Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions 4
This series of seminars will provide a lively and thought-provoking forum for graduate students from across the disciplines to present their latest work on any of the Indic religions, creating an opportunity for regular discussion and cross-fertilisation among students in this area. It will be held fortnightly in Hilary term (weeks 2, 4, 6, 8) on Fridays from 4pm–5pm, with a chance for informal discussion afterwards over refreshments. Each seminar will feature two papers on related themes or subjects, of about 20 minutes each, with a chance for questions after each paper. Any graduate students working on, or otherwise interested in, Indic religions, are warmly invited to attend.
Was Vaiśeşika a materialistic darsana? An inquiry into Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya's Marxist analysis
One of the philosophical systems which enjoy a relatively great amount of attention in Chattopadhyaya’s writings is Vaiśeşika. That is a curious case indeed, since Chattopadhyaya (1918 – 1993) was an enthusiast materialist philosopher, while Vaiśeşika, at least in its later form, a staunch defender of theism (e.g. Udayana). Yet, Vaiśeşika provided Chattopadhyaya with an interesting argument as its evolution shows that originally it was not a theistic system. Theism is a later occurrence in the system. I start from the presumption that Chattopadhyaya’s view is not completely false.
The first part of my paper will look at his explanations regarding the evolution of ideas in Vaiśeşika, and I will try to explain that Chattopadhyaya's views are relatively true. The second part of my paper, however, will look at Vaiśeşika’s primary sources, which despite their lack of explicit theistic stances, shows a rather different view of theism, namely that of a ‘divine entity’, the self. And this is the 'theism' which Vaiśeşika would eventually develop.
“A bridge between the past and the future”: accessing Auroville
Auroville is an International township in South India; the only place of its kind in the world. It is a community inspired by the texts of Sri Aurobindo; an Indian thinker who aimed to integrate the philosophies of the East and West, Idealism and Materialism, the Individual and his Society.
This talk questions the inter-relationship between the textual, political, psychological and spiritual dimensions that make up the Auroville project. In doing so it reconsiders the constructs used to theoretically access and conceive textual and social aggregates.