“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:
- Universals (node)
- Qualities (node)
- Motions (node)
- Substances (node)
- Inherence (edge)
- Individuators (node)
- 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
- Dreams aren’t real because we can wake up
- Alternatively, dream objects fall apart under close examination
- 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)
- Stuff existing != existing how you think it does
- Error, seeing a post as a person or vice versa, occurs when their differences are elided while their similarities are grasped.
- In order to be wrong about something, we need to mistake something not-F for something F (to see a post as a person)
- I could not mistakenly see a person in the distance if I didn’t have the concept of a person, and Nyāya argues that in order to have such a concept, I must have had knowledge of people in the past.
- Not true that incorrect understands have convergent content, the essence of things implies natural diversity in the similarity of things. (Argument against the fact that ‘nothing can be explained’)
- Erroneous and dream cognition are both real, they have specific content arising from specific causes