Bimal Krishna Matilal
|Born||1 June 1935|
Jaynagar, Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
(present-day South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India)
|Died||8 June 1991 (aged 56)|
|Education||Sanskrit, Mathematics and Logic|
|Alma mater||Maulana Azad College|
|Notable work||Founding editor of the Journal of Indian Philosophy|
|Awards||Padma Bhushan (1990)|
Bimal Krishna Matilal (1 June 1935 – 8 June 1991) was an eminent British-Indian philosopher whose writings presented the Indian philosophical tradition as a comprehensive system of logic incorporating most issues addressed by themes in Western philosophy. From 1977 to 1991, he was the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics at the University of Oxford.
Literate in Sanskrit from an early age, Matilal was also drawn towards Mathematics and Logic. He was trained in the traditional Indian philosophical system by leading scholars of the Sanskrit College, where he himself was a teacher from 1957 to 1962. He was taught by scholars like pandit Taranath Tarkatirtha and Kalipada Tarkacharya. He also interacted with pandit Ananta Kumar Nyayatarkatirtha, Madhusudan Nyayacharya and Visvabandhu Tarkatirtha. The upadhi (degree) of Tarkatirtha (master of Logic) was awarded to him in 1962.
While teaching at the Sanskrit College (an affiliated college of the University of Calcutta) between 1957 and 1962, Matilal came in contact with Daniel Ingalls, an Indologist at Harvard University, who encouraged him to join the PhD program there. Matilal secured a Fulbright fellowship and completed his PhD under Ingalls on the Navya-Nyāya doctrine of negation, between 1962 and 1965. During this period he also studied with Willard Van Orman Quine. Subsequently, he was professor of Sanskrit at the University of Toronto, and in 1977 he was elected Spalding Professor at Oxford, succeeding Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Robert Charles Zaehner.
Matilal died of cancer on 8 June 1991.
In his work, he presented Indian logic, particularly Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, Mīmāṃsā and Buddhist philosophy, as being relevant in modern philosophical discourse. Matilal presented Indian Philosophical thought more as a synthesis rather than a mere exposition. This helped create a vibrant revival of interest in Indian philosophical tradition as a relevant source of ideas rather than a dead discipline.
He was also the founding editor of the Journal of Indian Philosophy.
See also the entries in Worldcat.