An inquiry into the definition of tarka in nyāya tradition and its connotation of negative speculation

Journal of Indian Philosophy 38 (1):1-23 (2010)
The technical term “ tarka ” in the Nyāya tradition is the object of the present investigation. Diverse texts including Buddhist ones exhibit a negative estimation of activities using tarka . In contrast, more often than not, later treatises dealing with logico-epistemic problems, especially certain Naiyāyika works, identify the methodological peculiarity of Nyāya with tarka . Such an ambivalent attitude toward tarka can be understood in a coherent way if the essential features of tarka that gave rise to it can be grasped. Starting from the Nyāyasūtra 1.1.40 and the explanation given in the Nyāyabhāṣya on it, the present researcher sorted out three characteristic features of tarka in the early Nyāya tradition. These three features focus on the main feature of tarka : namely, reflective analysis without requiring further factual information on the object of investigation. Based on this, the present researcher critically reviewed what promoted an understanding of tarka as a reductio ad absurdum argument or an a priori reasoning. Furthermore, certain passages from the Nyāyamañjarī , Nyāyakalikā , and Tarkasaṅgraha were examined to demonstrate that the present researcher’s interpretative understanding of tarka was adequate for explaining the usage of this term in a broad sense, with positive connotations.
Keywords Tarka  Tarkin  Vibhāga  Nyāya
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DOI 10.1007/s10781-009-9078-8
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Citations of this work BETA
Nirmalya Guha (2012). Tarka as Cognitive Validator. Journal of Indian Philosophy 40 (1):47-66.
Nirmalya Guha (2016). On Arthāpatti. Journal of Indian Philosophy 44 (4):757-776.

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