Shyam Ranganathan
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I am a philosopher who specializes in Ethics, Political Philosophy, the Philosophy of Thought, Philosophy of Language and Philosophy of Religion, who has a research specialization in a Non-Western tradition of philosophy–namely South Asian philosophy, especially Indian moral philosophy. My advanced training in philosophy is in very basic areas of Analytic philosophy (Philosophy of Language, Ethics, Metaethics, Political Philosophy). My dissertation was on the topic of translating value discourse, which traversed issues in Ethics and the Philosophy of Thought and Language. It drew from authors in the Analytic and Continental traditions, not to mention Translation Studies and Linguistic Anthropology. It was however informed by my interest and research into Non-Western philosophy.  My recent research has focused on Moral Theory across traditions. Whereas many philosophers think about such questions in the abstract, I have (for twenty years now) taken the Indian tradition of philosophy as my test case and have argued for positions within Metaethics that would allow us to understand the rich diversity of Moral Theory from the Indian tradition, in contradistinction to the older and implausible story that India (the tradition that gave us the idea of karma) lacks all Moral Theory or serious moral philosophical reflection.  Answering these questions  has taken me to a broader philosophical position on the nature of thought, truth and objectivity. These ideas were suggested by many of the Indian philosophies that I was trying to study accurately.  Also, the project has resulted in other surprises: like moral theoretical options unheard of in the western tradition, but which solve philosophical problems.

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I am a teacher of philosophy at York University, who teaches: broad introductions to philosophy, critical reasoning, ethics, political philosophy, Asian philosophy, the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of language —at all levels.  Teaching is also an integral part of my research as it focuses on rendering accessible philosophy that might seem alien to audiences.  To render accessible what is alien, and to make explicit what seems implicit, is identical to sound pedagogy in philosophy.

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I am a translation theorist and translator. These two aspects of my work grew organically. While I wrote a dissertation on translation, I decided to translate a philosophical text from Sanskrit because I could not stand the translations on the market. Getting myself involved with the fine details of translation had a marked influence on my philosophical views and translation theory.  


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