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

28.09.2017 09:00 - 29.09.2017 17:30


The main goal of the conference consists in questioning the difficult reception of Indian post-independence philosophy inside and outside of 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 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 in Indian philosophy, characterizing the ‘post-colonial’ era. This ambiguity and hybridity of the postcolonial state of contemporary Indian philosophy makes its definition blurred and complex, which may be an important reason 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 locating the challenge of postcolonial philosophy in India.

For organisational purposes, you are kindly invited to announce your participation with an email to


Muzaffar Ali

Nalini Bhushan

Purushottama Bilimoria

Elise Coquereau

Sharad Deshpande

Elisa Freschi

Jay Garfield

Bina Gupta

Marzenna Jakubczak

Monika Kirloskar

Gur Livneh

Dor Miller

Pawel Odyniec

Bhagat Oinam

Adluri Raghuramaraju

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad

Daniel Raveh

Anna-Pya Sjödin 

Provisional program

Thursday, 28.9.2017

9:00-9:20 Salutations: Georg Stenger, Karin Preisendanz, Marion Rastelli


Chair: James Madaio

9:20-9:40 Raghuramaraju: Introduction to contemporary Indian Philosophy

9:45-10:30 Marzenna Jakubczak: A comparative perspective of Hariharānanda Āraṇya (1869-1947), a Bengali philosopher-monk

10:30-11:15 Pawel Odyniec: Rethinking Advaita within the colonial predicament: The confrontative philosophy of K.C. Bhattacharyya (1875-1949)

11:15-11:30 Coffee break

Chair: Elise Coquereau

11:30-12:15 Purushottama Bilimoria: Indologism’s progenitors, devourers and critiques: Hegel, Hacker, Radhakrishnan and JL Mehta

12:15-13:00 Daniel Raveh: That in the martyā which is amṛta: A Dialogue with Ramchandra Gandhi"

13:00-14:00 Lunch (Weltcafé, Stadtkind)

Chair: Alessandro Graheli

14:00-14:45 Gur Livneh: The Challenge of Comparative Political Philosophy: "The Political" in the philosophies of Sri Aurobindo, Daya Krishna and J.N. Mohanty

14:45-15:30 A.-P. Sjödin: Conceptualizing Philosophical Tradition: A Reading of Wilhelm Halbfass, Daya Krishna, and Jitendranath Mohanty

15:30-15:45 Coffee break

Chair: Martin Gaenszle

15:45-16:30 Dor Miller: Reading Derrida with Daya Krishna

16:30-17:15 Adluri Raghuramaraju: Reexamining the comparative philosophy between east and west: Deleuze, Guattari and Gandhi

Friday, 29.9.2017

WHERE IS INDIAN PHILOSOPHY GOING? (Politics of philosophy)

Chair: Anke Graneß

9:00-10:20 Jay Garfield and Nalini Bhushan: Indian nationalist thought, and in particular about Lala Lajpat Rai’s taxonomy and its contemporary relevance

10:20-11:05 Sharad Deshpande: In the Midst of Contemporary Indian Philosophy

11:05-11:30 Coffee break

Chair: Sonia Weiner

11:30-12:15 Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach: Postcolonial Representations of Indian Philosophy

12:15-13:00 Muzaffar Ali: Indian Philosophy refunded on ethics

13:00-14:00 Lunch

Chair: Cristina Pecchia

14:00-14:45 Bhagat Oinam: Trends of philosophising in post-independent India

14:45-15:30 Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad: Philosophy and Philology, past and future: On the history and life of ideas

15:30-15:45 Coffee break

Chair: Elisa Freschi

15:45-16:30 Elise Coquereau: Politics of Addressing, Problems of Reception: To whom are Anglophone Indian Philosophers Speaking?

16:30-17:30 Round table: How can we trigger more scholars to take advantage of contemporary Indian philosophy?

Institut für Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens der ÖAW, Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde und Institut für Philosophie der Universität Wien
Department of Philosophy, Lecture Hall 3F (3rd floor), Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG) Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Vienna