CLST 031. Consciousness: Perspectives from Sanskrit and Beyond

Who am I? The study of "consciousness" has been of interest to scientists, philosophers, and laypeople alike for millennia. Its intangible nature, however, has made consciousness difficult to define. How can we describe something that we cannot perceive with our senses? We can know what it is like to perceive, and what it is like to have consciousness, but it has proven difficult to actually pinpoint with a measure of certainty what consciousness actually is. Over time, thinkers from around the world have offered different theories of consciousness. This course will study theories that arose from the intellectual milieu of the Indian subcontinent from Vedic times to the present. What is consciousness? How can we study it? What is its relationship to our bodies? Is there a self? What is our relationship to the world? We will discuss these questions and more by reading source texts in translation and secondary literature from different ancient, medieval, pre-modern, and modern South Asian philosophical schools including Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Sikh, and Sufi philosophies.
1 credit.
Eligible for ASIA
Spring 2023. Khanna.
Spring 2025. Khanna.
Catalog chapter: Classics  
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