India and Europe

An Essay in Understanding

By Wilhelm Halbfass

Paperback : 9780887067952, 620 pages, September 1988
Hardcover : 9780887067945, 620 pages, September 1988

Table of contents


Extracts from the Preface to the Original German Edition

Notes on Transliteration and the Spelling of Indian Names

I. India in the History of European Self-Understanding

1. The Philosophical View of India in Classical Antiquity

2. Islamic Encounters With Indian Philosophy

3. The Missionary Approach to Indian Thought

4. Deism, the Enlightenment, and the Early History of Indology

5. India and the Romantic Critique of the Present

6. Hegel

7. Schelling and Schopenhauer

8. Developments in the Interpretation of India Following Hegel and Schopenhauer

9. On the Exclusion of India from the History of Philosophy

10. Preliminary Postscript: The Hermeneutic Situation in the Twentieth Century

II. The Indian Tradition and the Presence of Europe

11. Traditional Indian Xenology

12. Rammohan Roy and His Hermeneutic Situation

13. Neo-Hinduism, Modern Indian Traditionalism, and the Presence of Europe

14. Supplementary Observations on Modern Indian Thought

15. Darsana, Anviksiki, Philosophy

16. The Adoption of the Concept of Philosophy in Modern Hinduism

17. Dharma in the Self-Understanding of Traditional Hinduism

18. Reinterpretations of Dharma in Modern Hinduism

19. The Sanskrit Doxographies and the Structure of Hindu Traditionalism

20. Epilogue

III. Appendices: Illustrations and Reflections

21. The Concept of Experience in the Encounter Between India and the West

22. "Inclusivism" and "Tolerance" in the Encounter Between India and the West

23. India and the Comparative Method

24. In Lieu of a Summary and Conclusion: Europe, India, and the "Europeanization of the Earth"

Abbreviations; frequently cited works




This book explores the intellectual encounter of India and the West from pre-Alexandrian antiquity until the present. It examines India's role in European philosophical thought, as well as the reception of European philosophy in Indian thought. Halbfass also considers the tension in India between a traditional and modern understanding of itself.

Halbfass covers a wide variety of epochs and "cultures" in this study without oversimplification and without distracting shifts of tone. The volume's methodological unity is reflected in Halbfass' reliance on the German hermeneutical tradition and his root characterization of the encounter between Indian and the West as dynamic. It is a contribution rooted in the interpretive tradition typified by the work of Heidegger, Gadamer, and Habermas.

This edition is much more than a mere translation. Halbfass has not only translated, but has also revised, updated, and added much new material.

Wilhelm Halbfass (1940–2000) was Professor of Indian Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Tradition and Reflection: Explorations in Indian Thought; On Being and What There Is: Classical Vaisesika and the History of Indian Ontology; and the editor of Philology and Confrontation: Paul Hacker on Traditional and Modern Vedanta; all published by SUNY Press.


"Anyone concerned with India and its study stands in Halbfass' debt. " — Philosophy East and West

"Halbfass has written a book which is extremely interesting both for the general reader and for the specialist in Indian philosophy. The first will undoubtedly appreciate the effort made by the author to explain clearly problems and attitudes which are unfamiliar to the European philosophical tradition, whereas the second will learn much from the treatment of many aspects of Indian thought by a scholar who is equally at home in both European and Indian philosophy. " — Indo-Iranian Journal

"Halbfass' book is a gift to his Indologist colleagues. Due to its comprehensiveness, thoroughness, and clear delineation of the characteristic aspects of the encounter between Europe and India, it is a trusted work of reference. It has prepared the way for a protracted dialogue which should not be historically naive. " — Indian Theological Studies