Friends, I am looking for your thoughts on the following question.
I teach a course on Indian philosophy as part of my own course rotation, and as a rule, I frame most of the major subdivisions of the course according to major philosophical categories: epistemology, metaphysics, ethics. Under the ethics heading, I tend to focus on yogic ways of life, mindfulness, and the ways that contemplative practices speak to the good life (part of the reason for this focus is that many students are interested in the course because of some background connection to yoga). But I start by talking about the 4 goals of life, and thinking about how each of them speak to the question of ethics.
So, we all know the old saw about Indian philosophy proper being more focused on M&E and language than ethics. Has anyone found work on, say, the dharma-śāstras that is philosophical and can be easily incorporated into the undergraduate philosophy classroom? Or artha or kāma? Or sacrifice? I find that when I discuss them, I am doing a lot of talking and framing, and proposing discussion ideas, but I am not tying them to readings the way I do for the other topics in the course.
Any suggestions on how we can avoid ignoring the other aspects of Indian ethics in the undergraduate classroom?
(Associated reading: Joel Kupperman has persuasively argued that part of Confucius’ contribution to world philosophy is to show that personal style is not divorced from ethics. Maybe we need to think more broadly as we reflect on ethics in India).