, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 93–114

Arguments by Parallels in the Epistemological Works of Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge


DOI: 10.1007/s10503-007-9074-7

Cite this article as:
Hugon, P. Argumentation (2008) 22: 93. doi:10.1007/s10503-007-9074-7


The works of the Tibetan logician Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge (1109–1169) make abundant use of a particular type of argument that I term ‘argument by parallels’. Their main characteristic is that the instigator of the argument, addressing a thesis in a domain A, introduces a parallel thesis in an unrelated domain B. And in the ensuing dialogue, each of the instigator’s statements consists in replicating his interlocutor’s previous assertion, mutatis mutandis, in the other domain (A or B). I show that such a dialogue involves two parallel arguments that develop in an intersecting zigzag pattern, and discuss the principles involved in the establishment of the conclusion from the perspective of parity of reasoning and analogical argument. I examine the overall rhetorical strategy directing the use of arguments by parallels and the pedagogical and explanatory functions they can serve. I also evaluate the plausibility of their use in Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge’s works mirroring a contemporary practice of oral debate, and reflect on the status of such arguments in the framework of Indo-Tibetan logic.


Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge Tibetan Logic Argument by parallels Rhetorical strategy Debate 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LausanneVaudSwitzerland
  2. 2.Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of AsiaViennaAustria

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