📖[PDF] An Introduction to Indian Philosophy by Bina Gupta | Perlego (2023)

📖[PDF] An Introduction to Indian Philosophy by Bina Gupta | Perlego (1) 📖[PDF] An Introduction to Indian Philosophy by Bina Gupta | Perlego (2)

I Philosophy, Indian and Western: Preliminary Considerations

In my classes on Indian philosophy in American universities, I am often asked: what is Indian philosophy, and how is it different from Western philosophy? I find it difficult to answer these questions because I am being asked not only what philosophy is but also what makes Indian philosophy “Indian.” In dealing with such general questions, one must always bear in mind that the frequently used designation “Indian philosophy” is as much a construction—concealing in its fold many internal distinctions—as is the designation “Western philosophy.” Clearly, for instance, there are fundamental differences among Western philosophical schools and traditions, such as the contemporary “analytic-continental” division among philosophers in the tradition of Russell and Wittgenstein, on the one hand, and those in the tradition of Kant and Hegel, on the other hand. Thus, the category names “Indian” and “Western” do not actually bring together any common essence among the systems of thinking they designate; rather, they indicate contingently related features of geographical origin.

It seems to me that history and geography are not of much help in this search for essential features of a philosophical tradition. It is indeed anachronistic to give a geographical adjective to a mode of thinking, unless one agrees with Nietzsche’s statement that Indian philosophy has something to do with the Indian food and climate, and German Idealism with the German love of beer. There must be some way of characterizing a philosophical tradition other than identifying such contingent features as the geographical and historical milieu in which it was born; some way of identifying it by its concepts and logic, its problems, its methods, and other features that are internal to the tradition under consideration.

(Video) What is the Best way to Prepare for IGNOU Exam? | Tips for Ignou Exam With Proof @CLUSTERcareer

Prior to the Colonial period, philosophers in India did not concern themselves with questions of difference between Indian and Western philosophy. Most of these philosophers wrote in Sanskrit, some in their local languages, and never sought to distinguish what they were doing from what was being done outside the Pan-Indic culture. The task of distinguishing Indian thought from the Western modes of thinking gradually became important to Indian philosophers, especially in the Colonial period. Almost every Indian philosopher worth the name, writing in English (because that was the only Western language in which they wrote) expressed some opinion about it, although these opinions differed considerably. It is worth noting, however, that no Western philosopher—unless he/she was also an Indologist, e.g., Paul Deussen (1845–1919), Halbfass (1940–2000), or had acquired some acquaintance with Indian thought under the guidance of an Indologist, e.g., Schopenhauer (1788–1860) and Hegel (1770–1831)—thought it necessary to delimit what is called “Western philosophy” from non-Western philosophies. It is difficult to ascertain the reason for this asymmetry; perhaps, it is a political rather than a philosophical distinction. Likewise, the Indian philosophers of the classical period, e.g., Śaṁkara (788–820 CE), Vācaspati (900–980), or Raghunāth Śiromaṇi (1477–1557) did not deem it necessary to distinguish their domain of thinking from Western or Chinese thought. However, since the question has been raised, and since philosophers like me—trained both in Western thought and traditional Indian philosophy, writing on Indian philosophy and hoping to contribute to the development of Indian thought while maintaining her continuity with the tradition—must provide a satisfactory answer. This predicament is not only mine but also characterizes such thinkers as Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888–1975), Bimal Matilal (1935–1991), and J. N. Mohanty (1928–present). It is incumbent on my part to concede that, though reared in Western academia, I carry in my baggage the entire tradition of Indian thought.

There are two kinds of positions taken by my predecessors on the issue of how Indian philosophy is different from Western philosophy. One position, more prevalent in the generations of thinkers that ended with Radhakrishnan, may be articulated thus: despite superficial similarities, Indian and Western modes of thinking are fundamentally different; this difference may be expressed in such binary oppositions as intellectual v. intuitive, discursive or logical v. spiritual, and theoretical v. practical. This contrastive view of Indian and Western philosophy is rejected by such philosophers as Matilal and Mohanty, who tend to see affinities between the Indian and the Western modes of thinking; they argue that both traditions have developed their own logic, epistemology, and metaphysics, and so the binary oppositions listed above fail to capture the exact differences between the two traditions. These thinkers, especially Matilal, under the influence of modern Western philosophy, overemphasize the analytic nature of Indian philosophy. “Verification and rational procedure” argued Matilal “are as much part of Indian philosophical thinking as they are in Western philosophical thinking.”1 Mohanty has made a similar juxtaposition by selecting theories of consciousness in Indian philosophy and comparing them to modern Western phenomenological theories of intentionality from Brentano, Husserl, and Sartre. I stand in continuity with the second group of Indian thinkers and am greatly influenced by their writings. Matilal and Mohanty make a good case for bridging the distance between Indian and Western philosophies.

My goal in this book, however, is not to bridge this distance, but rather to focus on Indian thought as considered on its own terms, as it has presented itself to participants in its discourse from ancient times until the beginning of the Colonial period. The question is: How was the Indian world of thinking circumscribed? If we can give an adequate representation of this world in the broadest outline, it will enable us to compare and contrast the pictures that emerge. I will attempt a total circumspection of the structure of Indian thought, in the hope that it will not only make differences between Indian and Western philosophies evident, but also recognize affinities between the two. However, in order to proceed further, it is imperative that we have some understanding of the concept of “philosophy” in Western and Indian cultural contexts.

II Philosophy and Western Cultural Context

Philosophy, it has been said, is its own first problem, at least insofar as self-definition constitutes a problem. Probably, no single locution is likely to win acceptance among all philosophers, since “philosophy” encompasses a vast array of enterprises and modes of inquiry. Perhaps the safest course is to approach the issue historically, first noting what has been done in the name of philosophy, and then ascertaining whether there can be a definition that is adequate to exhaust all these activities.

All human activities, philosophical or otherwise, take its distinctive shape within a cultural setting and tends to bear the mark of that culture. In reviewing the concept and scope of Western philosophy, we see that it has changed considerably over the 2,500 years of its existence. The word “philosophy” comes from the Greek word philien, meaning “to love or desire” and from sophia, meaning “wisdom,” so that etymologically, philosophy means “love of wisdom.” Philosophy originally signified any general practical concern, encompassing in its scope what are generally known today as the natural sciences. As late as the nineteenth century, physics was still called natural philosophy. Eventually, science broke away from philosophy and became an independent discipline. The separation forced philosophers to redefine the nature, goals, method, and boundaries of their own inquiry. Subsequently, in the nineteenth and the twentieth century, the scope of philosophy broadened to include conceptual treatments of topics, such as violence, sex, drugs, abortion, and suicide. Obviously, philosophy cannot be the sum-total of all these concerns. What, then, is common to all these philosophical investigations?

One tradition within speculative philosophy has always focused its attention on metaphysics. It considers that the goal of philosophy is to inquire into the nature of ultimate reality. The business of metaphysics, accordingly, is to answer the most fundamental questions possible about the universe, such as: What is the nature, composition, function (if any), and meaning (if any) of the universe? And who are we in all of this? Examples in early Western philosophy include Plato’s theory that there is a realm of perfect Forms (Ideas) that not only exists but is more real than the world of particulars (observable things), which is not a thesis to be demonstrated empirically. Similarly, speculation about the existence of an immortal soul, of a creator God, and similar issues were all matters of serious metaphysical discussion. Until recently, a majority of philosophers believed that speculative theorizing was one of the most important tasks of a philosopher.

Most philosophers today no longer believe that the role of philosophy is to “discover” the real nature of the world, but that it is rather, first and foremost, to clarify the basic concepts and propositions in and through which philosophic inquiry proceeds. The most devastating attack on speculative theorizing came from the logical positivists, who carried their ideas to Britain and America in the late 1930s, declaring that in order for a statement to be meaningful, it must be empirically verifiab...

(Video) DU College BOOKS & NOTES -Complete STUDY MATERIAL for Delhi University Students |From Where To Get?

Citation styles for An Introduction to Indian PhilosophyHow to cite An Introduction to Indian Philosophy for your reference list or bibliography: select your referencing style from the list below and hit 'copy' to generate a citation. If your style isn't in the list, you can start a free trial to access over 20 additional styles from the Perlego eReader.

APA 6 Citation

Gupta, B. (2021). An Introduction to Indian Philosophy (2nd ed.). Taylor and Francis. Retrieved from https://www.perlego.com/book/2424667/an-introduction-to-indian-philosophy-perspectives-on-reality-knowledge-and-freedom-pdf (Original work published 2021)

(Video) BA 1st Year Political Science Paper-1 Chapter 1 fully Detailed Video || #politicalscience #bastudy

Chicago Citation

Gupta, Bina. (2021) 2021. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. 2nd ed. Taylor and Francis. https://www.perlego.com/book/2424667/an-introduction-to-indian-philosophy-perspectives-on-reality-knowledge-and-freedom-pdf.

Harvard Citation

Gupta, B. (2021) An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. 2nd edn. Taylor and Francis. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/2424667/an-introduction-to-indian-philosophy-perspectives-on-reality-knowledge-and-freedom-pdf (Accessed: 15 October 2022).

(Video) History of Jerusalem timeline - Religious significance of Jerusalem for Muslims, Christians & Jews

MLA 7 Citation

(Video) How To Download Online Books And Previous Year Question Paper For B.A B.Sc B.Com M.A and All Courses

Gupta, Bina. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. 2nd ed. Taylor and Francis, 2021. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.


1. 8th Std - History - Chapter 1 Sources of history questions answers exercise from textbook - SSC
(Boost Study Skill)
2. Political Science b.a 2nd year | Paper-1 & 2 | Most important Questions | New Pattern Paper-2021 |
3. @DU SOL 2nd Semester August Exam 2022 | Important Questions with Answer All Subjects | DU SOL
(Manish Verma)
4. Diversity and Discrimination Full Chapter Class 6 Civics | NCERT Class 6 Civics Chapter 2
(Magnet Brains)
5. NCERT Class 7 History Chapter 1: Tracing Changes through a Thousand Year | English | CBSE
6. Class 7th Tracing changes through a thousand years chapter 1 History QUESTION ANSWERS
(Learner Bee)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Pres. Lawanda Wiegand

Last Updated: 31/10/2023

Views: 5598

Rating: 4 / 5 (71 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Pres. Lawanda Wiegand

Birthday: 1993-01-10

Address: Suite 391 6963 Ullrich Shore, Bellefort, WI 01350-7893

Phone: +6806610432415

Job: Dynamic Manufacturing Assistant

Hobby: amateur radio, Taekwondo, Wood carving, Parkour, Skateboarding, Running, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Pres. Lawanda Wiegand, I am a inquisitive, helpful, glamorous, cheerful, open, clever, innocent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.