Dishonoured by Philosophers – Upamana in Indian Epistemology

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Item Code: IHL315
Author: Uma Chattopadhyay
Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 9788124605202
Pages: 268
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.0 Inch X 5.8 Inch
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Book Description

From the Jacket

The volume is a study of the importance of upamana (knowledge by analogy) in Indian epistemology. The two stalwart schools of Nyaya and Mimamsa admit the relevance of upamana but differ with regard to many things including the object of knowledge by upamana.

The book explores the way Naiyayikas and the Mimamsakas differ on some major points with reference to upamana – in their very definition of upamana, for instance. The focus is on the Nyaya position on upamana and the usefulness of upamana as stressed by the Naiyayikas. The analytic study by the dialectical method explains the classical Nyaya view of upamana of Gautama and his followers and then the classical Mimamsa views. It considers the views of Naiyayikas Jayanta Bhatta and Udayanacarya to show how much the Naiyayikas were logical in accepting a particular view on upamana. It gives the views of some other schools including the Bauddha and Vaisesika schools against upamana as such and against Nyaya and Mimamsa views of upamana in particular. Throughout, a number of philosophical scholars and their original texts spread over many centuries are examined.

The book will interest scholars and students of Indian philosophy.

Uma Chattopadhyay is currently Reader in Philosophy, University of Calcutta. Educated at Jadavpur University, Dr. Chattopadhyay has a long teaching career in Calcutta University – affiliated undergraduate colleges, including Bethune College and lady Brabourne College, Kolkata. She also taught at the post – graduate classes of Philosophy in Rabindra Bharati University and Jadavpur University. She has contributed papers in seminars organized by many centres of higher learning including the one at the Department of Theology, Philosophy of Religion at the Uppsala University, Sweden. For a short period, she was a Fellow at Maison des Sciences de 1 ‘Homme, Paris in 2005. Her current research interests include Indian Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Religion, Ethics (particularly Applied Ethics). The author specially enjoys studying philosophy, both Indian and Western, from local and global perspectives. She has published papers in many academic journals and anthologies.


This book mainly considers the challenge of establishing the independent status of upamana pramana. The author’s intention is to show why and how the upamana pramana is dishonoured as well as honoured in Indian epistemology. The peculiar status of upamana in Indian epistemology attracted me since my undergraduate classes. These became much more interesting when we were taught Nyayakusumanjali in our postgraduate classes. I was really surprised to see the two important points:

(A) Only the two schools of Indian tradition admit this source and all the others are against this.
(B) The two schools again are admitting the same for two purposes.

In my PhD programme I wanted to see the matter as closely as possible. I was fortunate to have my revered teacher Professor Pradyot Kumar Mukhopadhyay of Jadavpur University as my supervisor at this time. Though the research took a long time to be completed, I had the rare opportunity of prolonged interactions with him during this period. It was possible to study a considerable number of original texts in connection with my research under his able guidance. My indebtedness to him is boundless. I should also mention the unusual closeness I had during the time of research with two stalwart pandits of West Bengal in the twentieth century. They were the Late Pandit Narmada Tarkatirtha and Pandit Panchanan Shastri, both of whom had a deep academic expectation from my studies of original texts with them. Over and above all, I had the rare opportunity of meeting the legendary Professor Gopinath Bhattacharya several times during his lifetime and immensely benefited from my interactions with him.

In this book I have done some revision and also given a consistent and limited shape of my research. Here, I have considered the views of both the Nyaya and Mimamsa. Finally, I have defended the Nyaya position following the view of Udayanacarya. Udayanacarya in a sense is considered as the foremost philosopher in the Navya – Nyaya tradition. It would have been better if I could include the views of Gangesa Upadhyaya, the famous and the chief exponent of Navya – Nyaya tradition, but I could not. I have, of course, the desire to write on Gangesa in future.

The striking feature which I want to show al through this work is this. Some philosophers such as the Buddhists, Jainas and Samkhyas or even those in the sister – system of Nyaya, the Vaisesikas are against upamana. But at the same time, barring a few, most of the Nyaya and Mimamsa philosophers from the Sutra – Bhasya texts to the recent literature are in favour of this and admits the independent states of the upamana.

In course of developing the views of different philosophers many important issues are considered, such as the issue of language learning process in some particular cases or the metaphysical status of sakti (word – meaning relation) and similarity at least from the Buddhist standpoint. The question also is raised: Is upamana and useful pramana? The views of the Buddhist logicians are given much importance to have the deeper understanding of the issue. However, the book is neither a historical account of the views nor is a descriptive exposition of the theory of upamana. This text is an analytical and not merely a textual study of the theme of upamana. But on the basis of my close study in original Sanskrit, I have arranged and developed the thesis of upamana in a logical and analytical way. Here by “Theories of upamana” I understand the positive theories of upamana. So I have given effort to elaborate the theories of Mimamsakas and the Naiyayikas. The views of a number of internal and external critics of the positive theories of upamana have also been considered. The different philosophical views relating to upamana belong to different ages distributed over several centuries. Their style of thinking and writing are widely different.

I am happy to mention here that I found Jayanta most enjoyable. In Mimamsa I found Prabhakara most difficult and Pattabhiram Shastri most easily intelligible. But contemporary to Pattabhiram Shastri, Pandit Badrinath Shukla, the great Naiyayika, has written on upamana (mostly unpublished) more extensively than Pattabhiram Shastri. This also was very much enjoyable to me. Excepting Kumarila, Mimamsa philosophers in general have written far less extensively on upamana than the Nyaya philosophers. This, and not my subjective bias, has helped me to defend the Nyaya position.

My desire for the present publication is long standing. While talking my viva – voce examination for the Ph.D degree years ago, it was Prof. Raghunath Ghosh, now Dean, Faculty of Arts, North Bengal University, who first suggested me to make my dissertation a book for larger audience. I am grateful to Professor Ghosh for this early suggestion. I was late in doing the same for some deep emotional reasons. For bringing me out from the crisis, Professor Arun Bandopadhyay, former Dean of Arts and currently Nurul Hasan Professor of History, University of Calcutta was mainly instrumental. He inspired me greatly for the new venture of publication of the book. His inspiration and co – operation is immeasurable.

Professor Suranjan Das, Vice – Chancellor, University of Calcutta took keen interest in the publication this volume. I am deeply obliged to him for this expression of support.

My brother Dr. Chandan Kumar Goswami, Reader and Head, Department of Philosophy, Jogesh Chandra Choudhuri College, Kolkata is another scholar who came forward to do immense help in preparing the manuscript for final publication. I pray to God for blessings for him and for his loving family. My Department of philosophy, University of Calcutta has always encouraged me to complete the book. I am grateful to him. My other beloved colleagues Dr Manidipa Sanyal, Dr Krishna Chatterjee, Dr Sarmistha Bakshi and Dr Aparna Banerjee have been very much positive in different ways. Dr Nini Chanda, our Head of the Department, helped me to concentrate on the matter by her good leadership for the Department. I am obliged to them all.

Some of my teachers of Jadavpur University influence me in many ways during my study there and after. Special mention should be made of Professor Sukharanjan Saha, Professor Tapan Kumar Chakraborty, Professor Krishna Roy and Professor Sreelekha Dutta. I owe more to them they know. I convey my regards.

My senor colleagues, Professor Indrani Sanyal, Professor Ratna Dutta Sharma and my friend Professor Madhumita Chattopadhyay of Jadavpur University have been constantly with me in all academic pursuits. Their silent co – operation is unforgettable. My friend Dr Gopa Gupta, Reader and Head of the Department of Philosophy, Bethune College, Kolkata is real friend indeed. I have deep obligation to her in many ways.

Professor Nilima Misra, former Principal of Bethune College, Kolkata, Professor Puspa Misra, former Head of the Department of Philosophy and former Principal of the same College, Professor Gopa Dutta, former Principal of Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata and currently President of Higher Secondary Council, West Bengal, Dr Aditi Nag Chowdhury currently Reader and head of the Department of Microbiology, Lady Brabourne College constantly encouraged me to continue an academically creative career. Another very silent person Sri Jagadindra Samajpati, an official of the Government of West Bengal, did a lot for me. I am obliged to every one of them.

Dr. Manjushree Chowdhury, former Professor of Philosophy, Rabindra Bharati University and my sister Dr. Sarbani Banerjee, currently Reader in Philosophy in the same university have always inspired my academic activities. A loving bondage developed among us. Smt. Annapurna Bhattacharya, daughter of the late Pandit Panchanan Shastri, frequently cam to me and inspired me throughout the years almost as the representative of Panditmasai. Our relationship has been so familial as to require no formal obligation. But I am personally indebted to her.

My father and the elder brother of my father, and my father – in – law and the elder brother of my father – in – law had great trust in me and my academic future. None of them is alive today. I feel blessed that I may fulfill their dream partially by the publication of my book. My mother – in – law till her death in 2006, gave me all – out support in academic matters. My ailing mother is still giving me sustenance in her own ways. My pranama to them both. Throughout the days of research and authorship, the distraction created by four of my young relatives – Mumna, Nannai, Munia and Buri – remained attractive. I acknowledge their loving concern.

Earlier versions of some of the chapters of this book have been already published in the Journal of Asiatic Society and Jadavpur Journal of Philosophy. I am grateful to both these institutions. My deep gratitude is to Mr. Susheel K. Mittal of D.K. Printworld. He has unusually taken so much interest and care for this publication. I am also grateful to my computer typists Sri Somen Mukhopadhyay and Mrs. Tapati Mitra.

I feel proud in stating that I am grateful to my loving undergraduate and postgraduate students. Their positive attitude always gave me a deep inspiration. My M.Phil. and Ph.D. scholars are also with me in their own ways. My academic obligation to my students is boundless.

I am very much obliged to my domestic supporters, my sisters Manju and Shibani. They are always with me and with my ailing mother and with their prompt domestic works. I could not have completed my academic work but for their constant assistance.

My greatest pleasure is the declare that my non – demanding son Bapan (Manasij) was always with me in my pleasure and pain. His loving attitude is always my strength of life. Arun, my husband, though not able to do the household work, is uncompromising about any gap, lacuna, break, or insensitiveness regarding my academic commitment. Research and publication are two different things. Without Arun’s encouragement it was impossible for me to do this publication.

Finally, without the aid of the many persons mentioned above, the book would not have been published. My gratitude does not imply their endorsement. The mistake in this book, large or small, are my own.


Preface vii
Introduction: Setting the debate 1
Part One: Classical Versions of Nyaya and Mimamsa Theories of Upamana
1. Nyaya Theory of Upamana: Classical Version 11
2. Mimamsa Theory of Upamana: Classical Version29
Part Two: Critical Development of the Mimamsa Theory of Upamana
3. Bauddha and Vaisesika Objections against the Classical Mimamsa View of Upamana 39
4. Mimamsa Theory of Upamana: Medieval and Modern versions 71
Part Three: Critical Development of the Nyaya Theory of Upamana
5. Bauddha and Vaisesika Objections againt the Nyaya Theory of Upamana. 107
6. Development of the Nyaya Theory of Upamana 133
Part Four: Some More Objections from Internal and External Critics
7. Nyayaikadesi (Bhasarvajna’s) View on Upamana 149
8. Upamana Serves no Purpose in Darsana165
Part Five: Positive Views of Two Naiyayikas
9. Jayanatabhatta’s Views on Upamana 179
10. Udayanacarya’s Views on Upamana 197
Conclusion: Dishonoured by Philosophers? 229
Bibliography 237
Index 245
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