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Module descriptions

7AAN2034 Indian Philosophy I: The Orthodox Schools


Credit value: 20
Module tutor: Dr Will Rasmussen


  • Summative assessment: one 4,000-word essay (100%)
  • Formative assessment: one 2,000–3,000-word essay


  • Summative assessment: one 4,000-word essay (100%)
  • Formative assessment: one 2,000–3,000-word essay

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Teaching pattern: one one-hour weekly lecture and one one-hour weekly seminar over ten weeks.
Pre-requisites: none
Additional information: Although it is not strictly required, students who take this module are very strongly encouraged to do so in conjunction with 7AAN2035 Indian Philosophy II: The Heterodox Schools in the second semester. 
Sample syllabus: 7AAN2034 module syllabus 2016-17.

This module (along with 7AAN2035 Indian Philosophy II: The Heterodox Schools) is intended for students who wish to gain an introduction to Indian philosophy that looks carefully at the high standard of logic, epistemology, metaphysics and linguistics that grounded the various philosophical systems. The schools most fully examined are Sankhya, Mimamsa, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, however the positions and arguments of opposing schools, such as Buddhism and Carvaka (Materialists), are regularly adduced to enhance our study. The examination of these schools makes use of translations of the primary texts and focuses upon the vigorous debate over conceptual analysis and argumentative strategies by which the schools presented their philosophical positions, defended them against attacks by other schools, and mounted in turn their own attacks. Studying Indian philosophy in this way demonstrates both the similarities and the philosophically important differences in the way the main issues of philosophy have been addressed in India and in the West. 

NB The initial lecture hour will be shared with students taking 6AANA016 Indian Philosophy: the Orthodox Schools, but they will otherwise be subject to different requirements.

Further information

Module aims

The aim is to provide students with an overview of the range of philosophical positions defended by the various schools of Indian philosophy, but to do so in a way that scrutinizes the means by which these positions were explicated and justified. The aim is, therefore, for the students to know, assess and be able to deploy the arguments and counter-arguments by which the various schools of Indian philosophy evolved, and to understand how these issues and techniques relate in illuminating ways to the philosophical activity that has been pursued in the West. By drawing upon the original texts in translation for this examination of doctrine and methodology, we aim for the students to develop their skills in the analysis and evaluation of seminal philosophical works.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a level-7 module and in particular will be able to demonstrate that they have:

  • a textually-referenced knowledge of the main systems of philosophy in India
  • the ability to deploy the philosophical techniques and argumentative strategies that can be used to defend such systems
  • the transferable skill of formulating and evaluating arguments both for and against various other kinds of philosophical positions
  • the ability to assess critically the similarities and differences across different cultures, with respect to the way philosophical issues are treated in India and in the West
Past syllabi

7AAN2034 module syllabus 2012-13 (pdf)
7AAN2034 module syllabus 2013-14 (pdf)
7AAN2034 module syllabus 2014-15 (pdf)
7AAN2034 module syllabus 2015-16 (pdf)

Please note that module syllabus and topics covered may vary from year to year.

More detailed information on the current year’s module (including the syllabus for that year) can be accessed on KEATS by all students and staff. 

The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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