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Reading Derrida with Daya Krishna: Postmodern Trends in Contemporary Indian Philosophy

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In his published lectures Civilizations: Nostalgia and Utopia (2012), Daya Krishna criticizes postmodern thought and especially the writings of Jacques Derrida. By outlining similarities between the two, I would claim that, indeed, it was Daya Krishna’s unexpected proximity to Derrida’s ‘deconstruction’ project that triggered his scathing critique of the latter. Moreover, Daya Krishna’s response to Derrida reveals an ongoing inner conflict in his own thinking. On the one hand, he provides us with a harsh critique of Derrida the ‘postmodern’; on the other hand, he concedes that the ‘modern’ notion of knowledge has been totally transformed, and the ‘deconstruction’ of its old formulations was the major catalyst that provoked and directed his own philosophical enterprise in the last years of his life, reformulating knowledges (in the plural). Reconstructing in this way, the dialogue which never happened might prove beneficial, not only for understanding the distinctive works of its participants, but also for carrying their writings and us one step further towards a productive, ‘relevant’ philosophical discourse in the twenty-first century.

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  1. I would like to thank the Daya Krishna Archive, Jaipur, for their permission to quote from this correspondence between Daya Krishna and D. P. Chattopadhyaya, as well as from the following correspondence between Daya Krishna and Rajendra Prasad (Daya Krishna’s Letters [2003–2007]).


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Correspondence to Dor Miller.

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Miller, D. Reading Derrida with Daya Krishna: Postmodern Trends in Contemporary Indian Philosophy. SOPHIA 57, 425–442 (2018).

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