Professor Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad
Professor of Comparative Philosophy and Religion, Department of Religious Studies, Lancaster University.
B.A., M.A. (Sri Sathya Sai Institute), M.A., D.Phil (Oxford).
Ram-Prasad is currently working on different senses of 'self' in brahmanical and Buddhist systems, which distinguish between a core conception of the self (the atman) and more extended notions of personhood. His focus is on disambiguating disputes about the self in contemporary philosophy through the template of the classical Indian debates. Specific topics include:
- The provocative conflation of misidentified and constructed ego ('ahamkara') with all uses of the 'I' (aham) in Advaita Vedanta, and what that might mean for the relationship between the reflexivity of consciousness and self-ascription of conscious experience;
- The very notion of inauthentic senses of self (centring on the notion of ego or the 'I'-maker (ahamkara)) in classical India and their gnoseological and ethical implications for contemporary debates about agency;
- The possibility of re-evaluating ideas about individuality (especially in political theory) through a study of the interaction between core and extended senses of self in classical India within the framework of dharma;
- The collision of metaphysical and ethical questions about agency in the Bhagavadgita and their relationship to the concept of the Divine Person in the text.
"Saving the Self? Classical Hindu Theories of Consciousness and Contemporary Physicalism", Philosophy East and West 51/3 (2001).
Indian Philosophy and the Consequences of Knowledge: Themes in Ethics, Metaphysics and Soteriology (Aldershot: Ashgate 2007)
Professor, Department of Philosophy, Sussex University. Currently on a Leverhuleme fellowship.
B.A. (Cambridge), M.A. (Kings College London), D.Phil (Oxford).
Building on the ideas in his recent book, The Concealed Art of the Soul: Theories of Self and Practices of Truth in Indian Ethics and Epistemology (Oxford: Clarendon 2007), and his articles "Cross-modality and the self", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2000) and "Self-intimation, memory and personal identity", Journal of Indian Philosophy 27 (1999), Jonardon Ganeri is working on the following topics:
- Reductionist and Performativist readings of Buddhist no-self theory, including subjectivity and the minimal self and the role of self-models.
- Vaiśeṣika models of mind, self and cognitive architecture.
- Early modern Navya-Nyāya discussion of selfhood as a natural kind.
- The Indian materialist tradition (Cārvāka), including formulations and critiques of physicalism.
- Self and morality, including the nature of therapeutic exercises.
"Self-intimation, memory and personal identity", Journal of Indian Philosophy 27 (1999)
"Cross-modality and the self", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2000)
The Concealed Art of the Soul: Theories of Self and Practices of Truth in Indian Ethics and Epistemology (Oxford: Clarendon 2007)
B.A. (St. Petersburg State University), M.A. (SOAS London),
Irina Kuznetsova has worked as a lecturer at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and at the University of Cambridge before joining Lancaster University as a Research Associate on ‘Hindu Senses of the Self: Responses to Buddhist Critiques’ project.
Kuznetsova’s current research is based on the ātmavāda – anātmavāda debate between the Pratyabhijñā school of Kashmir Śaivism and the Logico-Epistemological school of Buddhism in Utpaladeva’s Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikā.
Dharma in Ancient Indian Thought: Tracing the Continuity of Ideas from the Vedas to the Mahābhārata (Aylesbeare: Hardinge Simpole 2007).
M.A. in Buddhist Studies (University of Sunderland)
The thesis under the working title “A Selfless Response to an Illusory World - A Comparative Study of Śāntideva and Śaṅkara” takes a structural look at the ethical consequences of the apparent lack of individual agency which seems to follow from both Śāntideva’s and Śaṅkara’s ultimate views on selfhood. Their challenge to realist and pluralist metaphysics of selves as well as their denial of subjective idealism will be traced in parallel, offering a demonstration of their distinct starting points but common methodology.
M.A. in Indian Religions (SOAS London)
The thesis under the working title “The Mind-Body Problem in Praśastapāda’s Metaphysics” will examine the classical Vaiśeṣika philosopher Praśastapāda’s metaphysics of self: a non-Cartesian, realist position elucidatedin his, ‘Compendium of Metaphysics’ (Padārthadharmasaṃgraha). I propose this as a more fruitful framework in many respects than (‘non-reductive’) physicalism, for resolving the cluster of problems associated with mental causation and consciousness, which constitute the ‘mind-body problem’. The thesis will examine how solutions to these problems may be approached through Praśastapāda’s specific conceptions of the ‘categories’ of being and of ‘substance’, his ontological and explanatory accounts of agency and consciousness, purpose, mechanism and norm in causation, and the unity of objects.
I joined the Department of Religious Studies at Lancaster University in January 2008 as administrator for this project.
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