Mon, 03.07.2023 – 08.07.2023

Vienna Summer School on the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia

Sanskrit texts on epistemology

The Vienna summer school on the History and Cultures of Asia will offer an intensive one-week seminar on the debate on the nature of knowledge in South Asian philosophical traditions.

The summer school will introduce participants to the epistemological theory used in Sanskrit texts. It is aimed at anyone interested in reading scientific Sanskrit works that refer to epistemological concepts. Participants will be able to work intensively with established experts based at the IKGA and the ISTB, centres renowned internationally for the study of South Asian philosophy of knowledge. The course will touch upon a variety of issues in Sanskrit epistemology, such as those of validity (prāmāṇya), the instruments of knowledge (pramāṇas), and the nature of truth. The participants will be introduced to the main theories of different schools, including Nyāya, Vyākaraṇa, Buddhist and Jaina thought. Lectures by experts on individual subjects will be combined with focused readings of relevant texts in the original Sanskrit.

Organizing institutions

Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Austrian Academy of Sciences (IKGA)
Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna (ISTB)

Course format

There will be two morning sessions with lectures on the given epistemological topic each day. The first lecture is going to examine the topic in a general way. Two afternoon sessions will be dedicated to reading Sanskrit works related to the topic. Each day will also offer a slot for students for presenting their research interests.

Teaching staff

Marco Ferrante (IKGA)
Patrick McAllister (IKGA)
Calahan Morse (ISTB/IKGA)
Cristina Pecchia (ISTB)
Akane Saito (IKGA)
Himal Trikha (ISTB)
Michael Williams (IKGA)

Outline of the program

3 July - Marco Ferrante, Do we really need pramāṇas?
4 July - Michael Williams, The problems of perception in Indian philosophy
             Himal Trikha, Reasoning and means of knowledge in the Jaina tradition
5 July - Cristina Pecchia, Is extraordinary knowledge possible? (followed by a free afternoon)
6 July - Patrick McAllister, Immediate and non-immediate types of knowledge in Buddhist literature
7 July - Akane Saito, Theory of errors in Indian philosophy
8 July - Calahan Morse, Truth and reality in Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma

Excerpts from the following works

Jayatīrtha’s Nyāyasudhā, Devanandin’s Sarvārthasiddhi, Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya, Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇavārttika, Maṇḍana Miśra’s Brahmasiddhi, Ratnakīrti’s Apohasiddhi, Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośa (bhāṣya).


Intermediate to good knowledge of scholarly Sanskrit


Students interested in acquiring credit points will obtain 5 ECTS points after a final evaluation and should contact the organizers after registration.


€ 350.– (with accommodation)
€ 100.– (without accommodation)

What is included?
Accommodation, including breakfast, for seven nights in central Vienna. Preparatory as well as accompanying course materials.


Registration will close on 31 May 2023. To apply please send a CV and a short cover letter (300 words) to Dr. Marco Ferrante (marco.ferrante(at)



3–8 July 2023

Institute for South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, Spitalgasse 2, 1090 Vienna, Austria
(seminar room no. tba)

Marco Ferrante