Colebrooke describes the Nyayasutra analysis of an argument schema as follows (this volume, pp.47-8):
A regular argument or syllogism (nyaya) consists of five members (avayava) or component parts, 1st, the proposition (pratijna); 2nd, the reason (hetu or apadesa); 3rd, the instance (udaharana or nidarsana); 4th, the application (upanaya); 5th, the conclusion (nigamana). Ex.
- This hill is fiery:
- For it smokes.
- What smokes is fiery: as a culinary hearth.
- Accordingly, the hill is smoking:
- Therefore it is fiery.
This argument schema has frequently been taken up as a topic for consideration, compared with Aristotle's syllogism or the mathematical logic, and interpreted by Indian and European scholars. The important issue for comparative studies of logic is first to precisely understand the syllogism or the mathematical logic upon which those studies were based. As Ganeri points out, although the idea that Indian philosophy was essentially spiritual was still prevalent in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, some European philosophers were aware that India did have rationalist and scientific traditions. In Colebrook's time, Boole, Hamilton, and De Morgan, who were great innovators of Western logic and who were likely to be aware of Indian thought, may have indirectly served to create the situation in which European scholars who had an interest in Indian logical thought came to understand Indian syllogism. Take another example: Stanislaw Schayer, who was a pupil of Lukasiewicz, the famous mathematical logician, showed that the authentic Aristotelian and traditional syllogisms did not provide a suitable basis for the interpretation of Indian syllogistic theory. We see that when the study of Western logic was progressively developing, the study of Indian logic was also making great strides forward.
Unfortunately, it appears that Schayer's way of interpretation in terms of the predicative formulae of modern logic was not necessary suitable for an understanding of the nyaya argument schema. In this regard, it is also an important condition for comparative study to assess Indian logical thought in its own context, and not in the context of Western logic. I would like to cite an instance from Ganeri's introduction: "Forgetting the point, made so long ago by Max Muller and repeated by Schayer himeself, that if the Indian syllogism is not judged in its own terms it is bound to appear to be a clumsy version of whatever logic is being used to judge it, Bochenski can find in Indian logic only a modest anticipation of formal logic, and fails to discover a genuinely different theory". (p.17) I agree with Ganeri.
Frits Staal had just reached the next stage in the development of the syllogistic interpretation of the Indian schema. He introduced two schemas, A(x, y), standing for 'x occurs in y', and B(x, y), standing for 'x belongs to y' to interpret the Indian syllogism in the context of Indian logic. Sibajiban Bhattacharya and Matilal both went on to develop Indian logic as a logic of property possession. In addition, Matilal made a clear distinction between the Indian concept of logic and the modern Western concept of logic. He recognized epistemological issues in so-called Indian logic, and pointed out that India's psychologized logic and logical theories were influenced by the study of grammar in India rather than by mathematics. In this way, he tried to defend the Indian way of thinking in the interpretation of Indian logical thought by clarifying semantically the distinctiveness of Indian logic. In his preface, Ganeri emphasizes that Matilal's work can help the modern audience to finally understand the distinctive contours of Indian logic, where it differs from Western theory and where its uniqueness and potential lies. It should be noted, moreover, that Matilal's work also reflects modern analytical philosophy. His work, Chapter 10 of the present book, is the latest major achievement in the study of comparative philosophy.
Finally I would like to briefly discuss the argument schema in Indian logic. As mentioned above, the argument first described by Colebrooke (the example of fire and smoke in the hill) has been characterized as the 'Nyayasutra analysis of an argument schema', but it is not quite correct to regard it as such. Like the Tarkasangraha, this example is contained in the later Nyaya-Vaisesika texts, not in early Nyaya texts such as the Nyayasutra and the Bhasya on it. Indeed, Vatsyayana, the author of the Bhasya, provides an example of the inference of fire from smoke, but this example cannot be interpreted as the argument form consisting of paksa, sadhya, and hetu. I think the logical theory of the early Nyaya has been misunderstood. It is important to be careful not only about thoretical context, but also about the historical background of Indian logical thought both.
Ganeri's introduction is an excellent survey of the study of Indian logic and a valuable cultural review of the spirit of Europe. Says Ganeri, "What we can see, however, is that any comparative project is liable to catch the Indian theory in a doubled-bind: either Indian logic is not recognized as logic in the western sense at all; or if it is, then, it inevitably appears impoverished and underdeveloped by western standards." (p.21) That may be true of Europe, but I have never experienced a double bind in this way. On the contrary, it seems to me that the scale of Western standards is too limited to measure an abundance of Indian philosophical knowledge. Such European thinking may be deeply rooted in longstanding conflicts between East and West. At any rate, it is very true that "the effort must continually be made to explain the distinctiveness in the goals, methods and techniques of Indian logic". (p.22)