Northwestern Events Calendar


Blaze Marpet (NU): Philosophy, Happiness, and Liberation: Protreptic in Plato and Vātsyāyana

Smoke rises from the funerary pyre of the monkey king Vali

When: Friday, October 21, 2022
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM CT

Where: Online
Webcast Link

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Blaze Marpet  

Group: Global Antiquities

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings


In Plato’s Euthydemus, Socrates offers a famous protreptic argument—that is, one intended to exhort his audience to practice philosophy. Socrates' thinking is that insofar as philosophy is instrumental to our happiness and we desire to be happy, we ought to practice philosophy.  The 4th century Brahmanical logician Pakṣilasvāmin Vātsyāyana offers a strikingly similar argument, but the protreptic nature of his argument has not been sufficiently appreciated. The aim of this talk is to analyze Vātsyāyana's argument as a protreptic much akin to Socrates'. Doing so illuminates the importance of philosophical doubt in Vātsyāyana's thought, as well as the relation between pleasure and liberation from suffering.

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