About the book:
This is a book about philosophical theory in classical India. It is an attempt to understand the nature of the classical Indian philosophical endeavor, and in so doing to reveal a richness of projects and a diversity of methods. Reason is the instrument of all philosophers, but conceptions of the nature and function of reason vary along with varying ideas about the work for which reason is properly employed. Manu, the lawmaker, said that those whose only guide is reason should be banished from the company of the virtuous. That is the view too of the great narrators of the Indian epics. Reason unchecked was seen as a threat to the stability of Brahminical social order, as the tool of heretics and troublemakers. But the epic horror of pure reason was a disdain not for reason itself, but only for its capricious use, to undermine belief rather than to support it, to criticise and not to defend. Bringing the analytical approach of modern philosophy to bear upon the literature of ancient and classical India, Jonardon Ganeri here explains and explores the central methods, concepts and devices of a rich and sophisticated philosophical tradition. Original in content and approach, Philosophy in Classical India focuses on the concept of rationality in Indian philosophical theory, the story of reason in a land too often defined as 'Other'.
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.