Islamic and Comparative Philosophy--Dr. Shankar Nair

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Dr. Nair, after a brief overview of how Islam interfaced with other pre-modern perspectives, showcases how Islamic thought engaged with Hinduism to understand it from Islam's own point of view--the usual assumption being that Islam and Hinduism are incomparable. Dr. Nair challenges this assumption by analyzing one particular text, Nizam al-Din Panipati's (16th-17th Cent) translation of a Hindu text, through a close reading of a section of this translated text. Dr. Nair reveals in the process how through engaging the Islamic philosophers, the employment of language--Arabic, Persian, and Sanskrit--and other intellectual tools, Panipati wrestled with the Hindu concept of "gods and goddesses," that most Muslims would find troublesome given their uncompromising belief in one deity. To this end, Dr. Nair casts light on the creativity of Muslim thinkers and suggests directions of engaging in comparative philosophy today. This lecture was part of a two-day event: Intellectuality and Spirituality in the Islamic Tradition--A Prelude to the Perennial Philosophy, held at The George Washington University (May 21-22, 2016). Videography courtesy of Quixotic Worx ().

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