What is Indian Philosophy? Why has India been excluded from the history of philosophy? Richard King provides an introduction to the main schools of Hindu and Buddhist thought, emphasising the living history of interaction and debate between the various traditions. The book outlines the broad spectrum of Indian philosophical schools and questions prevailing assumptions about the 'mythical' ahistorical and 'theological' nature of Indian thought. Central philosophical questions are addressed: what really exists? How do we know what we know? Can we trust our perceptions of reality? What are we and where do we come from? Early chapters discuss the nature of philosophy in general, examning the shifting usage of the term throughout history. The author argues that a single definition or characterisation of the subject matter is impossible and that histories of philosophy remain tied to an ethnocentric and colonial perspective so long as they ignore the possibility of philosophical thought 'East of the Suez'. This highlights the need for a post-colonial and global approach to philosophy.
Richard King has written a clear, modern, up-to-date, wide-ranging and accessible introduction to the principal doctrinal postiions and debates in Indian philosophy. It is a balanced book, free from bias in favour of one school or another. King is an accurate, reliable and well-informed expositor. I would say that it is by some margin the best popular survey of Hindu and Buddhist philosophical doctrines on the market today.