Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why is Indian Philosophy ignored by Western educational institutions?

"An addendum and parting shot at the opposition. As mentioned, most
of us are acutely aware of our philosophy colleagues’ ignorance of Indian
philosophies, which is, particularly after the labor of Potter and others,
disappointing. My own take is that much of the problem is due to the
prevalence of cultural relativism, the presumption being that Indian
philosophy has to be very different. Here ethnocentrism is evident. An
assumption of ‘‘otherness’’ blocks interest on the part of philosophers.
Too much history would have to be learned, and connections to current
interests seem unlikely. Thus by opposing cultural relativism in the way
outlined here a larger goal of our subfield may be served, broader
recognition of classical Indian accomplishment and better integration into
a standard philosophy curriculum."

-the closing paragraph of a paper entitled The Indian Demise of Cultural Relativism by Stephen H. Phillips Professor of Philosophy and Asian Studies at the University of Texas.

In this paper he argues that while such things as philosophical judgments or ethical standards are derived from human conditions within various cultures, they are not by necessity relative cultural creations. Just as within various cultures objective logical or mathematical rules have emerged, so do certain ethical standards & philosophical judgments.

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