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An Introduction to Indian Philosophy: Perspectives on Reality, Knowledge, and Freedom

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An Introduction to Indian Philosophy offers a profound yet accessible survey of the development of India's philosophical tradition. Beginning with the formation of Brahmanical, Jaina, Materialist, and Buddhist traditions, Bina Gupta guides the reader through the classical schools of Indian thought, culminating in a look at how these traditions inform Indian philosophy and An Introduction to Indian Philosophy offers a profound yet accessible survey of the development of India's philosophical tradition. Beginning with the formation of Brahmanical, Jaina, Materialist, and Buddhist traditions, Bina Gupta guides the reader through the classical schools of Indian thought, culminating in a look at how these traditions inform Indian philosophy and society in modern times. Offering translations from source texts and clear explanations of philosophical terms, this text provides a rigorous overview of Indian philosophical contributions to epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, and ethics. This is a must-read for anyone seeking a reliable and illuminating introduction to Indian philosophy.


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An Introduction to Indian Philosophy offers a profound yet accessible survey of the development of India's philosophical tradition. Beginning with the formation of Brahmanical, Jaina, Materialist, and Buddhist traditions, Bina Gupta guides the reader through the classical schools of Indian thought, culminating in a look at how these traditions inform Indian philosophy and An Introduction to Indian Philosophy offers a profound yet accessible survey of the development of India's philosophical tradition. Beginning with the formation of Brahmanical, Jaina, Materialist, and Buddhist traditions, Bina Gupta guides the reader through the classical schools of Indian thought, culminating in a look at how these traditions inform Indian philosophy and society in modern times. Offering translations from source texts and clear explanations of philosophical terms, this text provides a rigorous overview of Indian philosophical contributions to epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, and ethics. This is a must-read for anyone seeking a reliable and illuminating introduction to Indian philosophy.

38 review for An Introduction to Indian Philosophy: Perspectives on Reality, Knowledge, and Freedom

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    061216 immediate impression: this four is more in how i read this, rather than quality of the text, reflecting my ignorance despite having read a few Indian philosophy. this should be an undergraduate text, studied over some time, helped by a prof- as an inspiration to read more extensively the texts translated- rather than attempting to read it all straight through in a few weeks. for this reason, i give this first impression, though after some thought, after some sleep, i will try and review i 061216 immediate impression: this four is more in how i read this, rather than quality of the text, reflecting my ignorance despite having read a few Indian philosophy. this should be an undergraduate text, studied over some time, helped by a prof- as an inspiration to read more extensively the texts translated- rather than attempting to read it all straight through in a few weeks. for this reason, i give this first impression, though after some thought, after some sleep, i will try and review it tomorrow... first review: having slept on it, i have decided to offer an 'impressionistic' appraisal of this text according to the 7 parts and the 15 chapters. parts as follows- 1) introduction 2) foundations 3) non-vedic systems 4) ancient systems 5) systems with global impact 6) teaching of bhagavad gita 7) modern thought. first 5 sections are followed by appendices of original texts as translated, there is a helpful glossary, an index... 1) most of the introduction is concerned with orienting the reader, explaining that even the title 'indian' philosophy might be mistaken in the same sense 'western' philosophy, in that there are several divisions, myriad schools, approaches to metaphysical, ontological, epistemological, ethical questions. there is of course an oral tradition that extends 4 500 years to pre-literate thought. there are essential presuppositions informing all 'indian thought': 'karma' and rebirth, 'moksa', 'dharma'. these are not argued but assumed. karma is 'act', the trace of which determines perhaps mode, quality, sort of rebirth. 'moksa' is a desired end, is a 'telos', is liberation from 'bounds', from 'suffering', of the cycle of life and death. 'dharma' has various meanings, primary is knowledge of each action to achieve moksa, is 'moral duty', though not by itself insuring moksa... 2) argument here is that the origin, the thought, of this philosophy is the 'vedas'- first texts of what we call 'hinduism' mostly religious, epic- and then the 'upanishads'- first texts specifically 'philosophy' formally part of the vedas, which asserts the ultimate reality is 'brahman', and each individual 'atman' or soul, is part of brahman. the world also is brahman, sometimes 'real', sometimes 'maya', that is diverse being as derived from brahman, or ‘ illusory’ as mostly seen by non-believers, but primarily any ground, any place, from which the atman must be cleared of worldly pollution, distortion, phenomenality, and freed to realize itself as brahman... 3) non-vedic systems are those systems of thought which do not follow the vedas, though by name it is clear there is a (negative) relationship, in 'darsanas' or 'teachings', and this goes from 'carvakas', a sort of materialism rejecting excessive ritual processes of the vedas, to the 'srmanas', who are the recluses who leave ordinary life to discover satisfying view of life, often known through their efforts, strivings, denial of usual pleasures. there are also the jaina, founded by an older contemporary of the buddha, which is a sort of extreme materialism of relative, incomplete, knowledge, which tries to unify previous threads of thought, of materialism, of idealism, known now mostly for the ethical doctrine of 'non-violence' and rather than simple syllogism work with seven-membered logic ( perspective is, is not, perspective both is and is not, perspective neither is or is not, perspective is and inexpressible, perspective is not and inexpressible, perspective is and is not and inexpressible)... this is followed by the buddhism, the philosophy(ies) of which i am most familiar, the four noble truths, eightfold path, impermanence, no-self, dependent origination, nirvana, of which the author suggests arguments, but for me the best books on buddhist philosophy are: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2..., https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1..., https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... and of its relatiionship to 'western' philosophy: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7..., and certainly this: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... 4) so obviously i have read more buddhism than any other indian philosophy, but this does not exhaust all thought: though then the trend seems to be reconciliation of vedic systems conceptions with ultimate reality, and this seems to uneducated me not much different than western philosophers finding room for the Christian god. as religion this does not much interest me. this philosophy requires much reading, offers the darsana of 'mimasa', of 'samkthya', of 'yoga', of 'vaiseka', of 'nyaya', ranging from something like materialism to something like idealism, all of which give various epistemological strategies, metaphysical structures, ways toward liberation, ways to live, to reach moksa... there is a lot to study here... 5) first buddhism as a global religion/philosophy, the various schools that proliferate and endure in many asian countries- and now perhaps in the west, though he does not address this. there is the buddha's famous refusal to offer metaphysical answers, which lead to many offered by followers, which involve everything from epistemology to ontology, but these are finally (often) thought as distraction, hindrance, from the real goal of nirvana (moksa). second and more popular/influential philosophy in india now is the 'advaita vedanta', which starts with 'brahma is truth' though it is not ultimately the theistic christian 'god is truth', and proceeds to explain all the ways we can know this, by experience, by logic, by verbal testimony. 'god' in this sense bears the attributes of theistic god only on the ordinary life, not truth of ultimate. there are means of valid knowledge of this: perception, inference, comparison, verbal testimony, in 'samkara', which seems to proffer the world as illusory, versus 'ramanuja' who insists the world is real.. 6) the bhagavad gita is a core text, though it strikes me in the same way the sacrifice of isaac by abraham: that is, religious duty is more valid than humanistic concern, than sympathy, than life- for it is considered part of the 'mahabharata' and involves arjuna, a prince, who does not want to fight and kill kin, whom krishna argues him into such acts... this strikes me more as religion in politics than philosophy but of course maybe i just need to read more...(have now read the mahabharata, better understanding of context, which is war after all, the final argument is 'do your duty' as this duty informs, enacts, proves entirety of social/political/philosophical structure of hinduism) 7) modern thought begins in response to the british empire, western society, and is reflected in kc bhattacrayya and sri aurobindo. these thinkers, the first a philosopher, the other a poet, address from different perspectives ideas of the 'absolute'. kc sees absolute as indefinite, subject or freedom, the alternation of the truth, reality, value. sri sees absolute in the nature of creation as involution then evolution, that is inward from existence, consciousness, bliss, supermind, mind, psyche, life, matter, then outward from matter, life, psyche, supermind, bliss, consciousness, existence... there is obviously much to read here but this book is easier to follow, shorter, and somewhat more contemporary than these: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7..., and https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Best intro to Indian philosophy hands down

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    I'm a grad student studying Western philosophy. I read this book to try to start branching out into Indian philosophy. I've read parts of other introductions to Indian philosophy, and this one is by far the best, although it's not an easy read. The book is well-organized: it contains a chapter on each darshana, which explains what is distinctive about that darshana as well as where it agrees with other darshanas. The book also contains a glossary of key technical philosophical terms in Sanskrit. I'm a grad student studying Western philosophy. I read this book to try to start branching out into Indian philosophy. I've read parts of other introductions to Indian philosophy, and this one is by far the best, although it's not an easy read. The book is well-organized: it contains a chapter on each darshana, which explains what is distinctive about that darshana as well as where it agrees with other darshanas. The book also contains a glossary of key technical philosophical terms in Sanskrit. I wish this glossary were more detailed, as some of the darshanas use the same term in slightly different ways, but it's helpful nonetheless.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alan

  5. 4 out of 5

    philosovamp

  6. 5 out of 5

    Muku

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joleen

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tom Peters

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brooks Robinson

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jon McGarry

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Henck

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jack Lewis Graham

  14. 5 out of 5

    Siena

  15. 4 out of 5

    Johannes Bertus

  16. 5 out of 5

    Notash

  17. 5 out of 5

    John Morgan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Simon

  19. 5 out of 5

    Odilon Simoni

  20. 5 out of 5

    Serdar Usta

  21. 4 out of 5

    Booklist

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ditte Lykke

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rafael Reyes III

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rassul West

  25. 4 out of 5

    Antoinette Armocida

  26. 5 out of 5

    Satheesh

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bvallabha

  28. 5 out of 5

    Colton Schuh

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joyce Roth

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Semp

  31. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  32. 4 out of 5

    Ethan

  33. 5 out of 5

    J

  34. 4 out of 5

    Amin Dorosti

  35. 5 out of 5

    Paul Patry

  36. 5 out of 5

    Christie

  37. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed Oraby

  38. 4 out of 5

    John Varner

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