Nyāya-vaiśeṣika Philosophy

Amita Chatterjee

in The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195328998
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Nyāya-vaiśeṣika Philosophy

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The Nyāya and the Vaiśeṣika systems are two orthodox (āstika) systems of Indian philosophy—meaning they admit the Vedas as eternal and infallible—that preexist the Common Era. In their early histories, the Nyāya and the Vaiśeṣika were two independent systems with their own respective metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, and soteriology. Over time, the Vaiśeṣika system became so entwined with the Nyāya to the extent that until recently, there was no independent history of the Vaiśeṣika as a basic system. One reason for addressing these two systems together is that they share many important tenets: both systems are committed to common-sense realism and pluralism in their ontology; believe in the creation of the world from material atoms that conjoin to generate this world by the will of God and in accordance with the accumulated merits and demerits of individual agents; accept a theory of causation according to which a new effect is produced by its cause and is not a mere manifestation of the cause; and admit that liberation means absolute cessation of suffering, a state where the liberated self is without any consciousness. This article first discusses the main tenets of the Vaiśeṣika and the Nyāya systems separately, highlighting their points of divergence, and then focuses on important developments in Navya–Nyāya.

Keywords: Indian philosophy; Nyāya system; Vaiśeṣika system; will of God

Article.  7096 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy

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