The State of Philosophical Studies in India

Philosophy 24 (91):342 - 347 (1949)

Contemporary philosophical activity in India is influenced not only by India's traditional philosophy but also by Western Philosophy. One of the results of the introduction, by Macaulay, of the Western system of education into India is the popularization of the study of Western Philosophy, and Indians took to it quite enthusiastically. Sanscrit philosophical texts were at first regarded as sacred, and Europeans could have no access to them. But in time, the prejudice abated, and Sanscrit texts began to be translated into English. At the beginning, the motives behind Western interest in Indian Philosophy were mainly of two kinds: the rulers wanted to understand the culture and religions of the ruled in order to govern them without hurting their religious sentiments, and thus with the least friction; and secondly. Christian missionaries wanted converts and studied the religions and philosophies of the latter in order to find out defects in them and uphold the superiority of Christianity. But whatever be the motives and however biased the scholarship in the beginning, genuine academical interest in the philosophical literature of India came to be evinced, thanks to the work of men like Max Müller, Deussen, Rhys Davids, etc., and vast stores of Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina philosophical literature were unearthed not only in India but also outside. It should, however, be said that academical philosophers of the West did not take serious interest in Indian Philosophy as such; and not a single Indian philosophical concept has entered till now the discussions of Western technical philosophy, Schopenhauer was an exception: he made serious use of the concept of Maya
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DOI 10.1017/S003181910000749X
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