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Nyaya

Nyaya systems trace their beginnings back to the disputations of Vedic scholars. At the time of the Upanishads, debate was cultivated as an art, following prescribed rules in which the elements of logical proof were contained. The school of Nyaya attempts to define a system of logic as a way to truth and liberation. It is a discipline aimed at reversing the folly and mistaken notions that bind the soul.The Navya-Nyaya (New School of Logic) developed from the twelfth century and specialised in epistemology. It acknowledges four legitimate means of obtaining knowledge:

  1. pratyaksha sense perception

  2. anumana inference or deduction

  3. upamana analogy

  4. shabda literally "sound," referring to scriptural authority

These four are all considered valid, but without shabda the others are considered unreliable and potentially misleading. This rationale forms much of the foundation for the epistemological authority granted to Vedic writings.

Nyaya has also developed a sophisticated syllogism that has five stages as opposed to the three of Aristotle. Unique to Indian philosophy, and found in Nyaya texts, are arguments for the existence of Ishvara (God). Many of the currently popular theistic schools draw significantly from Nyaya. Of all the Hindu systems, Nyaya enjoys the greatest respect from Western philosophers, who are beginning to realise the subtleties and intricacies of Indian logic.

Related Values and Issues

  • Stating our case/opinion reasonably

  • Faith and reason