Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why did Indian philosophy disappear from Mind for about 50 years?

In the late 1800s and the early years of the 20th Century, Mind published several items on Indian philosophy.


In 1915, the journal included a paper by P. Narasimham called 'Vedantic Good' (24 [93]). There was an item in 1912 by Homo Leone called 'The Vendantic Absolute' (21 [81]).

There were several pieces by S. Radhakrishnan in WWI and just afterwards (26 [103], 28 [109 and 111]). In 1926 (35 [138]), Mind devoted about 25 pages to Radhakrishnan's review of criticisms of his book on Indian philosophy.

H. N. Randle published pieces on Indian logic in 1924 (33 [132]) and 1926 (35 [137]).

In 1932 (41 [164]), there was a 7-page review (by J. S. Mackenzie) of a book by Radhakrishnan, and in 1937 (46 [183]) a 4-page review by A. T. Shillinglaw of an anthology on Indian philosophy.

After that, as far as I can tell there's nothing very substantive until 1988, when Mind published 'The Context Principle and Some Indian Controversies over Meaning' by B. K. Matilal and  P. K. Sen (97 [385]). In the interval, there are only very brief items on Indian philosophy (e.g., in the book notes that appear in the sections on 'New Books'). (Please let me know if I've missed some lengthier items on Indian philosophy between 1937 and 1988.)

So, Mind's coverage of Indian philosophy trailed off in the 1930s (when G. E. Moore was editor) and didn't really resume until the late 1980s.

What accounts for the roughly 50-year absence? Is it that the earlier coverage was due to some individuals who exercised some influence on Mind but who died in the '30s? My conjecture is that Indian philosophy was associated with British idealism, and that after the analysts had completed their purge of idealism from the journal (mainly by the 1920s), Indian philosophy, too, largely disappeared from Mind.

The journal has recently announced that it is broadening its scope.

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