Studying Chinese, Indian, Africana… philosophy as part of the regular curriculum

Eric Schwitzgebel wrote an important article on the L.A. Times stating that we should stop refraining from studying Chinese Philosophy. He has a powerful way to show how there is circularity behind the arguments against it:

Because the dominant academic culture in the U.S. traces back to Europe, the ancient Chinese philosophers were not taught to, and thus not read by, the succeeding generations. Ignorance thus apparently justifies ignorance: Because we don’t know their work, they have little impact on our philosophy. Because they have little impact on our philosophy, we believe we are justified in remaining ignorant about their work.

Human beings as animals

Humans are not animals according to Descartes’ distinction of res cogitans and res extensa. They are also not animals according to many Christian theologians (Jesus came to save humans, not animals). Perhaps humans are not (only) animals also according to the Aristotelian definition of human beings as “rational animals”, which attributes to humans alone a distinctive character. Humans are also quite different than animals when it comes to their respective rights. But here starts a moot point:


A chart of the “History of Eastern Philosophy”

Most readers will have already noted this chart of “Eastern Philosophy” at Superscholar.

Now, I have already commented about it at DailyNous, but the staff of Superscholars has written to me twice to advertise the map, so that I feel compelled to repeat my comment and some further ones here. I would also like to ask readers: Do you think these maps have some use at all? If so, for whom? Beginners or Advanced scholars?

Buddhism in Tamil Nadu until the end of the first millennium AD

Was Buddhism ever predominant in Tamil Nadu? Which Buddhism? And when?

After my last post on the disappearance of Buddhism from South India, I received two emails of readers pointing to the fact that Buddhism must have been prosperous in Tamil Nadu, given that Dharmakīrti himself was born in Tamil Nadu and that the Maṇimēkalai (a Buddhist literary text in Tamil, datable perhaps to the 5th–7th c.) presupposes a Buddhist community and reuses materials from Śaṅkarasvāmin’s Nyāyapraveśa.

Philosophers’ Carnival No. 167

The 167th edition of the Philosophers’ Carnival can be found here! It includes also a post by Eric Schwitzgebel on the unavoidability of studying Chinese philosophy and a post by Amod Lele on the “double standard” we adopt while looking at re-readings of the tradition by contemporary or ancient authors. I am grateful to the compiler of this edition of the Carnival (D. Papineau) and to the readers who signalled these posts. May the discussion of philosophical blogs always be broad enough to reach beyond traditional geographical and disciplinary boundaries!

You can signal your favorite posts of September for the October’s Philosophers’ Carnival here. Don’t forget to include some non-mainstream philosophy in your recommandations!

(Third day at the IABS:) Franco on the datation of Dharmakīrti and some further thoughts on Dharmakīrti, Dignāga, Kumārila

The datation of Dharmakīrti is a topic I am not competent enough to speak about, but I will nonetheless try to summarise other people’s arguments.
The departing point is the traditionally accepted date of Dharmakīrti, namely 600–660, settled by Erich Frauwallner mainly on the basis of the reports of Chinese pilgrims,

Third and forth day at the IABS: “Pramana Across Asia”: Introduction to the panel, Katsura, Lusthaus

The “Pramana across Asia” panel has been opened by Eli Franco, its convener, with the following hope: “In some years, through stimuli such as this panel, we will speak of Indo-Sinic Buddhism, just like we speak of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism”.