Resources for Indian/Buddhist Logic?

A forum for those wishing to discuss Buddhist history and teachings in the Western academic manner, referencing appropriate sources.
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:42 pm

Resources for Indian/Buddhist Logic?

Postby LionelChen » Fri May 10, 2013 5:56 am

So in my quest for understanding, i've decided to undertaken the arduous task of studying Indian/Buddhist logic.

Except i'm not quite sure where to begin...even in a comparative sense.

Formal logic systems were never really that popular in my own culture. The historian of science, Joseph Needham, once said that

The Chinese were always more interested in the truth on which assumptions were based than on the verbal machinery for developing those assumptions. Explicit logic did not therefore have that continuously sustained interest which it received in the West.

That was from his work "Science and Civilization in China," volume VII; 1: xviii for those who are looking for sources.

He's a little inaccurate in the statement he makes, the Mohist schools of thought as well as the school of Names and some parts of Zhuangzi's work deal with linguistics and logic. But it was never really a sustained discipline.

You can see that trend in the manner in which a lot of texts were written. Arguments were often made by means of analogy.

So while i have i guess, a "second-hand" knowledge of Aristotlean logic - its not a subject matter that has come rather easy to me.

Any suggestions as to where to start would be most appreciated. :twothumbsup:

And for the Ponderous Academic portion for the thread; Is there much of a difference between Indian and Aristotlean logic? Any arguments/objections considered valid in one system but not the other? Any paradoxes ignored?

User avatar
Posts: 3384
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Resources for Indian/Buddhist Logic?

Postby Wayfarer » Fri May 10, 2013 6:23 am

The major difference with Aristotlean logic is that Indian logic recognizes 'both is and is not and neither is nor is not'. Aristotle only recognizes is, is not, both and neither. (Don't quote me on the details but I think that is the gist of it.) You will notice these terms from the kinds of arguments that are regarded as 'inadmissable' like 'does the universe have a beginning'.

There was a Russian scholar by the name of Th Schterbatsky who wrote a two-volume book on Buddhist logic. I think it is regarded as a bit out-dated but it contains a lot of cross-references to Western philosophy. It's around as a e-book at no cost.

A good current title is Recognizing Reality by Georges Dreyfuss. It has a very detailed discussion of Tibetan interpretations of Dharmakirti.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:09 pm

Re: Resources for Indian/Buddhist Logic?

Postby Michael_Dorfman » Fri May 10, 2013 10:53 am

That's a huge, vague question, but I would say that for Indian logic in general, look at the works of B.K. Matilal and Jonardon Ganeri; for specifically Buddhist logic, I'd look at the large secondary literature on Dharmakīrti to begin with-- Tom Tillemanns and John Dunne probably wouldn't be bad places to start.

User avatar
Posts: 6312
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: Resources for Indian/Buddhist Logic?

Postby Indrajala » Fri May 10, 2013 12:33 pm

Outlines of Indian Philosophy by Jadunath Sinha is a good start.

Pilgrims Publishing published it. It is a tidy though somewhat long introduction to classical Indian thought.

For something simpler see A Very Short Introduction to Indian Philosophy by Sue Hamilton. This is worth reading as an introduction actually as it assumes a general readership.
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)

Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:42 pm

Re: Resources for Indian/Buddhist Logic?

Postby LionelChen » Fri May 10, 2013 6:34 pm

Thank you for your suggestions!

Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:42 pm

Re: Resources for Indian/Buddhist Logic?

Postby LionelChen » Mon May 13, 2013 6:11 pm

By a rather generous donation from a friend, I shall be coming into possession of a copy of Debate in Tibetan Buddhism, which apparently is a translation of "Collected Topics of Valid Cognition."

I am rather excited, but it also made me a little curious. It makes sense given the exegetical nature of the Gelug tradition that a priority should be placed on the mechanics of debate and investigation. Are there any other schools around with their own "training manuals" if you will in the subject of logic and argumentation?

Return to “Academic Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: johnnyhenderson, Kenneth Chan and 13 guests