Generative knowledge: a pragmatist logic of inquiry articulated by the classical Indian philosopher Bhaṭṭa Kumārila

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Sahota, Jaspal Peter (2015)
  • Subject: B0722.I53

This thesis investigates the svataḥ-prāmāṇyam doctrine of the 7th century Indian philosopher Bhaṭṭa Kumārila, based on an analysis of this doctrine as presented in the Bṛhaṭ-ṭīkā and in the Śloka-vārttika. The original contribution of this thesis consists in a novel interpretation of Kumārila's claim which diverges from the interpretations of the classical Indian commentators as well as those of recent scholarship by John Taber and Dan Arnold.\ud \ud Rather than a phenomenological or Reidean epistemology, this research argues that Kumārila provides a normative epistemology. In contrast to the interpretation of Dan Arnold, which roots justification and truth in the phenomenological fact of mere awareness which is undefeated, it is argued here that Kumārila articulates a normative process which mandates the believer to strengthen her beliefs through a purposive and goal-oriented process.\ud \ud The thesis begins with a consideration of the notion of svabhāva, to which Kumārila appeals, making a dispositional essentialist reading of this term, as a real causal power or disposition which is the essence of an entity conditional on its existence. It is then argued that Kumārila's claim concerns the manifestation of a competence. The operational dichotomy between pramāṇa and non-pramāṇa is compared to that between Good and Bad Cases in epistemological disjunctivism.\ud \ud It is shown that Kumārila articulates a belief protocol by analogy with normative processes in generative grammar and in legal and ritual interpretation. An antifoundationalist defence of this protocol and its applicability to the case of beliefs formed from Vedic testimony is provided. It is suggested that Kumārila's claim engages more closely with Sosa's notion of aptness than with any notion of\ud justification.
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