Karl-Stéphan Bouthillette's picture
Gonda fellow
Karl-Stéphan Bouthillette

Karl-Stéphan Bouthillette obtained is PhD in Indian Philosophies from the Institute for Indology and Tibetology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, in Munich, where he was also a member of the Distant Worlds: Munich Graduate School for Ancient Studies, in the division working on 'coexistence'. He received his first Master’s degree in Sciences of Religions at Laval University, in Quebec City, and his second one in Sanskrit Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, in Delhi. His studies began with Journalism (Arts and Technologies of Media in College) and Classical Studies (Ancient Greco-Roman worlds, at BA level). His current areas of research focus on early developments in Indian philosophical doxography and the Indian formulation of an Intellectual approach to spirituality and contemplation.

The purpose of Bouthillette’s fellowship at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden is to turn his recent research on Indian doxography into a book format, to be published at Routledge (Series: Dialogues in South Asian Traditions: Religion, Philosophy, Literature, and History). In brief, the book investigates the nature and function of Indian doxography as a witness of inter and intra sectarian dialogues and as a religious phenomenon. It presents a critical examination of three Sanskrit doxographies: the Madhyamaka-hṛdaya-kārikā (MHK) of the Buddhist Bhāviveka, the Ṣaḍ-darśana-samuccaya (ṢDS) of the Jain Haribhadra, and the Sarva-siddhānta-saṅgraha (SSS) attributed to the Advaitin Śaṅkara, focusing on each of their respective presentation of the Mīmāṃsā system. Since these thinkers shared some common assumptions about the religious path, notably concerning the notion of two truths and the threefold progression of wisdom, these doctrinal elements are respectively examined to theorize the religious purpose of dialectic and doxography within their gnostic conception of religious life. Besides eristic, Bouthillette argues that doxographies were designed for a religious function, meaningful to a religious people. In tune with recent studies in Western Classical doxography, he insists on the systematic and dialectical nature of doxography. A study in genre, his book is the first to be fully dedicated to the subject of Indian doxography. It is also the first time that the genre is taken beyond its literary format and equally considered in its performative dimension, as a spiritual exercise.


  • Indian Philosophy
  • Religious Studies
  • Philosophy of Religions
  • History of South Asia
  • Buddhist Studies
  • Classical Studies

Country of origin


Period of stay at IIAS

01/03/2019 to 31/08/2019

Research topic

The Point of Views: Dialectics, Soteriology, and Politics in Early Madhyamaka, Jaina and Advaita Vedānta Doxography

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