[INDOLOGY] Modality in ancient Indian philosophy

Jan Westerhoff westerhoff at cantab.net
Wed Jun 30 09:16:03 UTC 2021

Dear Colleagues,
having just read a recent article in JIP (2021, 49, p. 468) making the
curious claim that there are "many texts of early Madhyamaka and
Yogācāra with clear modal reasoning" I started wondering about
the status of modal notions in Indian philosophy again. It was my
understanding that the discussions of modal notions we could find in
ancient Indian sources were confined to aspects of logical and deontic
modalities, but had very little to say on necessary, possible, or
contingent existence (indeed there seems to be no clear differentiation
between the contingently non-existent (flowers in the sky) and the
logically impossible (sons of barren women)).

Are you aware of any primary (or secondary) Indian philosophical sources
that discuss modal existence questions?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,

Jan Westerhoff

JC Westerhoff
Lady Margaret Hall
University of Oxford
Norham Gardens
Oxford OX2 6QA
United Kingdom

westerhoff at cantab.net

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