In a deeply pluralistic society, thinkers in classical India developed ways of inquiry and means of knowing that could be debated according to only those commitments one shared with one’s opponents. This implicitly acknowledged a tradition of dissent that challenged even the notion of shared commitments. Such a model may help to analyse modern society’s rather different history of social knowledge.
Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad is a Fellow of the British Academy and Distinguished Professor of Comparative Philosophy and Religion, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University. His most recent book is Human Being, Bodily Being: Phenomenology from Classical India, Oxford University Press.