Shishir Saxena is a scholar of Indian philosophy and Sanskrit. He pursued his post-doctoral research at the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia (IKGA) in Vienna prior to joining Ahmedabad University, and received his PhD (2018) and MPhil (2014) from the University of Cambridge, after studying for an MA (2013) at the Banaras Hindu University. His research interests include the epistemological debates within the Indian philosophical tradition, especially those on the nature of language, as well as the deontic logic and structure underlying several aspects of Mīmāṃsā hermeneutic reasoning.
At the IKGA, he was part of the WWTF project ‘Reasoning Tools for Deontic Logic and Applications to Indian Sacred Texts’, a cross-disciplinary team that includes computer scientists and logicians working on the deontic logic developed within the philosophical school of Mīmāṃsā. His work focusses on hermeneutic solutions put forth by Mīmāṃsā thinkers with regard to instances of conflicting Vedic commands, and is concerned with several technical aspects of prescriptions (vidhi) and prohibitions (pratiṣedha / niṣedha).
His PhD thesis was titled ‘Linguistic and Phenomenological Theories of Verbal Cognition in Mīmāṃsā: A Study of the Arguments in Śālikanātha's Vākyārthamātṛkā-I and the Response in Sucarita's Kāśikāṭīkā’. The thesis is a philosophical, philological and historical 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 these works, and the thesis presents 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levels of argumentation found in the Vākyārthamātṛkā-I as well as an annotated edition and translation of the yet unpublished Kāśikāṭīkā on Ślokavārttika Vākyādhikaraṇa vv.110cd-112ab based on the study of two manuscripts. Shishir Saxena’s recent publication titled ‘Denotation as complex and chronologically extended: anvitābhidhāna in Śālikanātha’s Vākyārthamātṛkā-I’ appeared in the Journal of Indian Philosophy in July 2019.
Shishir’s earlier education included a Bachelors degree in Physics and an MBA in finance, subsequent to which he spent five years working in consulting in Mumbai before beginning his studies in Indian philosophy. At Ahmedabad University, he is an Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Languages division of the School of Arts and Sciences. He offers courses in Indian philosophy as well as in scholastic Sanskrit, both elementary and advanced.