Indian Rational Theology: Proof, Justification, and Epistemic Liberality in Nyaya's Argument for God
In classical India, debates over rational theology naturally become the occasion for fundamental questions about the scope and power of inference itself. This is well evinced in the classical proofs for God by the Hindu Nyaya tradition and the opposing arguments of classical Buddhists and Mīmasa philosophers. This paper calls attention to, and provides analysis of, a number of key nodes in these debates, particularly questions of inferential boundaries and whether inductive reasoning has the power to support inferences to wholly unique entities (like God). Further questions probed involve the supposed connection between structured objects and agential creators, and the status of examples used in traditional inference. Further, it calls attention to and defends what may be called an epistemological liberalism, championed—paradoxically perhaps—by Nyaya, and opposed by Buddhists and Mīmasakas.
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