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Nyāya

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“Perception is a cognition that has arisen from the contact of sense faculty and object and is inexpressible, not erroneous, and determinate in nature.”

Nyāya is a major proponent of philosophical realism – cognition is only possible because it is dependent on the objects in this world.

Nyāya adopts the Vaiśeṣika ontology, which posits that seven different types of things:

  1. Universals (node)
  2. Qualities (node)
  3. Motions (node)
  4. Substances (node)
  5. Inherence (edge)
  6. Individuators (node)
  7. Absenses (later addition) This ontology of a directed graph in which inherence relations connect things in inheror-inheree pairings.

Pramānas are means of knowledge and provide it through mode like perception, inference, and testimony. The objects of knowledge are called ‘knowables’ (prameya).

Stuff has to exist, if you investigate well, you get answers. Pramāna-generated knowledge is knowledge gained through “close examination of objects through cognition.”

Rational inquiry requires purpose. We do not doubt everything, lest we not trust the ground beneath us. Debate must proceed based off of shared axioms.

Counter against the dream argument (perception of knowledge is akin to conception of objects in dreams) – similar to Descartes’ Dream Argument

  1. Dreams aren’t real because we can wake up
  2. Alternatively, dream objects fall apart under close examination
  3. Dream objects implies the existence of non-dream objects

What about incorrect understandings of the world? Nyāya argues that these are akin to dream objects, where destruction of false perception is akin to the destruction of conceptions of dream objects upon waking. (NS p. 68)


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