Seminar: "Early Wittgenstein, Religion and Inter- religious communication"

Seminar: "Early Wittgenstein, Religion and Inter- religious communication" by Prof.  Priyambada Sarkar 


Why discuss remarks on religion of an analytic philosopher and also a philosopher of language, who had hardly remarked on these issues.. The peculiarity of his thinking in early period is that he clubbed Ethics, Aesthetics and Religion together and he referred to them as transcendental and mystical. To talk about religion in this period is problematic as, for early Wittgenstein; Religion is something which is inexpressible. Not only that, any expression of it would amount to   non-sensicalities .If religion, by definition, is non-sensical, then how could it contribute to interreligious communication?

Moreover, Wittgenstein once told M.O.C Drury: I am not a religious man, but I cannot help seeing every problem from a religious point of view’[1]. Such remarks motivate one to   explore Wittgenstein’s remarks on religion to enquire into his ‘religious point of view’. 

  In this lecture, there will be an attempt to explore how Wittgenstein was not ‘religious’ in the traditional sense of the term, while studying the journey of his life. It will be surprising to note that ‘this religious point of view’ for him incorporates both ethical and Aesthetical points of views As such, the paper will be divided into two main sections:  In the first section I will explore the journey from ‘the religious to the spiritual’ in Wittgenstein through the narrative of a so-called ‘Jew’. In the second section, I will attempt to show how it contributes to a fruitful interreligious understanding. 

About speaker:  Priyambada Sarkar is Professor of Philosophy at University of Calcutta,. She did her Ph D from King’s College,London on Wittgenstein and Solipsism under the supervision of James Hopkins and Norman Malcolm. Her areas of interest are analytic Philosophy, Applied ethics, Comparative religion and the Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore. She was a fellow in Indian institute of Advanced Study, Shimla during (2012-14) and worked on the comparative philosophy of Wittgenstein and Tagore. The manuscript entitled Language, Limits and beyond: Early Wittgenstein and Rabindranath Tagore is going to be published from OUP India in association with IIAS,Shimla at the end of 2018.Apart from these ,she authored three books 

1. Wittgenstein and solipsism. Received Grants from UGC for publication, Progressive Publishers, Kolkata 2009. 

2. Philosophical Investigations: the philosophy of Later Wittgenstein   Published by West Bengal State Book Board, March 2007 (in Bengali)

3. Sense and Reference: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language of Gottlob Frege (in Bengali): Progressive Publishers, Kolkata 2007

She edited 6 books of which the most important are: 

· Postmodernism and the Philosophical tradition: Published by the Academic staff College and the Department of Philosophy, University of Calcutta, November, 2003 

· Contributing General Editor of Skepticism, Knowledge and other related issues , published by Radiance, Kolkata, 2010 under UGC SAP DRS phase –I programme of The Department of Philosophy, University of Calcutta   

Apart from these she had contributed many articles in reputed national and international journals. She had been invited to lecture on the comparative philosophy of Wittgenstein and Tagore in Woolf institute, Westminster College, University of Cambridge and Pontifical University of St Anselmo, Rome in 2015.She had been invited to deliver lectures in Jahangir Nagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh and as a resource person in many universities in India under UGC sponsored Refresher course, Orientation course and series of extension lectures.  

Event Date: 
Monday, 11 June 2018 - 3:30pm
Seminar Hall, Department of HSS
IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai