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D16 Reasoning in South Asian and Tibetan Buddhism (project completed)

Reasoning in South Asian and Tibetan Buddhism - intellectual practices across the Indo-Tibetan transcultural sphere

Coordination: Markus Viehbeck, Birgit Kellner

Abstract

The introduction of Buddhism in Tibet beginning with the 7th century CE initiated one of the most extensive, penetrating and complex cases of asymmetrical transcultural flows in world history, chiefly from South Asia to Tibet. Encompassing not only religious beliefs and practices, but also worldly knowledge systems such as medicine or grammar, as well as philosophical theories and methods of argumentation, the Tibetan appropriation of Buddhism offers a fertile ground for historically situated and culturally contextualized analyses of methods of reasoning as they are applied across diverse fields of knowledge – analyses that are, in turn, a prerequisite for understanding intellectual practices, their development and their role within transcultural processes at large.

Motivated by such considerations, this project explores complex patterns of argumentation in the learned traditions of South Asian and Tibetan Buddhism. By looking at such patterns in selected religio-philosophical treatises, we aim to complement existing studies on logic in pre-modern South Asia and Tibet that have instead focused on indigenous logical theories; with this, we also hope to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between explicit standards for the validity of arguments and norms that are implicit in patterns of reasoning, across the Indo-Tibetan transcultural sphere.

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Coordination

Birgit Kellner
Markus Viehbeck

Group members

Jonathan Samuels

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