[Advaita-l] shaDdarhana and other unorthodox schools

jagannathan mahadevan jagannathan.mahadevan at gmail.com
Sun Jan 21 21:52:24 CST 2007

I think the courses on Indian philosphy in The University of Texas at
Austin were not introduced until very recently. I remember looking for
a course in fall 1999 and could not find any except for something like
"world philosophy" exactly as Ram had mentioned in his email.

Nevertheless, my question has to do with the language of the "oldest
recorded philosophy." No doubt Robert Solomon, a western philosopher,
may have acknowledged that Indian philosophy was perhaps the oldest.
But I doubt that many western philosophers accept that the language of
the "oldest philosophy," Sanskrit, is also Indian. In fact in the same
University of Texas, a liberal arts professor and sanskrit scholar,
Richard Lariviere, entirely dismissed the idea of origin of sanskrit
in India in a lecture to indian students in fall 1999. I cannot but
help feel somewhat confused when I hear that the "oldest philosophy
perhaps is Indian" but the language in which it was coded originated
somewhere else!


S. Jayanarayanan wrote:

> You seem ignorant of the present-day American philosophy departments.
> A personal experience: I wanted to take a few classes on Western
> philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, and talked to quite
> a few professors there, and most of them recommended that I attend
> lectures by Robert Solomon, because "He's one of the best we have
> here. You simply cannot go wrong with him."
> Here's a quote from the first chapter, "Is There Ultimate Truth?" of
> Solomon's book "A Passion for Wisdom" (co-authored with Higgins):
> "Perhaps the oldest recorded philosophy comes from India...For
> several centuries, Indian philosophers defended a conception of
> absolute reality, or Brahman, which some insisted was utterly
> independent of and unknown to ordinary human experience..."


> I agree that the kind of "Eurocentrism" that Sylvain has talked about
> has been the norm in the past, but there are many Western
> philosophers, especially in America (e.g Robert Solomon), who state
> in plain words that Vedanta is not only philosophy, but that it was
> probably the earliest recorded one in the world today. It is to be
> noted that Solomon, in his all-inclusive style, finds a lot of
> African thought in the subject of ethics that also qualifies as
> "philosophy".

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