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EAST—Epistemology and Argumentation in South Asia and Tibet

Hosting organisations
IKGA - Institut für Kultur u. Geistesgeschichte Asiens
Responsible persons
Pei-Lin Chiou, Birgit Kellner, and Patrick McAllister

EAST—Epistemology and Argumentation in South Asia and Tibet—is a collaborative platform that systematically collects and connects data on premodern authors, their works, and modern research on them.

The current focus of EAST is on a South Asian Buddhist tradition that formulated theories of knowledge and reasoning between the fifth and thirteenth centuries of the common era, the so-called pramāṇa tradition. Many of the works produced within this tradition were translated into the Tibetan language, and several of them survive only in such a translation.

As of the beginning of 2021, EAST knows of 41 historical persons and 232 works, maintaining nearly 1500 connections of these records to modern research. For the future, EAST aims to expand its collections to closely related fields of Buddhist literature, especially to works of the pramāṇa tradition produced in Tibet.

EAST works by maintaining three separate types of records: one for persons, one for literary products, and one for bibliographic items. These three types of records can be linked to each other freely, and each link can be typed and annotated (technically, this is a simple graph data structure). Currently, this is implemented in a Django database, which also provides all the collaborative functions. The bibliographic backend is provided by a customised Zotero instance.


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