Philosophy Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 7 - Question 6

90 Days Philosophy Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 28-Dec-2018

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28-Dec-2018 - Question 2

What would be Carvaka's view on vyapti? Can this view be acceptable to the Naiyayikas? Give reasons for your answer (2016)

For Question 1 - Click Here

Model Answer

Anumana pramana (Inference) is an important source of knowledge accepted by many Indian schools. When someone infers the existence of something such as fire in the place of inference such as mountain owing to the fact of possessing something such as smoke in it, it is called inference.

e.g., parvato vahniman dhumat (the mountain is fiery as it has got smoke).

Here mountain is the paksha(minor term), fire is the sadhya(major term) and smoke is the hetu(middle term). Here the inference is through the rule of vyapti (invariable, unconditional and universal concomitance between hetu and sadhya) , which is of the form of “wherever there is smoke(hetu), there is fire(sadhya)”. Its only depending on the knowledge of vyapti, one can infer fire from smoke.

Carvaka's view on vyapti:

This universal generalization creates a problem for Carvaka. They do not believe in vyapti, they call it a mere guess work.

According to Carvaka, Vyapti can be established only if we have knowledge of all cases of some and presence of fire. This cannot be possible as perception is the only valid source of knowledge, and is confined to particular instances in the present time and cannot tell us anything about past, distant and future. Hence, it does not establish a universal proposition and vyapti cannot be established.

Further, Vyapti cannot be established even on the basis of inference, as it involves fallacy of circular argument because validity of this inference again has to be proved similarly leading to infinite regress.

So, is Vyapti cannot be established on the basis of verbal testimony as:

  1. Testimony is itself not a valid means of knowledge.
  2. If testimony proves vyapti, then inference would become dependent on testimony and both inference and testimony would be able to infer anything by themselves.

Naiyayikas view:

Naiyayikas never accept Carvaka’s view on vyapti, because to reject the validity of inference is to deny to think and to discuss. They say:

  1. In the inference, the hill has fire, as it has smoke our knowledge of fire (sadhya) as related to the hill (paksha) is based on the previous knowledge of smoke(hetu) as related to the hill (paksha) and as invariable accompanying the fire (sadhya). This invariable association of the middle term (hetu) with the major term (sadhya) is called vyapti-jnana and when it is seen being present in the minor term (paksa) – paksa dharmata jnanam, inference is possible.
  2. Naiyayikas have given a hypothetical argument to prove the universality of vyapti, i.e., If the proposition “wherever there is smoke, there is fire” is false, then its contradictory, “sometimes smoke is not accompanied by fire” must be true. But this cannot be true, since effect cannot exist without cause.
  3. There are several objects which can’t be perceived with naked eye but are acceptable. E.g, Earth, space etc.
  4. Practical life becomes difficult if we donot accept inference as a valid source of cognition.
  5. Without inference, the extent and horizon of knowledge will become very limited.

It is inference which made possible all affirmations and denials and philosophy would not be possible without it.

Note: There is no template for a correct UPSC answer, the model answer is only for your reference

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