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In this intriguing introduction to Indian philosophy, the diversity of Indian thought is emphasized. It is structured around six schools of thought that have received classic status. Sue Hamilton explores how the traditions have attempted to understand the nature of reality in terms of inner or spiritual quest and introduces distinctively Indian concepts, such as karma and rebirth. She also explains how Indian thinkers have understood issues of reality and knowledge--issues that are also an important part of the Western philosophical tradition.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
1. The Brahmanical beginnings: Vedic sacrifice and the early Upanisads
2. Beyond Brahmanism: the Buddha and other renouncers
3. Issues and justifications: language, grammar, and the emerging of polemics
4. Nyaya and Vaisesika
5. Developments in Buddhist thought: Abhidharma, Madhyamaka, and Yogicara
6. Yoga and Samkhya
7. Grammar again, and the exegetical traditions: Bhartrhari, Mimamsa, and Vedanta
Posted June 3, 2009
I am a student of Iyengar yoga and am enrolled in a teacher training program at the University of California, Riverside Extension. I am required to take courses in Indian philosopy and my professor recommended this book (she has an MA and a PhD in philosophy from Dehli University). It does provide a good basic overview of the major schools of Indian philosophy, both orthodox and heterodox, but perhaps puts too large an emphasis on Buddhist thought, which though initially developed in India, did not grow there so much as it has in the far east to which it was exported. Perhaps this is merely a reflection of the Buddihist scholarship of the author. My only other criticism of the book is that its language is often technical. If you are not a student of philosophy and are not conversant with its terminology, it can be a difficult read.
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Posted January 27, 2011
I am a big fan of the entire "Very Short Introduction' series, and have read several dozens of them. However, even in that field of mostly outstanding introductory books, this one stands out. I cannot give it enough praise. This is an eminently readable yet extremely intellectually stimulating book. It manages to convey the full richness and subtlety of Indian philosophical tradition, or at least as much of it as can fit in this format. Hamilton takes us through the historical development of the Indian philosophical thought, linking each new development to the previous ones, and emphasizes its significance. This is the first book that has convinced me that there are highly sophisticated philosophical traditions that have emerged outside of the Greco-Roman world. It would be of interest to anyone interested in philosophy, and not just for those interested in Indian thought. I highly recommend this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.