History of Logic from Aristotle to Gödel (www.historyoflogic.com)
by Raul Corazzon | e-mail: rc
This part of the section Intercultural logic includes the following pages:
History of Buddhist Logic
Buddhist Logic and Ontology. Indian and Tibetan developments (Current page)
Bibliography on Language and Logic in Ancient Buddhism
Bibliography on the Buddhist logician Dignāga
Bibliography on the Buddhist logician Dharmakīrti
"In the non-Buddhist traditions of Indian philosophical thought, and perhaps also in early Buddhist thought, there appears to be a tacit acceptance of the possibility of acquiring knowledge of reality. However, Nâgârjuna (about AD 250), a later Buddhist dialectical thinker, raised serious doubts about the possibility of acquiring knowledge by pointing out the self-contradictory character of all means of acquiring knowledge, Nâgârjuna's objections stimulated and compelled all subsequent philosophers provide a solid foundation to epistemology and logic before proceeding with the formulations of their philosophical positions.
In Buddhist circles Asanga (about AD 405) and Vasubandhu (about AD 410) made pioneering attempts to construct epistemology and logic on the Buddhist pattern. However it was Dignâga (about AD 450) who put Buddhist epistemology and logic on a solid footing and gave them a distinctive character. He is, therefore, rightly regarded as the father of Buddhist epistemology and logic, and also of medieval Indian epistemology and logic in general, for he not only gave a precise formulation to Buddhist epistemology and logic but also imparted a new direction to Indian epistemology and logic by way of composing independent treatises on epistemology and logic and interspersing the treatment of metaphysical problems within them, a style which was later on followed by Gaṅgeśa (about the twelfth century AD), the founder of the school of Navya-Nyāya. Buddhist literature prior to Dignāga deals with the problem of knowledge and the means of knowing either very casually or not at all. There seems to be no work devoted to the problem. But Dignāga felt the necessity for a distinct treatise on epistemology and logic to establish the Buddhist doctrines in a logical manner. He explicitly mentions in the Pramâna-samuccaya that its composition was led by the need to establish the means of valid cognition.
The task initiated by Dignāga was brilliantly continued by Dharmakīrti (about 635), a doyen of Buddhist epistemology and logic. His Pramâna-vârtika, Pramânaviniscaya and Nyāya-bindu are masterpieces of Buddhist epistemology and logic. When Dignāga undertook an examination of the logical tenets of other philosophical schools in his treatise there were reactions from the latter. For instance, Uddyotakara and Kumarila (about AD 500) tried to controvert the views of Dignāga. Dharmakīrti therefore defended and modified the views of Dignāga, thereby strengthening the foundations of Buddhist epistemology and logic. However, his exposition, which was ended to explain and defend the views of Dignāga, superseded and eclipsed the original by its superior merit. This tradition of Dharmakīrti was carried forward by Darmottara (about AD 847) and subsequently by, amongst others, Jnanasrimitra about AD 1040)." (pp. 414-415)
From: S. R. Bhatt, "Logic and Language in Buddhism" in: Brian Carr, Indira Mahalingam (eds.), Companion Encyclopedia of Asian philosophy, London-New York: Routledge 1997.
"(...) from the origin of Buddhism in the 6th century b.C. to its expansion into four philosophical schools in the 4th century A.D., there were no systematic Buddhist works on Logic, but only a few stray references to that science in the works on philosophy and religion. Nagàrjuna, about 300 A.D., wrote a tract on Logic which was a mere review of the common topics of the Ancient School of Brahmanic Logic. During 400-500 A.D., Maitreya, Asanga and Vasubandhu handled Logic, but their treatment of it was merely incidental, being mixed up with the problems of the Yogacara and Vaibhasika schools of philosophy. Vasubandhu's three works on Pure Logic mentioned by Hwen-thsang are now lost and consequently their merits cannot be judged. With 450 A.D. began a period when Logic was completely differentiated from general philosophy, and a large number of Buddhist writers gave their undivided attention to that branch of learning. The works brought out by these. writers, along with those brought out by the Jainas, constitute the Mediaeval School of Indian Logic. Dignāga is the earliest known writer of this school." (p. 270)
From: Satis Chandra Vidyabhusana, A History of Indian Logic. Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Schools, . Reprinted Delhi: Motilal Barnasidass 2002.