Inference and Fallacies Discussed in Ancient Indian Logic (With Special Reference to Nyaya and Buddhism)

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Item Code: NAC243
Author: Pradeep P. Gokhale
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Edition: 1992
ISBN: 8170303192
Pages: 331
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.8 Inch X 5.8 Inch
Weight 520 gm
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Book Description
From the Jacket

Aksapada, Vatsyayana, Udyotakara, Jayantabhatta, Vacaspatimisra, and Bhasarvajna as the ancient Nyaya thinkers and Dinnaga and Dharmakrit as the Buddhist logicians did elucidate in their works the nature of anumana and hetvabhasa; but in doing so they also developed over the conceptions of the same available at their times. One of the major tasks of Dr. Pradeep Gokhale in this two concepts changed and developed at the hands of these logicians.

Apart from anumana and hetvabhasa one find in this book a detailed study of chala, jati, nigrahasthana, nayabhasa, prasanga and fallacies of definitions and their respective place in the Indian theory of fallacy. The Indian account of fallacies has also been compared critically with western one.

Dr. Pradeep P. Gokhale is presently at Department of Philosophy, University of Poona.



When I was doing philosophy as an undergraduate the social and philosophical atmosphere of India was conditioned by Anglo-Saxon and European thought. The histories of Indian philosophy written by Dasgupta and Radhakrishnan were published only in the third decade of 20th Century. Of course it was not the case that scholars had paid no heed to Indian philosophy. From Jocobi onwords, the European scholars like Max Muller and A.B. Keith had taken to the study of Indian philosophy. And even Indian scholars like Vidyabhushana, Ganganath Jha, Kuppuswami Shastri and several others did write on Indian Philosophy. But such studies had remained only the private property of the orientalists. What was true of Indian philosophy was even in greater measure true of the study of Indian logic. Some scholars’ .like Stcherbatsky did write on Buddhist logic and Vidyabhushan’s History of Indian Logic would ever remain a guiding star for the explorers of Indian logic, but by and large Indian logic like Indian philosophy was the monopoly of Orientalists and Indian logic, particularly of the Navyanyaya variety was the monopoly of the scholars in Bengal. In fact Indian scholars should be grateful to pandits from Bengal for it is they who preserved the traditional study of Navyanyaya texts in well knit form. Not that there were no oases of Nyaya scholarship in other places; Varanasi in U.P. was an abode of several Nyaya scholars. Like Varanasi, Triupati in South India and some places in Bihar (perhaps Mithila) had given shelter to Navyanyaya scholars. Raja Rama Verma of the ruling class of Kochin was regarded as one of the greatest Nyaya scholars in South India. already a reference has been made to Kuppuswami Shastri. In Maharashtra too, Shri Athley’s work on Tarka Sangraha attained a classical status. But perhaps Prof. Randle of Allahabad University was amongst the first few who took to the study of Indian logic in contemporary idiom. This was followed by Ingalls who worked under Kalipada Tarkacharya and Prof. Shaileshwar Sen. This process was continued by Father Bochenski, J.F. Stall, Karl Potter; Schayer and Kunst of the school of the Polish logician, Lukasiewicz.

While European and American scholars has started studying logic of Indian variety in the new idiom, Indians were still unaware of the developments in western logic itself. Several European and American scholars had started interpreting logic in mathematical terms. This new logic was known as Mathematical logic or Symbolic Logic. The leaders of this movement were Russell in England, Hilbert in Germany, Brouwer in Netherlands, Lasniewski and Lukasiewicz in Poland, Wittgenstein, philosophers of Viennese circle and Pierce of C America also made important contributions in this area. Mathematical logic was also being done by Chinese scholars like Hao Wong. Developments in the area of Mathematics by Peano in Italy, Sheffer in Norway, Poincare in France and Georg Cantor in Germany had helped the growth of this logic.

When in Oxford I had studied some of these developments under Prof. Thomson, Hao Wong, Kneale, Lemmon and Dummet. In fact Prof. Dummet who was lecturing then on set theory had asked me whether Indian logicians had made any development in this direction.’ But at that time I was quite unaware of Indian logic itself. While in England Prof. Dorothy Emmet had invited me to Manchester and had asked me to give a seminar on Indian theories of meaning. In fact she impressed on me the necessity of studying Indian Philosophy and logic in the light of the recent developments in Europe and America.

But when I came to India I found that the study of Indian logic was still discouraged in the Indian universities. However, my joining S.V.University was a great boon to me. First, Tirupati was a Centre of traditional study for Indian logic of Nyaya variety and secondly I found a colleague in Dr. S. Sarma of Sanskrit Department who was trained in Nyaya. It is here that I took lessons in Navyanyaya under Shri N.S. Rajgopal Tatachari. Earlier I had read Tarkasangraha with C. Chandrodaya Bhattacharya and had taken some lessons in Navyanyaya logic under Shri Atmaram Shastri I ere. Thus my training in Symbolic logic in Oxford and Navyanyaya logic in Amalner and. Tirupati made me think that the tradition of Indian logic should be kept alive and that as far as possible it should be understood in the new idiom of Western logic.

Perhaps during this period several teachers in Indian universities must have thought in similar terms with the result that in the universities of Delhi, Allahabad, Calcutta, Jadhavpur and Jaipur some people had already started doing some homework in Indian logic. This was the time when Dr. Narayanshastri Dravid was appointed in Nagpur University. He was expert in Nyaya and had studied Dinnaga “and Dharmakirti. At some stage I had also thought that the works of Indian mathematicians and grammarians should be studied for enriching the theories of Indian logic.

Perhaps my study of Indian logic indirectly shaped the thinking of some of my students who did much greater progress than me in this area. Prof. Dr. C. Ramayya and Prof. Dr. Virayya of S.V. University, Dr. Bankelal Sharma of Punjab University, Dr. `V.K. Bharadwaja of Delhi and Dr. S.E. Bhelke, Dr. Pradeep Gokhale and ` Dr.Mrs.Ketkar of Poona University did some important work in the area of Indian logic. Studying Indian logic became more or less a movement and what I did in Poona University was done with the some vigour in Jadhavpur, Jaipur, Delhi and Allahabad Universities.

With the blessings of Wrangler Mahajani who was then the Vice-Chancellor of Poona University, I could get Nyaya- Sarvabhauma Sitaramshastri Kurundkar appointed as Nyaya Pandit in Poona University. Even scholars from other countries, particularly from Japan studied Indian logic in our department under Shri Kurundkar Shastri, and later under Shri Sudhakar Dixit and Dr. Baliram Shukla.

The present work of Dr. Pradeep Gokhale is at least in some sense the result of change of atmosphere in this country and the change of outlook in Poona University Department of Philosophy.

It is an accident that I met Dr. Pradeep Gokhale during my tenure as Rector of the University. He was well—versed in Sanskrit and perhaps was thinking of doing MA. in Statistics or Sanskrit. I found that he was a good poet and very soon I discovered that he had a potentiality to be a good philosopher and logician. Fortunately he was attracted towards philosophy, left his study of Sanskrit and Statistics and joined philosophy. When he decided to do research in philosophy, he chooses for his research the topic of fallacies in Indian logic and requested me to guide him. The work in this area was still not attempted. Prof. Rasik Bihari Joshi of Delhi University Department of Sanskrit had written a small book on fallacies but it was more in a traditional line. Dr. Gokhale’s work, I thought, would cut the ice. I am aware that simultaneously with Dr. Gokhale a good research work on fallacies was produced from Benares Hindu University. But I believe that Dr. Pradeep Gokhale’s work is unique in this area.

Dr. Pradeep Gokhale’s present book which in some sense is an adaptation of his Ph.D. work on fallacies would be very useful to the students and researchers of Nyaya, Buddhist and Jaina logics. It is mainly an exercise in the history of logico—philosophical ideas, especially the concepts of anumana and hetvabhasa. Anumana and hetvabhasa are the central concepts of Indian logic. We sometimes treat these concepts as if they remained unchanged throughout the history of Indian logic and forget that they did undergo radical change. One of the tasks of Dr. Gokhale in this work is to sketch out the way in which the concepts of anumana and hetvabhasa changed and developed, individually and mutually, at the hands of ancient Nyaya and Buddhist logicians. He claims that the early Nyaya concept of anumana was that of analogical reasoning. That anumana should be valid and sound and not just a strong analogical reasoning was the concept of anumana newly developed by Dharmakirti. Dr. Gokhale also shows how the Nyaya logicians after Dharmakirti tried to unite these two concepts together; In fact Dharmakirti plays a pivotal role in the history of Indian logic. Clear understanding of this role is essential for tracing the development of Indian logic. Dr. Gokhale’s account of this role is worth critical consideration.

Another important contribution of Dr. Gokhale in this work is the comparative survey of Indian and Western accounts of fallacies. I Western logicians attach central importance to formal fallacies and only secondary one to material fallacies. Hetvabhasas which are central in Indian logic are however material fallacies. Dr. Gokhale claims that sadhanabhasa rather than hetvabhasa is the proper Indian analogue of ‘fallacy’ and that sadhanabhasa covers material as well as formal fallacies. In addition to sadhanabhasa (which include hetvabhasas proper, Dr. Gokhale also discusses chala, jati, nigrahasthana, nayabhasa, fallacies of definition and prasanga fallacies in detail and their place in the Indian theory of fallacy. This too might prove a unique contribution of this work.

The work is full of observations, interpretations and arguments of historical and philosophical logical character. I am sure this work anything more about the book, for the book itself would speak for its worth.

I am happy that Dr. Gokhale asked me a to write the foreword to this important book. I wish that Dr. Gokhale writes many more books of this kind and makes Indian logic and philosophy richer.



A few treatises which seriously discuss Indian account of inference and fallacies are now readily available. Why then this new addition? The only justification that I have is this: I have tried in this book to develop an approach to the problem which has been more or less undeveloped hitherto.

Thus I have attempted
1. to outline the development of the ancient Nyaya and Buddhist conceptions of inference and fallacy.
2. to discuss in detail the concept of fallacy and the classification of fallacies in the light of ancient Indian account of the same.
3. to compare ancient Indian awareness of inference and fallacies with the western awareness of the same.

In traditional approach to ancient Nyaya logic we find a tendency to consider. ‘Nyaya view’ to be a fixed set of doctrines and principles which did not undergo any change or development since Aksapada to Udayana. It is held that what was implicitly or explicitly there in the Nyaya—aphorisms was made explicit or more explicit and was applied without any modifications to refute the doctrines of the rival schools, by the commentators of the Nyayasutra. So if by development we understand the modifications of earlier principles and doctrines and discovery of new ones, the ancient Nyaya system did not really develop. Such an approach is rather unhistorical and unfair too. Here I have approached ancient Nyaya with a contrary belief. I believe that the Nyaya system must have developed through the works of the commentators of Nyayasutra. This development of Nyaya must have been partly due to its interaction with other schools of logic, especially Buddhism. When I started reading the ancient commentaries of Nyayasutra in the light of this belief the commentators started telling me more about their own contributions and importations (from other schools) than about the sutras they were commenting upon. In fact Indian Philosophy in general and Indian logic in particular has grown in this peculiar way. Commentators have contributed to the development of the systems when they themselves humbly submitted that they only tried to elucidate and defend the original work as it was. Accordingly in the first six chapters of this treatise I have tried to outline the development of Ancient Nyaya and Buddhist conceptions of inference and fallacy, as it was effected by the original authors and commentators of the two schools. I have also tried to show how the interaction between these two schools must have contributed to their development.

Many books dealing with Indian logic or some aspects thereof concentrate on the classical Indian concept of anumana quite thoroughly but the topic of hetvabhasa or sadhanabhasa remains comparatively neglected. But possibly a clearer understanding of what is a sound inference or what is anumana-pramana can be had if we have a sufficiently clear understanding of what it is not (or what it is opposed to). Keeping this in mind I have, in this book, tried to give equal weight age to the topics of inference and fallacies. Such an attempt has helped me to see how the ancient Indian conceptions of inference and fallacy developed reciprocally and mutually rather than independently and separately. However, the variety of ways in which inference can be unsound and therefore fallacious is far greater than the variety of ways in which it can be sound. The reader will therefore find more pages of this book devoted to the discussion of fallacies than those to that of inference.

After having looked closely into the different kinds and varieties of formal and informal fallacies discussed in our ancient philosophical literature, I have tried to search for a possible Indian analogue of the western concept of fallacy. I have tried to show that the term sadhanabhasa as it was used by Dinnaga and Dharmakirti, rather than the term hetvabhasa is the proper Indian analogue for the western term fallacy. I have also argued that apart from paksabhasa, hetvabhasa and drstantabhasa which the Buddhist tradition subsumes under sadhanabhasa, some other varieties of fallacy to the extent to which they are properly so, viz. chala, jati, nigrahasthana, prasanga, nayabhasa and fallacies of definition can also be brought under the common head sadhanabhasa.

While comparing Indian awareness of inference and fallacies with the western one, I have shown that Indian concept of anumana is different from the western concept of inference in some very important respects. I have also tried to show that the attempt of some orientalists to identify the cases of hetvabhasa with the cases of Aristotalian fallacies of syllogism is misleading. I have also pointed out that Dharmakirti has tackled the questions of formal validity and formal fallacies in their proper perspectives. This gives a different dimension to Indian logic which many orientalists ignore. Some modem scholars of Indian logic have attempted to present the ideas of Indian logicians in the language of modem (symbolic) logic. This way of presentation, if done properly, has some advantages. For instance it makes it possible to have more lucid and sharper understanding of the laws of logic stipulated or discovered by Indian logicians. Some books which attempt this with reference to Navya- Nyaya frame of inference are available to us. In this book (in Appendix III) I too, have attempted it with reference to the forms of pararthanumana accepted by Vatsyayana, Dinnaga and Dharmakirti.

Now some formal details: I have divided some chapters into parts and all the chapters into sections. Generally the chapters concerned with the account of inference and fallacy, are divided into two parts, the first of which deals with ‘inference’ and the second with ‘fallacy’. While mentioning their names, I have distinguished between classical authors on fallacies etc., and modern scholars. I have mentioned the names of the latter in all capitals and those of the former in the usual way.

While giving the history of the concepts of inference and fallacy from Caraka to Vacaspatimisra and while giving the Nyaya—Buddhist debate on these concepts, which is the subject matter of the first six chapters, I did not concern myself with the problems regarding the exact dates of these authors. Regarding these matters I depended on the orientalist scholars. Of course, regarding the order of these authors as to who came after whom, there does not seem to be any controversy except in the case of Jayanta, Bhasarvajna and Vacaspatimisra. In such controversial matters I have followed Potter.

While writing the book I had to face the problem of language. I came across many Sanskrit terms, for which I could not find apt synonyms in English. Sometimes I had to avoid even the popular synonyms because I thought them misleading. For instance I thought that ‘reason’ or ‘probans’ would not be an apt synonym for ‘hetu’.

Thought the term hetu sometimes means ‘reason’, generally hetu is taken to mean some ontological object which functions as the ‘signifying analogy’ or at least ‘signifying object’. Thus hetu is, many a time, ontological and this sense of hetu cannot be conveyed by the words like reason or probans. Secondly reason or probans are wider concepts in the sense that even a statement of vyapti in an inference can be called the reason or probans as far as it functions as the justification for proving the probandum. But the statement of vyapti or vyapti itself cannot be called hetu. Similar difficulties arose in my mind regarding the translations of vyapti, paramarsa and so on. Thus generally in the case of such technical terms I avoided translations and used the original Sanskrit words as they are. Of course I have used synonyms whenever they did not create difficulties for me.




  Preface xiii
  Abbreviations xix
  Introduction xxi
Chapter I The Nature of Inference and Fallacies Accepted by Pre-Aksapada Indian Logicians (Especially by Caraka) 1
Chapter II The Nature of Inference and Hetvabhasa Described by Aksapada and Vatsysyana 12
  Part I: On Inference  
  Part II: On hetvabhasas  
Chapter III The Nature of Anumana and Sadhanabhasa According to Dinnaga 37
  Part I: On anumana  
  Part II: On Sadhanabhasa  
Chapter IV Udyotakara on Anumana and Hetvabhasa 71
  Part I: On Anumana  
  Part II: On Hetvabhasa  
Chapter V The Nature of Anumana and sadhanabhasa according to Dharmakirti 87
  Part I: On anumana  
  Part II: On Sadhanabhasa  
Chapter VI Anumana and Hetvabhasa According to Jayantabhatta Bhasarvajna and Vacaspatimisra 113
  Part I: On anumana  
  Part II: On fallacies  
Chapter VII Chala, Jati, Nigrahasthana, Prasana, Nayabhasa and Fallacies of Definition 147
  Part I: On Chala  
  Part II: On jati  
  Part III: On nigrahasthanas  
  Part IV: On prasanga  
  Part V: On nayabhasa  
  Part VII: On fallacies of definition  
Chapter VIII Inferences and Fallacies discussed in Ancient Indian Logic and Western Logic: A Comparative Survey 219
  Part I: Inferences  
  Part II: Fallacies  
Chapter X Conclusions 272
  Appendix I: Dates of the Indian logicians dealt with in the work 284
  Appendix II: Two Concepts of Universality 285
  Appendix III: Symbolic Presentation of the Forms of pararthanumana 288
  Appendix IV: I or O-propositions as conclusions 293
  Bibliography 297
  Indices 303

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