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PPR.350: Indian Religious and Philosophical Thought

Tutor: Dr Brian Black
Not available 2014/15

Course Description

This course will introduce major themes and issues in Indian philosophy, focusing on the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical traditions. Beginning with philosophical sections in the Upanishads and the dialogues of the Buddha, the course will trace the development of Indian philosophy from the early to the classical periods. We will cover various ethical, metaphysical, and epistemological concepts, such as: order and virtue (dharma), consequential action (karma), ultimate reality (brahman), the nature of the self (atman), the highest good (moksha), and the means for attaining knowledge (pramana). Throughout we will look at the dialogical relationship between the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical traditions, particularly the shared practice of debate.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Show acquaintance with the broad historical and systematic features of Indian philosophy of religion.
  • Have read and discussed issues central to the intellectual culture of ancient and classical Indian religion.
  • Acquired a foundation that will enable study of Hindu and Buddhist philosophical traditions at more advanced levels
  • Demonstrate that they have gained knowledge of comparative issues in Western Philosophy of Religion.


40% coursework and 60% exam.
Coursework: 1 essay of 3000 words.  Exam: 2 hours. 

Teaching Method:

Lecture (2 hours) weekly, and seminar (1 hour) fortnightly.

Introductory Reading

Matilal, B K                                              Logical and Ethical Issues of Religious Belief.

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