31. Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire: Gautama’s Nyāya-Sūtra

Posted on

The Nyāya-Sūtra inaugurates a tradition of logical and epistemological analysis.



Further Reading

• M. Gangopadhyaya (trans.), Gautama’s Nyāyasūtra with Vātsyāyana’s Commentary (Calcutta: 1982).


• J. Ganeri, Philosophy in Classical India (London: 2001), chapter 1: “The Motive and Method of Rational Inquiry.”

• B.K. Matilal, Perception: An Essay on Classical Indian Theories of Knowledge (Oxford: 1986), chapter 3.

• S. Bhattacharyya, Development of Nyāya Philosophy and its Social Context (Delhi 2004).

• S. Phillips, Epistemology in Classical India: The Knowledge Sources of the Nyāya School (London: 2012).

• K.H. Potter, Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, vol.2: Nyāya-Vaiśeika (Delhi: 1977).

• V.A. Van Bijlert, Epistemology and Spiritual Authority: the Development of Epistemology and Logic in the Old Nyāya and the Buddhist School of Epistemology (Vienna: 1989).


Aditya on 8 June 2021

Woah, i never knew that such…

Woah, i never knew that such detailed podcasts on every indian philosophy exist in this world and internet. I have a request to the host, on android i use your podcasts are inconvenient to me on android can you please upload these on Google or Youtube or other platforms

In reply to by Aditya

Peter Adamson on 8 June 2021

Best platform to use

I think probably the easiest way for you to access them might be Spotify? Or our podcast hosting site, Podbean, might work for you. Uploading them all on YouTube would be an immense amount of work unfortunately (each one would have to be done originally), but I'm pretty sure there should be an easy way for you to follow the series on an Android phone. If all else fails of course every episode can be streamed here on the website, and complete sub-series can also be downloaded all at once as .zip files (look for the .zip icon on each page).

Alexander Johnson on 14 October 2022


It could be that the hypothetical is not a prahmana because it is an incomplete inference.

If we had no knowledge, we couldn't get through day successfully, but we do get through day successfully.

at this point we have a defeater for the testimony given by the skeptic, but we are skipping several steps if we then go "therefore we do have knowledge" (even if a debate opponent may grant us it for sake of brevity),

and that properly we then have to produce a prahmana:


"people have knowledge.  i know this because people get through day successfully.  When people get through day successfully, they have knowledge, such as my knowing how to get to this debate.  Therefore, since people do get through their day successfully, they must have knowledge"

After all, if the inference requires these extra steps to rise to the level of prahmana, then a hypothetical should have those as well..  

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.