Nyaya | Encyclopedia.com (2023)

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NYĀYA . Nyāya is an orthodox, classical Indian school of logic and epistemology established in the second century ce with the writing of the Nyāyasūtras by Gautama (Akapāda Gautama). It is described as concerned with the science of argumentation (ānvīkśiki) and as the measure of all other sciences (pramāaśāstra). Unlike modern Western logic, which is mainly formal and is complemented by an epistemology that presupposes the separateness of the study of epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics and religion, Nyāya defines its method as one of considering the science of argumentation as an instrument for the knowledge of reality that must lead to the attainment of the Highest Goodnamely freedom from suffering. The very first aphorism of the Nyāyasūtras thus defines its purpose and content in the following manner:

It is the knowledge of the real essence of the following sixteen categories that leads to the attainment of the Highest Good: 1. the means of right cognition, 2. the objects of right cognition, 3. doubt, 4. motive, 5. example, 6. theory, 7. factors of inference, 8. cogitation/decision, 9. demonstrated truth, 10. discussion 11. disputation, 12. wrangling, 13. fallacious reasons, 14. casuistry, 15. futile rejoinders and 16. clinchers. (Gautama, Nyāyasūtras, tr. Ganganatha Jha, 1939, p. 3)

Nyāya is traditionally paired with the Vaiśeika school, because the two focus respectively on the subject and object of knowledge, with the former therefore being more dominantly epistemological and the latter ontological in nature.

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Modern scholarship on Nyāya can largely be divided into two camps. The first provides an apologetic for its metaphysical orientation and prefers to emphasize the technical detail of logic in an attempt to relocate Nyāya within a positivist framework. The historian of Indian philosophy S. N. Dasgupta and more recently Bimal Krishna Matilal belong to this category. The second approach is represented by those like Dharmendra Nath Shastri, Jitendranath Mohanty, and Karl Potter, who argue that the relation to metaphysics is not "added on" but intrinsic to the discourse of Nyāya. This difference in approach has not, however, affected the selection of topics or emphases among authors from either group, as the focus in both cases remains mainly on exegesis with occasional critical analysis. A sustained, conscious, and systematic consideration of Nyāya's method, which consists in the non-dualism of fact and value and theory and practice, pre-supposing a belief in the unity of epistemology (science), ethics, and metaphysics (or religion), has yet to be made. This is one of the major difficulties that hinders understanding of the exact nature of the orientation and development of thought within Nyāya, both internally and in relation to Buddhism and the Mīmāsā school and, more significantly, modern Western analytic thought.

Though empiricist and realist in orientation, Nyāya's definition and theory of perception and the object thereof reveals a consistent and systematic attempt to establish the conditions for the possibility of a nondualist science. Nyāya lists four instruments of cognitionperception, inference, analogy, and testimony. Perception is basic and necessary for the other three, and execution, that is, successful effort or action in acquiring or rejecting the object of cognition, is either the consequence of true cognition or its very nature. The object of cognition cannot be known merely through the perception of qualities such as shape, size, color, and weight; rather, it is truly known only when it is also possible to classify it as soul or not-soul, as that which is to be acquired or rejected in light of its being a source of pleasure or pain, in the quest for freedom. To this a caveat is of course added, pointing out that ultimately all pleasure and sources of pleasure are sources of pain from which one must attain detachment. Perception is defined as that cognition that arises from the contact of sense organ and object, which is not designated or expressed in speech, without error, and determinate. This definition includes within its range both sensation and direct experience of the "nameless" One (yogic perception).

Vātsāyana's early-fifth-century commentary on the Nyāyasūtras points out that "contact" with the mind and soul are not mentioned in perception's definition only because they are not unique to this instrument of cognition and are necessary to the other instruments as well. In fact it is the soul that makes it possible to see the object as pain or pleasure or as a source of the same. Finally, the scientific treatise is described as that which deals with the means of destroying pain. The cognizer is one who is stimulated to act in and through his or her calling, personal and professional, by the desire to reject pain and acquire pleasure, with the ultimate aim of renouncing all activity. Thus the co-ordinates of theory and practice, and of fact and value, establish true knowledge.

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Nyāya argues that proof of the truth of unseen things spoken of in the Upaniads is established by the truth and efficacy of scientific treatises on things seen. The example then is of great importance in Nyāya. It is defined as that which can be directly perceived by both ordinary people and expert or trained investigators and is an essential factor both in establishing the truth of one's position and in disproving that of the opponent. Neither inference nor testimony can stand without the proof of such an example.

Nyāya's main disagreement over the nature of reality is with Buddhist idealism. The period from the fifth to eleventh centuries ce was one of great creative engagement between the two schools. The assumption of the reality of the external world comprising indivisible atomic reals is central to Nyāya. Knowledge of the true nature of an object enables one to attain detachment from it and overcome suffering in this world. Buddhists, on the other hand, characterize reality itself as suffering. Suffering arises from believing the external world to be real and permanent. In fact the reality and permanence of the external world is merely an illusion created when the mind projects unity and continuity onto the causal chain of momentary conceptions (vikalpa) that arise and are destroyed in succession, with each moment being the cause of the proceeding one. A realization of the momentariness of existence dissolves the object of desire, as it were, and suffering is overcome. Thus everything that the Naiyāyika (practitioner of Nyāya) depends onthe object, knowledge of the object, and proof through example and traditionis untenable in Buddhism, which presupposes knowledge of the external world's impermanence, the path shown by the buddha or gurū, and membership of the congregation to overcome this impermanence, rather than the authority of Scripture.

Though an orthodox school, Nyāya presupposes a critical attitude even with respect to the Vedas. This becomes evident in its disagreement with Mīmāsā on the issue of prāmāya (the criterion of truth). Nyāya holds that the criterion of the truth of a statement rests in factors external to the statement itself, whereas for Mīmāsā the criterion of truth is intrinsic to the statement, which can only be falsified by external factors. The real issue here is the possibility of having a single theory of truth that will cover both Vedic and ordinary statements without on the one hand laying the truth of Scripture open to faithless doubt and on the other hand making Scripture so rigid that it becomes unavailable to usage and custom. Thus Nyāya advocates the use of paratahaprāmāya (extrinsic criterion of truth) but articulates clear criteria to identify and establish one who is witness to the truth (āpta). Mīmāsā advocates svatahaprāmāya (intrinsic criterion of truth) but broadens the limits of interpretation through a theory of meaning that holds that the word does not refer to the individual/particular but to the universal (jāti). Contemporary analyses have, however, confined themselves to a narrow interpretation of prāmāya, and some, like Mohanty, go further and argue that the problem relates to empirical (vyavahārika) statements only.

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Among the orthodox schools, the Nyāya tradition has perhaps been most alive with original commentaries written by Udyoktara (635 ce) and Vācaspati Miśra (840 ce) and treatises by Jayanta Bhatta (880 ce) and Udayana (984 ce). Around 1200 ce, the Navya-Nyāya, or new school of Nyāya, began with the Tattvacintāmai of Gan̑geśa (Gan̑geśa Upadhyaya). This new school is considered by most to represent a move away from metaphysics. There are difficulties with such a characterization, however, because despite a shift in emphasis toward epistemological issues, there is no philosophical attempt to reject metaphysics. Conversely, one could argue that Navya Nyāya responded to arguments that tended to dichotomize metaphysics and epistemology. For instance, Gadhādhara (fl. c. 1650) defines objecthood as a relation constituted by the very nature of its termsthe self /subject of cognition and the object. Thus, he argues against the view that objecthood is an independent entity and also against the view that it is determined by the nature of the object alone and the view that it is determined by the nature of the cognition/cognizing self. In doing so Gadhādhara is arguing for a definition of objecthood that establishes it as a sign of the relation between the object and the self and not as determined by one or the other. Knowledge of this sign can reveal as much about the self as about the object to which it refers.

Nyāya's presuppositions about the necessary relation between the knowledge of objects and the attainment of freedom, about the unity of ideal and ordinary languages, and about the importance of the example present a structure and method of analytic philosophy at odds with the modern positivist tradition. With Gadhādara's formulation of the issue of objecthood one is further compelled toward the position that Nyāya lays the foundation for a science of semiotics that includes within the purview of a single theory of logic, language, and epistemology, the study of sign, symptom, and symbol.

See Also

Indian Philosophies; Vaiśeṣika.

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Gadhādhara. Theory of Objectivity [Viśayatāvāda]. Translated and annotated by Sibajiban Bhattacharya. Delhi, 1990. A technically competent translation, with detailed exegesis and discussion by the translator.

Gan̑geśa. Theory of Truth [Prāmāya (jñāpti) vāda]. Translated and annotated by Jitendranath Mohanty. Santiniketan, India, 1966. Contains a long and lucid introduction to issues concerning the Nyāya-Mīmāsā debates.

Gautama. Nyāyasūtras. Translated by Ganganatha Jha. Pune, India, 1939.

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Matilal, Bimal Krishna. Perception: An Essay on Classical Indian Theories of Knowledge. Oxford, 1986.

Shastri, Dharmendra Nath. The Philosophy of Nyāya-Vaiśeika and Its Conflict with the Buddhist Dignāga School: Critique of Indian Realism. Delhi, 1964.

Anuradha Veeravalli (2005)

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Who was the founder of Nyaya? ›

Its principal text is the Nyaya-sutras, ascribed to Gautama (c. 2nd century bce). The Nyaya system—from Gautama through his important early commentator Vatsyayana (c.

Which is the free online encyclopedia? ›

Wikipedia is a free content, multilingual online encyclopedia written and maintained by a community of volunteer contributors through a model of open collaboration. It is the largest and most-read reference work in history, Wikipedia originally developed from another encyclopedia project called Nupedia.

Who is the father of Nyaya philosophy? ›

Nyaya Philosophy1 or logic, one of the six systems of Indian philosophy. It was introduced by Maharshi Gautama (Gotama or Aksapada) and is based on his Nyayasutra.

Does Nyaya believe in God? ›

GodG. The Naiyayikas believe in the existence of God and says God is the creator of this universe however he does not create this universe out of nothing. In Nyaya philosophy it is assumed that the time, space, self and atoms are eternal.

What is soul according to Nyaya? ›

But the Nyaya adds that the Supreme Soul is one, the seat of eternal knowledge, and the maker or former of all things. The body is earthly, the five external senses are also material, and the mind is the organ of the senses. Intellect is twofold, including memory and concept.

Who wrote Nyaya Darshan? ›

The correct answer is Akshapada Gautama. In its metaphysics, Nyaya is allied to the Vaisheshika system, and the two schools were often combined from about the 10th century. Its principal text is the Nyaya-sutras, ascribed to Gautama (2nd-century BCE).

Which are the five propositions of Nyaya philosophy? ›

Syllogism of nyaya logic contains five propositions, called its Avayavas or members. These are pratijna, hetu, udarana, upanaya, and nigamana.

What is the most popular online encyclopedia? ›

wikipedia.org is ranked number 1 as the most popular website in the Dictionaries and Encyclopedias category in June 2022.

What is the most accurate online encyclopedia? ›

Encyclopedia Britannica Online

Wikipedia has grown to overshadow the encyclopedia in the Age of the Internet, but Britannica is still one of the most highly respected reference materials available. Yes, Britannica is a reliable source, and is certainly more reliable than Wikipedia.

Is Encyclopedia Britannica Online free? ›

Encyclopedia Britannica offers its entire database online for no charge.

How many parts of Nyaya Shastra are there? ›

The sutras are divided into five chapters, each with two sections.

What is the meaning of Nyaya in English? ›

/nyāya/ mn. judgment variable noun. A judgment is a decision made by a judge or by a court of law.

Which is the world's third largest religion? ›

Major religious groups
  • Christianity (31.2%)
  • Islam (24.1%)
  • No religion (16%)
  • Hinduism (15.1%)
  • Buddhism (6.9%)
  • Folk religions (5.7%)
  • Sikhism (0.3%)
  • Judaism (0.2%)

What is Nyaya Vaisesika? ›

Vaisesika is allied to the nyaya system of philosophy. Both systems accept the liberation of the individual self as the end goal; both view ignorance as the root cause of all pain and misery; and both believe that liberation is attained only through right knowledge of reality.

What are the five members of nyAya syllogism? ›

there are five members in the nyAya syllogism: (1) pratij~nA or proposition (प्रतिज्ञा). It is the logical statement which is to be proved. (2) hetu or 'reason' (हेतु) which states the reason for the establishment of the proposition. (3) udAharaNa उदाहरण which gives the universal concomitance together with an example.

Which is the largest free encyclopedia on the Internet? ›

The Wikipedia is the largest and best-known of today's online encyclopedias. Its mission is to “put the sum of all human knowledge in the form of an encyclopedia in the hands of every single person on the planet for free,” according to one of its founders.

Where can I read encyclopedia online? ›

  • Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
  • Encyclopedia.com. Encyclopedia.com has more than 100 trusted sources, including encyclopedias, dictionaries, and thesauruses with facts, definitions, biographies, synonyms, pronunciation keys, word origins, and abbreviations.
  • Wikipedia.
Mar 3, 2022

Which is best encyclopedia or Wikipedia? ›

They found that in general, Wikipedia articles were more biased—with 73 percent of them containing code words, compared to just 34 percent in Britannica. In almost all cases, Wikipedia was more left-leaning than Britannica.

What is a better source than Wikipedia? ›

1. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. In terms of traditional encyclopedias, this is Wikipedia's main rival. It contains every current volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica, with easy-to-use search tools.

Is Britannica better than Wikipedia? ›

The study found that "Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of the accuracy of its science entries." Nature asked expert reviewers from varied disciplines to review 50 articles in each encyclopedia and evaluate them based solely on accuracy.

What online encyclopedia is free open and multilingual? ›

Wikipedia is a free, open content online encyclopedia created through the collaborative effort of a community of users known as Wikipedians. Anyone registered on the site can create an article for publication; registration is not required to edit articles.

How do I open Britannica for free? ›

And now, you can get access to the online version for free through a new program called Britannica Webshare – provided that you are a “web publisher.” The definition of a web publisher is rather squishy: “This program is intended for people who publish with some regularity on the Internet, be they bloggers, webmasters, ...

Are old encyclopedias worth any money? ›

And the fact is, most encyclopedia sets aren't worth much at all. James Beattie, of Books Appraised, has been a professional book appraiser for 33 years. He says the vast majority of encyclopedia sets carry retail values of less than $75.

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Britannica Premium Benefits

You will not be charged during your free trial, and you can cancel at any time. If you decide not to cancel your subscription, your service will continue at $1.44 a week (billed annually at $74.95) for your first year and renew after that year at the then-current rate annually.

What are the 6 shastras? ›

  • Yoga-shastra,
  • Nyaya-shastra,
  • Dharma-shastra,
  • Koka- or Kama-shastra,
  • Moksha-shastra,
  • Artha-shastra,
  • Alamkara-shastra (rhetoric),
  • Kavya-shastra (poetics),

What is perception in Nyaya philosophy? ›

According to Nyaya, perception or Pratyaksha is considered to be the first source of knowledge or pramana. Perception is a definite or true cognition of objects produced by sense-object contact.

How do you pronounce Nyaya? ›

How To Say Nyaya - YouTube

What does sankhya mean? ›

Definition of Sankhya

: an orthodox Hindu philosophy teaching salvation through knowledge of the dualism of matter and souls.

Who is the founder of yoga philosophy? ›

Patanjali is often regarded as the father of modern yoga, according to several theories. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are a compilation of aphoristic Sanskrit sutras on the philosophy and practice of ancient yoga.

Who was the founder of Purva Mimamsa? ›

The Mimamsa Sutra (Sanskrit: मीमांसा सूत्र, Mīmāṁsā Sūtra) or the Purva Mimamsa Sutras (ca. 300–200 BCE), written by Rishi Jaimini is one of the most important ancient Hindu philosophical texts. It forms the basis of Mimamsa, the earliest of the six orthodox schools (darshanas) of Indian philosophy.

Who is the author of the book Nyaya manjari? ›

Who is the founder of samkhya philosophy? ›

Sage Kapila is traditionally credited as a founder of the Samkhya school.

Who is called Father of yoga? ›

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya
Died28 February 1989 (aged 100) Madras, India
OccupationYoga teacher
Known for"Father of modern yoga"
2 more rows

Who is known as father of modern yoga? ›

Answer:(3) Maharshi Patanjali. Patanjali is regarded, as per different speculations, as the father of modern yoga. Patanjali Yoga Sutras are an aphoristic set of Sanskrit sutras on ancient yoga concept and practice.

What is Veda purva? ›

Because Mimamsa is concerned with the earlier parts of the Vedas (called the Karmakanda), it is also referred to as Purva-Mimamsa (“Prior Study”) or Karma-Mimamsa (“Study of Actions”). Vedanta, which deals with the later portion of Vedic literature called the Upanishads, is called Uttara-Mimamsa (“Posterior Study”) or ...

Does Mimamsa believe in God? ›

As a consequence of the belief in sanctity of the ritual, Mimamsas rejected the notion of God in any form. Later commentators of the Mimamsa sutras such as Prabhākara (c. 7th century CE) advanced arguments against the existence of God.

How many Mimamsa are there? ›

Mīmāṃsā, a Sanskrit word meaning "revered thought," is the name of one of the six astika ("orthodox") schools of Hindu philosophy, whose primary inquiry is into the nature of dharma (duty) based on close hermeneutics of the Vedas.

Who is the author of Nyayamanjari related to Nyaya philosophy? ›

Jayanta wrote three known treatises on Nyaya philosophy, of which two survive. His first, his magnum opus, the Nyayamanjari (A Cluster of Flowers of the Nyaya tree) is a commentary on Nyaya-aphorisms that serves as a critique of the theories of rival philosophical systems like the Mīmānsādarśana.

Who wrote Sankhya darshan? ›

(D) Kapila. Hint: Sankhya is considered as one of the six astika that are in the Hindu ideologies. The Sankhya School of Philosophy was founded by the son of Maharishi Kardama. He has also written the Samkhya Sutras.

What are the 24 elements of Sankhya? ›

The five elements, namely, space, air, fire, water and earth, as well as their rudimentary essences called tanmatras also belong to the group of 24 tattvas. Thus Prakriti, mahat, ahamkara, mind, the five karmendriyas, the five jnanendriyas, the five tanmatras, the five elements — all these constitute the 24 tattvas.

What is Sankhya theory? ›

Samkhya posits the existence of an infinite number of similar but separate purushas, none superior to any other. Because purusha and prakriti are sufficient to explain the universe, the existence of a god is not hypothesized.


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