Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why should contemporary philosophy care about Indian philosophy?

A frequent question that I'm asked, by philosophers and non-philosophers alike, is, "Why should contemporary Western philosophers care about philosophy done by people in India a thousand years ago?"*

Since I'm asked this so frequently, I thought I'd put a response on my blog. First, though, I thought I'd point out a few assumptions that drive this kind of question. Much of what I take my work to be is challenging preconceived notions people have of the distinction between "Indian philosophy" and "Western philosophy."

(A note. I take it that this question is typically not raised to ask whether the individual asking the question has a burden herself to be a philosopher studying Indian texts, but whether philosophers as a whole ought to consider Indian texts interesting, useful, important, or something else--and that something is generally left implicit by the questioner.)