Doing Philosophy Comparatively in India: Classical Indian and Western Philosophical Traditions in Engagement

Comparative Philosophy 13 (2) (2022)
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Abstract

When Western philosophy was introduced to Indian academia in the late nineteenth century, there arose for Indian philosophers a two-fold need: the need to preserve the self-identity of Indian philosophy and the need to dialogue with Western philosophy. In their attempt to defend the distinctiveness of Indian philosophy, the philosophers of the first half of the twentieth century affirmed that classical Indian philosophy was essentially spiritual. The philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century, however, did not have a compulsion to defend Indian philosophy in the face of Western philosophy. Many of them critiqued the traditional view about classical Indian philosophy. For them classical Indian philosophy, too, was a rational discourse and it is equally capable to contribute to the enrichment of philosophy. Today the two traditions—Indian and Western—are known to each other fairly well and hence there is little need to pursue comparative philosophy as a distinct discipline in philosophy. Instead, what should be promoted is an open philosophizing—philosophizing that is characterized by our openness to diverse ways of thought.

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