How do we know? This seemingly simple question has aroused the interest of numerous philosophers of East and West from ancient times down to the present, and innumerable answers have been given.
Because of the wide interest in this vital question, and at the urging of Dr. J.L. Shaw of Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand an international seminar on Knowledge was organized by the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture in Calcutta. It was hoped the seminar would help narrow the wide gap of misunderstanding this subject between modern philosophers of East and West.
Thus, from the 4th and 10th of January 1995, the seminar, titled Concept of Knowledge: East and West, was held at that Institute. Thirteen scholars from overseas and ten from India participated. A number of notable scholars also attended as observers and took part in the discussion though they did not present papers.
Five all day sessions were held in the Conference Room. After each paper was read, participants and observes discussed its contents. The present volume is a collection of twenty-one seminar papers. Two papers, one by Prof. Sylvan, the other by Prof. Lepore, who were unable to attend, have been included.
Prof. R.K. Dasgupta in his paper, Swami Vivekananda Concept of knowledge, discussed western epistemology, comparing it with Swami Vivekananda's views. The editors decided that because of the paper's relevance to the subject of the seminar it would be a fitting introduction to this volume. Therefore, it has become the Foreword.
We record our heartfelt thanks to Susan Walters and Dr. J.L. Shaw for helping us with the editorial work.
The greatly Revered Swami Lokeswaranandaji, for many years Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, passed away on 31 December 1998. He was responsible for planning and conducting this seminar. This volume is a memorial to his dedicated labour.
8 March 2000
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