Indian Logic and the Existence of God 1: The Atheist’s Arguments (MT23)

Location: OCHS Library
Speaker: Prof. Alex Watson
Date: October 26, 2023
Time: 11.00am – 12.00pm

This is the first of two lectures on Jayanta’s treatment of the question of God’s existence in his magnum opus ‘Blossoms of Reasoning‘ (Nyāyamañjarī), written in Kashmir at the end of the 9th century.  Here we will see how Jayanta articulates the case against theism, drawing on primarily Mīmāṃsā, but also Buddhist and Cārvāka, argu­ments.  The arguments will be viewed through the lens of Indian logic.  They amount to claiming that the standard inference of God’s existence is ‘unestablished’ (asiddha), ‘in­con­clusive’ (anaikāntika) and ‘contradictory’ (viruddha).

Prof. Alex Watson is Professor of Indian Philosophy at Ashoka University, prior to which he was Preceptor in Sanskrit at Harvard.  His DPhil was from the University of Oxford.  He is author of The Self’s Awareness of Itself (2006) and, with Dominic Goodall and Anjaneya Sarma, An Enquiry into the Nature of Liberation (mokṣa) (2013), as well as numerous articles on the History of Indian Philosophy.  He works on debates between Śaivism, Nyāya, Mīmāṃsā and Buddhism.