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Title: Persistence and Inference in Classical Indian Philosophy
Authors: Nowakowski, David
Advisors: Garber, Daniel
Patil, Parimal
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: Buddhist philosophy
Indian philosophy
Subjects: Philosophy
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: My dissertation examines debates over the Buddhist theory of momentariness&mdash;the view that nothing persists through time&mdash;together with the systems of inferential reasoning within which these debates take place. My primary focus is on the first chapter of Udayana's <italic>&#256;tmatattvaviveka</italic>, or &ldquo;Inquiry into the Existence of the Soul,&rdquo; which refutes the Buddhists' formal inferences for momentariness and offers a defense of the contrary view that things in general persist. First, I set out the basic conceptual framework for the epistemology and philosophy of mind of Udayana's Ny&#257;ya school, centered around occurrent cognitions and event-like instances of knowledge. I argue that, for the classical Indian philosophers under consideration, knowledge is not a species of belief. I then elaborate the theories of inferential reasoning put forth by the Buddhist epistemological school, and provide an innovative interpretation of the Buddhist philosopher Dharmottara's indirect method of justifying inferences. I contrast Dharmottara's theory of inference with two distinct accounts from the Ny&#257;ya tradition&mdash;those of Jayanta Bha&#7789;&#7789;a and Ke&#347;ava Mi&#347;ra on the one hand, and Udayana and Varadar&#257;ja on the other&mdash;and argue that despite their being explaned by different metaphysics, the Ny&#257;ya and Buddhist theories of inference converge sufficiently to provide a common framework from which to decide disputed questions, based on what is inferrable. After situating the Buddhists' formal inference for the momentariness thesis within this theoretical frame, I examine Udayana's refutation, including his account of the causal powers of persisting entities, and the limits of our thought and talk about the non-existent. Here, I show how Udayana's theories of inference and hypothetical reasoning inform the structure of his treatise on momentariness, and how facts about what can and cannot be coherently cognised dictate which views in metaphysics are possible. My overall aim is to provide a unified account of the work of this neglected philosopher, while emphasizing the vital importance of examining this historical debate in metaphysics within its proper conceptual context, by learning how to reason like a Naiy&#257;yika.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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