Bimal Krishna Matilal

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Bimal Krishna Matilal (1935–1991) was an Indian philosopher whose influential writings present the Indian philosophical tradition as being concerned with the same issues as have been the theme in Western philosophy. From 1977 to 1991 he was the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics at Oxford University.

Fluent in Sanskrit from an early age, Matilal was also drawn towards Mathematics and Logic. He was trained in the traditional Indian philosophical system by leading scholars of the Sanskrit College, where he himself was a teacher from 1957 to 1962. He was taught by scholars like pandit Taranath Tarkatirtha and Kalipada Tarkacharya. He also interacted with pandit Ananta Kumar Nyayatarkatirtha, Madhusudan Nyayacharya and Visvabandhu Tarkatirtha. The upadhi (degree) of Tarkatirtha (master of Logic) was awarded to him in 1962.

While teaching at Sanskrit College (an affiliated college of the University of Calcutta) between 1957 and 1962, Matilal came in contact with the Indologist Daniel Ingalls of Harvard University, who encouraged him to join the PhD program there. Matilal secured a Fulbright Fellowship and completed his PhD under Ingalls on the Navya Nyaya doctrine of negation, between 1962 and 1965. During this period he also studied with W.V.O. Quine. Subsequently, he was professor of Sanskrit at the University of Toronto, and in 1977 he was elected as Spalding Professor at Oxford University, succeeding Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and RC Zaehner.

In his work, he presented the Indian systems of logic, particularly Nyaya-Vaishesika, Mimamsa and Buddhist philosophy, as being relevant in modern philosophical discourse. This was in contrast with the German approach to Indian studies, often called Indology, which prefers minute grammatical study as opposed to a concern for the development of the ideas as a whole in the general philosophical context. Thus, Matilal presented Indian Philosophical thought more as a synthesis rather than a mere exposition. This helped create a vibrant revival of interest in Indian philosophical tradition as a relevant source of ideas rather than a dead discipline.

He was also the founder editor of the Journal of Indian Philosophy.

Matilal died of cancer on June 8, 1991.

Works by Matilal[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Berg, Jan (Dec 1975). "Epistemology, Logic, and Grammar in Indian Philosophical Analysis. by Bimal Krishna Matilal". The Journal of Symbolic Logic 40 (4): 578–579. 
  2. ^ Rocher, Rosane (Apr–Jun 1975). "Epistemology, Logic, and Grammar in Indian Philosophical Analysis by Bimal K. Matilal". Journal of the American Oriental Society 95 (2): 331–332. 
  3. ^ Sen, Pranab Kumar (Jan 1989). "Logic, Language and Reality. by Bimal Krishna Matilal". Mind. New Series 98 (389): 150–154. 
  4. ^ Trotignon, Pierre (AVRIL-JUIN 1988). "Perception. An Essay on Classical Indian Theories of Knowledge by Bimal Krishna Matilal". Revue Philosophique de la France et de l'Étranger. APOLOGÉTIQUE TEMPORALITÉ MONDE SENSIBLE 178 (2): 216–217. 
  5. ^ Jha, V. N. (1995). "THE WORD AND THE WORLD (India's Contribution to the Study of Language) by Bimal Krishna Matilal". Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute 76 (1/4): 172–173. 
  6. ^ Gerow, Edwin (Feb 2000). "The Character of Logic in India by Bimal Krishna Matilal; Jonardon Ganeri; Heeraman Tiwari". The Journal of Asian Studies 59 (1): 203–205. 
  7. ^ Werner, Karel (1999). "The Character of Logic in India by Bimal Krishna Matilal; Jonardon Ganeri; Heeraman Tiwari". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 62 (1): 155. 
  8. ^ Barnhart, Michael G. (Oct 2001). "The Character of Logic in India by Bimal Krishna Matilal; Jonardon Ganeri; Heeraman Tiwari". Philosophy East and West. Nondualism, Liberation, and Language: The Infinity Foundation Lectures at Hawai'i, 1997-2000 51 (4): 556–559. 
  9. ^ Taber, John A. (Oct–Dec 2001). "The Character of Logic in India by Bimal Krishna Matilal; Jonardon Ganeri; Heeraman Tiwari". Journal of the American Oriental Society 121 (4): 681–683. 
  1. Heeraman Tiwari, Introduction to the Logical and Ethical Issues: An essay on the Indian Philosophy of Religion, University of Calcutta 1982.
  2. J.N. Mohanty, Introduction to Relativism, Suffering and Beyond: Essays in Memory of Bimal K. Matilal, Oxford University Press 1997.
  3. Daniel Ingalls, In Memoriam Bimal Krishna Matilal, Journal of Indian Philosophy 1991

External links[edit]