[INDOLOGY] American Academy of Religion - Hindu Philosophy Unit

Allen, Michael S (msa2b) msa2b at virginia.edu
Wed Nov 25 17:00:58 UTC 2020

[With apologies for cross-posting ...]

Dear Colleagues,

We are delighted to announce that the newly formed Hindu Philosophy Unit will be hosting two sessions (and co-hosting a third) at this year's online meeting of the American Academy of Religion. Our two main sessions are:

  *   Ways of Knowledge (I): Debating Perception (Dec. 2, 11am-1pm EST)
  *   Ways of Knowledge (II): New Approaches (Dec. 10, 4-6pm EST)

We are also co-sponsoring a session with three other units:

  *   Roundtable on Roy Tzohar's A Yogācāra Buddhist Theory of Metaphor (Dec. 3, 1:45-3:15pm EST)

For details, please see below. We hope those of you who are attending AAR will join us for these inaugural sessions.

Best wishes,

Michael S. Allen, University of Virginia
Parimal G. Patil, Harvard University
Co-Chairs, Hindu Philosophy unit


Theme: Ways of Knowing (I): Debating Perception

Wednesday, December 2, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM (EST UTC-5)

Nalini Bhushan, Smith College, Presiding<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/bhushan-nalini-smith-college>

What does it mean to know something, and how does one arrive at knowledge? These questions are foundational to all traditions of Indian philosophy, and the Hindu Philosophy Unit is therefore devoting its two inaugural sessions to the theme “Ways of Knowing.” This first session will focus on debates about perception—sense-perception as well as mystical perception—and will itself follow a debate format. Each presenter will have 20-25 minutes to sketch an argument; an “opponent," or devil’s advocate, will have 5 minutes to criticize the argument; the presenter will then have 5 minutes to respond, followed by 5-10 minutes of further debate and 20 minutes of audience discussion. The first presentation considers a ninth-century Hindu response to a Buddhist argument for momentariness from the starting-point of ordinary perceptual awareness. The second paper focuses on the nineteenth-century saint Ramakrishna, developing an argument for the plausibility of truth-claims based on mystical experience.

  *   Alex Watson, Ashoka University<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/watson-alex-ashoka-university-0>

Do the Perceptions of Non-Enlightened People Weigh in Favor of, or Against, Momentariness?


  *   Jeffery D. Long, Elizabethtown College<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/jeffery-d-long-elizabethtown-college>

Vijñāna as a Pramāṇa: The Experiential Foundation of Sri Ramakrishna's Religious Pluralism



Rosanna Picascia, Swarthmore College<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/rosanna-picascia-swarthmore-college>

Catherine Prueitt, University of British Columbia<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/catherine-prueitt-university-british-columbia>


Theme: Ways of Knowing (II): New Approaches

Thursday, December 10, 4:00 PM-6:00 PM (EST UTC-5)

Loriliai Biernacki, University of Colorado, Presiding<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/biernacki-loriliai-university-colorado>

What does it mean to know something, and how does one arrive at knowledge? These questions are foundational to all schools of Indian philosophy, and the Hindu Philosophy unit is therefore devoting its two inaugural sessions to the theme “Ways of Knowing.” This second session highlights new and original approaches to the study of Hindu epistemology. The first paper explores an unusual distinction between “learned” (vaiduṣa) and “unlearned” perception in the work of the sixteenth-century Vaiṣṇava theologian Jīva Goswāmī. The second paper traces the history, not of a philosophical debate, but of a stock philosophical example: that of a jeweler’s knowledge of a gem. The final paper focuses on an allegorical folk drama by the Telegu poetess Tarigoṇḍa Vēṅgamāmba (1735-1817), drawing attention to ways of knowledge outside the male-dominated, Sanskrit-dominated realm with which Indian philosophy is typically associated.

  *   Aleksandar Uskokov, Yale University<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/uskokov-aleksandar-yale-university>

Making Sense of Religious Experience: Jīva Gosvāmin and “Learned Perception”


  *   James Reich, Pace University<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/reich-james-pace-university>

The Gem and the Jeweler: The History of a Stock Example


  *   Aalekhya Malladi, Emory University<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/malladi-aalekhya-emory-university>

The Trouble with Māya: Philosophical Considerations in a Telugu Poetess' Folk Drama


Business Meeting

Michael Allen, University of Virginia, Presiding<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/allen-michael-university-virginia>

Parimal G. Patil, Harvard University, Presiding<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/patil-parimal-g-harvard-university>


Theme: Roundtable on Roy Tzohar's *A Yogācāra Buddhist Theory of Metaphor* (Oxford University Press, 2018)

Thursday, December 3, 1:45 PM-3:15 PM (EST UTC-5)

Tao Jiang, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, Presiding<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/jiang-tao-rutgers-university-new-brunswick>

This roundtable brings together six scholars to discuss the intellectual achievements of and new avenues of inquiry opened by Tzohar’s book, 2018 winner of the prestigious Toshihide Numata Book Award in Buddhism. The roundtable discussion will highlight the way that Tzohar’s book – ostensibly just an articulation of the Buddhist philosopher Sthiramati’s view that all language is metaphorical, itself an ambitious and rewarding achievement – also accomplishes much more, including the careful contextualization of Sthiramati’s work in relation to other Buddhist and to non-Buddhist schools of South Asian philosophy of language, and the thoughtful and creative articulation of the relationship between Buddhist philosophy of language and other central ontological and soteriological concerns of Buddhist thought. Discussants are drawn from diverse sub-fields in Buddhist and South Asian philosophy and literature, and Tzohar will be a respondent.


Jonathan Gold, Princeton University<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/gold-jonathan-princeton-university>

Laurie Louise Patton, Middlebury College<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/patton-laurie-louise-middlebury-college>

Joy Brennan, Kenyon College<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/joy-brennan-kenyon-college>

Richard Nance, Indiana University<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/nance-richard-indiana-university>

Catherine Prueitt, University of British Columbia<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/prueitt-catherine-university-british-columbia>

Parimal G. Patil, Harvard University<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/patil-parimal-g-harvard-university>


Roy Tzohar, Tel-Aviv University<https://papers.aarweb.org/users/roy-tzohar-tel-aviv-university>

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