“But is Indian thought really philosophy?”

We can answer the question “What is it?” for a religion or worldview by proceeding either sociologically or doctrinally. […] In philosophy, for example, the question “But is it philosophy?” can be not so much a question about the boundaries of the discipline taken doctrinally as it is a rejection of any approach not already favored by the elite in power, In that case, the genus within which the question “But is it philosophy?” falls is not philosophy but rather politics, or maybe even just bullying. (Eleanore Stump 2013, pp. 46, 48).

What to do, then? Doctrinally, one can try to explain that it is indeed philosophy (use of syllogistic arguments, argumentative style, dialogues, interest in logic…). This will probably not be enough, so that one might want to go for the sociological approach:

In that case, the right response to the challenge “But is it philosophy?” is this: “well, I’m a philosopher, and this is what I believe and do as a philosopher.” (p. 47)

In this sense, public figures like Ganeri are probably very influential through their sociological impact (“he appears to be a philosopher, so what he does must be philosophy”) beside through their written work.
As for this blog’s mission, should we focus on acquiring the sociological status of “philosophers”, beside continuing to focus on understanding Indian philosophy and trying to convey how interesting it is?

(cross-posted on the Indian Philosophy Blog, where you can read also some interesting comments)

Comments and discussions are welcome. Be sure you are making a point and contributing to the discussion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on ““But is Indian thought really philosophy?”