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Resources for Learning about Indian Philosophy

  Every now and then, via email or online, someone asks me where to start in learning about Indian philosophy. It's a good question, since what we call "Indian philosophy" includes a vast number of texts written over thousands of years in multiple languages. Should you start at the beginning? Should you try to get an "overview"? Should you try to focus on one thinker or tradition? In this post, I'll share some selected resources for starting your journey. Keep in mind that this is just about beginnings. And, too, I'm focusing on materials available in English. If you have other languages, Hindi, Japanese, German, French, Tamil, etc., you'll have more resources available to you. Below, what could you read if you want to....
Recent posts

A Publishing Guide for Graduate Students (working in Indian Philosophy)

Recently a graduate student working in ethics, (Christian) philosophy of religion, and epistemology, has written a guide to publishing for other graduate students. It seems to not be aimed at students working in areas that require any sort of deep engagement with primary material in other languages, nor students working in anything resembling history of philosophy. So below I make some revisions to his guide for such students. Let me note that while I was a graduate student, I published three papers. I'll let others evaluate the quality of my work, but one of them was reprinted in a collection of papers in Indian philosophy by Jonardon Ganeri. This suggests to me that I was able to do work as a grad student that contributes to the discipline. Thus advice to students not to publish seems too conservative. That said, as you'll see, I didn't produce anywhere near 18 papers, nor do I think I could have during my studies, or even wanted to. And, as I managed to get a tenure-tra

Cultivating engaging discussion in Zoom classes

    In this post, I'll explain an activity I use to open my first day of class and set expectations about class discussion and the collaborative environment I want my students to foster. This activity adapts well to in-person classes, where I've used it for the past five years. However, since students taking courses online often express "Zoom fatigue" (regardless of platform), I think this activity may be especially well-suited to break up the tedium of using small breakout rooms, reassembling into a large group, reporting, rinsing, and repeating. (Note: I've updated the post to make clear how to assign moves and how to use the timer.) Although I taught on Zoom last semester, my student evaluations (quantative and qualitative) were at or above where they have been in past years.* And quite a few of my students stated that the class discussions and sense of connection they had in the classroom were greater than they'd had in physical classrooms. So it is possib

Podcasting Process

While I'm nowhere near a "professional" podcaster, I've been working on both Sutras (and Stuff) and the NBN Language podcast for just under a year now. It took a lot of trial and error to get a process that works for me and has a decent audio outcome. In case other educators are interested in how to make a podcast or similar audio recording, here's a quick rundown of how I work.

Five types of book reviews

Over the last few months, I've taken over as Book Review Editor at Philosophy East & West , and, in addition to working to find reviewers, I've aimed to set up a streamlined process which anyone stepping into the role after me can use. One of the things I've been working on is a guide for book reviewers. In addition to the scheduling aspect (what to expect and when), the document aims to convey a sense of review expectations. But how to do this succinctly, without stepping on reviewers' own personal styles? In trying to answer this question, I found a helpful comment thread on Daily Nous where Shane Ralston referred to Philosophy in Review 's style guide . I followed his advice there and revised the set of five reviewer types to be five review types. After all, I (unfortunately) recognize myself in each of these reviews, to an extent, depending on the review. Hopefully my reviews have had enough of the good review in them to not be entirely categorized in the

I had a joke...

“I had a joke about construction, but I’m still working on it.” It’s a sort of dad-joke, the pun which gets a groan or eye roll at best. One of my more well-received attempts at meme jokes.  But it’s also an immensely meme-able joke, since, to kill it in the sort of way analytic philosophers might, the joke meme’s structure is “I had a joke about X, but Y,” where X is a topic and Y is some stated reason which works both for person’s supposed lack of a joke, but also brings to mind key elements of topic X. For some reason, which I don’t know, but some very-online person probably does, Twitter began to spin out variations on this joke yesterday, on topics ranging from human resources to politics to physics, and, of course, philosophy. Once the joke made it to my corner of Twitter, I dove in. The tweets resulted in a good number of likes and retweets, and corresponding oxytocin hits (or whatever psychological reward system keeps me coming back to Twitter).

A Personal Post: On Academic Kindness in Difficult Times

Appropriately enough, as I sit down to write this, Stéphane Grappelli and The Diz Disley Trio are playing an instrumental cover of "Solitude" in the background on my Spotify mix. I'm in my one bedroom apartment in Salt Lake City, starting my weekend. Or rather, I'm trying to erect a mental boundary between today and the 24 hours which preceded this one. It's a now-tired joke on social media that introverted academics have already been doing "self-quarantine," though in my case, it has a ring of truth to it, since I've been across the world from my home campus on research leave since early December. For the last few months, Twitter, Skype, email, and texting have been my main connections to friends across the Pacific and the rest of the world. But that's also something shared with other academics, as we tend to have our social networks spread across the globe, leaving connections in the places we attend graduate school, post-docs, and our job