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Swami Medhananda

Mar 31, 2022

Swami Vivekananda's Vedantic Cosmopolitanism

Oxford University Press 2022

Vivekananda, Swami Vivekananda's Vedantic Cosmopolitanism (Oxford UP, 2022) argues, is best understood as a cosmopolitan Vedantin who developed novel philosophical positions through creative dialectical engagement with both Indian and Western thinkers. Inspired by his guru Sri Ramakrishna, Vivekananda reconceived Advaita Vedanta as a nonsectarian, life-affirming philosophy that provides an ontological basis for religious cosmopolitanism and a spiritual ethics of social service. He defended the scientific credentials of religion while criticizing the climate of scientism beginning to develop in the late nineteenth century. He was also one of the first philosophers to defend the evidential value of supersensuous perception on the basis of general epistemic principles. Finally, he adopted innovative cosmopolitan approaches to long-standing philosophical problems. Bringing him into dialogue with numerous philosophers past and present, Medhananda demonstrates the sophistication and enduring value of Vivekananda's views on the limits of reason, the dynamics of religious faith, and the hard problem of consciousness.

Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see

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