Journal of Indian Philosophy 44 (5):1041-1069 (2016)

Abstract
Over the last fifteen years, studies on Sanskrit intellectual history between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries have produced a body of scholarship that has fundamentally reshaped our understanding of the period. Yet, despite significant advances in the understanding of the social-historical circumstances of authors and disciplines as well as success in elucidating major features of intellectual thought, a main point of difficultly has been in combining both the intellectuality and sociality of Sanskrit scholars. By examining a debate within the discipline of nyāya during the seventeenth century about how one cognizes the universal property ‘Brahman-ness ’ and by connecting it with a social debate that is found in available historical documents of the period, this essay attempts to combine the sociality of the Brahman scholarly community in Vārāṇasī with their intellectuality and offer a larger analysis of nyāya intellectual history for this period. The essay concludes by considering the ways in which the social world impinged upon nyāya argumentation and nyāya argumentation upon the social world.
Keywords Nyāya  Intellectual History  Vārāṇasī
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DOI 10.1007/s10781-015-9291-6
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