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Thinking Negation in Early Hinduism and Classical Indian Philosophy


A number of different kinds of negation and negation of negation are developed in Indian thought, from ancient religious texts to classical philosophy. The paper explores the Mīmāṃsā, Nyāya, Jaina and Buddhist theorizing on the various forms and permutations of negation, denial, nullity, nothing and nothingness, or emptiness. The main thesis argued for is that in the broad Indic tradition, negation cannot be viewed as a mere classical operator turning the true into the false (and conversely), nor reduced to the mainstream Boolean dichotomy: 1 versus 0. Special attention is given to how contradiction is handled in Jaina and Buddhist logic.

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Correspondence to Purushottama Bilimoria.

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Presented at the 1st World Congress on Logic and Religion, João Pessoa, Brazil. 1–5 April 2015.

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Bilimoria, P. Thinking Negation in Early Hinduism and Classical Indian Philosophy. Log. Univers. 11, 13–33 (2017).

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Mathematics Subject Classification

  • Primary 03A05
  • Secondary 03-03
  • 01-02


  • Negation
  • Mīmāṃsa
  • Nyāya
  • Buddhist logic
  • Jaina dialetheism