(Syllabus) Maharashtra State Eligibility Test (SET) Syllabus & Paper : Phylosophy


Maharashtra State Eligibility Test (SET)

Syllabus & Sample Questions : (Philosophy Paper—II)

1. Classical Indian Philosophy

Vedic and Upanishad world-views : Rta-the cosmic order, the divine and the human realms; the centrality of the institution of yajna (sacrifice), the concept of rna-duty/obligation; theories of creation. Atman-Self (and not-self), jagrat, svapna, susupti and turiya, Brahman, sreyas and preyas Karma, samsara, moksa Carvaka : Pratyaksa as the only pramana, critique of anumana and sabda, rejection of non-material entities and of dharma and moksa Jainism : Concept of reality-sat, dravya, guna, paryaya, jiva, ajiva, anekantavada, syadvada and nayavada; theory of knowledge; bondage and liberation Buddhism : Four noble truths, astangamarga, nirvana, madhyam pratipad pratityasamutpada, ksanabhangavada, anatmavada Schools of Buddhism : Vaibhasika, Sautrantika, Yogacara and Madhyamika .

Nyaya : Prama and aprama, pramanya and apramanya; pramana : pratyaks nirvikalpaka, savikalpaka,laukika and alaukika; anumana : anayavyatireka lingaparamarsa, vyapti; classification : vyaptigrahopayas, hetvabhasa upamana; sabda : Sakti, laksana, akanksa, yogyata, sannidhi and tatparya concept of God. arguments for the existence of God, adrsta nihsryeasa.

Vaisesika : Concepts of padartha, aravya, guna, karma, samanya, samavaya visesa, abhava.

causation : Asatkaryavada, samavayi, asamavayi nimitte karana, paramanuvada, adrsta, nihsryeas

Samkhya : Satkaryavada, prakrti and its evolutes, arguments for the existence of Prakrti, nature of purusa, arguments for the existence and plurality of purusa relationship between purusa and prakrti, kaivalya, atheism.

Yoga : Patanjali’s concept of citta and citta-vrtti, eight-fold path of yoga the role of God in yoga Purva-Mimamsa.

Sruti and its importance, atheism of purvamimamsa, classification of srutivakyas, vidhi, nisedha and arthavada, dharma, bhavana sabdanityavada, jatisaktivada

Kumarila and Prabhakara Schools of mimamsa and their major points of difference, triputi-samvit jnatata, abhava and anupalabdh anvitabhidhanavada, abihitanvayavada

Vedanta Advaita-Rejection of difference : Adhyasa, maya, three grades of satta, jiva jivanmukti, vivartavada

Visistadvaita : Saguna, Brahman, refutation of maya, aprthaksiddh parinamavada, jiva, bhakti and prapatti

Dvaita-Rejection of nirguna brahman and maya, bheda and saksi, bhakt

2. Modern Indian Thinkers

Vivekananda-Practical vedanta, universal religion

Aurobindo-Evolution, mind and supermind, integral yoga

Iqbal-Self, God, man and superman

Tagore-Religion of man, ideas on education

K. C. Bhattacharyya-Concept of philosophy, subject as freedom, the doctrine of maya

Radhakrishnan-Intellect and intuition, the idealist view of life

J. Krishnamurti-Freedom from the known, analysis of self

Gandhi-Non-violence, satyagraha, swaraj, critique of modern civilization

Ambedkar-Varna and the caste system, Neo-Buddhism.

3. Classical Western Philosophy

Early Greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle Ionians, Pythagoras, Parmenides, Heraclitus and Democritus

The Sophists and Socrates Plato-Theory of knowledge, knowledge (episteme) and opinion (doxa), theory of Ideas, the method of dialectic, soul and God.

Aristotle-Classification of the sciences, the theoretical, the practical and the productive (theoria, praxis, techne), logic as an organon, critique of Plato’s theory of Ideas, theory of causation, form and matter, potentiality and actuality, soul and God Medieval Philosophy St. Augustine-Problem of evil St. Anselm-Ontological argument St. Thomas Aquinas-Faith and reason, essence and existence, the existence of God.

4. Modern Western Philosophy


Descartes : Conception of method and the need for method in philosophy, clarity and distinctness as the criterion of truth, doubt and methodological scepticism, the cogito-intuition or inference? innate ideas, the ‘real’ distinction between mind and matter, role of God, proofs for the existence of God, mind-body interactionalism.

Spinoza : Substance, Attribute and Mode, the concept of ‘God or Nature’, the mind-body problem, pantheism, three orders of knowing.

Leibniz : Monadology, truths of reason and truths of fact, innaleness of all ideas, proofs for the existence of God, principles of non-contradiction, sufficient reason and identity of indiscernibles, the doctrine of pre-established harmony, problem of freedom and philosophy.


Locke : Ideas and their classification, refutation of innate ideas, theory of knowledge, three grades of knowledge, theory of substance, distinction between primary and secondary qualities Berkeley : Rejection of the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, immaterialism, critique of abstract ideas, esse est percipi, the problem of solipsism; God and self.

Hume : Impressions and ideas, knowledge concerning relations of ideas and knowledge concerning matters of fact, induction and causality, the external world and the self, personal identity, rejection of metaphysics, scepticism, reason and the passions Critical Philosophy and After.

Kant : The critical philosophy, classification of judgements, possibility of synthetic a priori judgements, the Copernican revolution, forms of sensibility, categories of understanding, the metaphysical and the transcendental deduction of the categories, phenomenon and noumenon, the Ideas of Reason-soul, God and world as a whole, freedom and immortality, rejection of specualative metaphysics .

Hegel : The conception of Geist (spirit), the dialectical method, concepts of being, non-being andbecoming, absolute idealism.

Nietzsche : Critique of western culture, will to power

Moore : Refutation of idealism, defence of commonsense, philosophy and analysis

Russell : Refutation of idealism, logic as the essence of philosophy, logical atomism

Wittgenstein : language and reality, facts and objects, names and propositions, the picture theory, phiolosophy and language, meaning and use, forms of life.

Husserl : The Husserlian method, intentionality

Heidegger : Being and nothingness, man as being-in-the-world, critique of technological civilization

Logical Positivism : The verifiability theory of meaning, the verification principle, rejection of metaphysics, unity of science C. S. Peirce and William James : Pragmatic theories of meaning and truthm.

G. Ryle : Systematically misleading expressions, category mistake, concept of mind, critique of Cartesian dualism

Paper-III (A) (Core Group)


  • Vy vah rika and P ran rthika Satt.

  • Nitya and anitya Dravy.

  • K ranat.

  • k sa, Dik and K la.

  • S m nya and Sambantha.

  • Cit, Acit and tman.


  • Appearance and reality

  • Being and becoming

  • Causality, Space and Time

  • Matter, Mind and Self

  • Substance and Universals

  • The problem of personal identity


  • Pram

  • Kinds of Pram nas

  • Khy tiv da

  • Pr m nyav da

  • Anvit bhidh nav da and Abhihit nvayav da

  • Sabdagraha


  • Definition of knowledge

  • Ways of knowing

  • Theories of error

  • Theories of truth

  • Belief and scepticism

  • Problem of induction


  • Concept of Pratyaksa in Ny ya.

  • Concept of Pratyaksa in Buddhism.

  • Concept of Pratyaksa in S mkara Ved nta.

  • Nature and kinds of Anum na.

  • Definition and Nature of Vy pti.

  • Hetv bh sas.


  • Rna and Rta.

  • Purus rthas, Svadharma.

  • Varnadharma and sramadharma.

  • Nisk makarma and Lokasangraha.

  • Panc sila and Triratnas.

  • Brahmavih ras.


  • Good, right, justice

  • Duty and obligation

  • Cardinal virtues

  • Eudemonism

  • Freedom and responsibility

  • crime and punishment


  • Ethical cognitivism and non-cognitivism

  • Ethical realism and intuitionism

  • Kant’s moral theory

  • Kinds of utilitarianism

  • Human rights and social disparities

  • Ferminism


  • Truth and validity

  • Nature of propositions

  • Categorical syllogism

  • Laws of thought

  • Classification of propositions

  • Square of opposition


  • Truth-functions and prepositional logic

  • Quantification and rules of quantification

  • decision procedures

  • Proving validity

  • Argument and argument-form

  • Axiomatic system, consistency, completeness

Paper-III (B) (Elective/ Optional)


(Candidates will be expected to be familiar with the main tenets and practices of the following groups of religions :

(1) Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism;

(2) Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam;

(3) tribal religions of India)

Possibility and need of comparative religion, commonality and differences among religions, the nature of inter-religious dialogue and understanding, religious experience, modes of understanding the divine, the theory of liberation, the means for attaining liberation, the God-man relation in religions, worldviews (Weltanschaunngen) in religions, immortality, the doctrine of incarnation and prophethood, religions hermeneutics, religion and moral social values, religion and secular society.


General :The linguistic turn and the conception of philosophy

Problems : 

Semantics : Frege’s distinction between sense and reference, concepts and objects, related problems and their proposed solutions : (a) identity, (b) negative existential, (c) indirect speech, (d) prepositional attitudes, the meaning and role of singular terms : (a) Proper names, (b) definite descriptions, (c) demonstratives and other indexicals; the relation between meaning and truth, holistic and atomistic approach to meaning, what is a theory of meaning ? Pragmatics : Meaning and use; speech acts [The above problem areas require candidate’s familiarity with the works of Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Austin, Quine, Strawson. Davidson, Dummett and Searle.]


[The purpose here is to assess the candidate’s acquaintance with the central concepts in phenomenology and hermeneutics] Phenomenology as an approach to the understanding of the human condition, consciousness and intentionality, phenomenology and solipsism, the life-world (Lebenswelt), interpretation, understanding and the human sciences, the idea of the text, conflict of interpretation and the possibilities of agreement, culture, situated ness and interpretation


[This covers vendata philosophy with special reference to five main acharyas viz. Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhava, Nimbarka and Vallabha, The purpose is to test the candidare’s acquaintence with vedanta philosophy in its rich and divergent forms]Sources, general features, similarities and differences, Brahman : Definition and interpretations, distinction between saguna and nirguna and its relevance in the formation of different schools of vedanta, my  Its nature, agruments for and against m y tman : Its nature, relation between atm n and Brahman; jiva; interpretation of m h v kyas, e.g. tat tvam asi, moksa : Nature and types, marga or s dhan , roles played by j na, karma and bhakti, different conceptions of bhakti, theories of causation, Brahman as the cause different conceptions of bhakti, theories of causation, Brahman as the cause of the world : Different interpretations, pram , pram nas, special role played by sabda pram na and intuition (saksatkara/aparoksanubhuti), theories of khy tis


[The intention here is to explore the availability of Gandhian ideas in the central debates in philosophy] Conceptions of knowledge, truth and love and their relationship, language, understanding and culture, engagement with tradition, self, world and God. woman, sexuality and brahmacharya, moral foundations.of good life : Dharma. swaraj, satyagraha and ahimsa, community and fellowship; the good society : statelessness, trusteeship, sarvodaya, panchayati raj, religion, tapasya, service, means-end relationship, Gandhi and the Gandhians : break, continuity and innovation.

Sample Question: Papers -I

1. Which of the following pairs is acceptable to the Carvaka ?

(A) Pratyaksa and Anumana

(B) Air and Water

(C) Fire and Ether

(D) Sabda and Anumna

2. The concept of manahparyaya pertains to?

(A) Jain Metaphysics

(B) Jain Epistemology

(C) Buddhist Metaphysics

(D) Yoga Metaphysics

3. Identify the coherent combination?

(A) atmavada madhyamapratipad, pratityasamutpada.

(B) anatmavada, nityavada, madhyamapratipad.

(C) madhyamapratipad, anatmavada, ksanikavada.

(D) madhyamapratipad, nityavada, ksanikavada.