Sense Perception is one of the most important aspects that is involved in every sphere of activity in human life. Human life itself revolves around sense perception. While our ancient philosophical systems del e deep into all aspects involved in perception, there has been renewed interest in this field, of late, among the scientific fraternity, in an attempt to generate artificial perceptual knowledge in computers and robots. In this context, it is very interesting to explore if and how the theories of perception expounded by our ancient philosophers can contribute to modern knowledge. The Present work is first step in this direction.
Vidwan Dr. M.A. Alwar is a traditional Sanskrit scholar specializing in the Nyaya and Visistadvaitavedanta systems of philosophies and is deeply interested and active in inter- disciplinary research of the traditional Indian knowledge systems with contemporary knowledge systems. While he continues to study the deeper aspects of the Indian Darsanas under his illustrious Guru Mahamahopadhyaya Panditaratna K.S.Vardacharya (a stalwart scholar who has dedicated his entire life to unearth the hidden truths of the Darsanas and their relevance), He is also actively engaged in the critical edition, translation and publication of works pertaining to various Indian Knowledge systems. Dr. M. A. Alwar is at present working as Assistant Professor of Nyvya in the Maharaja's Sanskrit College. Mysore and also as Honorary Project Director of the Literary Research Unit of an Ayurvedic Research Organization at Bangalore.
This thesis may seem to be of an unusual nature, because of the fact that it attempts the comparison of two seemingly divergent fields, Indian Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Cognitive Science (CS), which seem to have very little in common. Basic issues like whether these two subjects can be compared, whether anybody has done this before, and whether they can produce any worthy results are considered in the introduction and widely discussed in the subsequent chapters. However, in this opening section it would not be out of place to note one or two other aspects pertaining to the main intention of the thesis and the way in which it is intended to be achieved.
This thesis has, among its main objectives, the juxtaposition of the ideas of both Artificial Intelligence ( AI) and Indian Philosophy regarding the topic of Perception. If this is achieved successfully, it would go a long way in realizing the dream of many stalwarts in the fields to which these subjects belong science and philosophy. The intention of the efforts here is to show that these fields are not divergent in their ultimate goal and also that they can complement each other the essential experimental based that philosophy required, philosophy requires, philosophy can actually give a proper direction to the progress of science which generally is open-ended and has tended to be abused in ways that are detrimental to the good of humankind. Such a marriage of the two disciplines can bring the ideal situation everyone has been looking forward to. Until now, there have been relatively few efforts in this regards, to make a sincere effort in achieving this objective. Whether it has been successful or not is to be judged by the experts who study it.
The topic-Perception-has been chosen after due thought was given to its relevance to the modern world. For the last decade, the hot topic in science in general, and Computer Science in particular, has been AI/Cognitive Science. Actually, Cognitive Science was previously considered as branch of AI. However, considering the enormous amount of research activity taking place over the last two decades and keeping in view the vast expanse of the range of topics field of study. Since the advent of robotics which could create intelligent Robots, this field of Cognitive Science was covering, experts decided to make it is a separate field to study. Since the advent of Robotics which could create place. So, research in any capacity related to this field is bound to contribute and related to the contemporary world, even if its utilitarian value is considered to be relatively less. It was having considered these aspects that the present topic was chosen.
The pros and cons of taking up such a topic, that too for a comparison from the points of view of two extremely different fields, were carefully weighed with each other and finally, it was seen that it was more than feasible to take up such a topic, even though such a thing was nearly unheard of a decade or two ago. Due thought was also given to the such a daunting task, and successfully at that, with a limitations of inexperience and the like, while entering into a new area of research like this. Since the term 'success' is always a relative one, it is difficult to exactly define it. However, it is an agreed fact that even if a little headway is achieved in a new area of research, it may be termed as a success. Since the main aim of the thesis was to first of all, to juxtapose compare them only at a later stage. With this intention it was decided to take up this topic.
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