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Hindu Philosophy Unit

Call for Proposals

The Hindu Philosophy unit of the American Academy of Religion is pleased to invite proposals for the following sessions to be held at this year’s Annual Meeting:

Philosophical Roundtable. This year’s roundtable will focus on the nature of poetic language. Ānandavardhana famously held that in addition to the literal and implicative functions of language, poetry expresses meaning through a third, distinctive function: suggestion (dhvani, vyañjanā). Mukula Bhaṭṭa, in his Abhidhāvṛttamātṛkā, holds that there is no need to posit a third semantic function; implication (lakṣaṇā) suffices to explain the communicative power of poetry. Note that the goal of this format is not to have traditional presentations but to create a space for lively and rigorous debate. In lieu of traditional paper proposals, therefore, we instead invite prospective participants to offer a brief critical analysis of the debate. One might, for example, assess the strengths and weaknesses of each position, or defend Ānandavardhana’s position against Mukula’s arguments, or consider alternative explanations of poetic suggestion by later theorists such as Mahima Bhaṭṭa, or reflect on the debate in light of contemporary philosophy of language.

Traditional Papers Session. For this session we are looking for individual paper proposals (rather than full panel proposals). We are open to a wide range of topics and approaches. Possible topics include but are by no means limited to: Arguments for and against God’s Existence, Subjectivity and Selfhood, Epistemology, Novelty in Navya-Nyāya (or other schools), “Hindu Philosophy” as a Category, Philosophy of Materiality, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy and Literature, and Philosophy in Vernacular Texts.

Co-sponsored Sessions. We also seek papers for two possible co-sponsored sessions: one on comparative Hindu and Islamic philosophy (for co-sponsorship with Islamic Mysticism or The Study of Islam), the other on theories of knowledge in lesser known schools (for co-sponsorship with Indian and Chinese Religions in Dialogue Unit).

Statement of Purpose

This unit aims to bring together scholars working on Hindu philosophy broadly construed, including not only the classical schools of Nyāya, Mīmāṃsā, Vedānta, etc., but a wide range of intellectual traditions from the Vedic period to the present day. These traditions are vast and varied, engaging with questions of epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, aesthetics, theodicy, ritual theory, ethics, and political philosophy, not to mention areas that have, arguably, no direct parallel in Western thought. Our goals are (1) to advance research in Hindu philosophical traditions, encouraging new approaches and new topics within the field; (2) to explore interactions and influences between Hindu philosophy and other traditions of South Asian philosophy (Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Islamic, etc.); and (3) to contribute to the study of cross-cultural philosophy at the AAR.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs and steering committee members at all times