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World Philosophies: India


Admission requirements

  • This course is mandatory for first-year students enrolled in the BA programme Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives.

  • The course is available as an elective for BA students SSEAS.

  • A limited number of places is available for students from other departments. They should contact the Coordinator of Studies


The course is an introduction to several of the most influential philosophical schools and thinkers in premodern India. The course begins with a brief historical overview and an introduction to the Vedas and the Upaniṣads. The rest of the semester will introduce students to some of the most significant insights developed by the schools of Indian philosophy, such as Buddhism, Jainism, Nyāya, Vedānta and Sāṃkya. Specific topics to be discussed may include justification and the means of right knowledge (pramāṇas), the existence (or nonexistence) of a self (ātman); the existence of a supreme being (īśvara), and the study of virtuous character.

Course objectives

This course aims to:

  • introduce students to the Indian Philosophical tradition.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • basic philosophical positions and philosophical vocabulary of several of the most influential schools of Indian Philosophy.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • present this knowledge in written form (written exams);

  • formulate critical responses to these philosophical ideas and positions.


See: BA Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives

  • Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives - BA1

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load: 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours

  • Attending lectures (13 weeks x 3 hrs): 39 hours

  • Written exams (2 x 3 hours): 6 hours

  • Preparation of classes and study of the compulsory literature: 95 hours

Assessment method


  • Midterm written examination with short open questions and essay questions (50%)

  • Final written examination with short open questions and essay questions (50%)


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the two subtests.


The resit consists of one examination for all parts at once, consisting of a written examination covering the entire course content. The mark for the resit replaces all previously earned marks for subtests.

Exam review

Exam review upon request of the student organized within 30 days after publication of the exam results.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • posting of class materials, such as syllabus, study sheets etc.

Reading list

  • Gethin, Rupert. 1998. The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford University Press. (Required).

Other texts will be announced on Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Dr. S.E. Harris


Not applicable.