60. The Buddha and I: Indian Influence on Islamic and European Thought

Posted on 18 February 2018

The impact of ancient Indian thought upon the Muslim scholar al-Bīrūnī and upon European thinkers like Hume, Hegel, and Schopenhauer.

Further Reading

• E.C. Sachau (trans.), Alberuni’s India, 2 vols (London: 1910).


• P. Abelsen, “Schopenhauer and Buddhism,” Philosophy East and West 43 (1993), 255-78.

• A. Gopnik, “Could David Hume have Known about Buddhism? Charles Francois Dolu, the Royal College of La Flèche, and the Global Jesuit Intellectual Network,” Hume Studies 35 (2009), 5–28.

• W. Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Philosophical Understanding (Albany: 1988).

• M. Kozah, The Birth of Indology as an Islamic Science (Leiden: 2015).

• A.L. Macfie (ed.), Eastern Influences on Western Philosophy: A Reader (Edinburgh: 2003).

• M. Nicholls, “The Influences of Eastern Thought on Schopenhauer’s Doctrine of The Thing-In-Itself,” in C. Janaway (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Schopenhauer (Cambridge: 1999), 171–212.

• K. van Bladel, “The Bactrian Background of the Barmakids,” in A. Akasoy, C. Burnett and R. Yoeli-Tlalim (eds), Islam and Tibet: Interactions along the Musk Routes (Farnham: 2011), 43-88.


John 20 February 2018

Peter, I've just discovered this absolute treasure of a site. I noticed that you've covered ancient, Hellenistic, Indian, and Islamic philosophy with great depth, and have heard you mention on former podcasts say that you plan on a series of African philosophy as well. As a lover of Ficino, Petrarch, Erasmus, etc, I'd be fascinated to know if you plan to do the same with the Renaissance period. I'd especially love for you to cover some of the lesser-known names that don't get a lot of popular coverage, like Suarez.

Yes, that's coming soon! After medieval is over (it will end with episode 300) I will move on to Byzantine philosophy and then Renaissance philosophy, with the usual extensive coverage - for sure that will mean dozens of episodes and certainly I will cover people like Suarez and the others you mention, and in fact plenyt of figures who are less known than Suarez is!

John 22 February 2018

In reply to by Peter Adamson

You can't possibly imagine how absolutely giddy with delight I got reading your response. Thank you so much for doing this. It's the kind of intellectual public service for which I'm not sure I could ever adequately thank you.

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