Buddhist Philosophy of Logic

In Steven Michael Emmanuel (ed.), Blackwell Companion to Buddhist Philosophy. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 320-330 (2013)
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Abstract
Logic in Buddhist Philosophy concerns the systematic study of anumāna (often translated as inference) as developed by Dignāga (480-540 c.e.) and Dharmakīti (600-660 c.e.). Buddhist logicians think of inference as an instrument of knowledge (pramāṇa) and, thus, logic is considered to constitute part of epistemology in the Buddhist tradition. According to the prevalent 20th and early 21st century ‘Western’ conception of logic, however, logical study is the formal study of arguments. If we understand the nature of logic to be formal, it is difficult to see what bearing logic has on knowledge. In this paper, by weaving together the main threads of thought that are salient in Dignāga’s and Dharmakīti’s texts, I shall re-conceive the nature of logic in the context of epistemology and demarcate the logical part of epistemology which can be recognised as logic. I shall demonstrate that we can recognise the logical significance of inference as understood by Buddhist logicians despite the fact that its logical significance lies within the context of knowledge.
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