Idealism and Indian philosophy

In Joshua Farris & Benedikt Paul Göcke (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Idealism and Immaterialism. Oxfordshire: Routledge (2021)
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Abstract
In contrast to a stereotypical account of Indian philosophy that are entailments of the interpreter’s beliefs (an approach that violates basic standards of reason), an approach to Indian philosophy grounded on the constraints of formal reason reveals not only a wide spread disagreement on dharma (THE RIGHT OR THE GOOD), but also a pervasive commitment to the practical foundation of life’s challenges. The flip side of this practical orientation is the criticism of ordinary experience as erroneous and reducible to the agent’s mental states. If we ignore the background practical orientation in Indian philosophy, this seems not like an error theory, that I call Ironic Idealism, but as a defense of idealism. I consider salient candidates for Indian Idealism (Advaita Vedānta, Yogācāra Buddhism, Kāśmīra Śaivism and the Yogavāsiṣṭha) and note that these positions continue a theme in Indian philosophy of articulating Ironic Idealism. Ironic Idealism depends upon the very Indian distinction between ultimate and provisional truth, and Ironic Idealism criticizes the mundane, provisional sort of "truth" as psychological and mental --- and ultimately false. Interpretation, the common approach to the study of Indian philosophy, is an example of what Ironic Idealism criticizes. This explains why authors incorrectly find Idealism everywhere in Indian thought.
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