Cover image for Indian philosophy : an introduction to Hindu and Buddhist thought
Indian philosophy : an introduction to Hindu and Buddhist thought
King, Richard, 1966-
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Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Georgetown University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvi, 263 pages ; 24 cm
India and the history of philosophy -- Can philosophy be Indian? -- The varieties of Hindu philosophy -- Buddhist philosophy in India -- Ontology: what really exists? -- Epistemology: how do we know what we know? -- Perception: do we see things as they are? -- Consciousness and the body: what are we? -- Creation and causality: where do we come from? -- Philosophy in a post-colonial world.
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B131 .K49 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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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.

Author Notes

Richard King is Reader in Religious Studies at the University of Stirling.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

King (Univ. of Stirling) expresses three motivations for writing this timely volume. First, he intends it to serve as an introduction to Indian philosophy. Second, he investigates the varieties of Indian thought concerning the human spirit and its relation to reality. And third, he challenges the parochialism of Western philosophy and makes a contribution to comparative philosophy that includes Buddhism, Hinduism, and Western philosophy. He also discusses Hindu philosophy of language analysis, which began in India in the 5th century, CE; diverse types of Indian, materialist, and secular philosophies; and six Hindu nonmaterialistic philosophical views. He provides thorough treatments of Buddhism in India, including discussion of the foundations of Buddhist philosophy; the Buddhist philosophy of the no-abiding self; mainstream Buddhist philosophy; and Mahayana Buddhism. Also included are chapters on Indian views of five major, typically Western philosophical issues (ontology, epistemology, perception, consciousness and the body, and creation and causality). King ends with a 13-page analysis of the present need for comparison between Indian and Western philosophical thought. Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduate and graduate students, faculty. Also suitable for general readers. ; Goucher College

Table of Contents

India and the History of Philosophy
Defining the Subject Matter
Histories of Western Philosophy
Secular Reason and the Dichotomy of Tradition vs Modernity
Indian Materialism - A Counter-Example
Can Philosophy be Indian
Is there 'Philosophy' in Ancient India?
Why consider 'Indian Philosophy'?
The Varieties of Hindu Philosophy
The Origins and Nature of Hindu Philosophy
Bhartrhari and the Philosophy of Linguistic Analysis
The Varieties of Hindu Philosophy
The Prior Exegesis School
The Later Exegesis or 'End of the Vedas' School
The Particularist School
The School of Reasoning
The School of Enumeration
The Classical Yoga School
Buddhist Philosophy in India
Buddhism in India
The Doctrinal Foundation of Buddhist Philosophy
The Buddhist Philosophy of No-Abiding-Self
Mainstream Buddhist Philosophy
Mah_y_na Buddhism in India
Ontology: What Really Exists?
Vai_esika: Classifying Reality
Reality as Process: The Abhidharma Response
Rejecting the Ontology: The Mah_y_na Philosophy of Emptiness
Epistemology: How do we know what we know?
The Foundations of Knowledge
Inference and the Ny_ya School
Emptiness and N_g_rjuna's Critique of Pram_na Theory
Perception: Do we see things as they are?
The Nature of Perception
Perception in Advaita Ved_nta: Reconciling the Everyday World and Monism
The Image Theory of Perception
Consciousness and the Body: What are we?
The Dualism of the S_mkhya Philosophy of __varakrsna
The Yoga System of Patañjali
Creation and Causality: Where do we come from?
Myth and History
Ancient Indian Cosmogonies
Creation and Causality in Buddhism
God and Causality in Buddhism
God and Causality in Ny_ya-Vai_esika
Causal Theory in S_mkhya and Yoga
The Early Ved_nta of the Brahma S_tra
_ankara and the Philosophy of Non-Dualism
Causal Theory in Advaita
R_m_nuja and Non-Dualism of the Qualified
Philosophy in a Post-Colonial World
Postmodernism, Ethnocentricity and Western Philosophy
The Politics of Translation
Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Entering the Western Philosophical Arena
Bibliography of Cited Works
Index and Glossary of Important Sanskrit Terms