The Pragma-Dialectics of Dispassionate Discourse: Early Nyāya Argumentation Theory

Religions 10 (12) (2022)
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Analytic philosophers have, since the pioneering work of B.K. Matilal, emphasized the contributions of Nyāya philosophers to what contemporary philosophy considers epistemology. More recently, scholarly work demonstrates the relevance of their ideas to argumentation theory, an interdisciplinary area of study drawing on epistemology as well as logic, rhetoric, and linguistics. This paper shows how early Nyāya theorizing about argumentation, from Vātsyāyana to Jayanta Bhaṭṭa, can fruitfully be juxtaposed with the pragma-dialectic approach to argumentation pioneered by Frans van Eemeren. I illustrate the implications of this analysis with a case study from Jayanta Bhaṭṭa’s satirical play, Much Ado about Religion (Āgamaḍambara).

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Malcolm Keating
Yale-NUS College


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