Anumana in Indian Philosophy

by Sangita Chakravarty | 2016 | 48,195 words

This page relates ‘Conclusion’ of the study on the concept of Anumana (inference) in the Vedic schools of Indian Philosophy. Anumana usually represents the most authentic means of valid knowledge. This paper discusses the traditional philosophical systems such as Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta.

Chapter 5 - Conclusion

The foregoing discussion on anumāna pramāṇa presented on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th chapter of the thesis from the standpoints of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, Sāṃkhya -Y oga and Mīmāṃsā-Vedānta schools respectively, confirms the contention that anumāna (inference) can be a proper means (pramāṇa) of attainment of valid knowledge. Thus anumāna might well be construed as a knowledge wherein we pass from some perceived mark to something unperceived on the basis of the universal relation of invariable concomitance between the middle and the major terms. It is an admitted fact that the notion of anumāna has been enriched with the contributions of the Nyāya doctrines and this rich tradition seems to have been adopted by other philosophic systems with minor modifications. Hence, in order to find a detailed and systematic approach to anumāna we cannot help referring to the Naiyāyikas. They are found to have defined anumāna as the process of knowing something not by means of contact between the senses and the objects of the world and not by observation but rather through the medium of a sign or liṅga, that is invariably related to it. It can be stated that anumāna consists in analysing memories, co-relations and uncontaminated arguments. The Naiyāyikas assert that the validity of an inferential knowledge can be tested flawlessly owing to the basis that anumāna is comprised of some inseparable constituents; and if any of these parts are missing or if there is any defect in the parts then the knowledge inferred would be invalid.

Gautama’s statement of anumāna as found in the Nyāyasūtra is significant. Here instead of making any explicit statement, he simply opines that anumāna presupposes perception and it is of three kinds such as pūrvavat, śeṣavat, and sāmānyatodṛṣṭa. Then Vātsyāyana, Uddyotakara have given their own interpretation of anumāna though viewing it from the same standpoint. Their concept of anumāna is based on a previous knowledge of some sign or the remembrance of some sign. However, Jayanta’s interpretation of anumāna seems to be quite unique and novel in as much as his notion of anumāna consists in the instrument of the knowledge of an unperceived probandum (sādhya) through the apprehension of a probans (sādhana) aided by the recollection of the relation of invariable concomitance between the two.

On the other hand, in the Vaiśeṣika system, Kaṇāda’s interpretation of anumāna as the knowledge of probandum derived from the knowledge of the probans is more or less in the line of Jayanta’s theory of anumāna. It may however be noted that Kaṇāda uses the term ‘prasiddhi’ for vyāpti- the invariable concomitance of the probans with the probandum which is the pre-requisite of anumāna. As regards anumāna, Praśastapāda, Annambhaṭṭa, Viśvanātha have more or less centred their attention on the same point. Whether Praśastapāda’s interpretation of anumāna as the knowledge resulting from the apprehension of a sign (liṅga) or Annambhaṭṭa’s definition of anumāna as anumitikaraṇaṃ anumānam or yet Viśvanātha’s distinction between anumāna and anumiti- are all viewed from the same standpoint. Thus, all these definitions of anumāna offered by the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika philosophers seem to have dealt with the conditions of validity instead of making any explicit statement on the essential nature of anumāna.

Nevertheless, it is unanimously accepted by all the philosophical schools except Cārvāka that anumāna has three propositions–major premise, minor premise, and the conclusion. The three terms of anumāna—the liṅga, the sādhya, and the pakṣa are synonymous with the middle, the major, and the minor term respectively. The liṅga is said to be the ground of our knowledge of the sādhya or what is inferred. Thus the liṅga or hetu (reason)is that which assists something to be known by means of an invariable concomitance. The sādhya is that component of syllogism which needs to be known or proved by means of any inference whereas pakṣa is interpreted as the subject in which the inferable object is doubted or sought to be proved. Thus with the sādhya being the object, the pakṣa takes the position of the subject of anumāna. Further, the liṅga is said to be marked by five characteristics such as pakṣadharmatā, sapakṣasattva, vipakṣāsattva, abādhitaviṣayatva, and asatpratipakṣattva. However, Gautama and Vātsyāyana slightly differ from the position by recognizing three characteristics of the liṅga or hetu. In the Nyāya system, the treatment of anumāna is presented on the basis of three different classifications. Such classifications divide anumāna into svārthānumāna and parārthānumāna in the first category, pūrvavat, śeṣavat, and sāmānyatodṛṣṭa in the second category, and kevalānvayi, kevalavyatireki, and anvayavyatireki in the third category. Out of these the first category, i.e., svārthānumāna and parārthānumāna, had not been mentioned in Gautama’s Nyāyasūtra and Kaṇāda’s Vaiśeṣikasūtra while Praśastapāda had mentioned this division in his commentary on Vaiśeṣikasūtra besides sub-dividing svārthānumāna into two kinds, viz., dṛṣṭa anumāna and sāmānyatodṛṣṭa anumāna. Moreover, in the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika system, Annambhaṭṭa and Keśavamiśra too cited this classification of anumāna. The second category, i.e., pūrvavat, śeṣavat, and sāmānyatodṛṣṭa, had been mentioned by Gautama in his Nyāyasūtra. However, as regards this classification, Jayanta is found to have maintained a unique stand by way of interpreting these three kinds in a different way. His interpretation shows vat in pūrvavat as the remainder of the suffix vati. Jayanta defines pūrvavat as discovering the universal relation of concomitance between the reason and the consequence on the strength of the previous perception of the same homogeneous reason with the same homogeneous consequence. Thus, the act of anumāna has been shown to be at par with that of perception. In the Nyāya system, Uddyotakara is the first logician to have recognized kevalānvayi, kevalavyatireki, and anvayavyatireki as the varieties of anumāna. His rejection of pūrvavat and śeṣavat in this regard deserves mention. It is worth mentioning here that this division of anumāna by Uddyotakara has not been accepted by Jayanta but the same has become an accepted theory for Vācaspati Miśra, Gaṅgeśa, and Viśvanātha while on the other hand Annambhaṭṭa and Keśavamiśra also accept these three but not as a division of anumāna but as the types of liṅga.

The Nyāya system asserts that parārthānumāna, i.e., a syllogism in inference for others, consists of five constituent propositions (pañcāvayava) which are: pratijñā; hetu; udāharaṇa; upanaya; and nigamana. These five constituent members of the Indian syllogism are called avayava. It may be mentioned that the Vaiśeṣika system too recognizes five members of syllogism which are named by Praśastapāda as pratijñā; apadeśa; nidarśana; anusandhāna; and pratyāmnāya.

In the treatment of anumāna in Indian philosophical system vyāpti and pakṣadharmatā are attached much importance. Significantly, vyāpti is recognized as the logical ground of anumāna while pakṣadharmatā as the psychological ground of anumāna. It goes without saying that vyāpti has a significant role in the operation of anumāna. It was clearly stated in the previous chapters that vyāpti is the invariable relation of the reason (hetu) with the predicate. However, it is worth mentioning that Gautama uses the synonymous term niyama to replace the term vyāpti. Again, Vātsyāyana uses the term avinābhāva instead of vyāpti. His sense lies in the relation of the reason with the predicate. Even though Vātsyāyana does not use the term vyāpti yet he regards vyāpti as the logical ground of anumāna. In this context Jayanta refers to other terms such as vyāpti, avinābhāva etc.besides using the term niyama as introduced by Gautama. In Indian philosophy, vyāpti is ascertained to be of two types: anvaya vyāpti and vyatireka vyāpti.

After vyāpti, the concept which is more elaborately discussed in Indian philosophy is liṅga. The three types of sign, viz., anvayavyatireki, kevalānvayi, and kevalavyatireki as enumerated by Annambhaṭṭa deserves to be mentioned.

In Indian philosophy and more particularly in the Nyāya system of philosophy a systematic and detailed account of fallacy is offered. In Indian logic, a word called hetvābhāsa has been synonymously used for fallacy. In the account of the Nyāya system hetvābhāsa is stated to be a fallacious reason which apparently looks like a hetu but in actuality not the same. In the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika system hetvābhāsa or the fallacies of reason have been classified under multifarious kinds. The logicians like Gautama, Gaṅgeśa, Bhāsarvajña, Kaṇāda, Praśastapāda, Keśavamiśra, Annambhaṭṭa, and Viśvanātha have come up with their own interpretation as regards the kinds of hetvābhāsa or fallacies of reason (detailed classification in this regard is enlisted in the 2nd chapter). Above all, the Naiyāyikas and the Vaiśeṣikas are unanimous except slight difference in classifying the fallacies of reason under five heads which are: savyabhicāra; viruddha; prakaraṇasama or satpratipakṣa; or asiddha; and kālātīta or bādhita.

Showing due conformity to the vast philosophical convention of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika system, the logicians in the Sāṃkhya-Yoga system have endeavoured to dwell on the subject anumāna, covering nearly all the areas (except the fallacies of reason) touched on by the Naiyāyikas and the Vaiśeṣikas. Having summed up the contribution of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika system to the development of the theory of anumāna as a distinct source of valid knowledge, let us now have a recap of the main points in the treatment of anumāna as formulated by the Sāṃkhya-Yoga philosophers. It is well evident in the discussion presented in the 3rdchapter of the thesis that Sāṃkhyakārikā has significantly contributed towards the formulation of the Sāṃkhya theory of knowledge. In this connection, the commentaries of Gauḍapada and Vācaspati Miśra on the Sāṃkhyakārikā deserves considerable mention.

In the Sāṃkhya-Yoga , the interpretation of anumāna is found to have been influenced by Gautama’s Nyāyasūtra in a large measure. Anumāna as defined in Sāṃkhya logic is that knowledge which is derived from sign and signate. This definition of anumāna receives elaborate explanation in the hands of Vācaspati Miśra whose commentaries pin-point the idea of liṅga (vyāpya) and liṅgī (vyāpaka). Thus, in the Sāṃkhya-Yoga system liṅga and liṅgī are synonymously used for probans and probandum respectively. Sāṃkhyacandrikā’s interpretation on the above statement of Vācaspati Miśra is worth mentioning. Besides considering liṅga as probans and the liṅgī as probandum, Sāṃkhyacandrikā refers to pakṣa as the possessor of the probans which gets pervaded by probandum. Regarding this interpretation, Māthara, Gauḍapāda and Jayamaṅgalā too assert that probans and probandum are necessary for anumāna. It may be pointed out that the Sāṃkhyasūtra defines anumāna as the knowledge of the invariably associated (vyāpaka) after observing through the knowledge of invariable association. According to this interpretation, anumāna lies in the knowledge of pervade (vyāpaka—the major term) following the knowledge of the pervaded (vyāpya—the middle term) with the observer seeing the relation of avinābhāva. Thus, Sāṃkhyasūtra puts forward the argument that the invariable association can be basis of an inferential knowledge. Then in the system of Yoga as part of the concept of anumāna the idea of the modification of buddhi and the modification of ciṭṭa is convincingly illustrated. Further, Vārṣagaṇya, Vyāsa, and the Sāṃkhyasūtra of Kapila have referred to the knowledge of sambandha and pratibandha in their definition of anumāna. The forgoing definitions of anumāna given in the Sāṃkhya-Yoga system can be best understood in relation to the concept of vyāpti.

It is seen that vyāpti has been the main thrust of discussion among the Sāṃkhyas. It appears to be their assertion that no knowledge can be inferred without the knowledge of vyāpti. Vācaspati Miśra’s discussion of pervasive and pervaded brings out the very essence of vyāpti. In Vācaspati Miśra’s definition, vyāpti can be envisaged as the unconditional and constant concomitant relation between vyāpya (the pervaded) and vyāpaka (the pervader). It is further stated in the Sāṃkhyasūtra that as the invariable concomitance of one or the two, vyāpti can be divided into sama and viṣama. To be brief, the three technical terms—vyāpya, vyāpaka, and vyāpti implying ‘the pervaded', ‘to pervade’ and ‘the pervasion’ respectively—are the very basis of the whole theory of anumāna.

The Sāṃkhyasūtra contends that vyāpti cannot be treated as a separate category; the invariable concomitance itself is vyāpti. Thus in the Sāṃkhya system of philosophy, vyāpti is recognized as the fundamental principle of all inferences. In further deliberations made by the Sāṃkhya philosophers, the use of Prakṛti in the sense of being pervaded and ādheyaśakti in the sense of being related as pervaded serve to consolidate the idea of vyāpti. Thus having considered the function, denotation and nature of vyāpti, the Sāṃkhyas proceed for enunciation of the means of ascertaining it. The question of ascertaining the invariable association between two objects seems to have been answered by Vijñānabhikṣu who by the strength of his commentary in the Sāṃkhyasūtra wants to assert that such an invariableness should be apprehended through appropriate confutation (anukulatarka).

After the theory of vyāpti, the subject which has drawn much attention of the Sāṃkhya philosophers is the classification of anumāna. The thinkers in the Sāṃkhya system have significantly contributed to this area despite their differing views on the same. In the Sāṃkhyakārikā, anumāna is shown to be divided into three kinds: pūrvavat, śeṣavat, and sāmānyatodṛṣṭa. Mentionably, besides these aforesaid three kinds, three more kinds of anumāna have been pointed out by Aniruddha; they are: kevalānvayi, kevalavyatireki, and anvayavyatireki. Thus, what can be understood from the Sāṃkhya interpretation of the divisions of anumāna is that in the pūrvavat anumāna an effect is inferred from its cause while in the śeṣavat anumāna the cause is inferred from its effect. On the otherhand, sāmānyatodṛṣṭa anumāna is said to be the perception of something at some other place caused by movement. Again, Yuktidīpikā’s interpretation of the terms pūrva and pūrvavat deserves mention. The inherent idea has been presented through the illustration of someone inferring future rains after observing rising cloud in the sky. It is however stated in the Yuktidīpikā that the rise of cloud in the sky is not necessarily the cause of rain since there is still the probability of the invariable relation being affected by wind etc. The implication here is that the invariability in the relation between the probans and the probandum should be free from any obstructing elements. In the wake of the difficulty involved in the example of “rain and cloud”, Yuktidīpikā gives another illustration which serves to exemplify how one comes to know the root of water lily after seeing the leaf. As regards sāmānyatodṛṣṭa anumāna an explanation is given in the Sāṃkhyasūtra. It states that sāmānyatodṛṣṭa anumāna involves inferring a characteristic in other cases after observing it in one case. Sāṃkhyacandrikā has interpreted sāmānyatodṛṣṭa as having some factor other than causal relation in leading to the inferential knowledge. Thus whether it is Sāṃkhyasūtra or the Sāṃkhyacandrikā, none can give us an elaborate explanation on this type of anumāna. It is, however, Yuktidīpikā which has dealt with this subject quite elaborately by supplementing the definition with sufficient exemplification. In one of the interpretations it is contended that after observing the invariable concomitance of the two objects one becomes aware of the invariable association of the objects of the same group at some other place at some other time. It can be pointed out here that the factor mentioned above is common to other kinds of anumāna as well. Another explanation given by Yuktidīpikā on the sāmānyatodṛṣṭa anumāna speaks volume of the difficulty involved in the first explanation. Based on general observation, this explanation assert that after observing some cases of invariable association, observing one characteristic out of these on a later occasion, the knowledge of some other unobserved characteristic in some dissimilar object can be attained.

Anumāna as classified under kevalānvayi, kevalavyatireki, and anvayavyatireki in the Sāṃkhya system is significant from the point of view of the nature of vyāpti. In the kevalānvayi anumāna, vyāpti being affirmative any possibility of counter example is ruled out whereas in the kevalavyatireki anumāna, vyāpti being in negative forms the possibility of any homogeneous example is ruled out. On the other hand, the Sāṃkhya system explains the anvayavyatireki anumāna as having both positive and negative forms.

Anumāna as divided into svārthānumāna and parārthānumāna has been suggested in the Yuktidīpikā and the Maṭharavṛtti while as regards this division the Sāṃkhyakārikā has maintained silence. Then, Vācaspati Miśra’s classification of anumāna as vīta and avīta brings in a sense of novelty to the concept. Although the division of anumāna into vīta and avīta is an earlier theory implied in the Sūtras of Gautama and the bhāṣya of Vātsyāyana and pointed out by Uddyotakara in the Nyāya system the same cannot be regarded as an accepted theory until and unless it is convincingly contended by Vācaspati Miśra. Importantly, a detailed account of vīta and avīta anumāna is found in the Yuktidīpikā. According to one of its explanations, the vīta anumāna is based on affirmation while the avīta has the basis in negation. It is further stated that the vīta anumāna, like the śeṣavat anumāna, involves denial and elimination of some of the likely properties of an object. Again, the pūrvavat and sāmānyatodṛṣṭa anumāna are referred to as the two kinds of the vīta anumāna. Yet another explanation of Yuktidīpikā asserts that the vīta anumāna consists in the application of the probans in its very form while the avīta anumāna involves elimination of other possibilities. Thus the apparent contention of Yuktidīpikā is that avīta is meaningless if the elimination of undesirably involved object is not intended. The subject of fallacies in anumāna might have been referred to in the earlier texts of the Sāṃkhya-Yoga system but their unavailability has rendered the matter hazy. The extant texts of the Sāṃkhya-Yoga system are silent over the issue of fallacies in anumāna. The statement of Māṭharavṛtti that anumāna has thirty three fallacies, is without explanation and therefore bears little significance.

Like the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika and the Sāṃkhya-Yoga system of Indian philosophy, the Mīmāṃsā-Vedānta system has also dealt with the subject of anumāna in an elaborate way. In the Mīmāṃsā-Vedānta system as well anumāna is recognized as a distinct source of valid knowledge. In the Mīmāṃsā system, to develop the theory of anumāna, Kumārila and Prabhākara have drawn upon the basis of Śabara’s statement on anumāna:—anumānam jñātasambandhasya……buddhiḥ. Their endeavour has been to recognize or establish anumāna as the source of our knowing through the medium of a sign or mark, the basis of which has earlier been emphasized in the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika and Sāṃkhya-Yoga systems.

Kumārila Bhaṭṭa’s explanation of the compound jñātasambandhasya needs to be looked into for forming an estimate of the Mīmāṃsā view of anumāna. According to his first explanation, a person who is well aware of the invariable concomitance between two things, e.g., smoke and fire, remembers the constant relationship between smoke and fire, having seen smoke rising from a hill on a later occasion. By this explanation, the cognition of fire on the part of the person leads to inference (anumāna). According to his second explanation, the compound jñātasambandhasya is suggestive of the substratum (ekadeśin) wherein the concomitance of fire and smoke is apprehended. This known smoke-fire relationship is termed as sapakṣa ekadeśin. In the third interpretation of Kumārila the word jñātasambandhasya implies a known relationship. To him, existence of many relationships cannot be the ground of anumāna. Then in the fourth explanation, the known relationship between the liṅga and liṅgī taken together, is stated to be the basis of anumāna. Commenting on the above explanation, Prabhākara contends that this relation must be an unfailing and permanent one which is known to exist between cause and its effect, between the whole and its parts and so on. The Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsakas also approve of this explanation. Again it is found in the Mīmāṃsā definition of anumāna that when one of the two terms involved in an invariable relation is apprehended, the other term can also be apprehended. In this connection Śālikanātha Miśra has made a statement, exemplifying fire and smoke being perceived as qualified by virtue of a certain qualifying relation and by the strength of specifications of time and place.

The Mīmāṃsā system also has accepted vyāpti and pakṣadharmatā as the grounds for the operation of anumāna. Kumārila seems to have insisted on repeated observation of the concomitance of two general properties of the reason and the predicate for attainment of knowledge about vyāpti. He goes on to expound his assertion that knowledge of vyāpti can be consolidated by non-observation of contrary instances of their non-concomitance. Kumārila further considers vyāpti as a necessary judgement, the reason being that smoke together with fire is a compulsory concomitance. Pārthasārathi Miśra has given a similar view on vyāpti by stating that the observation of the concomitance of smoke with fire in numerous previous occasions and the non-observation of such concomitance in all non-fiery objects can lead to the knowledge of vyāpti. Pārthasārathi Miśra, however, wants to contend that the knowledge of vyāpti stems from sense perception. Thus the essence of his statement is that the apprehension of the invariable concomitance occurs in the very first observation itself and the subsequent observations of the invariability of such concomitance, e.g., of smoke and fire, helps in elimination of the extraneous conditions (upādhi). Quite significantly, Pārthasārathi does not intend to consider vyāpti as a necessary relation. He puts forward his explanation thus that vyāpti cannot be a necessary relation owing to its being limited to such places and times as were actually observed in the past.

Then, as regards the means of knowing vyāpti, the Mīmāṃsā system has given a detailed explanation, examining pramāṇas like perception, inference, mental perception etc. But their contention appears to have accepted none of them to be the means of vyāpti. According to Sucaritamiśra, the ascertaining of vyāpti involves three stages: in the first vyāpti is suggested through a uniform positive experience while the same is confirmed in the second stage through a uniform negative experience, and more significantly, in the third stage there is the process of reasoning. Thus, the Mīmāṃsakas differ in their views regarding the function of vyāpti despite their insistence that vyāpti is integral to an inferential process.

After vyāpti, the topic which is elaborately illustrated in the Mīmāṃsā system is the classification of anumāna. The most commonly accepted divisions of anumāna as svārthānumāna and parārthānumāna have been examined by logicians like Nārāyaṇa a follower of Kumārila and Dharmottara. Their explanations can, however, be considered as valuable contributions towards formulation of the theory of anumāna. The explanation dividing anumāna into svārthānumāna and parārthānumāna, has not been favoured by most of the Mīmāṃsā philosophers including Kumārila, Sucaritamiśra and Umbeka. On the other hand, Śabaraswāmī’s interpretation of two other kinds of anumāna as pratyakṣatodṛṣṭasambandha and sāmānyatodṛṣṭasambandha deserves to be examined. Kumārila names the former as dṛṣṭasvalakṣaṇaviṣaya and the latter as adṛṣṭasvalakṣaṇaviṣaya. Again, Kumārila’s adoption of the term viśeṣatodṛṣṭa instead of pratyakṣatodṛṣṭa bears significance. Moreover, Kumārila agrees to two kinds of anumāna as: viśeṣatodṛṣṭa and sāmānyatodṛṣṭa. However, Prabhākara gives a significant explanation on Śabara’s divisions of anumāna: pratyakṣatodṛṣṭa and sāmānyatodṛṣṭa, thereby naming them as dṛṣṭasvalakṣaṇa and adṛṣṭasvalakṣaṇa respectively. Prabhākara expounds his view by asserting that the specific individuality of the probandum is sometimes perceptible and the same can be sometimes imperceptible. He further states that since in matters of the specific individuality being imperceptible there arises a difficulty for establishment of its relation with vyāpti, hence in such cases vyāpti is to be seen not specifically but generally. Thus it can be contended that anumāna always has a basis in an observed relationship and it must be remembered that an observed relationship can be possible if and when both the terms of the relationship are perceptible.

As regards the avayavas of anumāna, the Mīmāṃsā system proposes a three-membered syllogism, rejecting the five-membered syllogism expounded by the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika system. Thus, three propositions or avayavas of anumāna are stated as pratijñā, hetu, and udāharaṇa. The Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsakas and Prābhākara school both are known as trivayavī. According to Prabhākara, svārthānumāna and parārthānumāna are both consist of these three members of syllogism. Śālikanātha Miśra also has accepted these three avayavas of anumāna.

Furthermore, as part of the inferential process the significance of fallacies (hetvābhāsa) cannot be ruled out. Like the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika philosophers, the Mīmāṃsakas have also examined the fallacies of anumāna with illustrations. But the Mīmāṃsāsūtra and the śabarabhāṣya do not discuss about fallacy. Kumārila and Pārthasārathi Miśra have stated about three kinds of fallacies which are: asiddha, anaikāntika, and viruddha. Among these, asiddha is further sub-divided intio five kinds which are: svarūpāsiddha, sambandhāsiddha, vyatirekāsiddha, āśrayāsiddha, and vyāptyāsiddha. The second kind, anaikāntika is stated to be of two sub-divisions: savyabhicāra and sapratisādhana or satpratipakṣa. The second kind is called viruddhāvyabhicārī by Kumārila. Besides these two sub-categories of anaikāntika, Kumārila mentions one more kind called asādhāraṇa, thereby contending about three sub-divisions of anaikāntika. Then the third kind of inferential fallacy, viruddha or bādhaka, is further sub-categorized generally into two kinds such as dharmasvarūpabādha and dharmaviśeṣabādha, and some Mīmāṃsakas add four more sub-kinds to the list: they are- dharmīsvarūpabādha, dharmaviśeṣabādha, ubhayāsvarūpabādha, and ubhayāviśeṣabādha. However, it may be mentioned here that Pārthasārathi Miśra holds that bādha is divided into two kinds such as dharmaviśeṣabādha and dharmīviśeṣabādha. Again, Śālikanātha Miśra agrees to the three main kinds of inferential fallacy mentioned above, further sub-dividing anaikāntika into three more kinds such as sādhāraṇa, asādhāraṇa, and savyabhicāra while sub-dividing asiddha into two more kinds such as svarūpāsiddha and ekadeśāsiddha.

Like other Vedic schools of Indian philosophy, the Vedānta system has also its share of contribution to the theory of anumāna. But in their approach to anumāna the Advaitins differ from the Naiyāyikas who are known to be the authority of the Indian logical system. But at the same time it must be said that there are points or areas where the Advaitins have shown consensus with the Naiyāyikas. Hence, a comparative study of the view-points between the Naiyāyikas and the Advaitins can help us conceptualize the notions like anumāna and its kinds, vyāpti, its nature and function, and ascertainment of vyāpti etc. in a comprehensive manner. As regards the five-membered syllogism expounded by the Naiyāyikas, the Advaitins have reacted by asserting that only the first three steps or the last two would be sufficient for arriving at a truth. The order of reasoning advocated by the Advaitins is intended to have the premises first and the conclusion last, or the conclusion first and the premises last. Again, it is seen that the Advaitins do not agree with the Naiyāyikas about the classification of anumāna into three kinds: kevalānvayi, kevalavyatireki, and anvayavyatireki. On the contrary, the Advaitins have advocated only one kind of anumāna, viz., anvayi, from the logical point of view. This anvayi anumāna is based on universal affirmative propositions. After anumāna and its kinds, the topic which is broadly discussed by the Vedānta system is vyāpti. In the Vedānta system the knowledge of invariable concomitance (vyāpti) has been accepted as instrumental for inferential knowledge. Vyāpti is defined in the Vedānta-Paribhāṣā as the co-existence of the major term with the middle term in all the locus in which the middle term may exist. Regarding ascertainment of vyāpti, the Vedānta-Paribhāṣā asserts that vyāpti can be recognized at the time of co-existence of fire with smoke and again at the time when they do not co-exist.

Quite noticeably, fallacy, a widely discussed topic in Indian epistemology, is left totally untouched by the Advaitins. Instead of fallacy the Advaitins have favoured an alternative concept of ‘unreality of the universe’ which is other than Brahman, Brahman being the absolute existence (pāramārthikam sattvam). This concept of unreality implies that the absolute non-existence should be so qualified as to convey the additional idea and the counterpositiveness relating to which is marked by absoluteness. Another important topic which is generally discussed by the Indian thinkers is pakṣatā. In the system of Vedānta, pakṣatā is known as the condition of being the object of some dispute. The Advaita view of pakṣatā is regarded as superior than the Nyāya view of pakṣatā.

In fine, it can be said that a detailed and systematic approach to anumāna can be gathered by making a comprehensive study of the Vedic schools of Indian philosophy. Efforts have been made to trace the comparative merits of the respective schools in enunciation of their individual interpretations as regards the definitions of anumāna, its kinds, vyāpti and pakṣadharmatā, liṅga, and fallacy (hetvābhāsa). Thus, the proposed study substantially justifies the objectives of the research.

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