Sunday, April 15, 2012
Using Western Philosophy while working on Indian philosophical texts?
Although I work chiefly on an Indian philosophical system, the Mīmāṃsā, my readers find many references made to both classical and modern Western Philosophy in my texts. It is so because I do not think it is possible to leave my Western background, which constitutes also the background of my philosophical understanding, completely out of the enquire. Therefore, I have tried to explicitly point out all similarities and analogies which could have in any way influenced me. However, I am not proposing a comparative study of, say, Kumārila and Anselmus, but am rather using comparison as a method. Besides that, the texts I will be dealing with are chiefly philosophical ones and could be hardly understood without philosophically re-thinking them.
From a different point of view, the study of another philosophical tradition, I believe, often offers new and useful points of view even in regard to our most basic tenets. Commonly agreed conclusions may seem the only possible ones and one could fail to weigh their value if one does not compare them with radically different solutions offered to the same (or a similar) problem by another culture.
Do you acknowlede your philosophical background? Do you think you can obliterate it altogether while approaching an Indian text?
On the same topic, see also this post. On the problem of "implicit paradigms", see this post.