Theory of Knowledge in Premodern South Asia: An Introduction with the Reading of Original Sanskrit Texts

18.07.2022 00:00 - 23.07.2022 00:00

Vienna Summer School on the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia

18–23 July 2022 (Monday to Saturday)

The Vienna summer school on the History and Cultures of Asia is offering an intensive one-week introduction to the theory of knowledge in South Asian philosophical traditions.

The summer school will introduce participants to the epistemological theory used in Sanskrit texts. It is aimed at anyone who has an interest in reading scientific Sanskrit works that refer to epistemological concepts. Participants will be able to work intensively with established experts based at the Department for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of South Asian, Tibetan, and Buddhist Studies of the University of Vienna, centres renowned internationally for the study of South Asian philosophy of knowledge.

The course will focus on validity (prāmāṇya) and the instruments of knowledge (pramāṇas), including perception, inferential reasoning, and verbal knowledge. The participants will be introduced to the main theories of different schools, including Nyāya, Vedānta, Buddhist, and Jaina thought. Lectures by experts on individual subjects will be combined with focused readings of relevant texts in the original Sanskrit.

Organizing Institutions

Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Austrian Academy of Sciences (IKGA)

Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna (ISTB).

Course Format

Each day there will be two morning-sessions with lectures on the given epistemological topic. The first lecture is going to examine the topic in a general way. Two afternoon-sessions will be dedicated to reading Sanskrit works related to the topic, except for the afternoon of 20 July. Each day will also offer a slot to students for presenting their research interests.

Teaching Staff

Marco Ferrante (IKGA)

Cristina Pecchia (ISTB/IKGA)

Marcus Schmücker (IKGA)

Himal Trikha (ISTB)

Michael Williams (IKGA)

Outline of the program

Welcome dinner in the evening of Sunday, 17 July

18 July - Michael Williams, Truth and Knowledge in South Asian Philosophy

19 July - Marcus Schmücker, The Nature of Perception

20 July - Michael Williams, Inference and Reasoning (followed by a free afternoon)

21 July - Cristina Pecchia and Himal Trikha, Omniscience and Extraordinary Knowledge

22 July - Marco Ferrante, Language as an Epistemic Instrument

23 July - Marco Ferrante, Word Meaning and Sentence Meaning


Intermediate to good knowledge of scientific Sanskrit


Students interested in acquiring credit points will obtain 5 ECTS points after a final evaluation and should get in touch with the organizers after registration.


300 euro (with accommodation)

100 euro (without accommodation)
What is included?

Accommodation, including breakfast, for 7 nights in central Vienna. Lunch for six days, welcome dinner, and preparatory as well as accompanying course materials.


Registration will close on 31 May. Interested candidates for this summer school should apply by sending their CV and a 200-word text to explain why they intend to participate. For further information please contact Dr Marco Ferrante (, or Dr Michael Williams (