Mo, 18.07. – 23.07.2022

Theory of knowledge in premodern South Asia: An introduction, with reading of original Sanskrit texts

Vienna Summer School on the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia

The Vienna Summer School on the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia is offering an intensive one-week introduction to the theory 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 who has an interest in reading scholarly Sanskrit works that refer to epistemological concepts. Participants will be able to work intensively with established experts based at the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the Department of South Asian, Tibetan, and Buddhist Studies of the University of Vienna. Both institutions are internationally renowned for the study of South Asian philosophy of knowledge.

The course will focus on validity (prāmāṇya) and instruments of knowledge (pramāṇas), including perception, inferential reasoning, and verbal knowledge. The participants will be introduced to the main theories of different schools, including Nyāya, Vedānta, Buddhist, and Jaina thought. Lectures by experts on individual subjects will be combined with focused reading 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

Each day there will be two morning sessions, with lectures on the given epistemological topic. The first lecture will examine the topic in a general way. Two afternoon sessions will be dedicated to reading Sanskrit works related to the topic at hand, except on the afternoon of 20 July. Each day will also offer a slot to students to present their own research.

Teaching staff

Marco Ferrante (IKGA)
Cristina Pecchia (ISTB/IKGA)
Marcus Schmücker (IKGA)
Himal Trikha (ISTB)
Michael Williams (IKGA)


17 July - Welcome dinner
18 July - Michael Williams, Truth and knowledge in South Asian philosophy
19 July - Marcus Schmücker, The nature of perception
20 July - Michael Williams, Inference and reasoning (followed by a free afternoon)
21 July - Cristina Pecchia and Himal Trikha, Omniscience and extraordinary knowledge
22 July - Marco Ferrante, Language as an epistemic instrument
23 July - Marco Ferrante, Word meaning and sentence meaning


Intermediate to good knowledge of scholarly Sanskrit


Students can obtain five ECTS points after a final evaluation. Those interested in credit points should contact the organizers after registering.


€ 300.– (with accommodation)
€ 100.– (without accommodation)

What is included?
Preparatory and accompanying course materials, lunch for six days and welcome dinner. For those paying for accommodation: seven nights in central Vienna, including breakfast.


Registration will close on 31 May 2022. Interested candidates should send a CV and a 200-word text explaining why they would like to participate. For further information, please contact Dr. Marco Ferrante (marco.ferrante(at) or Dr. Michael Williams (michael.williams(at)




18–23 July 2022

Marco Ferrante
Marcus Schmücker
Michael Williams