Early Nyāya Logic: Pragmatic Aspects
This chapter sets out and explains the discussion of inference (anumāna) in the Nyāya Sūtra of Akṣapāda Gautama and the Nyāya Bhāṣya of Vātsyāyana Pakṣilasvāmin. Affinities with the pragmatic method of Charles Peirce and modern scientific method are presented. Specifically, the procedural methodology of reasoning to form beliefs and the scope for legitimate doubt are shown to have a pragmatic character.
An initial definition of inference in NS 1.1.5 is followed by an objection in NS 2.1.37 and a response to the objection in NS 2.1.38. There is scope to read these either as a progressive refinement of a deductive schema or as a sequence of stages in a procedural logic of rational inquiry involving abductive and deductive elements. Accordingly, the definition, objection, and response are presented and analyzed according to a deductive syllogistic schema and according to an open-ended abductive-deductive schema. The extent to which either of these schemas conforms to the intentions of the early Nyāya authors is considered, with reference to Vātsyāyana’s remarks in the Nyāya Bhāṣya in particular. Although the deductive schema is found to capture an important aspect of how Vātsyāyana understands correct inference, nevertheless the abductive schema more clearly demonstrates how the inference processes described by the early Nyāya authors are driven by pragmatic considerations, whereby the scope for belief adoption, suspension, and revision are constrained by observable evidence.
KeywordsAnumāna Abduction Deduction Hetu Monotonic logic Non-monotonic logic Nyāya Bhāṣya Nyāya Sūtra Oetke, Claus Peirce, Charles Sanders Pragmatism Pūrvavat Śeṣavat Taber, John
- Burch, R. 2017. Charles Sanders Peirce. In The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Fall 2017 edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/entries/peirce/.
- Chhaganbhai, C.K. 1992. Forecasting rain ants. Honey Bee 3: 16.Google Scholar
- Ingalls, D.H.H. 2000. Sanskrit poetry from Vidyākara’s Treasury. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- James, W. 1907b. What pragmatism means. New York: Longmans, Green and Co.Google Scholar
- Kale, M.R. (1992) The Meghadūta of Kālidāsa. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.Google Scholar
- Kale, M.R. 2002a. The Meghadūta of Kālidāsa. Corrected edition. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. (Reprint).Google Scholar
- Kale, M.R. 2002b. The Ṛtusaṃhāra of Kālidāsa. 2nd ed. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. (Reprint).Google Scholar
- Ockham, W. 1974. Summa Logicae, ed. Boehner, Gal, and Brown. New York: St. Bonaventure.Google Scholar
- Peirce, C. 1877. The fixation of belief. Popular Science Monthly 12: 1–15.Google Scholar
- Peirce, C. 1997. Pragmatism as a principle and method of right thinking: The 1903 Harvard lectures on pragmatism. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Phillips, S. (2012) Epistemology in Classical India: The Knowledge Sources of the Nyaya School, Routledge.Google Scholar
- Sarukkai, S. 2008. Indian philosophy and philosophy of science. 2nd ed. Centre for Studies in Civilizations, Delhi.Google Scholar
- Tailanga, G.S. 1984. The Nyāyasutras with Vātsyāyana's Bhāsya and extracts from the Nyāyavarttika and the Tātparyatika. 2nd ed. India: Sri Satguru Publications.Google Scholar