Winchester Skeptics: " Nāstika: Atheism in Indian Philosophy"

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The Winchester Discovery Centre

Jewry Street · Winchester

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This is an external event hosted by Winchester Skeptics in the Pub

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Basingstoke Cafe Sci subscribers are invited to the talk hosted by Winchester Skeptics In The Pub. Tonight's talk is titled “Nāstika: Atheism in Indian Philosophy” and is hosted by Dr Surja Datta is a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes University.

Winchester Skeptics hosts a guest speaker on the last Thursday of every month. They provide an opportunity for people who are interested in science, skepticism, rationalism and critical thinking to socialise and discuss matters of interest.

Indian philosophy is full of interesting ideas on materialism and atheism. This might come as a surprise to many. In the popular Western imagination, India is a land that is full of mystical gurus and religious fervor; a spiritual hotbed- a place where you ‘find yourself’, whatever that may mean. So, the news that the idea of ‘falsificationism’ was anticipated by Indian materialists (known as Charvakas) 1700 years before Karl Popper came up with the argument, may lead to cognitive dissonance. Indian materialists denounced the authority of the Vedas, ridiculed the idea of reincarnation, and rejected mind-body dualism. In fact, there is very little in Indian materialism that is not backed up by modern science.

The talk will focus on the main tenets of Indian materialism originating from the atheist branch of Indian philosophy, alternately called Charvaka, Lokāyata, and Bṛhaspatya. It will also suggest reasons for their obscurity in India and elsewhere.

Dr Surja Datta is a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. His latest book "A History of the Indian University System: Emerging from the Shadows of the Past" is published by Palgrave Macmillan. His current book project is provisionally titled "The Creative Society: Calcutta 1815- 1955”. Surja became interested in Indian materialism while researching for his current book.


Tonight the suggested donation on the door is £3 for entry into a book raffle.

The Licensed front cafe bar at the Winchester Discovery Centre area will be open from 7.00pm. The talks for Winchester Skeptics in the Pub start at 7.30pm in the main theatre.

After the show, there is a group of Skeptics who go to the nearby Gurkha Inn for a late night curry. Everyone is welcome to join in if there is space ... it is first come, first served on spaces.

This event is hosted by the Winchester Skeptics in the Pub