Criticizm of the Nyāya definition of perception in ŚrīharṢa’s KhaṆḌanakhaṆḌakhādya

Victoria Lysenko

Vostok/Oriens '2018, №3

DOI: 10.7868/S0869190818030032

The Advaita philosopher Śrīharṣa, the author of the Khaṇḍanakhaṇḍakhādyam (“Sweets of counter-refutations”) was an expert in “negative dialectic” (prasanga). Criticizing the system of arguments used by his opponents from the schools of Nyāya, Mīmāṃsā, etc., he does not propose any alternative “correct” system but questions the very possibility of the logically justified procedure of definition (lakṣaṇa). He compares himself to a gourmet who, having mastered the arguments of his opponents better than they do themselves gets an aesthetic pleasure from their refutation based on the premises of the system criticized. The article analyzes Śrīharṣa’s criticism of the Nyāya definition of perception belonging to Trilocana. Śrīharṣa tries to show that this definition does not reach any of the goals that are attributed to this logical procedure in Indian thought: (1) a correct understanding the difference of perception from homogeneous or heterogeneous forms of knowledge; (2) an indication to a logical sign (liṅga) for the recognition of immediacy (sakṣātkāritva) in cognition; (3) a clarification of the common verbal practice (vyavahāra); (4) an establishment of the grounds for the correct use (pravṛtti-nimitta) of the word “perception”. From Śrīharṣa’s point of view, it is immediacy that can help in understanding perception since its rationale is inseparable from its experience. In other words, reference to the first person experience is sufficient to prove the phenomenon of direct perception, while the Nyāya method definition is redundant and misleading.

Keywords: Indian philosophy, negative dialectics, prasangа, definition, lakshana, direct perception, pratyaksha, valid cognition, Nyaya, Advaita

Pages: С. 40–50

© Российская академия наук. © Редколегия журнала "Восток/Oriens"(составитель).