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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
Organisation: Elisa Freschi and Elise Coquereau
Cooperation: ISTB, Institut für Philosophie (Universität Wien)


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.

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

Salutations 9--9.20

—Georg Stenger

—Karin Preisendanz

—Marion Rastelli



1. Raghuramaraju: Introduction to contemporary Indian Philosophy 9.20--9.40

2. Marzenna Jakubczak: A comparative perspective of Hariharānanda Āraṇya (1869--1947), a Bengali philosopher-monk 9.45--10.30

3. Pawel Odyniec: Rethinking Advaita within the colonial predicament: The confrontative philosophy of K.C. Bhattacharyya (1875-1949) 11.30--12.15

11.15--11.30 coffee break


4. P. Bilimoria: Indologism’s progenitors, devourers and critiques: Hegel, Hacker, Radhakrishnan and JL Mehta 11.30--12.15

5. Daniel Raveh: Still in Dialogue: New Discoveries in Daya Krishna's Oeuvre 12.15--13

13--14 lunch (Weltcafé, Stattkind)

chair: Alessandro Graheli

6. Gur Livneh: The Challenge of Comparative Political Philosophy: "The Political" in the philosophies of Sri Aurobindo, Daya Krishna and J.N. Mohanty 14--14.45

7. A-P Sjödin: Conceptualizing Philosophical Tradition: A Reading of Wilhelm Halbfass, Daya Krishna, and Jitendranath Mohanty 14.45--15.30

15.30--15.45 coffee break

chair: Martin Gaenszle

8 Dor Miller: Reading Derrida with Daya Krishna 15.45--16.30

9. Raghuramaraju: Reexamining the comparative philosophy between east and west: Deleuze, Guattari and Gandhi 16.30--17.15

Friday, 29.9.2017

WHERE IS INDIAN PHILOSOPHY GOING? (Politics of philosophy)

chair: Anke Graneß

10.--11. Jay Garfield and Nalini Bhushan: Indian nationalist thought, and in particular about Lala Lajpat Rai’s taxonomy and its contemporary relevance 9--10.20

12. Sharad Deshpande: In the Midst of Contemporary Indian Philosophy 10.20-11.05

11.05--11.30 coffee break


13. Bina Gupta: Tradition (Sanskrit) and Modernity (English): A Spurious Choice for Indian Philosophers 11.30--12.15

14. M. Ali: Indian Philosophy refunded on ethics 12.15--13

13--14 lunch

chair: Cristina Pecchia

15. Bhagat Oinam: Trends of philosophising in the post-independent India 14--14.45

16. Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad: Philosophy and Philology, past and future: On the history and life of ideas 14.45--15.30

coffee break 15.30--15.45


17. Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach Postcolonial Representations of Indian Philosophy 15.45--16.30

18. Elise Coquereau Politics of Addressing, Problems of Reception: to whom are Anglophone Indian Philosophers Speaking? 16.30--17.15

19. round table: How can we trigger more scholars to take advantage of contemporary Indian philosophy? 17.15--18


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