A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 4

Indian Pluralism

by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1949 | 186,278 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081

This page describes the philosophy of epistemological process in inference: a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the fifth part in the series called the “madhva logic”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.

Part 5 - Epistemological Process in Inference

The Nyāya holds that, when a person acquainted with the relation of concomitance existing between smoke and fire sees smoke on a hill, he remembers the relation of concomitance (vyāpti-smaraṇa), that this smoke is invariably and unconditionally connected with fire[1]; then the two ideas are connected, namely, that the smoke which has unconditional invariable relations with fire is in che hill. It is this third synthesis of knowledge that leads us to the inference of fire in the hill.

Vyāsa-tīrtha, following the Nyāya-sudhā, argues that this view may be true in all those cases where a concomitance (vyāpti) is remembered on seeing the reason (hetu), but, where the concomitance is remembered without seeing the reason, the threefold synthesis cannot be admitted. Prabhākara, however, holds that all inference proceeds from two distinct propositions, and no synthesis is required. The two propositions are “smoke is pervaded by fire” and “the hill is smoky.” Prabhākara holds that, since knowledge as formulated in the above two propositions must invariably and unconditionally precede all inference, there is no necessity for believing their synthesis to be the cause of inference, since no such synthesis really happens. Vyāsa-tīrtha, however, argues that such a synthesis is a real psychological state in inference and other mental operations, such as recognition, etc. Moreover, if the identity of the smoke (with which fire was found invariably present) with the smoke now perceived in the hill were not established by the synthesis of the two propositions, it would be a syllogism of four terms and hence invalid[2]. Moreover, the movement of thought involved in inference requires such a synthesis, without which the two propositions would be unrelated and statical (nirvyāpāka) and no inference would follow.

Footnotes and references:


ayaṃ dhūmo vahni-vyāpya or vahni-vyāpya-dhūmavān ayam iti. Nyāya view.


evaṃ ca kiṃcit prameyaṃ vahni-vyāpyaṃ paravataś ca prameyavān iti jñāna-dvayam iva kaścid dharmo vahni-vyāpyaḥ paruataś ca dhūmavān iti viśa-kalitaṃ paraspara-vartanābhijñaṃ jñāna-dvayam api nānumiti-hetuḥ.
(MS., p. 68).

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