Indian vs Western philosophy
Although Indian thought developed in an intellectual climate which in many ways was different from, and almost certainly not influenced by, the ancient greek philosophy, abundent and often striking similarities with the Western philosophical thought justify the application of the term ‘philosophy’ to it.
The nature of the worldview taken for granted by the majority of schools and, in the course of time, an increasingly religious preoccupation nevertheless led indian philosophy in a somewhat different direction from occidental. But the great variety of approaches even during the medieval period disproves the myth that all indian philosophy is “mystical” of “theological” or that Vedanta is its sole, most typical, representative.
Indian Philosophy schools
A typology of Indian philosophy os complicated by the fact that the Indian tradition iteself classifies schools according to religious criteria, a practice that tends to obscure the philosophical character of the individual systems. Thus six systems are classified as Hindu philosophy, while three others are separated as heterodox : Indian materialism, Buddhist philosophy, and Jain philosophy.
A periodization is equally difficult, since many traditions continued over long periods parallel to each other :
– realistic or nature-philosophical
– monistic – mystic and illusionistic