A Note about Epistemologies

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One of the most interesting ways in which the fundamental difference between Western and Indian epistemologies manifests itself lies in the word philosophy and its Sanskrit equivalent दर्शन (darshan). The English word philosophy is derived from the Greek philosophia, which translates to “love of wisdom”. Philosophy, correspondingly, is defined according to the Oxford Dictionary as “the study of the nature and meaning of the universe and of human life”. Note that the definition describes the end goal, while remaining silent on how it is to be achieved. The Sanskrit word darshan on the other hand, derived from the root drish (“to see”), literally translates to “vision”. This is because the ancient Indian way of knowing fundamental truths about the world, prioritized one methodology over all others – that of “seeing”, or at the very least, feeling, experiencing, or “intuiting” the truth.

This is not an opinion or an assessment of either epistemological approach, but an observation that I have always found to be fascinating.