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This book provides an introduction to the main schools of Indian philosophy within both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Richard King analyzes the schools' different doctrines and compares their approaches to specific philosophical topics â ontology, epistemology, perception, consciousness, and creation and causality.
While King's main focus is on the ideas as professed by the major schools of thought, he also takes into account the important contributions made by individual thinkers. Among these are Bhartrhari, who helped introduce linguistic analysis into Indian philosophy; Nagarjuna, the reputed founder of the Mahayana or Middle Way school; and Asanga, the believed founder of the Yogacara or Practice of Yoga school.
This is the first introduction to Indian philosophy written for a western audience to assess Indian thought in its own context and to examine its relationship with the West. King discusses the nature of philosophy in general, examining the shifting usage of the term throughout history. He examines western perceptions of Indian philosophy, exploring the reasons why it has not made substantial inroads into western intellectual discourse.
King argues that western scholars will remain tied to a Eurocentric perspective as long as they continue to ignore the possibility of philosophical thought East of the Suez. This, he argues, highlights the need for a post-colonial and global approach to philosophy.
Written in a clear and accessible style, the book can be used for courses in religion, theology, and philosophy.