Philosophy

The core philosophy faculty of the HSS department are Sanil V., Bijoy Boruah, C A Tomy, Bharati Puri, Divya Dwivedi, and Arudra Burra; many other HSS faculty members also share philosophical interests, particularly in the areas of literature and linguistics. The unit encompasses a range of research interests, including philosophical aesthetics and the philosophy of literature, the philosophy of mind, consciousness, and cognition, the philosophy of psychoanalysis, moral and political philosophy, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, classical and contemporary Indian thought, peace studies, and studies of culture, religion, and politics.

Philosophy Faculty

Assistant Professor
Associate Professor
Professor
Professor
Assistant Professor
Associate Professor
Professor

Philosophy Courses

Course Number: HUL 354 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The course begins by registering the increased presence of technology in contemporary art. We shall keep the experiences of both classical Greece and Classical India alive where art and technology were not clearly separated in the manner familiar to us. By positioning us between these two experiences - classical and contemporary we shall critically examine the complex relationship between art, science and technology which characterizes modernity. The course uses both materials from philosophical aesthetics, philosophy of science and technology. It also discusses the philosophical writings on specific areas like architecture, photography, cinema and digital art.

Course Number: HUL 356 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

This course offers a critical introduction to the essential thought, values and practices in/of Buddhist traditions across time and place. Literature on Buddhism and Buddhist literature brings out the historical, philosophical and political synthesis of Buddhism in ever new cultural contexts. Interrogating and contextualizing engagements of Buddhism‘s classical roots in modernity will be a key concerns in this course.

Course Number: HUL 883 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

This course will explore western critical theory from antiquity to the present and measure its efficacy when applied to a literary text. Ideas of nimesis, fiction truth, art and society, art and gender will be studied with regard to different "schools" of critical theory: Platonic, Aristotelian, Renaissance, Romantic, Formalist, Structuralist, Poststructuralist, Deconstructionist and Feminist. Since the material is vast, only three or four topics will be studied in a semester.

Course Number: HUL 256 | Credits: 4
Course Objective:

What makes philosophical thinking radically critical? Investigation of the nature of knowledge about the world and justification of knowledge claims. Metaphysical understanding of the Absolute and Mind-Body relation. The nature of ethical and aesthetic beliefs and attitudes as part of understanding the nature of values. The discussion of the above issues will be influenced by three philosophical orientational perspectives: Anglo-American Analytic, Continental Phenomenological and Classical Indian.

Course Number: HUL 845 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

To acquaint the student with (a) philosophical concepts underlying thinking about the environmental crisis and (b) the models of human-nature relationship found in some of the classical philosophical systems of India. Contents: (a) What is 'environment'? (b) Conceptual basis for the split between 'nature' and 'culture' (c) Philosophical theories about the environment: Utilitarianism: Deep Ecology: Ecofeminism. (d) Nonnhumans as recipients of moral consideration (e) Environment and Gender (f) Enviroment and Development (g) The Third World perspective (h) Revisioning Ethics, Metaphysics and Epistemology in the light of the above debates.

Course Number: HUL 251 | Credits: 4
Course Objective:

In this course, students are introduced to fundamentals of informal logic and verbal analysis, material and formal fallacies of reasoning often found ordinary discourse, deductive and Inductive reasoning, validity and soundness, formal rules and principles of the deductive system of Aristotelian logic, traditional square of opposition; propositional calculus; first order predicate calculus; the modern square of opposition and the problem of existential import; identity and definite descriptions; methods for formulating natural language arguments in symbolic forms and techniques for checking their validity; various meta-logical theorems and their proofs.

Course Number: HUL 359 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The course is a critical study of the problem of the self taken to be a substance by some and denied to have any substantial reality by others. Focus will be given on examining the worldview from which stems the idea of a continuing self, as a subject of consciousness and agent of action. Questions about whether it is material or immaterial, real or nominal object will centre the ontological investigation into the nature of the self. Special consideration will be given to the issue of self-awareness and self-reference, and its relation to the linguistic phenomenon of the first-person pronoun 'I'.

Course Number: HUL 253 | Credits: 4
Course Objective:

This is primarily a course in applied ethics. It will focus primarily on questions like: What is the meaning of right action? Can ethical assertions be true or false? Is morality relative to society? Or can we say that acts have universal moral content? The course discussions will help to demonstrate that morality is not always self-evident and that rational morality must come in place of taboo based moralities.

Course Number: HUL 353 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

This course addresses various philosophical questions that arise from the recent developments in evolutionary biology, genetics, immunology, sociobiology, molecular biology and synthetic biology. How do these developments affect our ideas about life, evolution and the place of man in relation to other living beings. What is the nature of explanation in biological sciences? Does the idea of immunity demand rethinking on the nature of our embodied self? What can biological sciences tell us about healing, pain and death?

Course Number: HUL 846 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

Nature of cinematic representation: Illusion, image, reality. Perception of image: Analytical, cognitive and phenomenological theories, Interpretation of film: meaning, authorship, Intention, Image and emotional response. Film Theories: Classical theories: Eisenstein, Arnheim, Bazin, Pudovkin, Contemporary theories: Semiotics, Psychoanalysis, Marxism, Poststructuralism, Feminism, Auteur theory. Aesthetics of Film: Cinema as art, entertainment and technology, Cinema's relationship with literature and other arts, Cinema and Digital Art, Aesthetics of interactive cinema, Aesthetics of special effects.

Course Number: HUL 355 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

What defines the Indian tradition? Is there a singular Indian tradition or is there a plurality of Indian traditions in the public sphere today? How do these find representation in the modern and textual frameworks? Is modernity antithetical to tradition? The aim of this course is to take up these varied questions along with their nuances to understand and re-negotiate Indian intellectual traditions. In this course, the examination of sources, structure, texts and exemplars from Indian intellectual tradition provide a theoretical framework for the discussion of contemporary political and social issues. Economic development, social justice, religion and the nation, communalism and secularism, caste, class and gender equality are themes to be addressed. The political misuse of tradition in programs of reform and revival both in the past and in modern times will be highlighted to underline the need for rethinking Indian Philosophy and intellectual tradition in an academically rigorous manner. This course will also take into cognisance the intellectual history of the ancient past as it comes through the Vedic thought and its contestations.

Course Number: HUL 351 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

What kind of understanding of the past does history provide? Is it speculative or analytical? What constitutes historical evidence and how does it confine historical understanding? Questions of objectivity are the central focus of this course: that of historians themselves— constructionist and objectivist— as they debate methodological issues and disagreements about the aim of their discipline, and that of philosophers whose interest in history springs from their attention on history‘s objectivist ideals and "the objectivity crisis" in history providing a philosophical rationale for reframing the two oppositions that dominate debates about the status of historical knowledge.

Course Number: HUL 358 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

An appreciation of how the fundamental mental concepts are essentially amenable to philosophical sense over and above their usual psychological understanding and analysis. To explain why our mental conceptual scheme does not easily admit of their reduction to physical conceptual scheme. To reflect on whether mentally endowed human person differ, ontologically, from the rest of nature.

Course Number: HUL 357 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

Science is regarded as the most significant cogntive enterprise of the modern society. In view of this, the course addresses the question what sets science apart from other epistemic activities. Further It concentrates on debates on the nature of scientific methods, logical reconstruction of scientific explanation, the relation between theories and laws on the one hand, and empirical evidence on the other, the nature of the justification and the notion of truth involved in scientific knowledge, and the societal influence on scientific practice.

Course Number: HUL 841 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The major issues to be discussed in this course include: (a) scientific explanation; (b) theories of confirmation of a scientific hypothesis; (c) theoretical-observational terms/distinction; (d) problem of induction; and (e) the problems of theory choice. A survey of the historical development of the twentieth-century philosophy of science will be provided. Some historical episodes in science will be employed to gain a better understanding of the issues to be discussed.

Course Number: HUL 840 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

Some of the key issues which arise in social sciences will be discussed in this course. These are: (1) What is 'out there' in the social universe ? (2) What are the most fundamental properties of the social world? (3) What kind(s) of analysis of these properties is (are) possible and/ or appropriate? (4) What are the natures of theory, law, and explanation? (5) Problems of reductionism. (6) Problems of free will versus determinism, purposeful behaviour, interpretations of actions. (7) Philosophical issues specific to various social sciences, e.g., philosophical bases of various economic theories, or of theories of psychology, or issues regarding the assumptions concerning human nature made by various social science disciplines.

Course Number: HUL 352 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The course will begin by exploring the worldview implicit in the Vedas, the Upanisads, and the orthodox systems and then move on to the rejection of this entire sytem in Buddhism and Materialism. Emphasis will be led on the diversity of systems and healthy dialogue between antagonistic schools of thought. Discussions will focus on the nature of consciousness in relation to cognition of reality, theories of reality in terms of realism and anti-realism; the nature of self and no-self theory, theories of perceptual knowledge, theories of error; theories of causation and other relations, and key concepts of moral and aesthetic thought. Wherever appropriate, problems will be discussed in comparison with parallel discussions in western philosophy

Course Number: HUL 360 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The course will introduce students to selected topics in Philosophy as decided by the instructor.

Course Number: HUL 252 | Credits: 4
Course Objective:

As closely aligned areas in philosophy– social philosophy with the role of individual in society and political philosophy with the role of government- this course bridges divides between social theory, political philosophy, and the history of social and political thought as also between empirical and normative analysis through perspectives from metaphysics, epistemology and axiology. A range of socio-political thinkers, theories and concepts will be taught. It will provide a broad survey of fundamental social and political questions in current contexts discussing philosophical issues central to political thought and radical critiques of current political theories.

Course Number: HUL 843 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The twentieth century is one which has been said to mark a 'linguistic turn' in philosophy. This course will examine the basic sense/reference, truth/falsity, denotative/ connotative, meaning/use, analytic/ synthetic, argument/predicate, intension/extension dichotomies as they are explored in post-Fregean analytic philosophy. Five or six distinct strains of philosophical opinion are salient for this course. They are (A) the logical positivism associated, with Ayer et. a!. (B) Witgenstein's 'picture' and 'game' theories of meaning; (C) the speech-act theory of Austin and Searle; (D) the Gricean maxims of conversational cooperation and non-natural meaning; (E) the 'pragmatism' of Quine on webs of meaning, Davidson on truth and interpretation and Rorty on philosophy as conversation and social conduct; (F) the writings of continental 'non-analytic' philosophers such as Derrida and Habermas who hold opposed positions on the nature of language. The views of Kripke, Dummett and Dennett among philosophers and Chomsky, Katz and Fodor among linguists will also be discussed. The course may have a seminar format in which particular topics are considered in depth and short papers are prepared by students.

Course Number: HUL 842 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The aim of this course is to understand Plato's writings on a variety of topics, and see the connection between these writings and more contemporary philosophical discussions.