Indian Syllogism

Richard P. Hayes rhayes at UNM.EDU
Wed Mar 8 05:50:26 UTC 2006

What Peter M. Scharf wrote on the Indian inference schema (which I
resist calling a syllogism) is exactly right (or at least is in exact
agreement with what I believe---we could both be wrong). If the
classical Indian schema is taken as a whole, that is, if how one arrives
at vyāpti is taken into account, then the schema as a whole cannot yield
the certainty of a deductive argument. It can yield only a probable (but
perhaps highly reasonable) conclusion. 

That it is fallible is its greatest strength, I would dare to opine. But
that is perhaps a matter of taste. I thrive on uncertainty and get
overcome with nausea when people start having fits of certainty about
things. The only cure I have found for imagined certainty is a healthy
dose of mockery.
Richard Hayes
Department of Philosophy
University of New Mexico

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