[INDOLOGY] Whence the 6 Schools of Indian Philosophy

Karl-Stephan Bouthillette karl-stephan.bouthillette.1 at ulaval.ca
Mon Nov 20 11:21:45 UTC 2023

Dear Edwin,

On Indian philosophical doxography in general, with references to the 'six schools' narrative in particular, I can point out my own work: 'Dialogue and Doxography in Indian Philosophy: Points of View in Buddhist, Jaina, and Advaita Vedānta Traditions.'

I believe that you can find therein answers to many of your queries, as well as the relevant literature (in bibliography and notes) available to sustain your research further.



Dr. Karl-Stéphan Bouthillette
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy (DoP)
Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE)
6th floor, Advanced Research Centre (ARC), Tower 3
MAHE, Manipal – 576104, INDIA
Tel: +91 82029 37750
Extension: 37756
From: sari-l-request at list.arizona.edu <sari-l-request at list.arizona.edu> on behalf of Edwin Bryant <sari-l at list.arizona.edu>
Sent: 20 November 2023 09:07
To: indology at list.indology.info <indology at list.indology.info>; sari-l at list.arizona.edu <sari-l at list.arizona.edu>
Subject: [SARI-L] [EXT]Whence the 6 Schools of Indian Philosophy

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Can anyone point me to the first literary reference to 'The Six Schools of Indian Philosophy'?  We know this is a fiction - there are a vast array of Indic intellectual traditions, and earlier (and later) doxographies mention differing numbers and organize them variously (even as they too are exclusionary in what they include).  I am assuming there is no reference to doxographies in what becomes the normative Smriti (if we can bracket problematizing that concept for now), even as individual references to e.g. Samkhya and Vedanta and Yoga are very early.

Has anyone speculated on the socio-ideological circumstances favoring the formation of this hallowed group of 6 to the exclusion of others (such as tantra, as so many others).  We can be certain it was a brahmana construction - but how did it catch on?  Do we know anything about the circumstances surrounding the logic of this selection, or do we find the mention of 6 Schools just emerging in e.g. Sankara or some such source with no further comment?

Many thanks.  Edwin Bryant
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