), and aparigraha (non-possessiveness). Bad karma, on the other hand, is accumulated through actions that are harmful and lead to negative consequences, such as violence, lying, stealing, sexual misconduct, and possessiveness.


The ultimate goal in Jainism is to achieve liberation from the cycle of birth and death and to attain eternal bliss, which is achieved through the shedding of karma. To achieve this, Jains practice the three jewels of Jainism: right belief, right knowledge, and right conduct. Right belief involves understanding the true nature of the soul, karma, and the universe. Right knowledge involves gaining a deep understanding of these concepts through meditation, reflection, and study. Right conduct involves living a life of ethical purity, practicing the vows of ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, and aparigraha, and seeking to do good in the world.


In summary, according to Jainism, the soul is eternal and possesses consciousness, but is bound by karma and the cycle of birth and death. The ultimate goal is to achieve liberation from this bondage and attain eternal bliss, which is achieved through the shedding of karma and the practice of right belief, right knowledge, and right conduct.


c. Critically examine the idea of Brahman in Advaita philosophy of SarhIcara. Does Sathkara's conception of Brahman leave room for theism? Discuss.


Answer- Advaita philosophy of Shankara presents Brahman as the ultimate reality, which is beyond all names and forms, and is the cause of the universe. Brahman is considered to be infinite, eternal, and unchanging, and is the only true reality. Shankara's Advaita philosophy holds that the individual self (jiva) is identical with Brahman and that the perceived duality in the world is an illusion (maya).


However, the idea of Brahman in Advaita philosophy has been the subject of much debate and critique. One criticism of Advaita is that it reduces the concept of God to an impersonal and abstract principle. This view is seen as problematic by those who believe in a personal God who is capable of intervening in the world and who can be related to through prayer, devotion, and worship.


Another criticism of the idea of Brahman in Advaita philosophy is that it is difficult to understand or experience. The concept of Brahman is abstract and difficult to grasp, and it is not clear how one can reach a state of self-realization or oneness with Brahman.


Regarding whether Shankara's conception of Brahman leaves room for theism, it can be argued that it does not. The idea of Brahman as the ultimate reality and the identity of the individual self with Brahman precludes the possibility of a personal God. The concept of theism requires the belief in a God who is separate from the world and who can interact with humans. However, in Advaita philosophy, Brahman is the only reality and is not separate from the world or from humans. Therefore, the idea of a personal God who is separate from humans and who can be related to through prayer, devotion, and worship does not fit within Shankara's Advaita philosophy.


In conclusion, while the idea of Brahman in Advaita philosophy of Shankara presents an abstract and difficult-to-understand concept of the ultimate reality, it also raises questions about the possibility of theism. The emphasis on the identity of the individual self with Brahman and the concept of the illusion of duality in the world do not leave room for a personal God who can interact with humans.



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