Why is there philosophy in India?

Sixth Gonda lecture

Bronkhorst, J.

1999 | 36 pages | ISBN 90-6984-256-4 | free

Many Indologists are deeply concerned to show that there is such a thing as Indian philosophy. They are upset by the fact that most people in the modern Western world, including philosophers, do not expect to find such a thing in ancient India. India, common knowledge teaches, is a land of spirituality and wisdom, but not of hard-headed analysis and serious debate. This common knowledge is wrong, as Indologists know. India has had a long tradition of rational debate, linked to systematic attempts to make sense of the world and our place in it. In this essay, the author discusses the origin of an independent rational debate in ancient India, and points out that, once given its proper place, the study of Indian philosophy will give rise to interesting but also disturbing questions.