Some readers have surely already noted this series of podcasts on Indian philosophy, by Peter Adamson (the historian of Islamic philosophy and Neoplatonism who hosts the series “History of philosophy without any gaps” —which I can not but highly praise and recommend, and which saved me from boredom while collating manuscripts) and Jonardon Ganeri.
The series has several interesting points, among which surely the fact of proposing a new historical paradigm (interested readers may know already the volume edited by Eli Franco on other attempts of periodization of Indian philosophy, see here for my review). They explicitly avoid applying periodizations inherited from European civilisations, and consequently do not speak of “Classical” or “Medieval” Indian philosophy. What do readers think of this idea? And of the podcast in general?
I have myself a few objections (which I signalled in the comment section of each podcast), but am overall very happy that someone is taking Indian philosophy seriously enough while at the same time making it also accessible to lay listeners. In this sense, I cannot but hope that Peter and Jonardon’s attempts are successful.
The series includes also interviews to scholars: Brian Black on the Upaniṣads, Rupert Gethin on Buddhism, Jessica Frazier on “Hinduism” (the quotation marks are mine only), myself on Mīmāṃsā. Further interviews are forthcoming. Criticisms and comments are welcome! (but please avoid commenting on my pronunciation mistakes.)
As most readers know, Philipp Maas (elaborating on a short article by Johannes Bronkhorst) has claimed that it is highly probable that an independent Yogasūtra never existed and that we should therefore only speak of the Pātañjalayogaśāstra, a work including what is known as Yogasūtra and what is known as Yogabhāṣya. He notices that the Yogasūtra is not independently transmitted, that all quotes until the 11th c. refer to either the YS or the YBh in the same way, as if they were the same work. For more details, see section 2 of his article in Franco 2013 (available here) and his article in Bronkhorst 2010 (available here).
Federico Squarcini recently disputed this claim
How was Capitalism born? And, more in general, 1. does the economic structure determine its superstructure (including philosophy or religion), as in Marx; 2. does a certain philosophy, religion, etc. determine a certain economic result, as in Weber; or 3. do important actors select a certain philosophy, religion, etc., because it is more adequate for their needs? Or are there still other solutions (as in Hirschman’s 1977 The Passions and the Interests)?
(I beg again your pardon for the lack of diacritics)
The fore-last essay (called Classification and Periodization of Indian Philosophical Traditions: Some Conceptual and Theoretical Aspects) in Franco’s Periodization and Historiography of Indian Philosophy, by Claus Oetke, raises very general issues, departing from the problematic definition of “Indian philosophy”, in which both noun and adjective should be better assessed (does not “Indian” philosophy include also authors who were active in Burma or Tibet?
प्रचीनजैनदर्शने प्रमाणे द्विविधे, प्रत्यक्षम् परोक्षं च ।
प्रत्यक्षमित्युक्ते किम् ? अन्यदर्शनेषु इन्द्रियसम्यज्ज्ञानमिति । केषुचिद् योगिप्रत्यक्षं स्वसंवेदनं मनसाप्रत्यक्षमपि प्रत्यक्षेऽङ्गीक्रियन्ते । जैनदर्शने
How do reason and authority interact and trace each other’s boundaries? Which one is the first to be allowed to delimit its territory and, by means of that, also the other one’s one?
Should we try to periodise Indian philosophy or shall we give up any attempt, since each one will be criticised and is in some respect flawed? Periodisation, as recently highlighted by Julius Lipner, is a form of classification and as such also a form of controlling (Lipner 2013).
The idea that the Yogasūtra (henceforth YS) and the Yogabhāṣya (henceforth YBh) are not two distinct texts has been discussed for the first way in a systematic way by Johannes Bronkhorst in 1985 (“Patañjali and the Yoga Sūtras”, Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik). Philipp Maas in his published PhD thesis (Maas 2006) examined it again and Philipp Maas in his contribution to Eli Franco’s Periodization and Historiography of Indian Philosophy (2013) dealt with it again in greater detail.
Is the only alternative one faces while speaking about South Asia that between an etic (i.e., Western) and emic approach?
Today I read in Philipp Maas’s contribution to Periodization and Historiography of Indian Philosophy (edited by Eli Franco) an intriguing critique of Colebrook and of all the Indologists who, seemingly following him, thought that there was nothing philosophical in Yoga apart from its Sāṅkhya component and that what was typical of Yoga alone was not philosophical.