Nyaya Philosophy: Epistemology and Education

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Item Code: IDE452
Author: Dr. Arvind Kumar Jha
Publisher: Standard Publishers
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 8187471174
Pages: 228
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.8" X 5.8"
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Book Description

Knowledge, it is claimed, leads to liberation (rite jyananna muktih). This assertion is based on the realization that the suffering in our lives is due to ignorance or inadequate knowledge. This holds true not only in the case of spiritual or adhyatmik knowledge but also for the domain of laukik knowledge located in every day life. Indeed, appreciating reality and relating to it in systematic and unambiguous way is one of the chief characteristics of true cognition. The notions of satya and rita have been in the center of Indian thought since Vedic period. Truth as Upanishads say is not something obvious. It is covered and only through our sincere effort and engagement that we are able to approach and appreciate it. It requires yajya or sadhana. The ideal of sachidanand, the experience of being, consciousness and bliss, is characterized by a mode of understanding that invites an integral vision. It is therefore not surprising to find rich deliberation on the course of knowing in the Indian thought traditions.

In modern western thought cognizing is often treated as an integral and representational process. Recent years, however, have witnessed gradual emergence of the view that knowing is a situated process and goes beyond the binary categories of personal/social and objective/subjective. The common men as well as scientist, both are continuously engaged in the process of knowing. The challenge has been addressed by philosophers from different vantage points leading to diverse consequences for meaning and action.

In the contemporary period, the spirit of scientism has prevailed over other modes of deliberation on knowing. While this view has promoted naïve empiricism and contributed to the spirit of curiosity and experimentation, it has made other modes of knowing inaccessible. In particular, the Indian contributions have been ignored. Against this backdrop, the present work by Dr. Arbind Kumar Jha is a welcome endeavour. He has made a sincere effort to investigate and document the Nyaya way of knowing. After presenting an overview of the western or the received view, he has shown the points of departure where the Indian perspective brings in innovations in approaching the issues. Dr. Jha has critically examined the Nyaya view on epistemology. His articulation and analysis of Nyaya view is impressive and highlights its scope and interface with education.

I am sure this piece of work will make the reader aware regarding epistemology and epistemological aspects of cognition as developed in the Indian tradition. The nature of knowledge and the methods of knowing have been deliberated upon in an interesting manner. Here, it has been explained very well that while the existence of the means of knowledge is proved by the fact that there is knowledge of objects, their validity is proved by the fact that there is knowledge of objects; their validity is proved by the fact that there is knowledge themselves. The chapter on Nyaya epistemology and educational theorization. This very chapter raises certain issues regarding aims and objectives of education in general and pedagogy in particular. The writer is correct in saying that the Nyaya, with its firm advocacy of four pramanas enables a format for dependable and defensible knowledge. The Nyaya not only acknowledge the instrumentality of deduction and induction as processes of reasoning and generalization, respectively. It, in fact, solicits analytico-synthetic approach which upholds the symbolic relationship between deduction and induction.

The initiative taken by Dr. Arbind Kumar Jha shall go a long way in challenging the mind set of the students of the disciplines philosophy, education and social sciences and promote a dialogue that may enrich our understanding and practices. I congratulate Dr. Jha for his presentation of Nyaya view of epistemology and hope that he will develop these ideas further and test them by relating them to the practices in teaching-learning in learning situations.


Validity of knowledge is a problem, which has been with us, which is with us an which will continue to be with us. Which form of knowledge is valid and what are the bases for judging whether the knowledge that we have is right one, are some indispensable questions, which each thinking being has to face. Again this is the subject which has occupied the minds of thinkers in the West, particularly the Greek thinkers as also in orthodox Indian Philosophies particularly the Naiyayikas. In a way it exclusively deals with various conditions and proofs of knowledge. It signifies the examination of phenomenon by direct evidence and syllogistic reasoning. Also, it represents the analytic type of philosophy and upholds knowledge gained through common sense and science and thus connotes the science of right reasoning. While the Aristotelian syllogism is primarily deductive and formal, the Nyaya syllogism is deductive as well as inductive and regards deduction and induction as inseparably related as two aspects of the same process. Thus, it would be pertinent to actually see how these various based of judging what is valid knowledge need to be applied in our approach for acquisition of knowledge.

Validity of knowledge raises the problem of what is to be accepted and what is not to be accepted. At times an opinion can pass for knowledge, at another occasion facts that meet the senses are taken to be knowledge. Thus, this is a problem, epistemological in nature and needs to be studied in terms of aspects, which are epistemic, and epistemological. Therefore, this is an attempt to revisit Naiyayika way of knowing through Nyaya Philosophy that is, to see its import and implications for modern education.

This book is a synergetic product of many minds and here I would like to render a note of thanks to all those who have helped me directly or indirectly in completion of this book. First of all I express my deep and sincere gratitude to those writers whose works I have consulted. Prof. Satishchandra Chatterjee deserves a special mention whose works have influenced me a lot. I have also consulted the works of like Dr. G. Jha, Dr. D.M. Datta, Dr. J. N. Sinha, Prof. M. Hiriyana, Dr. C.D. Sharma, Prof. R.P. Sharma, Sh. Abedanand, Sh. K.P. Bahadoor, Dr. S.S. Barlingay, Dr. C.D. Bijalwan, Dr. N.S. Junakar, Dr. J. Prasad, Dr. R. Puligandla, Dr. S. Radhakrishanan, Dr. P.T. Raju and many others.

I owe to Prof. R.P. Sharma for his invaluable guidance, tireless efforts and constant encouragement through out the course of completion of this work, in spite of all his preoccupations and poor health. For me he proved to be the Polestar with whose beckoning light I could not only pole vault all the obstacles but place myself in a safe and secured island.

I feel privileged to express my heart felt thanks to Prof. Girishwar Mishra who has been generous in giving all help and guidance from time to time. His timely and prudent interventions have indeed helped me immensely in navigating to safer waters. He has been kind enough to write a foreword for this book.

I am highly thankful to Prof. S.B. Menon who has always helped me and showed me the right path. One name which I think deserves a special mention is Sh. Mukesh from ICPR who has given me all help necessary to accomplish this task.

I am also thankfully indebted to the staff of the libraries, I visited during my present work, including C.R.L. (D.U.); Library of C.I.E.; B.C.L; G.N. Jha Research Institute Allahabad; Libraries of L.N.M.U. and K.S.S.V., Darbhanga; NCERT, Delhi etc.

I am grateful to each and every member of my family whose love, affection, support and encouragement helped me to accomplish the present work.

Last, but not the least, I am thankful to Standard Publishers (India) for giving this book its present shape.

From the Jacket:

The question of knowledge brings in its train a host of other contentious issues. What is nature of knowledge? How is it acquired? How do we judge the validity of knowledge? these are questions which have evoked multiple response from the people concerned.

Among the six schools of thought, the Nyaya philosophy is very much capable to address science lays down the rules and methods that are essentially necessary for a clear and precise understanding of all the materials of our knowledge. Almost all the Indian philosophies have been greatly influenced by logical and dialectical technicalities of Nyaya epistemology, which indicated its supremacy in the field of epistemology. As a thorough going realistic view of the universe, Nyaya supplies an important Eastern parallel to the triumphant modern realism of the West and contains the anticipations as well as possible alternatives of many contemporaries realistic theories.

The book provides a detailed account of Nyaya philosophy from the perspective of Naiyayika way of knowing. It examines the Nyaya way of knowing and highlights its scope and interface with education. In short what follows is a detailed resume of the epistemological mapping of broadways of Naiyayika assumptions, a reflective response to the conceptual contours and the educational import of Nyaya epistemology.

About the Author:

Dr. Arbind Kumar Jha is one of those researchers of Education at the Central Institute of Education (Deptt. of Education), University of Delhi, who has four feathers in caps Bachelor, Master, M.Phil, and Ph.D. all in Education. He studied Mathematics and Education. His area of interest and specialization is Epistemology in general and Nyaya Philosophy in particular.

He is credited with participation, presentation and acceptance of papers in many national, international conferences, seminars, symposia etc. At a very young age he has chaired the session of Annual Conference of IATE. He has acted as Resource person too.

He is a Senior Lecturer in Education, is consistent and prolific contributor to Philosophical and Educational Studies and Research.


Scheme of Transliterationxvi
1.Introduction: Purpose and Perspective1
Why to Read the Following Pages?8
2.Development of Epistemology11
A. Western Epistemology: Thinkers and Theories12
Human Knowledge in Homer and Xenophanes12
Socrates Theory of Knowledge14
Plato's Theory of Knowledge15
Aristotle's Epistemology16
Copernicus and Galileo18
Rene's Descartes22
A.N. Whitehead31
An Empiricist View of Knowledge36
A Rationalist View of Knowledge38
B. Indian Epistemology: An Overview41
The Vedic Literature43
Theory of Knowledge in the Vaisesika Sutras (VS)45
Epistemology of the Samkhya System47
Epistemology of the Yoga Sutras49
The Mimamnsa Epistemology50
Theory of Knowledge in the Sabarabhasya of the Mimamsa-Sutras50
The Mimamsa Epistemology according to Kumarila Bhatta51
The Vedanta Epistemology54
Samkara's Theory of Knowledge and Reality56
Ramanuja's Doctrine of Knowledge and Reality58
The Jaina and Buddhist Epistemology58
The Beginning of Jaina Epistemology in Umasvatt's Tattvadhigama-Sutra (TS)58
The Later Jaina Epistemology60
The Buddhist Epistemology62
Theories of Direct Knowledge and Inference in the Nyaya-bindu of Dharma-kirit63
Epistemology in the New School of Logic (Navya-nyaya)64
3.Nyaya Philosophy: Its Epistemological Assumptions70
What is Nyaya?70
Origin of Nyaya School and Its Pioneer Contributors73
Gangesa and his Successors74
Subject Matter of Nyaya74
A. Nature of Knowledge79
Basic Epistemological Assumptions79
Knowledge - Its Forms84
Valid Knowledge (Prama)84
Invalid Knowledge89
Memory (Smrti) and Dream 90
Causes of Memory90
Doubt (Samsaya)93
Error (Viparyyaya) and Illusion (Bhrama)95
Hypothetical Reasoning (Tarka)97
Pramana - Its Scope103
The Nyaya Theory of Extrinsic Validity103
B. Methods of Knowledge106
Methods of Knowledge (Pramanas)106
Perception as a Method of Knowledge (Pratyaksa Pramana)106
 (a) Indriyarthasannikarsa (Sense-Object) Contact109
 (b) Anyapadesyam (Unnameable)110
 (c) Non-Erroneous (Avyabhicari)110
 (d) Determinate (Vyavasayatmaka)111
The Psychology of Perception112
Function of the Senses113
The Nature and Function of Mind (Manas)115
The Nyaya Theory of Self117
Divergent Views Regarding the Self118
Ordinary Perception and Its Objects119
Different Kinds of Perception119
Modes of Ordinary Perception120
Nirvikalpaka and Savikalpaka Perceptions120
Recognition (Pratyabhijna)123
Extraordinary Perception123
Jnanalaksana as Acquired Perception125
Yogaja or Intuitive Perception127
Perception of Substance (Dravya)128
Perception of Attributes (Guna) and Actions (Karma)131
Karma (Action)131
Samanya (Universality)132
Samvaya (Inherence)133
Perception of non-existence (Abhava)134
Internal Perception and its Objects135
Inference (Anumana)136
Nature and Scope of (Anumana)136
Distinction between Perception and Inference138
The Constituents of Inference139
The Forms of Anumana142
The Purvavat, Sesavat and Samanyatodrsta142142
Kevalanvayi, Kevala-Vyatireki and Anvaya-Vyatireki Inference143
The Logical Form of Inference (Anumana)145
The Problem of Vyapti148
Logical and Psychological Bases of Inference149
The Psychological Ground of Inference (Paksata)152
Fallacies (Hetvabhasa)153
What is Upamana?156
The Nature of Upamana (Comparison)157
The Role of Sadrsya (similarity) in Upamana158
Upamana as an Independent Source of Knowledge (Pramana)159
Verbal Testimony (Sabda)162
Words (Pada)164
Kinds of Words166
Import of Words166
Sentence (Vakya)168
The Import of Sentences170
4.Nyaya Epistemology and Education176
A. Zeroing in on Education184
B. Pedagogy: A Paradigm Shift186
5.Some Contentions191

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