Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Brief notes on INDIAN PHILOSOPHY - K. J. Thomas


1.       Discuss the classification of the Indian philosophical systems into heterodox and orthodox schools.
There are nine Indian Philosophical systems. They are classified into two divisions of the orthodox (astika) and the heterodox (nastika).  The schools of materialism, Buddhism, and Jainism don’t approve of the authority of the Vedas. They are called heterodox, or nastika. The remaining six schools are all orthodox, because directly or indirectly they accept the authority of the Vedas. They are Nyaya, Vaisesika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedanta schools of philosophy. Of these, Mimamsa and Vedanta schools of philosophy depend on the Vedas and follow Vedic tradition and rituals. On the other hand, Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisesika are not based on the Vedas, but follow Vedic ideas. The materialist school of philosophy accepts four human values such as dharma, artha, kama, and moksha but they don’t accept the ideas of God, soul, akasa. They accept perception as the only means of valid knowledge. This philosophy is also known as Carvaka system or Lokayata philosophy.
2.       What is the difference between pramana vyavastha and pramana samplava?
There are different means through which we learn valid knowledge. These means are called pramanas. The pramanas are six in number. They are perception (pratyaksa), inference (anumana), comparison (upamana), testimony (sabda), presumption (arthapatti), and non-cognition (anupalabdhi). Pramana-vyavastha means the jurisdiction of each pramana is mutually exclusive of the jurisdiction of the other. For example Buddhist philosophy believes in pramana vyavastha which means every pramana has separate jurisdiction.
Pramana samplava means various prmanas may overlap each other. The schools of Nyaya and Vaisesika believe in pramana samplava.
3.       Elucidate the difference between svatah pramanya vada and pratah pramanya vada.   
The theory that supports the idea that the validity of knowledge is intrinsic is called ‘svatah-pramanya vada. If the pramana is free of defects, then the knowledge is intrinsically valid. Sankhya,  Yoga and Vedanta schools of philosophy believe in ‘svatah-pramanya vada.   On the other hand, the paratah-pramanya vada says that the validity of knowledge depends on external conditions. They are the soundness of the eyesight, sufficiency light and other external things. Nyaya and Visesika schools of philosophy believe in the paratah pramanya vada.
4.       What is secular testimony according to the Nyaya school?
The Nyaya school of philosophy has a very well formed theory of knowledge, which supports its theory of reality.  It believes in four pramanas or means of valid knowledge. They are perception (pratyaksa), inference (anumana), comparison (upamana), and testimony (sabda).  Testimony is classified in two different ways. They are ‘Vaidika’ and ‘Laukika’.  Vaidika testimony means scriptural testimony containing the words of God. It is perfect, infallible and valid.
On the other hand, Laukika testimony is called secular testimony containing the words of human beings. It is fallible and imperfect. But the testimony of a trustworthy person or authoritative person is valid.
5.       Discuss the Epic period of Indian philosophy?
Dr.S. Radhakrishnan, the great historian and also the past president of India has explained the four different periods of Indian philosophy. They are the Vedic Period, the Epic period, the Sutra period and the Scholastic period. The Vedic period began from 1500 BC and ended in 600 BC. It is called the pre-Upanishadic period. During this period Aryans came and settled here. The Epic period began from 600BC and ended in AD 200. It is the period of early Upanishads and various schools of philosophy developed during the Epic period. It was during this period that the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and Bhagavadgita were written. The roots of Buddhism, Jainism, Saivism, and Vaishnavism also lie in this period.  From AD 200 onwards Sutra period began. This period is also known as the Scholastic period because the scholars of various schools of philosophy began to write innumerable Sutras. This period also witnessed the birth of many great scholars such as Kumarila, Samkaara, Ramajuja, Sridhara, Madhwa, Vacaspathi, Bhaskara, Vijnanabhikshu, and Raghunantha.
6.       Discuss the different kinds of invalid knowledge
In Indian Philosophy, knowledge (Jnana) has been classified into valid knowledge (prama) and invalid knowledge (aprama).  The different kinds of invalid knowledge (aprama) are: Memory (smrti), Doubt (samasya), Error (viparyyaya), and Hypothetical argument (tarka).
Memory(smrti) is neither valid knowledge nor invalid knowledge in Indian Philosophy. In human memory, our previous experience of the object is retained by us and its impression is brought back to mind.  So all the Indian schools of philosophy insist that the content of the knowledge should be new or previously unacquired.  Memory is true or false does not agree with the definition of prama and therefore memory (smrti) is invalid knowledge.
Doubt (samasya): Doubt occurs when more than one mutually disagreeable notions of the same subject are cognized at a time. So human mind swings between different conflicting notions which are contradictory to each other. Therefore doubt is an invalid knowledge.
Error (viparyyaya): Error is different from doubt. In error there is false certainty. For example we erroneously cognize rope as snake, the nature of ‘snakeness’ is given to the rope. In truth, it is only a rope.
Hypothetical argument (tarka):  When there are two equally possible yet contradictory alternatives available on a particular issue, we cannot decide between the two and we take the help of hypothetical argument. Hypothetical argument is neither invalid nor valid cognition, it is not an independent  means of valid knowledge. It is an invalid knowledge.
7.       Discuss the Jaina theory of relativity of judgement in detail. What is its moral significance?
8.       OR  What is ‘Syadavada’?
The Jaina school of Philosophy claims that all judgement is relatively true. Human mind is finite but the world knowledge is infinite and man cannot understand the innumerable aspects of reality. Therefore absolute truth and absolute denial is impossible. All our judgements are conditional. It is made from a particular point of view.  So all human judgements should be qualified by the word ‘syat’ which means ‘relatively speaking’. Its moral significance is that man is nothing but a link in the web of Nature, he must live in cooperation with his fellow beings, the flora and fauna, and his knowledge is very limited in comparison with the infinite knowledge of the universe. One should be humble and obedient to the laws of Nature.
The Jains made seven forms of judgement. They are Syadasti, Syanasti, Sytadsti nasty, Syadavadtavyam, Syadasti cha avaktavyam, Syannasti cha avaktavyam and Syadasti cha nasty cha avaktavyam.
9.       Discuss extraordinary perception and its types as maintained by the Nyaya school.
The Nyaya school of Indian philosophy has formed a well defined theory of knowledge which supports its theory of reality. They believe in four pramanas of valid knowledge. They are Perception (Pratyaksa), Inference (anumana), Comparison (upamana), testimony (sabda). Perception has been divided into two: Laukika perception and Alaukika perception. Laukika perception is ordinary and Aloukika is extraordinary perception. In Aloukika perception is divided into three kinds. They are: Samanyalaksana, Jnanalaksana, and Yogaja.
Samanyalaksana means universals. For example we have seen only a particular type of cow but we can perceive the universal ‘cowness’ which is shared by all the cows in the universe. This is called the Samanyalaksana extraordinary perception.
The second kind of extraordinary perception is called ‘Jnanalaksana’. It is a complex process of perception through association.  We make statements like ‘ice looks cold’, or ‘stone looks hard’. But we cannot perceive  qualities like ‘coldness’ and hardness through our eyes. It means our visual perception of ice revives in our memory the idea of coldness.
The third kind of extraordinary perception is called ‘Yogaja’. There are two stages of Yogaja perception. They are: Nirvikalpa perception and Savikalpa perception. Nirvikalpa is indeterminate perception. It means, in this early stage, there is not a clear awareness and have only a relational judgement. In the second stage called Savikalpa we have determinate perception. These two stages can be explained only in thoughts and not in reality. For example, when we step into a dark cinema hall from broad day light, we at first get a dim impression which is called Nirvikalpa. Then after some time, we can begin to see everything very clearly. This stage is called Savikalpa or determinate perception.
10.   What is illusion? Discuss the different explanations given by the different schools regarding illusion.
All the Indian schools of philosophy discuss in detail the concept of illusion (khyati). Illusion is the special case of error of perception. Illusion is also known as ‘adhyasa’. Illusion is different from memory, dream, hallucination, or recognition. An illusion is a superimposition. In illusion, there is a mix up between two cognitions. They are a non-existent and an existent one. For example hare’s ears are looked like horns. The light in the shell is looked like silver.
The Nyaya school of philosophy follow the Anyatha-khyati-vada. According to this vada, the shell and the silver are both separately real. The shell is present to the senses. Due to bad light or defect of eyesight, the memory of silver is revived and the shell looked like silver.
The asat-khyati vada of the Madhyamaka school of Buddhism says that emptiness (nihilism) is the basis of their vada. In the shell-silver illusion, the silver looked real even though it does not exist there. They say that even the shell is not there. Both the silver and the shell are not there. This is called ‘asat khyati-vada’.
The atma-khyati-vada is introduced by the Yogacara school of Buddhism.  They say that the illusion of shell-silver is nothing but internal ideas.  Therefore the silver is real as the shell. This is called ‘atma-khyati-vada’.
The sdasat-khyati-vada of the Sankhya school. They say that under different conditions the same thing can be regarded as both real as well as unreal. When shell is wrongly looked like silver, the silver is in the silver-smith’s shop is real but unreal  (asat) when it is superimposed on the shell.
The akhyati theory of the Prabhakara Mimamsa school. They say that illusion is the lack of apprehension of the difference between the shell and the silver.  It means we don’t understand the difference between perception and memory.
The viparita-khyati theory of the Bhatta Mimamsa school: They say that illusion occur when we don’t understand the different qualities of brightness and whiteness. In viparita khyati vada, two partial cognitions are united into one.
The anirvacaniya-khyati-vada of the Advaita Vedanta school.  In the shell-silver illusion, the silver cannot be real because it disappears once the mistake is found.  The silver cannot be both real and unreal because they are contradictory.  It is indefinable or anirvacaniya.
11.   Discuss the Nyaya theory of inference along with its various classifications. What is the difference between Nyaya and the Advaita views of ‘pararthanumana’?
The Nyaya system of Indian philosophy has a well formed theory of knowledge, which supports its theory of reality. They believe in four pramanas as the right mean of valid knowledge which are Perception(pratyaksa), Inference(anumana), comparison (upamana), and Testimony ( sabda).
According to the Naiyayikas, Inference means anumana. It is indirect or mediate knowledge. For example when we perceive smoke on the hill, we infer that there is fire on the hill on the basis of our past knowledge. There is a universal relation between smoke and fire. There are three different classifications of inference. In the first classification there are only two inferences. They are Svarthanumana,and Pararthanumana. Svarthanumana means inference for oneself. But Pararthanumana is for others. So the inference should be explained in the form of five propositions. They are: Pratijna, hetu, udaharana, upanaya and nigamana.
Pratijna – The hill has fire.
Hetu       - because it has smoke
Udaharana -  where there is smoke, there is fire. Eg. An oven
Upanaya   - The hill has smoke, which is always connected with fire.
Nigamana – Therefore, the hill has fire.
The second classification discusses three kinds of inference. They are Purvavat, Sesavat and Samayatodrsta.
Purvavat – We infer it will rain from the dark clouds in the sky.
Sesavat  - We infer that it has rained from the mud on the streets.
Samanyatodrsta – We infer the hooves of an animal from its horns, because both are connected.
The third classification of inference is base on the nature and means of establishing ‘vyapti’.
1.       Kevalnvayi – eg. Wherever there is smoke, there is fire.
2.       Kevalavyatireki – Wherever there is no fire, there is no smoke.
3.       Anvayavyatireki – eg, smoke always present in cases of fire, and fire always absent in cases of absence of smoke.
In ‘Parathanumana (Inference for others)there is a clear difference between Nyaya school of philosophy and the Advaita school of philosophy. Nyaya makes five propositions whereas Avaita school has only three propositions. They are ‘pratijna, ‘hetu’ and ‘drstanta.
1)      The hill has fire (pratijna)
2)      Because it has smoke (hetu)
3)      For example, in the kitchen (drstanta)


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