Abstract: Logic is the study of reasoning. Classical logic, as explained by Aristotle and developed further over the next two millennia, has to do with attributing truth values to statements. It has to do with statements like “X is Y”, to which a value of true or false can easily be ascribed. In contrast, deontic logic is a kind of logic dealing with commands. In other words, it has to do with prescriptions and prohibitions, such as “You should do X” or “You should not do Y”. 


Deontic logic is consequently a tool for reasoning about laws, street codes, or anything related to what must be done. It does not have to do with what is in the external world. It is therefore directly relevant for thinking about and programming autonomous machines, such as self-driving cars, which need to respect prescriptions and prohibitions and also be able to deal with possible conflicts.

In European mathematics and philosophy, formal deontic logic is a relatively new field. In contrast, ideas that can be interpreted as deontic logic were developed in India already long before the Common Era, especially within the Mīmāṃsā school of philosophy. Why was this? Because the Mīmāṃsā school focused on systematizing the sacred texts of the Vedas, texts that primarily contain sacrificial prescriptions. To organize the many prescriptions and prohibitions of the Vedas, Mīmāṃsā authors had to explain away apparent contradictions and establish the relative strength of each Vedic command.


In a project funded by the WWTF, Sanskrit scholars are collaborating with logicians at the TU Wien to analyze the deontic logic of the Mīmāṃsā school of Indian philosophy. The aim is to better understand Mīmāṃsā philosophy as well as to develop new forms of deontic logic that can then be applied in mathematics and philosophy.


This talk will discuss the Mīmāṃsā school, with a special focus on its deontic logic and on the richness of the encounter between ancient sources and new perspectives.


For more infos, please consult the website of the project:


Dokumentationsstelle für ost- und mitteleuropäische Literatur, Dokumentációs iroda a kelet- és középeurópai irodalom számára

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2. Oktober 2018


2. Oktober 2018

Starting time

18.00 Uhr


Elisa Freschi

Study of Indology and Tibetology and



Dokumentationsstelle für ost- und mitteleuropäische Literatur

Die Dokumentationsstelle ist eine außeruniversitäre Forschungsstelle, die in einem Veranstaltungsraum neben den Büroräumen auch Workshops und wissenschaftliche Vorträge anbietet. Die bekannteste Reihe ist das Philosophische Forum, das von der Stadt Wien unterstützt wird. In seinem Rahmen konnten Personen wie Oksana Timofejevá, Anita Lunić, Václav Bělohradský, Gáspár Tamás Miklós u.a. auftreten. Es gibt aber auch "Literatur- und Sprachwissenschaft in Mitteleuropa", das "Soziologische Forum" oder "Archäologie in Mitteleuropa".