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While Hiralal Haldar did not directly draw on Śaṁkara, his synthesis of idealism and realism resembles Mukerji’s rejection of Berkeleyan subjectivism and the affirmation of the self’s categorical presuppositions in empirical experience. Haldar describes his intellectual debt to Hegel in these terms: ‘I have seen myself described as a Hegelian. The basis of my thought is undoubtedly Hegelian, but in the course of years … I have been led to modify in many ways what I have learned from Hegel’ (Haldar 1936: 316). Haldar argues that the subjective idealist conflates the subjective mental ideas with their objective referents in the external world whose existence is not dependent on the mind. However, while the error of Berkeleyean idealism is to minimize the opposition between subject and object, realism makes the opposite error of setting them apart completely. Both ‘undifferentiated unity’ and ‘pure difference’ are abstractions, and in the concrete world unity and difference are interrelated as aspects of the Absolute which does not obliterate the distinctions between self and not-self, but maintains and transcends them (Haldar 1936: 322–323).

Haldar argues that mind and matter should not be seen as mutually opposed for they are correlated aspects of the universal Spirit. Therefore, idealism, properly understood, does not deny the reality of the external world, but goes farther than realism by ‘maintaining that the world is indeed real … but that in order to know that it is real it has got to have mind’ (Haldar 1936: 323). This Hegelian thesis of the identity of thought and being can be understood, according to Haldar, as the logical culmination of Kant’s critical philosophy. While Kant demonstrated in his transcendental deduction that our knowledge of the objective world and the synthetic unity of self-consciousness are relative to each other, Hegel developed this Kantian theme to the conclusion that there is a higher unity which both comprehends and transcends the self and the world, and makes possible their correlativity (Haldar 1896: 265). Thus, as T. Biswas (2015: 116) notes: ‘Unlike realism, Haldar’s Realistic-Idealism does not consider the division between mind and matter as Absolute, nor like subjective idealism does it reduce matter to mental states’.

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