Conference in July

International Conference ‘Cosmology and the Self in Ancient India and Ancient Greece’ in Exeter on 9-12 July 2014.

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 International Conference ‘Cosmology and the Self in Ancient India and Ancient Greece’ in Exeter on 9-12 July 2014.

Provisional programme


6.30pm  Drinks Reception

7.30 pm Dinner


Richard Seaford (University of Exeter), India and Greece


 9.15am-12.45  Broad Comparison


Nick Allen (Wolfson College, Oxford), The common-origin approach to comparing early Indian and Greek philosophy


Matylda Obryk (Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf), A Generic Development of Human Thought. On the causes for similarities between Indian and Greek Thought


Discussion of Allen and Obryk.

10.45-11.15  Coffee Break.


John Bussanich (University of New Mexico), Plato and Yoga.


Alexis Pinchard (CNRS and Lycée Militaire d’Aix en Provence), Does the Concept of theôria Fit the Beginning of Indian Thought ?


Discussion of Bussanich and Pinchard.

 12.45 Lunch Break

 2pm-5.30 The Self


Paolo Visigalli (Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich)

From the Body of the Sacrifice to the Self of the Body: speculations on the “Self” in Vedic India.


Greg Bailey (La Trobe University), Ātman and its Transition to Worldly Existence.


Discussion of Visigalli and Bailey

3.30-4  Tea break


Hyun Höchsmann (East China Normal University, Shanghai), Cosmology, Psyche and Atman in the Timaeus, the Rig Veda  and the Upanishads


Agnieszka Rostalska (Ghent University), Early theory of the self (ātman) in Nyāya-Vaiśeika metaphysics

5pm-5.30 Discussion of Andrade and Rostalska


General discussion if requested.

7.30pm  Dinner.


9.15am-12  Chariots


Jens Schlieter (University of Berne), Master the Chariot, Master your Self”: Comparing Chariot Metaphors as Hermeneutics for Mind, Self and Liberation in Ancient Greek and Indian Sources.


Alexander Forte and Caley Smith (Harvard University), The Parallel Reception of Traditional Poetry in Early Philosophy.


Paolo Magnone (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan), Soul Chariots in Indian and Greek Thought: Polygenesis or Diffusion?


Coffee break


Discussion of Chariots


Emma Syea (King’s College, London), Nietzsche on Greek and Indian Philosophy.


Discussion of Syea.


Lunch break

 2pm-3.30 Cosmic Order


Joanna Jurewicz (Warsaw University), Philosophy begins in the gveda. From experience to abstraction: the Concept of tá.


Aditi Chaturvedi (University of Pennsylvania), Harmonia and tá.


Discussion of Cosmic Order.


Tea break

 4pm-5.30  Heterodox Schools of thought.


Ranabir Chakravarti (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), Materialist questioning of the atman/self in the axial age: with special reference to the charvaka/lokayata school.


Susmita Basu Majumdar (University of Calcutta), Reading between lines: unfurling the ajivaka religious philosophy.


Discussion of Heterodox Schools of thought.


General discussion if requested.

7.30pm   Dinner


 9.15am-12  Ethics and Metaphysics


Mik Burley (University of Leeds), Rebirth and ‘Ethicization’ in Greek and South Asian Thought.


Richard Fynes (de Montfort University), The Currency of Merit in Early Buddhism.


Richard Stoneman (University of Exeter), The Greeks on the Justice of the Indians.

10.45am-11.15  Coffee break


Discussion of Ethics and Metaphysics.


General Discussion

1pm    Lunch


2 thoughts on “Conference in July

  1. Brett Shults

    Dear Professors,

    I too congratulate you on this most interesting project, and wish it and you much success.

    In your post you say that “In the voluminous Indian texts of our period there is not a single reference to anything Greek”; in the accompanying note you mention Panini. What about Pali texts? There is a well known passage at MN ii 149 that refers to what must be Greeks (yona):

    taṃ kiṃ maññasi assalāyana sutaṃ te yonakambojesu aññesu ca paccantimesu janapadesu dveva vaṇṇā ayyo ceva dāso ca ayyo hutvā dāso hoti dāso hutvā ayyo hotī ti

    “What do you think, Assalāyana – have you heard that among the Yona and Kamboja peoples and in other bordering nations there are only two classes: only master and slave, and that having been a master one becomes a slave, and having been a slave one becomes a master?”

    Of course it is sometimes hard to tell whether locatives of the above ~esu kind are meant to refer precisely to peoples or to places (i.e. “in Yona and Kamboja”), or if the author can even draw the distinction, but either way the passage is interesting.

    1. Richard Seaford Post author

      Thanks. The passage you cite is enormously interesting, and is to be compared with the statement in the 13th rock edict of Asoka that among the Yonas (Greeks) there are no Brahmins and Sramanas (the absence of a priestly caste among the Greeks is of great interest to the project of comparing Greek with Vedic thought).
      As for the dating, my remark displayed unjustifiable certainty. All I (as a mere Hellenist) can say is that the experts disagree. E.g. Bronkhorst in Buddhism in the Shadow of Brahminism (2011) 35-6 argues for a post-Alexander date for the Assalayana Sutta, and against Halbfass’ 1995 argument for a pre-Alexander date. What I should have said is that there is in the Indian texts that certainly belong to our period (pre-326 BCE) not a single reference to anything Greek.

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