Nature in Indian thought

Is “nature” a thing out there? Will we find possible translations of it in each language?

Probably not. At least, this is the thesis of a recent article of mine (a pre-print version of which is available here, please email me for the final version), in which the case of Mīmāṃsā is at the center, but Buddhist and Vedāntic approaches are also in the background. My conclusion is that “nature” is a history-loaden concept, most likely not translatable in a milieu which does not share the (US-Australian-NewZealand-…)European background made of Latin distinctions between natura naturans and natura naturata and Romantic rediscoveries of “wilderness” (reaching until Environmentalism).
For instance, the Mīmāṃsā texts I analysed do not distinguish among human beings, animals and plants as three fundamental categories. On the one hand, there are many more sub-categories which make the distinction less sharp. On the other, human beings are not so far from the other animals (unlike, e.g., in Réné Descartes).

What do readers think? How do the texts you work on discuss “nature”? Do they categorise all animals together? And all plants? Do they distinguish animals and plants from human beings?


(cross-posted also on my personal blog)
Looking for more posts on nature? Check the reviews of the book by “our” Chris Framarin here and here and this post.

About elisa freschi

My long-term program is to make "Indian Philosophy" part of "Philosophy". You can follow me also on my personal blog: elisafreschi.com, on Academia, on Amazon, etc.

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