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Title: When two worldviews meet : a dialogue between the Bhagavata Purana and contemporary biological theory
Author: Edelmann, Jonathan B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2668 2038
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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Over the past thirty years, academic dialogues on the relationships between the sciences and religions have flourished, albeit primarily within Judeo-Christian historical, theological and philosophical contexts. Can a Hindu tradition be brought into this dialogue? The Bhagavata Purana is one of the most well-known sacred texts of India, and biology, Darwinism in particular, has become one of the most spirited areas of the science and religion dialogue in academia, as well as in the popular media. This thesis examines the possibility, scope and foundational topics involved in a dialogue between Vaisnava-Hindu theology as found in the Bhāgavata, and the theoretical, philosophical and theological issues surrounding contemporary biology. To examine the possibility and scope of a Bhāgavata-science dialogue, I focus on the theological, ontological, epistemological and teleological presuppositions that each tradition bring to the study of nature, outlining the similarities and differences in their approaches. I establish the grounds for further discussion through a comparative analysis of terms such as "consciousness," "knowledge" and "goal of knowledge" as they appear in the Bhagavata and noteworthy Darwinian texts. My argument is that although prima facie the two traditions appear different in their philosophical, scientific and theological approaches, there are a number of areas of common interest and parallels, especially in their epistemologies and teleologies. In the case of genuine differences, such as their views on the ontology of consciousness, I demonstrate the possibility of reconciliation. Clarifying the conceptual differences, establishing parallels and demonstrating areas of common interests opens the possibility and widens the scope for further dialogue.
Supervisor: Brooke, John H. ; Clooney, Francis X. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Theology and Religion ; Religions of the Indian subcontinent. ; Science and religion ; Philosophy ; Ancient philosophy ; Epistemology,causation,humankind ; Oriental philosophy ; Philosophy of science ; Philosophy of mind ; South Asia ; Sanskrit ; Bhagavata Purana ; Biology ; Hinduism ; Darwinism ; Consciousness ; Ontology ; Epistemology ; Teleology