[This is a another, invited Guest Post by Joel Katzav.--ES]
I previously documented (see here) how modern Indian philosophy disappeared from the pages of Mind around about 1925 and from the pages of the Philosophical Review (PR) around about 1948. The disappearances, I observed, can be attributed to the takeover of these journals by analytic philosophers (For the story of the takeover at PR see here)[and recall here--ES]. I now document and partially explain the vicissitudes of modern Indian philosophy in the Journal of Philosophy (JoP) during the years 1940-1970. I conclude with a more general observation about the nature of 1950s and 1960s analytic philosophy.
Interestingly, modern Indian philosophy is published in JoP between 1940 and 1970. Puzzlingly, it is only in the 1950s that its presence in the journal is substantial. JoP includes no (full-length) papers by Indian philosophers working on the Indian Subcontinent during the 1940s. The same is true of the journal in the 1960s. However, JoP publishes five papers by modern Indian philosophers in the 1950s. R. Mukerjee publishes a paper in 1950, D. Krishna in 1956, P. Sen in 1958, P. T. Raju in 1958 and N. K. Devaraja in 1959. In addition, the journal includes an extensive 1956 review by the American philosopher R. McKeon (1956) of round-table discussions held in India and America, discussions attended by American and Indian philosophers, among others.
Importantly, the modern Indian philosophy appearing in JoP in the 1950s was Indian in that it was written by academics writing in India at the time. It did not, however, engage with the millennia old tradition of philosophy that had its origins on the Indian Subcontinent. The papers were, in content, indistinguishable from other papers that appeared in the journal, and addressed, while engaging with Western authors, topics such as the relation of identity, the nature of actuality and the nature of philosophy. This contrasts with the work by Modern Indian philosophers in PR (prior to the 1950s) and in Mind (prior to the second half of the 1920s). The earlier work in PR and Mind did include substantial engagement with traditional Indian philosophy. Those interested might, for example, compare the work Raju publishes in PR in 1941 and 1947 with the paper he publishes in JoP in the late 1950s.
The emergence of modern Indian philosophy in JoP and its later disappearance from JoP thus leaves us with at least three puzzles. First, why did this philosophy only start appearing in JoP in the 1950s? Second, why did it no longer appear in the journal in the 1960s? Third, why did none of the work in JoP in the 1950s engage with the tradition of Indian philosophy? I will briefly, and partially, consider the first two of these questions here, beginning with the question of why modern Indian philosophy did not make it into the journal in the 1960s.
The disappearance of modern Indian philosophy from JoP in the 1960s coincides with the period when the journal became, more or less, an analytic philosophy only journal and, more or less, ceased to publish classical pragmatism, process philosophy, existentialism, phenomenology and more. The changes occur quickly and occur in the early 1960s. The immediate causes of the changes in JoP’s content are plausibly changes in its editorial board, including the appointment of R. D. Cumming to the role of editor-in-chief in the late 1950s and, later on, the appointment of S. Morgenbesser, A. Danto, and J. J. Walsh to editorial roles (All of this is in itself an interesting story that remains to be told in detail). The timing of the disappearance of modern Indian philosophy from JoP suggests that these editorial changes were also what brought about the persistent absence of modern Indian philosophy from JoP in the 1960s. Note, however, that a full explanation cannot just be that the new editors excluded non-analytic philosophy from the journal for they also excluded second-generation modern Indian philosophers and these philosophers were, as I pointed out here, not unsympathetic to analytic philosophy. A more complete explanation notes that the changes in JoP, like the changes in PR before it, included a shift within analytic philosophy, including a shift in views about which prominent Western philosophers are to be taken seriously and a shift in which topics might be engaged with. Modern Indian philosophers did not partake in this shift.
Why, then, did modern Indian philosophers only start making their presence felt in JoP in the 1950s? I can only sketch an answer here. JoP was, in the 1950s, the last of the three most prominent philosophy journals in the English speaking World (Mind, JoP and PR) that reflected a pluralist attitude to philosophy, that is, that published a diversity of approaches to philosophy. It was thus a natural place for modern Indian philosophers to try publishing in when they realized that PR, like Mind before it, was no longer willing to publish their work. At the same time, the recognition, by the 1950s editors of JoP (or, at least, by its pluralist editors H. W. Schneider and J. H. Randall, Jr.), that PR was closed to modern Indian philosophy may have facilitated the transition; perhaps this made the relevant editors a bit more open to work by Indian philosophers. As for why PR had always been that much more open to modern Indian philosophy than JoP, at least part of the explanation for this is the Absolute idealist heritage of PR, a heritage that included longstanding ties to modern Indian philosophy and that lay at the source of the pluralism that developed in the journal’s pages (one figure who had a notable role in facilitating the publication of modern Indian philosophy in Western journals was the British Absolute idealist J. H. Muirhead).
I cannot resist a final observation. The changes in the two most prominent philosophy journals in America, PR and JoP, could hardly have gone unnoticed by the philosophical community. If there is doubt about this, the publishing behaviour of modern Indian philosophers shows that what was happening was clear to philosophers well beyond American shores. And yet, my stories here are not widely known. Thus, in addition to being characterized by its use of marginalization as a way of gaining advantage over other approaches to philosophy, 1950s and 1960s analytic philosophy was characterized by its persistent silence about how it went about its business.