Indian Philosophy

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This book provides an introduction to the main schools of Indian philosophy within both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Richard King analyzes the schools' different doctrines and compares their approaches to specific philosophical topics -- ontology, epistemology, perception, consciousness, and creation and causality.

While King's main focus is on the ideas as professed by the major schools of thought, he also takes into account the important contributions made by individual thinkers. Among these are Bhartrhari, who helped introduce linguistic analysis into Indian philosophy; Nagarjuna, the reputed founder of the Mahayana or "Middle Way" school; and Asanga, the believed founder of the Yogacara or "Practice of Yoga" school.

This is the first introduction to Indian philosophy written for a western audience to assess Indian thought in its own context and to examine its relationship with the West. King discusses the nature of philosophy in general, examining the shifting usage of the term throughout history. He examines western perceptions of Indian philosophy, exploring the reasons why it has not made substantial inroads into western intellectual discourse.

King argues that western scholars will remain tied to a Eurocentric perspective as long as they continue to ignore the possibility of philosophical thought "East of the Suez." This, he argues, highlights the need for a post-colonial and global approach to philosophy.

Written in a clear and accessible style, the book can be used for courses in religion, theology, and philosophy.

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Editorial Reviews

King, a reader in religious studies at the University of Stirling, introduces the main schools of Hindu and Buddhist thought, emphasizing the living history of interaction and debate between the various traditions. He outlines the broad spectrum of Indian philosophical schools and questions prevailing assumptions about the "mythical," ahistorical, and "theological" nature of Indian thought. Early chapters discuss the nature of philosophy in general, and later material is presented thematically rather than in separate chapters on various schools. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878407569
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,314,676
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard King is a reader in religious studies at the University of Stirling in Scotland. He is the author of three previous books on the topic, including Orientalism and Religion (Routledge, 1999).

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Table of Contents


India and the History of PhilosophyDefining the Subject MatterHistories of Western PhilosophySecular Reason and the Dichotomy of Tradition vs ModernityIndian Materialism - A Counter-Example

Can Philosophy be IndianIs there 'Philosophy' in Ancient India?Why consider 'Indian Philosophy'?

The Varieties of Hindu PhilosophyThe Origins and Nature of Hindu PhilosophyBhartrhari and the Philosophy of Linguistic AnalysisThe Varieties of Hindu PhilosophyThe Prior Exegesis SchoolThe Later Exegesis or 'End of the Vedas' SchoolThe Particularist SchoolThe School of ReasoningThe School of EnumerationThe Classical Yoga School

Buddhist Philosophy in IndiaBuddhism in IndiaThe Doctrinal Foundation of Buddhist PhilosophyThe Buddhist Philosophy of No-Abiding-SelfMainstream Buddhist PhilosophyMahāyāna Buddhism in India

Ontology: What Really Exists?Vaiśesika: Classifying RealityReality as Process: The Abhidharma ResponseRejecting the Ontology: The Mahāyāna Philosophy of Emptiness

Epistemology: How do we know what we know?The Foundations of KnowledgeInference and the Nyāya SchoolEmptiness and Nāgārjuna's Critique of Pramāna Theory

Perception: Do we see things as they are?The Nature of PerceptionPerception in Advaita Vedānta: Reconciling the Everyday World and MonismThe Image Theory of Perception

Consciousness and the Body: What are we?The Dualism of the Sāmkhya Philosophy of ĪśvarakrsnaThe Yoga System of Patañjali

Creation and Causality: Where do we come from?Myth and HistoryAncient Indian CosmogoniesCreation and Causality in BuddhismGod and Causality in BuddhismGod and Causality in Nyāya-VaiśesikaCausal Theory in Sāmkhya and YogaThe Early Vedānta of the Brahma SūtraŚankara and the Philosophy of Non-DualismCausal Theory in AdvaitaRāmānuja and Non-Dualism of the Qualified

Philosophy in a Post-Colonial WorldPostmodernism, Ethnocentricity and Western PhilosophyThe Politics of TranslationStuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Entering the Western Philosophical ArenaConclusion

Bibliography of Cited Works

index and Glossary of Important Sanskrit Terms

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