Journal of Indian Philosophy 39 (4-5):367-389 (2011)

This paper attempts to make sense of Dharmakīrti’s conflicting statements regarding the object of valid cognition ( prameya ) in various parts of his works, considering in particular the claims that (i) there are two kinds of prameyas (particulars and universals), (ii) the particular alone is prameya , and (iii) what is non-existent also qualifies as prameya . It inquires into the relationship between validity ( prāmāṇya ), reliability ( avisaṃvāda ) and causal efficacy ( arthakriyā ) and suggests that the discussion on non-existent prameyas in Pramāṇaviniścaya 3 provides an alternative to an overall “practicalist” reading of Dharmakīrti, practicalist in the sense that pramāṇas are primarily oriented toward human aims and hence bear on objects capable of fulfilling them through their causal capacities. Considering the views of Dharmakīrti’s interpreters, it shows how Dharmottara (8th c.), rejecting such an alternative, strives to reconcile claim (iii) with a practicalist interpretation, while Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge (12th c.) generalizes the application of a criterion of validity superseding an arthakriyā -oriented framework by bringing to the fore the notion of “non-opposition” ( abādhana ) introduced by Dharmakīrti with regard to non-existent prameyas and suprasensorial objects
Keywords Dharmakīrti   Prameya  Validity  Indian epistemology   Arthakriyā   Avisaṃvāda  Dharmottara  Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge  Truth criterion
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Reprint years 2011
DOI 10.1007/s10781-011-9137-9
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Dharmakīrti's Theory of Truth.Shoryu Katsura - 1984 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 12 (3):215-235.
Dharmottara's Theory of Knowledge in His "Laghupramanyapariksa".Helmut Krasser - 1995 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 23 (2):247-271.

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