AbstractThis essay considers why English-speaking scholars have been inclined to engage Indian philosophical materials “philosophically,” as opposed to purely historically. That is to say, they have tended to ask questions about the philosophical significance and even validity of the theories they encounter in Indian philosophical writings, often approaching them critically in the way philosophers assess contemporary philosophical ideas. I first attempt to explain how this phenomenon has come about. Then I attempt to justify the philosophical approach to the study of Indian philosophical texts by showing how it complements, in various ways, the historical-philological study of these materials.
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