Meets Mondays from 11am-1pm in 65/1175 and Thursdays from 1-2pm in 7/3027
(Co-taught with Professor Christopher Janaway)
Philosophy flourished in classical India for well over a millennium, with figures in this tradition producing works that are on a par with those of figures in ancient Greece and late antique and medieval Europe. In fact, figures in classical India contributed extensively to what what we now recognize as core areas of philosophy such as epistemology, logic, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and ethics. This module provides an overview of this long-neglected tradition of philosophy.
We will cover the early texts of the Brahmanical and Śramaṇa traditions (e.g. the Upaniṣads and Pali Canon of Buddhism), and then writings in the age of sūtras and commentaries (e.g. those of Brahmanical schools such as Nyāya and Pūrva-Mīmāṃsā, and Śramaṇa schools such as Buddhism). The module’s approach will not be purely historical, but will critically examine the contributions these texts make to philosophical debates that are alive today.
SCHEDULE OF READINGS
For each week, the readings mainly divide into required and optional further readings. We include the optional readings just in case you find the topic especially interesting and would like to write a paper on it or simply learn more.
A comprehensive list of further readings can be found here. We strongly recommend that you choose a few of the general introductory readings on the first two pages of that document for some supplementary background. The first lecture will provide a general overview before jumping into the first topic, but it would be good to supplement this with further reading.
Students who are registered for the module can find links to all required readings through Blackboard.
Part 1. Self and No-Self
Week 1: The Upaniṣads and Early Advaita Vedānta
Required reading Extracts from the Upaniṣads
Extracts from Classical Indian Philosophy: A Reader and The Essential Vedānta
Optional further reading Barua, Ankur. ‘Indian Philosophy and the Question of the Self.’ Ganeri, Jonardon. The Concealed Art of the Soul Mathur, D.C. ‘The Concept of Self in the Upanishads: An Alternative Interpretation.’ Perrett, Roy. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy, ch. 6 Siderits, Mark, Evan Thompson, and Dan Zahavi. Self, No Self?Perspectives from Analytical, Phenomenological, and Indian Traditions Week 2: Buddhism: The Four Noble Truths and No-Self in Early Buddhism
Required reading Extracts from Sayings of the Buddha
‘Theravāda Philosophy of Mind and the Person’ in Buddhist Philosophy Essential Readings
Optional further reading Davies, Jake H. A Mirror is for Reflection: Understanding Buddhist Ethics Emmanuel, Steven M. A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy Garfield Jay L. Engaging Buddhism Goodman, Charles. Consequences of Compassion: An Interpretation and Defense of Buddhist Ethics Harvey, Peter. An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics Keown, Damien. Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction Siderits, Mark. Buddhism as Philosophy
Week 3: Sāṃkhya and Nyāya on Self
Required reading Sāṃkhya extract from Classical Indian Philosophy: A Reader
'A Nyāya Interlude’ in Buddhism as Philosophy
Optional further reading Dasgupta, Surendranath. A History of Indian Philosophy, volume 1, chapter 7 and section 1 of chapter 8 Dasti, Mattew and Phillips, Stephen. (transl.) The Nyāya-Sutra, chapter 4 Gupta, Bina. Chapters on Sāṃkhya and Nyāya in An Introduction to Indian Philosophy Matilal, B. K. 'Nyāya Critique of the Buddhist Doctrine of Non-Soul' Perrett, Roy. Chapter 6 in An Introduction to Indian Philosophy
Week 4: Buddhist Reductionism
Required reading Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings, Chs. 24, 25, 26
Optional further reading Parfit, Derek. 'Buddha's View' Parfit, Derek. Reasons and Persons, Part III Sideritis, Mark. 'Buddhist Reductionism' Sideritis, Mark. 'Buddhist Reductionism and the Structure of Buddhist Ethics' Sideritis, Mark. Empty Persons Week 5: Emptiness and Ethics
Required reading Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings, Chs. 2 and 32
Optional further reading Chatterjee, S. C. Nyāya Theory of Knowledge. Available on archive.org: https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.201767 Dasti, M. and Phillips, S. (trans.) The NyāyaSūtra, full text Dasti, M. 'Vātsyānaya Cognition as a Guide to Action' Matilal, Bimal Krishna. Collected Essays: Volume 1, chapters 6, 7, 9-12 Matilal, Bimal Krishna. Perception
Week 7: More Nyāya Epistemology and Metaphysics
Required reading Dasti, Matthew and Phillips, Stephen (trans.) The Nyāya Sūtra, pp.28-36, 40-57 Phillips, Stephen. Epistemology in Classical India, Appendix
Optional further reading Phillips, Stephen. Epistemology in Classical India, full text Phillips, Stephen. Classical Indian Metaphysics Phillips, S. (trans.) Gaṅgeśa’s Tattvacintāmani Phillips, Stephen. 'A Defeasibility Theory of Knowledge in Gaṅgeśa'
Week 9: Buddhist Epistemology Required reading Nāgārjuna’s Dispeller of Disputes, selections Dharmakirti’s Nyāya-Bindu, selections
Optional further reading Arnold, Dan. Buddhists, Brahmins and Belief, chapters 1, 2, 5, 6, 7. Chadha, Monima. 'Reflexive Awareness and No-Self: Dignāga Debated by Kumārila and Dharmakīrti' Coseru, Christian. Perceiving Reality Duckworth et al. (eds.) Dignāga’s Investigation of the Percept Kellner, Birgit. 'Proving Idealism in Dharmakīrti' Stcherbatsky, T. Buddhist Logic, Volumes 1 and 2 Tillemans, Tom. 'Dharmakīrti' in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophyhttps://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dharmakiirti/
Week 10: Wider Issues in Classical Indian Epistemology and Metaphysics
Required reading Śrīharṣa's The Sweets of Refutation, selections Perrett, Roy. Chapter 5 of An Introduction to Classical Indian Philosophy Optional further reading Bilimoria, Purusottama. 'Jñāna and Pramā: The Logic of Knowing' Das, Nilanjan. 'Śrīharṣa.' SEP: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sriharsa/ Ganeri, Jonardon. 'Analytic Philosophy in Early Modern India', sections 1-2, 5-10 SEP: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/early-modern-india/ Potter, K. H. 'Does Indian Epistemology Concern Justified True Belief?' Phillips, Stephen. Classical Indian Metaphysics Stoltz, Jonathan. 'Gettier and Factivity in Indo-Tibetan Epistemology'