Author Topic: Basic terms of anumAna  (Read 1983 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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Basic terms of anumAna
« on: February 17, 2010, 11:05:38 PM »
Basic terms of anumAna

The basic ingredients in anumAna are the effects that are perceived, technically called hetu, and the inferential knowledge, which is the basis on which the inference is made, which is called sAdhya. There has to be some basis for the deduction and that forms the relation between the effects and the cause. That relationship is called vyApti, and must have been established a priori by a direct, perceptual process. Hence, the inferential knowledge is essentially based on the vyApti, the relation between the cause and the effects, which western epistemologists call ‘invariable concomitance’. vyApti means pervasion or inherence. Here, it is the inherence of sAdhya with hetu. I.e. wherever sAdhya is present, hetu should also be there or there should be universal inherence of one with the other. This forms the core of inferential knowledge.

The simple example is that, wherever there is smoke there must be fire. Here, smoke is the hetu and fire is sAdhya. This vyApti or concomitant relation between smoke and the fire is established by perceptual knowledge in the past, as in the kitchen. Here, the relation between the hetu and sAdhya is direct, while the converse relation is not true, i.e. wherever there is fire, there need not be smoke, as in the case of a red hot iron ball. Hence, the pervasiveness of hetu and sAdhya are not necessarily reciprocal. This we will establish later by the logic called ‘anvaya and vyatireka’, which provides the relation between two things. Once this vyApti j~nAnam, or the knowledge of the concomitant relation between smoke and the fire, is established then, whenever I see smoke, I can infer that there must be fire, even if I cannot see the fire. Hence, vyApti forms the basis of the interferential knowledge. Thus, the basic ingredients of the inferential knowledge are: hetu – the perceptual data based on which the inferential knowledge is drawn; sAdhya – the inferential knowledge or conclusion that is made; and vyApti – the basis on which the conclusion is made that is the inherent relation between the hetu and sAdhya.

In the example of smoke and fire, the relation between them is not reciprocal. It is unidirectional, not bidirectional – this is called asama or unequal vyApti.The naiyAyika-s have developed anvaya and vyatireka logic to talk about the relations between two entities. These logical deductions are based on navya nyAya developed extensively by Gangesha UpAdhyAya in the 11th century.

There are cases where reciprocity is valid. For example, let us examine the propositions: ‘whatever is namable is knowable’ and conversely, ‘whatever is knowable is namable.’ Here, the vyApti is called sama vyApti since reciprocity is a valid means of knowledge. Coming to anvaya, this refers to the affirmative relation where ‘one is’, and ‘the other is’. In the case of smoke and fire, we have the case: smoke is, the fire is. Here one is dependent and the other is independent. Hence, the independent can exist independently of the other. Here, vyatireka vyApti does not hold - this is expressed by ‘smoke is not, but fire is’. That is, fire can exist independent of having smoke. The example we have is the red hot iron ball, where there is fire but no smoke. The independent variable is called vyApaka or ‘principal concomitant’ and in our example it is ‘fire’. The dependent variable in the example is smoke, and is called vyApya or ‘subordinate concomitant’.

According to nyAya, starting from a vyatireka vyApti or negative invariable concomitance, one can infer the presence of one thing due to the presence of the other. Negative invariable concomitance means their agreement in the absence of one due to the other. In the case of fire and smoke, the vyatireka vyApti could be: If there is no fire, then there is no smoke, as on the lake. Advaitins do not subscribe to this. For them, the above is a postulation (arthApatti) and not an inference. We will look at this pramANa later. anumAna is based on anvaya vyApti or positive concomitant relation between sAdhaka (hetu) and sAdhya. I.e. knowledge of a positive entity, such as the perception of smoke, from which the presence of an unperceived entity such as fire is inferred. It becomes round about to infer that when there is no fire there will not be smoke, and since there is smoke now there should be fire.

Inference does not refer only to cause–effect relations either, as some Buddhists claim. In the
cause-effect relation there is tAdAtmya or identity in essence. I.e. the effect is nothing but the cause itself in a different form. Hence, the perception of an effect is perception of the cause itself in a different form. However, inference is different in the sense that there is no tAdAtmya or identity in their essence between hetu and sAdhya. For example, there is no identity in essence between smoke and fire. With this background, we are ready to examine the vedAnta paribhAshA text on inference.