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A Dialectical Reading of the Bhagavadgita

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The Gita at first appears to be a series of explanations of various kinds of yoga strung together in no apparent order, and several of its claims and arguments seem to contradict one another. I argue that the apparent contradictions disappear if we see the arguments as related to one another dialectically rather than analytically. From an analytic perspective contradictions are either merely verbal and can be disambiguated by a conceptual distinction, or else they render the statement meaningless. A dialectical resolution, in the sense I am using the term, requires a change of perspective rather than a simple terminological clarification. A dialectical reading can also show that the appearance of randomness in the order of presentation follows from an organizing principle that is hierarchical rather than linear.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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