[INDOLOGY] some thoughts about modality, vyaapti and `eva'

Eli Franco franco at uni-leipzig.de
Thu Jul 1 09:17:09 UTC 2021

Dear friends,
I have been wondering about something that is perhaps only tangent to  
the discussion. Can one distinguish between reductio ad absurdum  
(prasanga) and modus tollens (also prasanga?) in the Indian tradition?  
I am not sure that the distinction between the two is clear in the  
Western tradition either.
With best wishes,

Zitat von John Taber via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>:

> Dear Matthew, Brendan, Dan, Jan and others:
> Brendan wrote in an earlier post on this topic:
> My impression, shared by others it seems, is
> that, while there is the use of modal words in philosophical
> discussions, modality as such is not taken up for philosophical
> reflection nor systemically deployed in metaphysics.
> To develop this further: Indian philosophers routinely appeal to  
> notions of possibility and impossibility: this or that state of  
> affairs is "possible" (sambhavati) or "impossible" (na sambhavati),  
> "logically admissible or tenable" (upapadyate/yujyate) or "not  
> logically admissible or tenable" (nopapadyate/na yujyate). Also, a  
> consequence may follow from a statement "necessarily" (avaśyam). To  
> this extent Indian thinkers possessed modal concepts. But did they  
> have the idea of necessity as expressed by the sentence,  
> "Necessarily, four plus five equals nine," i.e., the idea of  
> necessary truth, which looms so large in Western philosophy? I don't  
> think so, but where I would look for it is in the discussions of the  
> ascertainment of the pervasion relation (vyāpti) by the Buddhist  
> epistemologists and their opponents.
> Best regards,
> John Taber
> On 30-Jun-2021, at 1:44 PM, Matthew Kapstein via INDOLOGY  
> <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>>  
> wrote:
> Dear Brendan,
> In response to your closing question, although I have not worked it  
> out in any detail, I imagine that the concepts of vyavaccheda and  
> pariccheda might be invoked, at least in Buddhist sources. See,  
> e.g., part I of Kajiyama's "Three kinds of affirmation and two kinds  
> of negation in Buddhist philosophy" WZKSA 1973.
> best,
> Matthew
> Matthew Kapstein
> Directeur d'études, émérite
> Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris
> Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
> The University of Chicago
> ________________________________
> From: INDOLOGY  
> <indology-bounces at list.indology.info<mailto:indology-bounces at list.indology.info>> on behalf of Brendan S. Gillon, Prof. via INDOLOGY  
> <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2021 2:11 PM
> To: indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>  
> <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>>
> Subject: [INDOLOGY] some thoughts about modality, vyaapti and `eva'
> Dan's recent post has prompted a couple of more thoughts, which members
> of the list might find useful.
> Comment on `abhaava':
> The first point elaborates on Dan's point about `abhaava'. `abhaava' is
> ambiguous between  a non-relational meaning, well translated by
> `non-existence', and a relational meaning, well translated by the
> English relational noun `absence'. Compare the English word `empty',
> which is also relation, though context sensitive. An empty jar is
> usually empty of a contextually relevant liquid, but is not usually
> empty of air; whereas in a chemistry lab, an empty jar might be
> virtually empty of all matter whatsoever.
> Comment 1 on `vyaapti':
> It is not uncommon for many authors to translate `eva' when used in the
> triruupahetu as `necessarily'. It does, of course, mean `only'. But it
> is also an emphatic, corresponding roughly to `indeed'. The translation
> of `necessarily' is not supported by either Apte or MW. Nor is it
> supported by any of the hundred or so uses of `eva' which I have tracked.
> Comment 2 on `vyaapti':
> That said, I agree with Dan that the notion of necessity comes up in
> connection with the problem of establishing the pervasion of one
> property by another. This issue arises with establishing a subset
> relation between the instances of two properties, such as being an oak
> and being a tree and is addressed by Dharmakiirti early in his
> svaarthaanumaana chapter. Dharmakiirti seeks to address the problem of
> how one knows from a limited sample of A's and B's that All A's are B's.
> His answer is to invoke a pair of metaphysical relations, causation and
> `identity', which, once established from A to B, guarantees that All A's
> are B's.
> Question:
> What I am not aware of and would be grateful to know if whether or not
> there any discussions of how to distinguish between universal claims,
> such as `all the nails in this board are rusty', which are accidental
> generalizations and do not support subjunctive propositions, and `all
> men are mortal', which seem non-accidental and do support subjunctive
> propositions. (This is a topic of importance to the philosophy of
> science and was noted by Nelson Goodman. I do not know whether or not
> something comparable appears in Aristotle or in the Medievals.)
> Best wishes,
> Brendan
> --
> Brendan S. Gillon                       email:  
> brendan.gillon at mcgill.ca<mailto:brendan.gillon at mcgill.ca>
> Department of Linguistics
> McGill University                       tel.:  001 514 398 4868
> 1085, Avenue Docteur-Penfield
> Montreal, Quebec                        fax.:  001 514 398 7088
> webpage: http://webpages.mcgill.ca/staff/group3/bgillo/web/
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Prof. Dr. Eli Franco
Institut für Indologie und Zentralasienwissenschaften
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