Authors
Malcolm Keating
Yale-NUS College
Abstract
The tradition of Nyāya philosophy centers on a dispassionate quest for truth which is simultaneously connected to soteriological and epistemic aims. In this paper, I show how Vācaspati Miśra brings together the soteriological concept of dispassion (vītarāga) with the discourse practices of debate (kathā), as a response to Buddhist criticisms in Dharmakīrti’s Vādanyāya. He defends the Nyāyasūtra’s stated position that fallacious reasoning is a legitimate means for a debate, under certain circumstances. Dharmakīrti argues that such reasoning is rationally ineffective and indicates unvirtuous qualities. For Vācaspati, fallacies are a way to prevent the spread of morally weighty falsehoods when no other method is available to a debater. After showing textual relationships between Vācaspati’s defense and Dharmakīrti’s earlier criticism, I evaluate their arguments, concluding that Vācaspati’s position involves irresolvable tensions with other Nyāya commitments.
Keywords nyaya  nyāya  debate  vāda  dharmakīrti  vācaspati miśra  dharmakirti  vacaspati misra  fallacies
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