India's Early Enlightenment: Lecture by Lawrence McCrea

Lawrence McCrea delivered the 7th C. R. Parekh Memorial Lecture on ‘India's Early Enlightenment: The Ideal of Rational Belief in First Millennium South Asia’. It was chaired by Shail Mayaram. The lecture was organized by Institute of Indian Thought, CSDS. 

Indian philosophers in the mid-first millennium elevated epistemology to a commanding position, insisting that all knowledge claims be grounded in complete theory of knowledge argued out from first principles. This shift, which largely cut across sectarian lines, radically transformed the approach to the most basic questions of cosmology and hermeneutics, ushering in a period in which claims regarding knowledge provided by scripture, even within the authors' own traditions, were radically scaled back, under the strain of increasingly skeptical inquiry. This talk will chart the overall contours of these developments, and consider their broader implications for Indian cultural and intellectual history. 

Lawrence McCrea has published extensively on classical Indian philosophy, poetics, and scriptural hermeneutics. He is the author, most recently, (with Yigal Bronner) of First Words, Last Words: New Theories for Reading Old Texts in Sixteenth-Century India (2021). He is currently Professor of Sanskrit Studies at Cornell University.

Shail Mayaram is Honorary Fellow at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Monday, 24 July 2023, 6 pm, Lecture Room II, Annexe, IIC, New Delhi