Dear Jan,

Matilal, Logic, Language and Reality, pp. 423-426, briefly discusses modal concepts and, I believe, touches on the topic elsewhere as well. But he says, for instance, that for NyAya, "there is no strict distinction between logical impossibility and factual impossibility." My own impression is that modality is often pertinent to Indian arguments, but that it is treated intuitively, without formal theorization of the modes.

all best,

Matthew Kapstein
Directeur d'études, émérite
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris

Numata Visiting Pro
fessor of Buddhist Studies,
The University of Chicago

From: INDOLOGY <> on behalf of Jan Westerhoff via INDOLOGY <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2021 4:16 AM
To: <>
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Modality in ancient Indian philosophy
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
Yog&#257;c&#257;ra 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

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