About the project

The aim of the “Fragments of Indian Philosophy” project is to establish open access editions of philosophical texts from the classical period in India that today survive only in the form of quotations or text re-uses in later works.

Classical philologists have long used the term “fragment” for such pieces of information. In fields involving textual evidence, including Indian philosophy, establishing that a section of an extant work is a fragment is an interpretive decision. Scholars searching for and collecting information related to lost texts find fragments in a great variety of forms, ranging from verbatim quotes to paraphrases, translations and vague allusions. On occasion prosopographical information can also be extracted, information about the historical or literary context of little-known or forgotten authors.

The more specific goal of this project is to undertake a systematic search for fragments in Sanskrit philosophical works of the Sāṅkhya, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Mīmāṃsā, and Lokāyata traditions. Critically investigating text fragments from these various intellectual traditions can augment what is known about a number of matters, including how the various schools interacted with one another or associated internally. It is also likely that by collecting such fragmentary material, light can be shed on open questions of chronology, a problematic issue for many of these traditions.

The long-term goal of the project is to create digital editions of these fragments. By means of hypertext, dynamic relationships can be produced between fragments and various types of annotations. Not only can fragments be linked directly to their source text, they can also be aligned with other citations, translations, etc. In addition, these digital editions can be easily revised and augmented as more evidence emerges.

This research project is currently funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF, P 27863-G24) and is being conducted at the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.