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Asian Philosophy


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Hindu Philosophy

Philosophy in Classical India: The Proper Work of Reason by Jonardon Ganeri (Routledge) Bringing the analytical approach of modern philosophy to bear upon the literature of ancient and classical India, Ganeri explains and explores the central methods, concepts and devices of a rich, sophisticated philosophical tradition.

Recent years have seen the beginning of a radical reassessment of the philo­sophical literature of ancient and classical India. The analytical techniques of contemporary philosophy are being deployed towards fresh and original inter­pretations of the texts. This rational, rather than mystical, approach towards Indian philosophical theory has resulted in a need for a work which explains afresh`its central methods, concepts and devices. This book meets that need. Assuming no prior familiarity with the texts, Jonardon Ganeri offers new interpretations which bring out the richness of Indian theory and the sophis­tication of its methods. Original in both approach and content, Philosophy in Classical India contains many new results, analyses and explanations.

Discussing a diverse range of key Indian thinkers, Ganeri asks: What is the goal of their philosophical project and what are the methods of rational inquiry used in their pursuit? Recognising reason as the instrument of all philosophers, this book studies the active rational principles that drive clas­sical Indian philosophy. The philosophers discussed here form a network of mutual reference and criticism, influence and response, and in their work one finds a broad vein of critical rationality in which reason is at once used constructively and to call itself into question. The inquiries of the classical Indian philosophers into the possibilities of human reason are considered afresh: new philosophical paradigms are unravelled, new applications for the concept of reason are discovered, and a common philosophical vocabulary is thereby enriched. Philosophy in Classical India rescues a story suppressed in Orientalist discourses of the East - the story of reason in a land too often defined as reason's Other.

Jonardon Ganeri read mathematics at Cambridge before pursuing graduate studies in philosophy at London and Oxford. He is the author of Semantic Powers: Meaning and the Means of Knowing in Classical Indian Philosophy (Clarendon Press, 1999). He is currently Spalding Fellow in Comparative Religions, Clare Hall, Cambridge.


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