Shyam Ranganathan
Home About Me Research Publications Books Contact

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, but touched on basic questions in Epistemology and Metaphysics as my task was trying to account for how inquiry can be sustained across cultural boundaries. 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. The project has taken me to a broader position on the nature of thought, truth and objectivity than what is often assumed in the literature. These ideas that aid in cross-cultural understanding were suggested by many of the Indian philosophies that I took as the objects to be explained.  Also, the project has resulted in other surprises: moral theoretical options unheard of in the Western tradition that solve philosophical problems.