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The purpose of this project is (1) to philosophically reconstruct concepts of God in Indian theistic (or theistically inclined) traditions such as Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism, and (2) to investigate the extent to which issues explored by these traditions can contribute to the philosophy of consciousness.

Regarding (1), research questions include but are not limited to: Are any of the traditions’ concepts of God monotheistic? Or are they closer to panentheism, henotheism or polytheism? What divine properties do the traditions ascribe to their respective divinity? Can the corresponding concepts of God be described in a consistent way? Do any of these concepts of God possess an advantage over Western philosophical accounts of God?

Regarding (2): Which views on consciousness are presupposed by those concepts of God? How can these views be philosophically articulated? What are their advantages and disadvantages? Are they compatible with the modern scientific worldview? Can (the concept of) God contribute to a scientifically-consistent theory of consciousness?

Our general goal is to ask these questions of the most important theistic Indian traditions. Our narrower goal is to ask them of one primary Indian text, the Bhagavad Gita, and one prominent but underrepresented Indian theistic tradition, the bheda-abheda Vedanta Vaishnava tradition of Caitanya. As part of this project, we will publish articles, edited volumes, and journal special issues and also organize conferences, non-academic roundtables, and a paper incubator meant to help early career researchers produce high quality publishable papers on these themes. The project will help consolidate cross-cultural research within the analytic philosophy of religion that takes seriously the contributions and insights of underrepresented religions, such as those of the Indian subcontinent. It will also help sensibilize religious studies scholars about the usefulness of analytic philosophy and analytic theology