Research Interests: Indian Philosophy (darśanaśāstra), Sanskrit, Epics (Mahābhārata & Rāmāyaṇa)
Shishir Saxena is a scholar of Indian Philosophy and Sanskrit. His work explores especially the epistemological debates on language and perception in the Indian philosophical tradition, and he has recently also become interested in philologically and philosophically exploring the two epics Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata. He teaches several courses in Philosophy (especially Indian Philosophy), and also offers introductory grammar and advanced reading courses in Sanskrit.
He was pursuing his post-doctoral research (2018-19) at the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia (IKGA) in Vienna prior to joining Ahmedabad University. He received his PhD (2019) and MPhil (2014) from the University of Cambridge, prior to which he studied for an MA (2013) at the Banaras Hindu University. His earlier education includes a bachelor’s degree in Physics and an MBA in finance, subsequent to which he spent five years in consulting in Mumbai before beginning his studies in Indian Philosophy.
Shishir's PhD thesis, titled "Linguistic and Phenomenological Theories of Verbal Cognition in Mīmāṃsā", was a philosophical and philological study of the two Mīmāṃsā theories of sentential meaning (abhihitānvaya and anvitābhidhāna) with a focus on the two seminal texts Vākyārthamātṛkā-I and Kāśikāṭīkā. Modern scholarship is scarce with regard to both these works, and the thesis presented a translation/paraphrase of the several levels of argumentation found in the Vākyārthamātṛkā-I as well as an annotated edition and translation of the yet unpublished Kāśikāṭīkā on Ślokavārttika Vākyādhikaraṇa vv.110cd-112ab based on the study of two manuscripts.
At the IKGA, Shishir was part of the WWTF project ‘Reasoning Tools for Deontic Logic and Applications to Indian Sacred Texts’, a cross-disciplinary team which included computer scientists and logicians working on the deontic logic developed within the philosophical school of Mīmāṃsā. His work focussed on hermeneutic solutions put forth by Mīmāṃsā thinkers with regard to instances of conflicting Vedic commands, and was thereby concerned with several technical aspects of prescriptions (vidhi) and prohibitions (pratiṣedha / niṣedha).
At Ahmedabad University, he continues to work and publish on both these topics - the nature of sentential meaning as well as the deontic logic and structure underlying several aspects of Mīmāṃsā hermeneutic reasoning. He has recently worked on the the epistemological debates on the nature of perception (especially as presented in Śālikanātha's Prakaraṇapañcikā), and has also become quite interested in exploring philosophically and philologically the two Sanskrit epics - Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata. The celebrated Mīmāṃsaka philosopher Kumārila Bhaṭṭa (c.600-650 CE) explicitly states that the epics are for investigating into the nature of the puruṣārthas, and Shishir is keen to study closely the critical editions of these monumentally influential works to develop a philosophically cogent account of this framework.