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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Philosophy or/as History of Philosophy?


I have spent some part of the last years arguing about the need of a philosophical approach to Sanskrit philosophical texts. They were meant for philosophers and, hence, they demand a philosophical audience to understand and think along with them.
However, philosophy often risks to become itself a routine job, where a lot has to be produced every year (or semester, or month), and there is little time to take others' books and words seriously enough. Long story short: philosophers also run the risk to read less than they write. In this sense, the kind of ideal audience for Indian philosophical texts could be made of historians of philosophy, that is, people who value the understanding of others' texts as an end in itself, and not just as a source through which one's own ideas can be fostered (not to speak of plagiarism, since I do not believe it really exists). They should be patient enough to approach a complex text even if they could not immediately ``use'' it in their own ``original" work.
In order to avoid, again, the risk of a non-philosophical appraisal of Indian philosophical texts, I am thinking of people who understand history of philosophy as part of philosophy (possibly, as Philosophy itself).

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