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Ethan Mills

Three Pillars of Skepticism in Classical India

Nagarjuna, Jayarasi, and Sri Harsa

Lexington Books 2016

New Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in PhilosophyNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in South Asian StudiesNew Books Network February 20, 2019 Alexus McLeod

Skepticism has a long history in the Western tradition, from Pyrrhonian Skepticism in the Hellenistic period to more contemporary forms of skepticism most often...

Skepticism has a long history in the Western tradition, from Pyrrhonian Skepticism in the Hellenistic period to more contemporary forms of skepticism most often used as foils to theories of knowledge. The existence of skepticism in Indian Philosophy, however, has long been neglected in favor of dogmatic positions. In Three Pillars of Skepticism in Classical India: Nagarjuna, Jayarasi, and Sri Harsa (Lexington Books, 2018), Ethan Mills considers the thought of three very different philosophers in classical India, representative of Buddhism, Carvaka materialism, and Advaita Vedanta respectively, who can be considered skeptics about philosophy. Each of the three presents his skepticism in sometimes puzzling ways, which is often necessary, given the nature of skeptical claims (or rather, lack of claims). The three philosophers discussed in this book are not universally accepted as skeptics by scholars of Indian Philosophy, but Mills makes a compelling case for understanding them as adopting skeptical positions, and argues that they can be taken to represent a distinct skeptical tradition in classical India.