My role as co-investigator in the project “Cross-Cultural Conceptions of the Self: South Asia, Africa and East Asia” at Ghent University as part of the small project grants awarded by the Global Philosophy of Religion Project in the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham, supported by John Templeton Foundation involves a detailed study of the Hindu concept of the self and arguments for its persistence offered by the Indian philosopher Udayana.
Theoretically and methodologically, the project supports the Global Philosophy of Religion Project’s aim to develop cross-cultural philosophical investigations of “self” and varying conceptions for the persistence of selves. The proposal breaks with the orientalist, epistemic problematics of the “East-West” dichotomy by focusing on “persistence,” and, by orienting the ‘public debate’ around an exposition of the relatively unknown philosophical views of the 10th-century, South Asian philosopher Udayana (rather than, say, a Western European figure or school). The fothcoming research outcome, i.e., an innovative text on Udayana (Udayana’s Concept of the Self and Arguments for its Existence and Persistence) will be an example how cosmopolitan, comparativist philosophers of religion may critically engage others without defending any religious sect per se. The debate on this text will invite the collaborating scholars into dialogue, which makes theoretical pursuits in philosophy of religions a truly global, comparative and inclusive endeavour.