This book presents a collection of essays. Among other things: (1) it tries to determine the nature of a social action and that of violent and non-violent actions; (2) it examines the claim of satyagraha as a non-violent method of action; (3) it deals with various violent and non-violent actions; and (4) it argues in favour of there being animal rights, and brings to light the view of Gandhi about the place of animals in his scheme of sarvodaya which is in keeping with what has been said here about animal rights.
R. K. Gupta (b. 1930) taught Philosophy at St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi for more than three decades. After taking his master's degree from the same college, he obtained his doctorate from the University of Bonn. He was a Fellow of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the University of Mainz. His publications include: Studien zur Ethik, Towards Purity of Morals and Exercises in Conceptual Understanding. He has published a large number of articles in learned journals in India and abroad. He has also translated Martin Heidegger's Was ist Metaphysik? Into English. At present he is a Fellow of Indian Council of Philosophical Research.
All the articles contained in this volume have already been published as follows:
'Social Action': Part I Philosophy, Society and Action (Essays in Honour of Professor Daya Krishna), edited by K.L. Sharma, Aalekh Publishers, 1984, Part II Universitas, vol. 27 no. 4, 1985, under the title 'Problems of Social Action Action from the Viewpoint of Philosophy'; 'Is Satyagraha a Non-Violent Method of Action?, Gandhi Marg vol. X, no.2, 1988; ' An Inquiry Concerning Discussion as a Non-Violent Method of Action' , Gandhi Marg, vol. XI, no. I, 1989; 'Coming to Terms with Constroversies', Gandhi Marg, vol. XII no.1 1991; 'Satyagraha: A short Note', Gandhi Marg, vol. XIII no. 4, 1992; 'Defining Violent and Non-Violent Acts: A Supplement', Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research, vol X, no.2 1993; 'Social Atmosphere', Indian Philosophical Quarterly, vol XX, no.3, 1993; 'Sarvodaya and Animals', Gandhi Marg, vol XV, no.4, 1994.
I am grateful to the editors concerned for their kind permission to include these articles in the present volume. The articles on 'Social Action'; 'Is Satyagraha a Non-Violent Method of Action?'; Satyagraha: A Short Note'; 'Defining Violent and Non-Violent Acts'; 'Social Atmosphere'; and Sarvodaya and Animal' (in part) have been discussed in the weekly meeting of the Philosophical Society of St Stephen's College. I would like to express my deep gratitude to the members of the Society for their critical comments. I am also extremely grateful to my friend the late Professor K.J. Shah, with whom I have discussed the article on 'Satyagraha: A Short Note'; to my friend Mr. Suresh Sharma, with whom I have discussed the articles on 'Defining Violent and Non-Violent Acts' and 'Satyagraha: A Short Note'; and to my friend Dr K.P. Shankar, with whom I have discussed the article on 'An Inquiry Concerning Discussion as a Non-Violent Method of Action'. Further, my thanks are due to my friends Dr David Baker and Mr. Brian McLaughlin for checking the articles from the point of language; and to Mrs. Pushpa Sadasivan for preparing the index. Finally, it is my pleasant duty to thank Mr. Buddhadev Bhattacharya and Dr Mercy Helen for their co-operation in the publication of this book.
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