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The challenge of postcolonial philosophy in India: Too alien for contemporary philosophers, too modern for Sanskritists?

Time: Th.-Fr., 28-29.Sept 2017, 09:00-17:00

Venue: University of Vienna, Department of Philosophy, Lecture Hall 3F (3rd floor), Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG)

Organisation: Elise Coquereau, Elisa Freschi, Georg Stenger

 

The main goal of the conference consists in questioning the difficult reception of Indian post-independence philosophy inside and outside India, in particular related to the difficulties of the plurality of languages involved, and of its intermediate status. To begin with, one needs to define one's object. But what does it take for philosophy to be contemporary Indian philosophy? Can this be more than a particular geographical and temporal characterization? If so, what would this definition philosophically entail? Contemporary Indian philosophy is marked by its 'postcolonial' transformations: a widespread instruction in English focusing on 'Western' philosophy, but possibly reinterpreted in an Indian context, opposed to a traditional Sanskrit learning. This situation, inherited from the colonial time, is thus combined with an awareness of this gap and a reflection on the consequences of colonization on Indian philosophy, characterizing the 'post-colonial' era. This ambiguity and this hybridity of the post-colonial state of contemporary Indian philosophy makes its definition blurred and complex, which may be an important cause for the difficulties of its reception. We therefore attempt to address issues contributing to defining the state and problems of contemporary Indian philosophy (its internal difficulties), as well as some reasons for the insufficiency of its reception (its external obstacles), considering that the connection between these two levels, internal developments and external reception, contributes to locate the challenge of postcolonial philosophy in India.

 

The following points describe some directions for reflections:

- Colonial, Foreign Influences and Indian Philosophy

- Linguistic and Cultural Pluralism in modes of philosophizing

- Postcolonial 'hybridity'

 

We invite participants to reflect on the status and problems of contemporary Indian philosophy (post-independence), on its recognition as philosophy and its specificities, due to its particular colonial history and internal diversity. We in particular want to highlight the transition from the colonial external influences to the postcolonial internal developments that contribute to characterize the cultural and linguistic plurality of Indian philosophical traditions. In so doing, we hope to contribute together to the international reception of contemporary Indian philosophy by connecting regional and intercultural approaches.

Interkulturelle Philosophie, Kulturtheorie, Kulturphilosophie

Institut für Philosophie
Fakultät für Philosophie und Bildungswissenschaft
Universität Wien

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1010 Wien

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