K. C. Pandey is one of the youngest philosophers of our country who has contributed exhaustive articles and research papers in leading journals of India and abroad, taught at various colleges and universities and authored prolifically on the philosophy of Wittgenstein and Buddhism. When one looks at the inventory of his published works, one naturally surprises that he has written so much in so short time because his first book Wittgenstein Ke Darshan Ki Rooprekha (An Outline of Wittgenstein’s Philosophy) came out of the press in the year 2005 and from then on five more books have been published within a short span of five years which mirrors the author’s constant perseverance, hard work and persistence to his area of research.
However, the book Religious Beliefs, Superstitious and Wittgenstein is not the book written in a jiffy, rather it is ‘the result of one and’ a half-decade’ of author’s association with several Universities and leading institutes like IIAS(Shimla). The author terms it as formulation and reformulation of his ‘position in the light of new insights throughout’ his ‘interpretation of Wittgenstein’ while he was passing ‘through a zigzag terrain both professional and personal’.
The book traces ‘Wittgenstein’s religious point of view’ which is commonly ‘seen as having twine fold aspects: (i) Religious beliefs are inexpressible, and (ii) the meaning and significance of religious beliefs can be seen in their own language-games and forms of life.’ (Introduction)
He has observed Wittgenstein’s view on religious beliefs in both ‘earlier and later’ phrases of philosopher’s life and has interpreted it contextually. Though the author in the very beginning admits the difficulty of dealing with Wittgenstein’s religious point of view which is both little in quantity and multiple in interpretations, yet he has tried to critically ‘expound’ Wittgenstein’s ‘twin fold religious beliefs’ by way of interpretation of Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language in scholarly divided chapters of the book.
The author has critically examined ‘Wittgensteinian’s multiple interpretations of the unity/continuity/ discontinuity of Wittgenstein’s views on religious beliefs’ (XVIII) and has also explored the ‘ground’ or ‘groundlessness’ of Wittgenstein’s philosophy of religion. Here, in an age of religious fanaticism when two major communities are at logger-heads with one another and when petty issues of Ram Janam Bhumi and Babri Maszid have widened the ditch of differences between man to man, Wittgenstein’s thought again comes alive when he considers religion as transcendental and incomprehensible and the only ground of religious belief is its groundlessness and simultaneously this groundlessness or the lack of evidence does not weaken a religious belief rather it enhances its value because it is engrained in heart and soul. When a man realizes this worth of religion, he no longer remains violent against another religious believer but he creates a harmony which is natural as well as transcendental.
The hard-bound nicely printed book makes it worth buying (however its price is slightly prohibitive) as well as worth reading too. Prof. Pandey’s book is very relevant and important for both the researchers of Wittgenstein and a common reader of prose.