Seminar on Indian Philosophy, I (MT23)

Location: OCHS Library
Speaker: Prof. Alex Watson, Brett Parris
Date: October 18, 2023
Time: 4.30pm – 6.00pm

This series of regular seminars brings together scholars and students working on Indic philosophies and religions. It focuses on topics of current research: in each session, two people will present a context they are investigating for 20min, and then open it for discussion on key questions. All researchers, graduates and finalists in all areas are welcome to join.

Prof. Alex Watson: Dharmakīrti, Rāmakaṇṭha and Galen Strawson on the existence of selves
My OCHS lecture on Wednesday of Week 1 looked at how the Buddhist can easily respond to the Naiyāyika argument for a self, but faces a more difficult challenge from Rāmakaṇṭha’s arguments. Today I introduce Galen Strawson’s Buddhistic position and consider which of Rāmakaṇṭha’s arguments present a difficulty for it.

Brett Parris: The metaethics of Patañjali’s yoga
Metaethics may be characterised as the philosophical framework in which a tradition’s implicit normative ethical theory and its practical ethical precepts are embedded. Patañjali’s Yogasūtra is grounded in the dualist Sāṃkhya system and was influenced by early Buddhism. The Yogasūtra’s ethical precepts, as well as ‘the Lord’, Īśvara, play important roles for Patañjali. I argue that Patañjali’s Yoga emerged from early theistic Sāṃkhya, resisted Buddhist idealism, and yields a moral realist metaethics which may be understood as a form of natural law theory, but one quite unlike anything found in the Western traditions.