Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Shyam Ranganathan's startling stupidity- part II

Prof. Shyam Ranganathan of York University has staked a claim to be the stupidest academic to write nonsense about the Gita.

It appears that he combines the stupid notion of a 'moral parasite' with an imbecilic theory re. 'just war. 

Consider the following- 

India’s forceful reclamation of Goa from Portuguese rule (1961) was just; the Portuguese as colonizers

They established their rule in 1510! That was nine years before Babur first invaded India. The fact is, Goa had only come under Muslim rule a couple of centuries previously. The Portuguese killed the Muslims and appointed a Hindu Governor. More importantly, the Portuguese trade networks brought commercial opportunities.  

were participating in the breakdown of conventional morality by the imposition of their laws as a means of controlling the local population.

But that had happened four hundred years ago! The fact is, Nehru had to invade only because JP was making a nuisance of himself on this issue. But Nehru got his comeuppance when the Chinese invaded to, as they said, take back territory that the Brits had grabbed from their feudatories.  

Portuguese control of Goa was hence unjust,

It was foolish. Salazar should have done a deal with Nehru the same way the French had done.  

and the Portuguese were hence not justified in resisting Indian takeover,

they couldn't put up much resistance. 

which had the effect of returning local South Asian control to Goa. India’s military intercession in Bangladesh’s liberation from Pakistan (1971) was similarly justified;

Pakistan initiated hostilities. 

West Pakistan’s violent attempt to wrest control of East Bengal,

It had control. The Mukti Bahini was trying to wrest control from the Punjabi/Pakhtoon dominated Army. 

after a history of marginalization and imperial rule from the west, not only justified Bangladesh’s break

Success justified it.  

but also India’s intercession on behalf of the breakaway East Bengal to establish unconservatism and self-governance for all concerned.

Bangladesh suffered a big famine, worsened by massive corruption, and became a military dictatorship and Islamic Republic quickly enough. What fucking 'unconservatism' was achieved? Hindus had to run away from the place. Their population share has more than halved since 1971. 

From the Indian point of view, the War was justified because it removed a threat to the Siliguri gap such that a Pak/Chinese joint operation might capture Kashmir and the North East. However, if the Pak Army had not committed genocide and if American diplomats hadn't noticed this, then India would not have been able to act. As things were, Nixon tried to bluff Indira that he would 'nuke Calcutta'. Who knows what would have happened if the Pak Army hadn't surrendered so quickly? 

 To be fair, Ranganathan is too young to remember the Bangladesh War. But he can remember the War on Terror during which he wrote-

Jeff McMahan in his remarkable Killing in War

makes the novel distinction of 'just combatant' as opposed to 'unjust combatant'. We might say, a suicide bomber whose Mum was killed by American troops is a 'just combatant'. But some teenager from Bradford or Baltimore who thinks it would be fun to go to Syria and live large as an executioner for the Caliphate is an 'unjust combatant'.  

draws a distinction between two senses of “war.”

Ranganathan is too stupid to understand McMahan. 

In the first sense, war stands for a conflict between opposing parties.

This cretin does not understand that there is no fucking war unless there is murderous conflict between parties who oppose each other. If they support each other, you are witnessing a sado-masochistic orgy. Get out while you can.  

In the second sense, war is party relative, and some side may have a right of war (jus ad bellum), whereas others lack justification for war.

But this is true of every type of activity! Eating ice-cream is party relative. One side may have the right to eat the ice-cream. The other side may have stolen the ice-cream from a child which is now weeping copiously.  

In this sense, some parties fight a just war, whereas others fight an unjust war.

A thing is just only if it is justiciable. But different jurisdictions may disagree on what is justiciable or what is just. War can extend one jurisdiction and extinguish another. 'Trial by Combat' was one method of determining who had justice on her side.

According to McMahan, there is no radical difference between the moral considerations that operate outside of war and in war;

Only if there is no radical difference between any type of moral consideration, which may indeed be the case for armchair moral philosophers, till some punks rape and kill their wives after which they buy a 44 Magnum and turn into Charles Bronson. 

Moral considerations are either urgent and action motivating or they are cheap talk. 

the same moral considerations apply in both cases. Those who violate moral considerations fight an unjust war,

Why not just get rich on the black-market? Those who like violating moral considerations don't want to go to the battlefield where the enemy shoots at them. They would prefer to gangrape the wife of a moral philosopher- unless he is known to own a 44 Magnum and has a big Die Hard Video collection. 

whereas those who do not violate moral considerations fight a just war. Whereas Michael Walzer defended the idea that there is a logical independence between the considerations that justify going to war and the considerations pertaining to just conduct in war

Nonsense! The justification for going to war must include a plan for winning it. Nobody goes to war if defeat is inevitable unless, of course, the thing is purely pro forma.  

—and the related idea that there is a moral equality among combatants such that fighting for the wrong side does not entail wrongdoing in the conduct of war—he argues that one’s conduct in war does not count as just (jus in bello) if one fights for the wrong side and that one has no right to fight those whose cause is just.

All this is purely arbitrary stipulation. McMahan was writing at a time when the West thought it would win the war on terror. Consider the following

 This of course leaves open the question of what may be done when an adversary who has fought without justification demands as a condition of surrender something to which they are not entitled, yet the demand is also of a type that it would not be permissible to resist by means of war. Suppose, for example, that an adversary who has been largely defeated militarily demands as a condition of surrender that they be allowed to continue certain unjust domestic practices, such as certain forms of religious discrimination (for example, providing state funding for schools that promulgate the state religion, but not for others). Just as it may be necessary for an individual not to resist certain forms of wrongdoing when the only effective response would be inappropriate or excessive in relation to the offense, so it may be necessary in war to grant certain undeserved concessions when the only alternative is to continue to fight without sufficient justification.

Biden decided that fighting might cause American soldiers to suffer ouchies. Thus American won't fight any more. They may cheer Ukrainians on from a safe distance. But then again they may not.

Ranganathan's stupid paper asks us to
consider what may be the most famous argument for just war defended in the Bhagavad Gītā (where the philosopher–deity Krishna provides an extended pep talk on just war and moral theory to his cousin Arjuna on the battlefield before the commencement of war) and implicitly explored in the wider epic from which it is from, the Mahābhārata. 

There is no 'just war' argument in the Gita. Yuddhishtra had previously decided, on the basis of Krishna's advise,  that it was just to go to war. But, by then, he had learnt statistical game theory (in the Nalophkhyanam) and thus this was a strategic decision. Though militarily weaker, the Pandava coalition was more cohesive and adopted better tactics. 

This epic about a fratricidal war provides grounds for rejecting the idea that the justice of a war is elucidated by the fidelity of combatants to conventional standards of morality.

No. It is obvious that there is a superior correlated equilibrium such that both sides fight according to the rules. Still, there is a doctrine of exigent circumstances- apadh dharma- which however involves humiliation or else entails bad karmic consequences.

Rather, the need for war arises from

the need for territory. If land is a free good, it would be foolish to go to war. No scarcity, no war, because there can be no Stationary Bandit.  

a breakdown of conventional morality,

very true. If people commit adultery, a terrible war will break out.  

which identifies ethical considerations with the good.

though pornographic considerations may be better.  

Such conventional moral considerations break down when they provide shelter for parties who endorse conventional morality as a weapon to undermine the conventionally moral, the conventionally moral whose cause is prima facie just must hence depart from conventional morality to rid themselves of this hostility and reset the moral order.

Nonsense! Resetting the moral order involves proselytization and exhortation. It is perfectly compatible with conventional morality. Preachers who get us to give up adultery and arson and farting loudly in the faces of commuters are not doing anything anybody considers wrong. 

Yet, according to the alternative moral paradigm that resets the moral order, the Gītā entails that we can agree with McMahan: the side of those whose cause is just have a right to fight, and those whose cause is unjust have no such right and do wrong by engaging in conflict.

This is wholly false. Krishna sends his troops to fight for the bad guys. But Drona and Bhishma aint evil for fighting on the wrong side. Indeed, the Bhishma Parva, which is very very long, shows that the dude was considered the foremost authority on dharma.  

Those who fight for a just cause do not get their hands dirty by way of transcendent conditions of justice,

nor do those who fight for an unjust cause. There are no 'transcendent conditions of justice'. There is only God who may be the efficient cause of everything in Creation.  

though they get their hands dirty by conventional moral expectations.

Killing peeps tends to get your hands dirty. Also, you may poop your pants. War can be very scary.  

The point of convergence between the argument from the Gītā and McMahan is noteworthy, as is their divergence.

There is no convergence. McMahan isn't an occasionalist. He's just a silly man teaching worthless shite. 

Consider the following

 Suppose that country A is about to be unjustly invaded by a ruthless and more powerful country, B.

In that case, A needs to get allies or else develop an offensive doctrine to 'front load' pain on B. This means get nukes and have a delivery system so B loses a couple of Cities. If this is not possible, A needs to prepare defensive positions and mobilize the entire population. It should also be applying 'scorched earth' and 'materiel denial' policies. 

McMahan, cretin that he is, suggests A should invade some third country C. 

 A’s only hope of successful defense is to station forces in the territory of a smaller, weaker, neighboring country, C,

which will ally with B and kick the shit out of A.  

in order to be able to attack B’s forces from prepared positions as they approach A along the border between B and C.

But B will roll over C the moment hostilities commence. A's supply lines will get extended and so its own defensive doctrine will be compromised.  

A’s government requests permission from the government of C to deploy its forces on C’s territory for this purpose, but C’s government, foreseeing that allowing A to use its territory in this way would result in considerable destruction, denies the request. Suppose that C is within its rights to deny A the use of its territory but that, all things considered, it is nonetheless justifiable for A to avoid an otherwise inevitable defeat at the hands of B by going to war against C in order to be able to deploy troops there, provided that it will withdraw immediately after fighting off the invading forces from A. (One historical case

is the Anglo-American invasion of Vichy North Africa. Eisenhower found it very difficult to understand why the first target of the Allies had to be French. The answer, of course, is if you want to win a War first shit on cheese-eating surrender monkeys.  

that approximates this scenario is Russia’s war against Finland in 1939–40.

The Finns did offer to cede some territory to make Leningrad safer. Stalin mistakenly thought that his troops would quickly overrun Finland. The miserable performance of the Soviet forces probably strengthened Hitler's resolve to attack the Soviet Union before making peace with the Brits.  

The Russian government believed that control of Finnish territory within artillery range of Leningrad was necessary to protect the city from Nazi bombardment. It offered the Finns an exchange of territory, but the offer was refused, and the Russians then went to war to capture the territory they thought was necessary as a buffer against the Nazis. One reason this is only an approximation of my hypothetical example is that the Finns had good reason not to trust Stalin’s assurances that Russia’s aims were limited, since, among other things, Russia had only a short time earlier collaborated with the Germans in carving up Poland.)

Stalin kept denouncing the Finnish regime as 'Fascist'. There is nothing novel about what Putin is up to.  

Given that C is not morally required to sacrifice its territory for the sake of A, it seems that C does nothing to make itself liable to attack by A. On the account I have offered, therefore, A does not have a just cause for war against C. Yet if A is nevertheless morally justified in going to war against C, it must be possible for there to be wars that are morally justified yet unjust.

This is the case with any type of action. Moral justification arises even where there is no justiciability. Where there is justiciability, and jurisprudence is protocol bound, morality may conflict with justice. But this is true of farting or eating ice-cream just as much as it may be true of making war or concluding peace.  

A war is just when there is a just cause

No. A war is just if the matter is justiciable. But the cause of the war is a highly contested matter. However, if no protocol bound juristic process can alter the outcome of the war, then the matter is not really justiciable though it may become so.

and all other relevant conditions of justification are also satisfied.

by arbitrary stipulation.  

But, while all just wars are morally justified,

None are- save by arbitrary stipulation. 

it seems that not all morally justified wars are just wars.

save by arbitrary stipulation. This isn't philosophy it is bigotry. 

As the example of A, B, and C suggests, there seem to be wars that are morally justified

in the sense that killing and eating your kids is morally justified- by you because you keep saying so 

despite their requiring the targeting of those who are innocent in the relevant sense, so that at least some necessary phases of the war, and perhaps indeed all of its phases, lack a just cause. 

Telling moral philosophers that they are stupid and should shut the fuck up is a just and morally compelling cause. But why bother? If shite is taught, why not let shitheads teach it?

Ranganathan clearly fits the bill- 

My approach is distinct from the standard approach to talking about Indian thought

i.e. the approach taken by thoughtful Indians  

in general.  I recommend  that reading philosophy is about isolating perspectives

which is impossible if intersubjectivity obtains. How do we know what portion of our perspective is determined by our position in society and what portion arises out of our addiction to cough syrup?  

and that we treat each perspective P as entailing a theory T

But perspectives don't entail theories nor do theories give rise to perspectives. One may say that such and such theory altered one's perspective or that such and such ideologue's perspectives modified their exposition of such and such theory. But this does not mean theories entail perspectives or vice versa.  

about its controversial t claims and understanding the concept t as what competing theories of T disagree about.

But competing theories may have the same understanding of key concepts. They differ as to how those concepts interact.  

For instance, to read philosophy is to identify distinct perspectives in a dialectic or tract;

No. It is to identify different arguments and separate out de facti assertions from what may be called de juri deductions.  

An argument is dialectical from a single perspective though it may change over time. When climbing a mountain, one's perspective changes from being 'worm's eye view to that of a soaring eagle. But it still remains our own perspective. 

identify a perspective’s theory that entails all its claims about a topic, such as ethics; and identify the common concept of ethics as what competing theories of ethics disagree about.

This man is as stupid as shit.  

This approach contrasts with interpretation,

Mimansa or hermeneutics 

which is explanation by way of what one takes to be true.

Nope. Interpretation is not explanation. An interpreter speaks two languages and translates from one to the other. The diplomat who employs the interpreter supplies his own explanation for why his counterpart is lying his ass off.  

In my preferred approach, which I call explication, we can remain agnostic about all substantive matters as we pursue research in philosophy.

more particularly if we are actually scratching our butt rather than researching shite. 

One of the outcomes of explication is that we acknowledge that the various uses of the term “dharma”

which the Greeks translated as 'eusebia'- i.e. pietas. A pious observance is part of dharma. 

in Indian thought serve to articulate theories of dharma;

Because a theory of x uses the word x. What an amazing discovery.  

the common concept of dharma is the Right or the Good; and, moreover, if we apply this method to contemporary philosophy in the Western tradition, we find that “ethics” has the same conceptual content.

Ethics is about doing the right thing. Who knew? 

The contrary unprincipled approach is to treat one’s perspective (and beliefs) as a frame to study Indian thought, and uses of terms, such as “dharma,” are correlated with distinctions that we subjectively draw;

we are perfectly entitled to do so. Plenty of Christians have had their faith deepened after reading the Gita. 

this results in the multiplication of meanings associated with “dharma” and the ubiquitous claim that it is difficult to translate this term into English or any other language.

Eusebia that is pietas is a rigid Kripkean designator for dharma.  

In endorsing explication, we are in a position to understand the dialectic of the Mahābhārata’s and the Gītā’s account of just war. The governing moral theory is what we could call yoga (i.e., discipline)

No. Anushasan is discipline. The aim of Yoga- samadhi- can be achieved without any discipline. 

or bhakti (i.e., devotion).

Bhakti means Faith of a soteriologically efficacious type. But Virodha Bhakti which is oppositional can be superior to Maryada Bhakti.

According to this theory,

Which theory? Samkhya-Yoga? But it does not have a 'sittlichkeit'. It is wholly soteriological and aims to still 'the whirlpool of consciousness' so that samadhi is attained.  

the right action is defined by a regulative or procedural ideal

Nonsense! Samadi is substantive. It doesn't matter how you get there. What matters is to get there. There are lots and lots of Yogas- including 'vishada yoga'. 

(the Lord, defined by the characteristics of unconservatism and self-governance, which in the story is the character Krishna)

But Samkhya-Yoga can be atheistic. Indeed, older philosophy text-books made that claim.  

, and the good is the perfection of the practice of devotion to the ideal.

No. One may aim at perfect 'daksha' dexterity in the performance of ritual activities but devotion is not a mere ritualism.  

Yoga not only provides the moral standards and practice to reestablish a moral order when conventional morality breaks down;

In which case, this Ranganathan dude must be a fan of Yogi Adityanath- right?  

it also reestablishes the moral order by dissolving the distinction between jus ad bellum and jus in bello;

No such thing occurs. There is a doctrine of exigent circumstances- of apadh dharma- but the distinction remains.  

what justifies action is this approximation to the regulative or procedural ideal,

No. Nothing justifies actions relating to non justiciable matters. But justiciability arises only where there is a mechanism to implement the solution of a coordination game. Samkhya is mathematical and Game theory is a branch of math.  

and what makes it right is the same approximation.

This is only true of a protocol bound juristic system. But such a system can have 'equitable' exceptions or wholly arbitrary 'tie-breaking' or 'buck stopping'.  

The Mahabharata is the only epic which explicitly states that the Just King must learn mathematical game theory. As a matter of fact, the village barber can give us a good enough 'Shapley value' for members of the ruling coalition in the district though, obviously, the heavy duty math behind it is post-war. 

Ranganathan, cretin that he is, doesn't understand either game theory or the Epic most Indian origin folk have known and loved since childhood. 

It was conventional morality that made it possible for the Kauravas to exercise their hostility against the Pāṇḍavas

No.  Yuddhishtra had a gambling addiction. This caused his 'vishada' which was only dispelled by the 'Vyadha Gita' & 'Nalophkyanam'. 

by restricting and constraining the Pāṇḍavas. The Pāṇḍavas could have rid themselves of the Kauravas by killing them

in which case most Princes would have turned against them and have hunted them down.  

at any number of earlier times when they had the chance in times of peace, and everyone who survived would have been better off for having been rid of moral parasites as rulers

Duryodhana was a good enough King. That's why he had a lot of allies. But he mishandled the War and the negotiations leading up to it.  

and having the benevolent Pāṇḍavas instead. They could have accomplished this most easily by assassinating the Kauravas in secret or perhaps openly in public when they were not expecting it because the Kauravas never worried about nor protected themselves from such a threat, owing to the virtue of the Pāṇḍavas, whom they counted on.

This is foolish. Yuddhishtra wanted to transition from a thymotic type of regime to a metic friendly, mercantile type of 'homonoia'. The age of heroes was drawing to a close. What would follow would give more scope to industry and commerce and transnational mercantile guilds. 

There is a good reason why every oikumene will have rules of war- basically, if you do bad shit, the other side does worse shit- and a notion of 'just cause' to launch a war such that your allies feel they can join in without sending the wrong signal. 

Rangathan is too stupid to understand this.  

And yet the Pāṇḍavas’ fidelity to conventional morality created a context for the Kauravas to ply their trade of deceit and hostility.

Nonsense! Guys who aint addicted to gambling tell those who propose a dice game to go fuck themselves.  

The game of dice that snared the Pāṇḍavas is a metaphor for conventional morality itself:

Only in the sense that an invitation to a homosexual orgy is a metaphor for quantum mechanics 

a social practice justified by prospects of a good outcome (consequentialism),

this nutter thinks gambling has good outcomes. I suggest he take up Russian roulette.  

organized around good rules that make the participation of all possible (deontology),

deontology deals with claims regarding duty. But few have any relevant duties in any given context. That is why, when a Doctor discharges his medical duty by operating on a patient, a random nutjob is not allowed to participate even if he has brought his own scalpel.  

and actions that follow from the courage and strength of its participants (virtue ethics).

no action necessarily follows from courage or strength neither of which are virtues in and of themselves. 

The lesson of the Mahābhārata generalizes;

be nice to your cousins even if they have crowns on their heads. This was the lesson the Kaiser should have learned. He shouldn't have got jealous of his cousin the King Emperor or allowed his Generals to undermine the Tzar by sending Lenin to Russia.  

conventional morality places constraints on people who are conventionally moral,

in which case they experience no constraint on themselves. It is not the case that I feel constrained by morality not to beat or rape passersby. This is because my morality is wholly conventional in this respect.  

and this enables the maleficence of those who act to undermine conventional morality by undermining those who bind themselves with it.

This simply isn't true. We follow Tit for Tat. That's conventional morality. Something higher might be demanded by Theistic religion. But, there is a reputational benefit for conforming to sittlichkeit and a big big penalty for transgressing it.  

Call the latter, who use conventional morality as a weapon against the conventionally moral, moral parasites (Kauravas)

they weren't parasites. They were a kick ass bunch of warriors who had bound valuable allies- like Karna- to themselves by their generosity. 

and the former, who are happy to be bound by conventional morality, moral conventionalists (Pāṇḍavas).

But the Pandavas well knew that the tradition of their house was for the rightful heir (who would have been Karna, in any case) to yield the throne to a cadet branch. That's what Bhishma did.  

The moral parasite is someone who, for instance, wishes you to be honest and to abide by conventions of transparency so they can steal from you.

In which case you name and shame the fellow and then everybody gangs up on him and the fellow turns into a social leper.  

The moral parasite is someone who, for instance, wishes for you to behave in a manner that is courteous, kind, and accommodating so they can assault you, without resistance.

At which point you kick the cunt's head in.  

The only way to end this relationship of parasitism is for the conventionally moral to give up on conventional morality

conventional morality is a 'separating equilibrium' based on a costly, reputational, signal. There may be some higher type of morality based on turning the other cheek but that involves a Heavenly reward. Sinners, meanwhile, will be burning for eternity in Hell fire. 

and engage moral parasites in war. This would be a just war—dharmyaṃ yuddham—

dharma yuddha- rules of engagement for Kshatriya warfare . They don't arise if the enemy is non-Hindu.  

and the essence of a just war

an essence is something true in all possible worlds. But dharma-yuddha in Mahabharata is specific to a particular place and time when it made sense to have rules about elephants not attacking cavalry and so forth. 

because the cause would be to rid the world of moral parasites.

Just beating them and chasing them away is enough. Prasites aint known for their martial spirit or military genius.  Fuck does this stupid American think was happening during the War on Terror? Did he think Osama Bin Laden said to Bush 'If you are a true Christian, you will let my homeboys crash some planes into the World Trade Center and the White House and the Pentagon. Believe me, Jesus Christ would have been totes cool with that.' Bush was all like 'Are you sure? Is that really in the Bible?' and Osama is like 'Dude! Its in Revelations. Crack the Holy Book sometime!' Then Blair told Bush that Osama had been lying. There's nothing in the Bible about having to let A-rabs crash planes in your country. 

Ranga quotes McMahan

As I have presented it, the alternative conception of innocence is

guilty of being as stupid as shit 

that one is innocent if one is neither morally responsible for nor guilty of a wrong.

but both are arbitrary stipulations. 

While the classical just war theorists focused on guilt, I think we should focus instead on moral responsibility.

while jerking off. Otherwise, why bother? Moral responsibility can arise by arbitrary stipulation. Everybody could be morally responsible for anything. There is no 'natural' or non-arbitrary way to assign moral responsibility precisely because morality is unnatural if not ontologically dysphoric- i.e. not at home in this world.  

It is, I think, a mistake to suppose that noninnocence in the sense of moral guilt or culpability is necessary for liability to attack in war.

Not having nukes and a delivery system and being as weak as fuck is what attracts that liability.  

Something less is sufficient: namely, moral responsibility for a wrong, particularly an objectively unjustified threat of harm. . . .

In which case, it is objectively justified to attack fuck up any country with nukes and ballistic missiles- at least, if you take the word of this cretin.

[P]osing an objectively unjustified threat is not sufficient for liability in the absence of moral responsibility for that threat.

Only if the people of that country have a very very fucking low IQ. Otherwise, they'd have figured out that they pose an objectively unjustified threat.  But a race of morons who pose an existential threat will be wiped out anyway. 

In short, the criterion of liability to attack in war is moral responsibility for an objectively unjustified threat of harm. 

 No it isn't. A bunch of drooling cretins playing with a doomsday device should be attacked and put under restraint. Indeed, a place whose people can't have 'moral responsibility' is a terra fucking nullis. 

What the Gītā and Mahābhārata show, however, is that this threshold is too high.

Why? Coz Indians are stupider than cows?  

Moral parasites do something objectively wrong by being moral parasites, but the wrong is much less than a threat of harm;

Actually, a weaker country which drags its treaty allies into an apocalyptic war could be termed a moral parasite. The problem is that once blood and treasure start getting expended, the parasite is abandoned and the nuisance is curbed.  

it is merely the imposition of conventional moral standards on others as a means of hostility.

Disapproval does not fall under the heading of military hostilities. Ranganathan doesn't understand that war is about killing people.  

 In the Mahābhārata itself, it is most important that Krishna, the adviser of the Pāṇḍavas, steps in as their representative when they return from their exile and pursues peace and compromise to its logical extent. Krishna attempts to broker that the Pāṇḍavas should be given five villages for them to live in so that they can each sustain themselves as professional rulers of these communities. The Kauravas refuse, though they only took hold of the land in trust while the Pāṇḍavas were in exile.

If the Kauravas feared that the Pandavas would use any territory ceded to them to build up a hostile coalition then their strategy is sensible. But, the fact is, their calculation than they would prevail in an immediate conflict proved to be wrong.  

But now a new set of conventions has been created, with the Kauravas in charge of everything, and it is the imposition of this convention that constitutes the Kauravas’ final assault as moral parasites.

Nonsense! Possession is nine tenths of the law. The Kauravas were asserting their superior strength. They weren't appealing to some higher court or paramount power or making out that they possessed superior virtue.

It is important to remember that the right to rule a territory was predicated on one's ability to defend it. If the Kshatriya clan ruling your territory couldn't defeat a rival claimant, their legitimacy was established. War was not just the 'sport of Kings'. It was the final arbiter of their rival territorial or other claims.  

In this case, it is difficult for the Pāṇḍavas to see the move as an imposition of conventional morality (because it excludes them),

It was a challenge to battle of a type perfectly compatible with conventional morality of the military aristocracy of the period. 

and perhaps for this reason the Pāṇḍavas are inclined to fight. But the real reason war is inevitable is not for lack of conciliation on the part of the Pāṇḍavas but by virtue of the parasitism of the Kauravas.

Over confident belligerence- not parasitism. 

Ranganathan believes that in the Gita

1) Krishna first appeals to a 'form of deontology he calls karma yoga,

which is '"selfless action performed for the benefit of others" not

 the discipline of action.

which includes any disciplined action befitting even a mercenary soldier 

Action is itself purposeful, and the discipline of action is a practice of perfecting purposeful action. The argument is delivered generally as an argument for correct action in the face of uncertainty: no matter who you are, something counts as your duty, and the perfection of this duty is itself a good that relieves one from trouble. 

This simply isn't true. If you do your duty for the sake of the associated reward you are not doing 'karma yoga' at all.  

Moreover, all people who uphold a transcendental moral order (including Krishna, who is depicted here as the Lord—the procedural ideal of right action,

Krishna is not a 'procedural ideal' which is why devotees of Krishna don't have thousands of lovers who are gopis.  

which in its essence is both unconservatism and self-governance) participate in this moral order by doing their duty.

Hinduism makes no such stipulation. A Sadhu- i.e. ascetic may have no duty or obligation whatsoever. Yet such a person may uphold a transcendental moral order.  

Krishna too, the procedural ideal, must participate in dutiful behavior,

No. Nothing compels the Godhead. Grace is a purely gratuitous gift.

and the Lord’s duties include lokasaṃgraha (the maintenance of the welfare of the world)

No. That is a predicate. It is not a Hohfeldian incident of any type.  

 and to reestablish the moral order when it declines

This is 'matam' or doctrine (as opposed to vigyan) and is similar to 'vidhi'. It concerns a predicate of the Lord which we have no mundane method of elucidating. We can't say 'God had a duty to do x. Let's sue Him for negligence.' This is because law suits are mundane but predicates of the Lord found in Revealed Scripture convey no mundane information. 

The next step is bhakti yoga,

 devotion to the incarnate Lord as one's personal God and Savior. 

the discipline of devotion. Here, right action is defined by its conformity to a regulative ideal—Krishna himself—

No. If the action is impelled by devotion it is right or, at any rate, has no evil consequence for the doer because the Lord takes that evil upon himself. Krishna is not a 'regulative ideal'. He is a full incarnation of the Lord. 

and, in doing what is right, we sacrifice a concern for the outcome as a means of worshipping the procedural ideal.

This has nothing to do with theistic devotion. There may be a procedural ideal in Purva Mimamsa. There is none in the Gita which is classed as an Upanishad and thus part of Uttara-Mimamsa. 

This same theory is found elsewhere, articulated more clearly in the Yoga Sūtra; it is the moral theory of yoga (discipline) or bhakti.

Rubbish! There is no mention of bhakti. However, us Theists consider its mention of Ishvar as type of Purusha (purusha-vishesha) to license our belief that Lord Krishna, as Yogishvara, can grant us liberation by his own gratuitous gift without any effort or discipline on our part. Of course, as we grow in devotion, we wouldn't want liberation. We would only want to humbly serve.  

According to this account, right action is defined by a procedural ideal—unconservatism and self-governance—and perfecting our practice of the right is the good.

fuck is 'unconservatism'? I suppose Ranganathan has been perfecting his practice of the rite of masturbation with the result that has brain has softened. 

This theory differs from deontology in an important respect.

There is no duty to wank. 

Whereas deontology treats our duty as itself a good,

No it doesn't. Something has to be added to deontology- Theism or Deism or the Hegelian Geist- for this to be the case. On the other hand, the argument could be made that Deontology is 'Regret-Minimizing' or has some other valuable game-theoretic property. But duty can't itself be a good because otherwise we can exponentially increase good simply by relabeling everything as a duty or meta-duty or meta-meta duty. 

justified by procedural considerations only, in yoga/bhakti, the right is defined by a procedural ideal,

No. Yoga is synonymous with 'samadhi' towards which there may be a procedure but which is also realizable by the gratuitous gift of Grace though it may also be spontaneously and instantaneously achieved.  

and hence we do not need to understand our moral practice in terms of the good. 

No. Our moral practice involves a pragmatics of 'good' and 'nice' vs. 'bad' and 'naughty'.  

In contrast to virtue ethics, consequentialism, and deontology,

the path of devotional piety can incorporate a virtue ethics as well as a consequentialist calculus or a deontology which, au fond, is merely a rules based utilitarianism such as a 'bonus paterfamilias' might adopt to avoid culpa levis in abstracto type torts. 

it alone accounts for morality without recourse to the good.

Fuck off! God is good. Getting with God is the Holy Grail. 

The good is not a primitive notion, here, but one definable by way of the perfection

but perfection means becoming more and more good at something till one is maximally good. This cretin doesn't get that though the good can be a Tarskian primitive, perfection or optimality can't.  

of the right. So, whereas conventional morality is structured around the good, bhakti dispenses with the good.

Nope. We are devoted to the Lord because God is good.  

A third moral practice that Krishna recommends is jñāna yoga:

self-realization through metaphysical discrimination between what is real and what is illusory 

the discipline of thoughtfulness or knowledge. Jñāna yoga is the critical appreciation of the framework of moral action,

it is unconnected to it. Having the correct doctrine or teaching ( मतम् ) may be enough. Saivites opine that a jivanmukta can exist. It is perfectly possible that a thief or a prostitute has this quality. 

which complements karma yoga’s disinterest in trying to understand action as justified by outcome.

Karma yoga is concerned with outcomes for other people. It only requires the agent not to focus on his own gratification. Ranganathan is a moral imbecile. 

It is the metaethical component of the shift away from conventional morality to a fully procedural approach to ethics.

Why bother having a procedural approach to stupid shite? There is some point studying medicine or chemistry. There is none in bullshitting about ethics. The thing is part and parcel of 'maya'- delusion.  

Is Ranganathan the stupidest academic to have commented on the Gita? I suppose his IQ is markedly inferior to others I've mentioned on this blog. Still, it is interesting that he so loathes 'moral parasites'- i.e. virtue signaling, 'woke', nutters. Perhaps, he is a Hindutvavadi at heart. The other explanation is that he is simply an ambitious academic who understands that writing the stupidest and craziest shite possible is the only way to get ahead in non-STEM subjects. Still, he will have to up his game if he wants to compete with Amia Srinivasan. 

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