Conceptions of Knowledge, Lecture five
Empty words or empty world?
General form of an Indian logical syllogism
This type of inference states five steps for use in a live debate.
In personal deliberation only the first three steps are required.
1. state the hypothesis (to be proven)
2. state the reason/cause to believe the hypothesis 3. demonstrate that cause is invariably paired with the effect
4. state that cause implies effect
5. restate the (now proven) hypothesis
From the 5th onward, the third step required, alongside a positive example, a negative example where both cause and effect are absent.
The problem of fiction
Buddhists claim that we can assert any truth or falsity about fictitious objects. For instance, the sentence “The rabbit’s horn is sharp” is correct. The Buddhist can claim at the same time that “The rabbit’s horn is not sharp”, because everything can be proven about fictitious entities. Nyāya scholars find this view problematic. The main reason for the dispute between Nyāya and Buddhist philosophers is their underlying metaphysics. According to the Buddhist doctrine, all words are fictitious and therefore not more or less problematic that fictitious (read non-existing) things.
Theories or error
According to Buddhists, we fall into genuine error when we try to assert the existence of non-existent things. In other words, when we claim that there is anything else than causally connected instantaneous moments, we fall into erroneous thinking.
According to Nyāya on the other hand, error occurs when we attribute the wrong quality to a substance.