chapter  1
14 Pages

Introduction

In my classes on Indian philosophy in American universities, I am often asked: what is Indian philosophy? How is Indian philosophy different from Western philosophy? I find it difficult to answer these questions because I am being asked not only “what is philosophy” but also what makes Indian philosophy “Indian.” In dealing with such general questions, one must always bear in mind that the frequently used designation “Indian philosophy” is as much a construction concealing in its fold many internal distinctions as is the designation “Western philosophy.” One cannot but point out-which would be obvious to my readers-that the difference between Western analytic philosophy, as it took shape from Russell and Wittgenstein onwards, is substantially different from the Western post-Kantian philosophy which developed from Kant to Hegel. Thus, the designations “Indian” and “Western” do not bring together any common essence among systems of thinking coming under them, excepting features which may indeed be contingently related to philosophical thinking, namely, geographical points of origin.