As it pertains to epistemic authority

Debates from Classical South Asia

Right and wrong aren’t directly perceptible to humans. However, some traditions in CSA say yes: we trust revelation/sacred texts.

The source must be āpta with regard to what’s right and wrong; must have:

  • perfect knowledge of right and wrong
  • the ability to communicate this knowledge
  • at least lack the intention to lie, if not have the intention to communicate honestly

Theoretically, the Vedas are author-less so can have no faults or biases — uniquely trustworthy

Dharmakīrti against authority of the Vedas: even if there was a flawless revealed source, it wouldn’t help as the the revealed source still has to be interpreted and this necessarily happens through human interactions mediated by language

Partiality makes communication possible, words are meaning-laden (see: terminology) because of conventions and usage

  • No one, then, can know the meaning of an ‘authorless’ word: “it is not possible in the case of words that lack an [original] expounder”
  • Common usage is partial and not an independent source of knowledge
  • “Since the meaning of authorless words [can] be known neither from tradition, nor from reason, nor from the [ordinary] world, it is [only] proper [to say] that there is no cognition [of the meaning] in this case”
  • See also: derived intentionality, doxastic partiality

Cannot trust other humans who are also flawed

  • “Indeed, a blind [person] does not find the way when led by [another] blind [person]!”
  • Since no human being has overcome the confusion which is due to [moral] defects, as an expositor [of the Veda] he does not know the supersensible restriction [of Vedic words] to a particular meaning by himself