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A Premodern Indian Enlightenment?


Event Summary

​Indian philosophers in the mid-first millennium elevated epistemology to a commanding position. It came to be widely accepted that all claims of any kind, to be taken seriously in philosophical debate, needed to be justified in terms of a complete theory of knowledge argued out from first principles. This shift, which largely cut across sectarian and religious barriers, radically transformed these thinkers' approach to the most basic questions of cosmology and hermeneutics. In particular, it ushered in a period in which the claims regarding knowledge provided by scripture, even within the authors' own traditions, were radically scaled back, under the strain of increasingly skeptical inquiry. In this talk, Lawrence J. McCrea will chart the overall contours of these developments, and consider their broader implications for Indian cultural and intellectual history.

This event is sponsored by the Śāstram project at the Neubauer Collegium.