This alphabetical handbook defines and explains key concepts in classical Indian philosophy, identifies controversial issues, describes major
traditions of thought, and locates influential thinkers in their intellectual and religious contexts.
They introduce the central concepts of the various branches of philosophy written by established philosophers, covering both traditional and
Dedicated coverage of particular topics within philosophy
Coverage of key terms and major figures
Cross-references to related terms
Extensive cross-referencing provides users with an overview of systematic doctrines and disagreements. While many entries deal with
fundamentals, others explain technicalities usually overlooked in Western writings about Indian thought, making Indian philosophy A-Z a unique
resource for both beginners and specialists in the fields of Indian religions and philosophies.
CHRISTOPHER BARTLEY lectures in the philosophy department at Liverpool University. His The Theology of Ramanufa was published by
Routledge Curzon in 2002.
When one examines the vast variety of philosophical views that originated in India, the term 'Indian Philosophy' might seem more accurately
replaced by 'Indian philosophies'. This is true of all national terms applied to philosophy, of course, but rarely so true as in the case of Indian
philosophy. This got off the ground perhaps as long ago as 1000 BCE with the Rig Veda, and developed into highly sophisticated schools of
thought linked to a series of religious texts. Then Indian philosophy was boosted by a reaction to Vedantic thought by Buddhists and others, and
this form of philosophy migrated to the rest of Asia, and beyond. Teachers of the history of philosophy often complain that their students today
find it difficult to understand Locke and Hume, even if they are native English speakers. How much more difficult, then is it for an
English-speaking audience to understand the concepts of Indian philosophy, distant as they are from us in time and expressed in an entirely
distinct language and culture? Chris Bartley's book is designed to show that the task of explaining Indian philosophical concepts is not as
difficult or mysterious as has often been thought. It is the aim of this series to present philosophical terms from different areas of the discipline
in accessible and interesting ways, and I welcome this contribution to the task in hand.
Students often ask whether they are required to spell Sanskrit words correctly in their written work. The nice response is that they are expected
to show that they understand what the (hopefully recognizable) terms mean. This handbook tries to elucidate the focal meanings of concepts that
readers of Indian philosophy in English translations ate likely to encounter.
It is in the mature of the case that concepts and logical techniques described here are taken out of specific contexts. I have tried to write in such
a way that a glance at a particular entry will assist understanding of the way in which a term in being used on a particular occasion.
The existence of this book testifies to a belief that the study of classical Indian philosophical and religious thought is intrinsically worthwhile.
These thinkers were concerned with issues of universal significance that are crystallised and discussed with a singular clarity and argumentative
precision. It is to be hoped that this book contributes to an acceptance of the view that it makes sense to speak of World Philosophy, of which
classical Indian philosophy is a proper part. No one who has read a closely argued Indian philosophical text can deny that the activity was
governed by rigorous canons of rationality and a presumption that conclusions must be justified.
The sociologist Louis Dumont maintained that the key to understanding Indian religion is to be found in the dialogue between the person who has
renounced society and the participant in everyday social relations. This is surely an important insight. I maintain that the keys to understanding
Indian philosophy are to be found in the dialectic between the antiessentialist Buddhist outlook that reality is to be understood fundamentally as
an impersonal process of events from which the notion of individual identities is an abstraction, and the Brahminical Hindu view that it is the
interactions between persisting stable identities or substances that generate processes. Further, there is the dialectic between the view that the
values encoded in the orthodox hierarchical ideology of social and religious duty (dharma) are absolutes and the subversive belief that they are
only human constructs. Again, there is the dialectic between the view that the world as represented in the categories of common sense is what it
seems (the lotus growing out of the mud) and the conviction that the differences and oppositions that we experience are misconceptions
resolvable into a higher unifying synthesis.
About thirty years ago my teacher Julius Lipner expressed the modest aspiration that one of our duties as students of Indian thought was that of
helping to dissolve the misconceptions about those traditions current in the west. I hope that this book is a step in the right direction.
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