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.)
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,
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”.
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?