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Global Philosophy Research Interest Group Talk (Birgit Kellner, Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Friday May 12, 2023, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

The Global Philosophy Research Interest Group is delighted to welcome as guest speaker Birgit Kellner, a Buddhologist and Tibetologist who since 2015 has served as the director of the Institute for Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia in Vienna, part of the Austrian Academy of Science. Previously, she was a Humboldt Fellow at the University of Hamburg, as well as a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2010 she joined the University of Heidelberg as a professor of Buddhist Studies within the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context.”

This is an in-person event, but those wishing to can also join the livestream.

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Passcode: 128515

Talk Title

Allies, Adversaries . . .  or Something Else? On Contextualism and Philosophical Engagement in the Study of Indian Buddhist Philosophy

Talk Abstract

The study of Indian Buddhist philosophy in Europe, Northern America, as well as Japan has historically been dominated by a historico-philological approach. Scholars have pored over Sanskrit manuscripts that are frequently preserved only in fragments, and painstakingly studied this evidence with the help of historical Chinese and Tibetan translations. They have struggled to establish relative chronologies in historical settings where external data is scarce; they have reconstructed important debates and traced the development of theories, ideas and arguments. Implicit in such endeavours is a contextualism that considers “philosophy” as a historically situated and culturally contextualized enterprise. As the academic discipline of philosophy extends its gaze towards Asian traditions, studies that philosophically engage with their ideas and explore them on the backdrop of contemporary (often analytic) philosophy have gained ground, and at times issued challenges to historico-philological approaches and their contextualism. This talk will outline contextualism and philosophical engagement as two distinct approaches, drawing on the field of Indian Buddhist philosophy in particular, and it will advance an argument about how they are, or should be, related to each other.

The Global Philosophy Research Interest Group explores the benefits of drawing on diverse traditions of thought in approaching philosophical questions. These include novel insights into familiar problems, new questions and research directions, and fresh methodologies. We work to deprovincialize and decolonize all aspects of philosophy in the academy. The group currently has strengths in Sanskrit philosophy, and Chinese philosophy, Indian philosophy in English, and classical Islamic philosophy.



Friday May 12, 2023
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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Global Philosophy Research Interest Group


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