Donnerstag, 21. Mrz 2024, 17:30 - 19:00 iCal

Dharmakīrti versus Akalaṅka

on the Nature, Object, and Structure of Perception

Seminarraum 1 des Instituts für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
Campus der Universität Wien, Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2.7, 1090 Wien


Public lecture by Dr. Shree Nahata | University of Oxford


This talk will present the philosophical debate between the Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti and the Jaina philosopher Akalaṅka regarding the nature, object, and structure of perception (pratyakṣa) qua source of knowledge (pramāṇa).

We shall see that there are three main points of contention between Dharma-kīrti’s and Akalaṅka’s theories of perception: Is perception non-conceptual (Dharmakīrti) or conceptual (Akalaṅka) in nature? Does perception apprehend mental forms internal to awareness (Dharmakīrti) or mind-independent external objects (Akalaṅka)? And, is perception structured non-dualistically (Dharmakīrti) or dualistically (Akalaṅka)?

We will examine each point of contention by (a) exploring the philosophical issue at stake, (b) reconstructing and analysing the arguments advanced by both philosophers for their respective positions, and (c) offering some initial evaluation of the arguments.

The talk will conclude with some reflections on the respective philosophical merits of Dharmakīrti’s and Akalaṅka’s theories of perception as well as the historical significance of this Buddhist-Jaina philosophical debate. We shall see how Akalaṅka’s polemical refutation of Dharmakīrti leads him to a thorough-going perceptual conceptualism and a defiant common-sense realism, a distinctive combination of commitments not found in the works of his philoso-phical predecessors and contemporaries.


About the speaker:

Shree Nahata recently completed his PhD at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Oxford. His thesis consists in the comparative study of the theories of perception presented in this talk. Beside Buddhist and Jaina philosophy his research interests include Sanskrit and Persian poetry.



Zur Webseite der Veranstaltung


Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde


Judith Starecek
Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde in Kooperation mit der Indischen Botschaft, Wien
4277 43502