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On Matsyanyaya: The State of Nature in Indian Thought

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This paper calls attention to matsyanyaya, or state of nature theories, in classical Indian thought, and their significance. The focus is on those discussions of matsyanyaya found in the law books, political treatises and the Mahabharata epic. The significance and relevance of matsyanyaya theories are shown through a comparison with early modern state of nature theories and an elaboration on the possible place of rights and dharma in matsyanyaya and the consequences of this for classical Indian political theory.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2011

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