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Lectures by Professor Kisor Kumar Chakrabarty

A Comparative Study of Some Classical Causal Proofs of the Existence of God

Shivdasani Lecture
28 Jan 2016

I shall make a comparative study of three classical causal proofs of the existence of God, one offered by St. Thomas Aquinas, another, by Descartes and yet another, by Udayana (11th century, belonging to the classical Nyaya Hindu school of philosophy).  I shall argue that the proof of Udayana is not open to some of the objections raised against the two other proofs and is more defensible.

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Are Cognitive States Self-Revealing?

Shivdasani Lecture
25 Feb 2016

According to the Nyaya school of Hindu philosophy, a cognitive state reveals its object but not itself and is revealed by another cognitive state.  Other Hindu philosophers of the Advaita Vedanta philosophical school and Prabhakara (8th century), however, hold that a cognitive state reveals both its object and itself.  I shall discuss the nature of consciousness and self-consciousness and reconstruct how the Nyaya can respond to the formidable arguments offered by the Advaita and Prabhakara.

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Nyaya Ethics

Shivdasani Seminar
10 Mar 2016

I shall give a survey of major developments in Nyaya ethics beginning with the Nyayasutra, the founding work of the Nyaya philosophical school and the Nyayabhasya, the earliest available commentary on the Nyayasutra. I shall also elaborate on the disagreement between Prabhakara ethics and Nyaya ethics and show the latter’s relevance for modern moral discourse with reference to the ethical theories of Aristotle, Kant and Mill and such issues as minority rights and ethical absolutism.Professor Kisor Kumar Chakrabarti is the President of the Institute for Cross Cultural studies and Academic Exchange.  He is a former Provost and Dean of the faculty and Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Distinguished Scholar in residence of the Davis and Elkins College, the Sarah B. Cochran Professor of Philosophy of the Bethany College and Forrest S. and Jean B. Williams Distinguished Professor of Humanities of the Ferrum College.  He has also taught at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Calcutta, etc.  He has received the Doctoral Fulbright, the Post-doctoral Fulbright and the Senior Fulbright awards and held fellowships at the University of Pittsburgh, the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Simla, the Australian National University and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.  He has studied classical Sanskrit philosophical texts under the guidance of eminent Hindu pundits for many decades.  He has also studied Greek philosophical texts in the original and taught Greek philosophy, modern philosophy, logic and Indian philosophy in colleges and universities in India and the USA for forty five years.  He has authored seventy eight research papers and articles mainly on the topics of logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, Indian philosophy and comparative philosophy.  His books include Definition and Induction, University of Hawaii Press, 1995, Classical Indian Philosophy of Mind, State University of New York Press, 1999, Classical Indian Philosophy of Induction, Rowman and Littlefield, 2010 and Major Doctrines of Hinduism and Buddhism, Magnus Publications, 2012.  He has been a Visiting Professor or invited to give lectures in about a hundred colleges and universities in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and the USA.

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Cartesian and Nyaya Psycho-Physical Dualism

Shivdasani Seminar
11 Feb 2016

According to the psycho-physical dualism of Descartes, the mind and the body are ontologically different substances with essentially different attributes.  Though this viewpoint might help to account for the religious doctrine of immortality of the soul as well as free will and personal identity, it is open to serious objections.  I shall argue that a much older kind of psycho-physical dualism developed by the Nyaya Hindu philosophers is not beset with some of the difficulties of the Cartesian view and can account for such issues as immortality, free will and personal identity.

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