Rediscovering God with Transcendental Argument

A Contemporary Interpretation of Monistic Kashmiri Śaiva Philosophy

By David Peter Lawrence

Subjects: Comparative Religion
Series: SUNY series, Toward a Comparative Philosophy of Religions
Paperback : 9780791440582, 324 pages, April 1999
Hardcover : 9780791440575, 324 pages, May 1999

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Table of contents




1. Introduction

2. Interpretive Histories and the Scope of This Study

3. The Task of the Pratyabhijña System

4. The Challenge of the Buddhist Opponents

5. A Summary of the Saiva Theory of Recognition

6. Epistemological Applications of the Theory of Recognition

7. Features of the Ontology of Recognition

8. Conclusion




Provides a comparative philosophical study of the thought of the two principle theorists of monistic Kashmiri Shaivism, Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta, and also formulates a conception of the nature of philosophy as a means of intercultural and interreligious dialogue.


Rediscovering God with Transcendental Argument provides a comparative philosophical study of the Pratyabhijña system of the medieval Kashmiri Śaiva thinkers Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta. Beginning with intensive descriptive and prescriptive reflections on the nature of philosophy itself, the book examines the special characteristics of the Pratyabhijña discourse as both philosophical apologetics and spiritual exercise. Lawrence situates the Pratyabhijña speculation within the larger context of Hindu and Buddhist deliberations about the role of interpretation in experience, and gives a groundbreaking exposition of the epistemology and ontology of Shiva's self-recognition. He observes the similarities and differences of the Pratyabhijña with Christian understandings of the divine logos, and argues that the Śaiva philosophy elucidates a cogent way of demonstrating the reality of God against contemporary relativism, deconstructionism and other forms of skepticism.

David Peter Lawrence is Assistant Professor in the Division of Humanities at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.


"Other scholars have written on Utpaladeva, Abhinavagupta, and other philosophical giants in the tradition of monistic Shaiva thought. But there is very little on this system of thought written by a scholar so well-read in Western philosophy and so versed in the issues pertaining to comparative philosophy as is Lawrence. His wide horizon invites readers to a fuller and more expansive understanding of Pratyabhijña in particular and of the philosophical structure and dynamics of transcendental logic in general, both in India and in the West.

"I like many things about this excellent work, which presents and interprets a profoundly thoughtful and systematic monistic philosophical religious stance from medieval India from a genuinely comparative perspective. " — William K. Mahony, author of The Artful Universe: An Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination