Lecture tag: Philosophy

Indian Philosophy IV (MT21)

This course explores distinctive Indian theories of identity, mind, matter, causation, scepticism, idealism, aesthetics, and ethics. No prior knowledge is needed: students are introduced to the ideas and encouraged to analyse the arguments, weigh their success, pinpoint flaws, and develop new insights and potential contributions to existing philosophical approaches. 

  1. Identity, Causation and Change: Vedānta, Sāṃkhya and Vaiśeṣika
  2. Consciousness, Idealism, and Personhood: Advaita, Kashmir Śaivas and Sāṃkhya 
  3. Ontology and Metaphysical Foundations: Vedāntic Philosophies 
  4. Ethics and Aesthetics: Dharma and Rasa-Theory 

Indian Philosophy III (MT21)

This course explores distinctive Indian theories of identity, mind, matter, causation, scepticism, idealism, aesthetics, and ethics. No prior knowledge is needed: students are introduced to the ideas and encouraged to analyse the arguments, weigh their success, pinpoint flaws, and develop new insights and potential contributions to existing philosophical approaches. 

  1. Identity, Causation and Change: Vedānta, Sāṃkhya and Vaiśeṣika
  2. Consciousness, Idealism, and Personhood: Advaita, Kashmir Śaivas and Sāṃkhya 
  3. Ontology and Metaphysical Foundations: Vedāntic Philosophies 
  4. Ethics and Aesthetics: Dharma and Rasa-Theory 

Indian Philosophy II (MT21)

This course explores distinctive Indian theories of identity, mind, matter, causation, scepticism, idealism, aesthetics, and ethics. No prior knowledge is needed: students are introduced to the ideas and encouraged to analyse the arguments, weigh their success, pinpoint flaws, and develop new insights and potential contributions to existing philosophical approaches. 

  1. Identity, Causation and Change: Vedānta, Sāṃkhya and Vaiśeṣika
  2. Consciousness, Idealism, and Personhood: Advaita, Kashmir Śaivas and Sāṃkhya 
  3. Ontology and Metaphysical Foundations: Vedāntic Philosophies 
  4. Ethics and Aesthetics: Dharma and Rasa-Theory 

Indian Philosophy I (MT21)

This course explores distinctive Indian theories of identity, mind, matter, causation, scepticism, idealism, aesthetics, and ethics. No prior knowledge is needed: students are introduced to the ideas and encouraged to analyse the arguments, weigh their success, pinpoint flaws, and develop new insights and potential contributions to existing philosophical approaches. 

  1. Identity, Causation and Change: Vedānta, Sāṃkhya and Vaiśeṣika
  2. Consciousness, Idealism, and Personhood: Advaita, Kashmir Śaivas and Sāṃkhya 
  3. Ontology and Metaphysical Foundations: Vedāntic Philosophies 
  4. Ethics and Aesthetics: Dharma and Rasa-Theory 

Session 1: Gadamer’s Biography: Beyond Theism and Atheism

Gadamer appears to be an unusually secular figure among the phenomenologists of his day; unlike those who began as theologians, his study of classical culture taught him to study religion dispassionately, while embracing religious arts as a channel for his own concerns. Influenced by “Swabian piety”, Bultmannn’s ‘demythologisation’, the spirituality and humanism of the classical world, ‘free-thinkers’ such as Goethe, Rilke, and Stefan George, and creative re-thinkers of the Christian tradition such as Scheler and Heidegger, Gadamer affirmed both the cultural contingency of faith, and its confessional power.

Session 2: Gadamer’s Hermeneutics: Bias, Understanding, and Expanding Horizons

Gadamer saw culture, religion, and art as ‘living texts’ that integrate our life experience into a meaningful worldview that allows us to think, act, and create. But no worldview is ever static or finished; in ‘understanding’ we use bias (that of ourselves and others) as the raw material from which a new worldview is created. In this respect Gadamer shares much with Aristotelian and later Vitalist thinkers. But Gadamer also affirms that texts can act poetically as ‘angels’, as he puts it in his studies of Rilke and Paul Celan, gesturing toward the transcendence of that which cannot be encompassed in human thought.

Session 3: Gadamer’s Metaphysics: Vitalism, Spirit, and Immanence

Amid theologies of Being and secular philosophies, Gadamer explored a middle ground of non-theistic perspectives, reclaiming a philosophy of immanent ‘spirit’. in his work on Plato and Hegel, he was often in dialogue with the classical Greek and later German traditions of ‘pantheist’ or ‘immanentist’ thought found in Spinoza, Lessing, Schleiermacher, Dilthey, and others. In many respects, Gadamer appears as one of the twentieth century’s first philosophers of immanence.

Session 4: Gadamer’s Globalism: Culture, Difference and Pluralism

In the later years of his career, at a retreat exploring religion on the Island of Capri with Derrida and other post-Heideggerian thinkers, Gadamer who insisted that attention to non-Western religions was essential for any steps forward. He encouraged cross–cultural scholars to see themselves as creatively opening up ever-expanding horizons of understanding within their own tradition, and gradually building a new global horizon. Seen in this light, the rich cultural plurality of modern globalism affords us the opportunity to continue a history-long process of growth.

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Eight (MT 14)

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Seven (MT 14)

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’