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The Problematic and Conceptual Structure of Indian Classical Thought About Man, Society and Polity

New Delhi: OUP, 1996


This book undertakes a critical analysis of the moral, legal, political and social thought of ancient India - as reflected in the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Dharmasastras, Buddhist, Jaina and Agamic literature - from a tradition-rooted yet liberal/modern point of view. It provides a much-needed corrective to the standard picture of classical Indian thought, especially in the contemporary West, where metaphysics, epistemology, theology and spirituality are in the forefront, whereas ethics, politics and sociology are conspicuously absent. The author articulates India's 'knowledge enterprises' in the realms of law, society, ethics and politcs. He examines the successive transformations of the problems in these realms and highlights concepts through which they were apprehended, thought about and organized into theoretical systems. The changes in the key concepts and the introduction of new ones over time have been emphasized, bringing into focus the developmental character of thought in these domains. The author seeks to bring out the relevance of these concepts in the contemporary cognitive context. This book will interest students of philosophy and all those interested in the intellectual contribution of ancient India.



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