Structure and Kinds of Anumana, Vyapti, Hetvabhasas | UGC NET Paper 1

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Structure and Kinds of Anumana
Structure and Kinds of Anumana

The Sanskrit word “Anumana” is the combination of two words, “Anu” means ‘after’ and “mana” means measurement. The whole word literally means measuring after something. According to Indian Philosophy, Anumana is a knowledge that is obtained after proof. We know by now that knowledge derived through “anumana” is not direct since it makes use of previous knowledge obtained from other sources of knowledge like perception, testimony, etc., and enables one to explore further knowledge. Not all the major Indian philosophical systems accept all the pramanas.

Structure of Anumana (Inference)

Although all the major schools accept Anumana as a valid source of knowledge, the understanding and the explanation of each school will have certain variations according to their understanding of knowledge. In Indian philosophy, the inference is used for oneself and inference for others. When inference is used for oneself the propositions are not well structured since its primary aim is the acquisition of personal knowledge without error. In contrast, inference for others has to be well structured because it is used to convince the other of the truth. We shall concentrate mainly on the understanding of Nyaya School because it is well known for its logic.

UNIT VI – Logical Reasoning (Click below on the topic to read the study notes)
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They define the inference (Anumana) as “a process of reasoning in which we pass from the apprehension of some mark (linga) to that of something else under an invariable relation (vyapti) that exists between them.”

Vyapti is essential in Indian philosophy for making a valid inference: however, it is good to know that different schools had different names for vyapti; For example, Vaisesikas called it Prasiddhi and Samkhya called it pratibandha.

Nyaya proposes a longer syllogism; it has five propositions. An argument, according to them, has

five parts: Paksa or Pratinjna, hetu, drastanta, upanaya and nigamana.

Here is a standard example to understand this;

Types Examples
1. Paksa (The Thesis / Pratijna – Proposition) The hill has fire
2. Hetu (Reason or the ground) Because it has smoke
3. Drstanta (the corroboration) Wherever there is smoke there is fire, as in the kitchen
4. Upanaya (The application) the hill is so
5. Nigamana (the conclusion) Therefore, the hill has fire

In this process, we begin asserting something. We provide the reason / the ground for the assertion and make a universal proposition that shows the concomitant relationship between the two with an example then we apply the universal proposition to the present case and make a conclusion from the preceding propositions. This type of syllogism is said to have anvaya vyapti – since it denotes a positive concomitance – if there is smoke then there is fire.

We shall give a specimen from the western example:
1) Ram is mortal
2) Because he is a man
3) All men are mortal like my grandfather
4) Ram is also a man
5) Therefore, Ram is mortal.

The purpose of giving this example is also to show how Indian philosophy combined both induction and deduction together in the same syllogism. The first three propositions (1 – 3) form inductive syllogism, while the last three (3 – 5) form as a deduction. Proposition no. 3 is the conclusion for the induction and the major premise for the deduction.

When it denotes negative concomitance, it is said to have vyatireka Vyapti. An example of this is the opposite of what we have stated above. The hill has no smoke; because there is no fire; wherever there is no fire, there is no smoke as in the lake (because water and fire are opposed substances); there is no fire in the hill; therefore, the hill has no smoke.

Classification of Anumana

Anuman (Inference) here is classified based on the nature of vyapti between hetu (smoke) and sadhya (fire). Vyapti denotes a correlation between two facts of which one is pervaded and the other which pervades.

E.g. Smoke is pervaded by fire and fire pervades smoke. Vyapti is established based on its presence of both in all such events (wherever there is smoke there is fire) and the absence of both (wherever there is no fire there is no smoke).

The classification is based on the relationship (causal uniformity or non-causal uniformity) between the reason and what is inferred.

There are three types of Anumana (inference):

1. Purvavat Anumana: An inference in which we infer the unperceived effect from a perceived cause. E.g., we infer of future rain from the appearance of dark heavy clouds.

2. Sesavat Anumana: An inference in which we infer the unperceived cause from a perceived effect. E.g. we infer of the past rain from a swift muddy current of water in the river.

3. Samanyatodrasta Anumana: An inference in which we infer not based on causal relation but the experience of uniformity. E.g., on seeing the different positions of the moon at long intervals, we infer that it moves although we might not have perceived the motion.

Vyapti (invariable relation)

Most of the Indian thinkers, who regard inference to be a means of knowledge, unanimously accept the principle of invariable and the way of its ascertainment. Kumārila states, Vyāpti is not a simple assertive judgment but a necessary judgment. Jaya Tirtha, in his Nyāya Sudhā, defines “inference” as a flawless reasoning from a mark to a certain conclusion on the basis of an invariable relation that subsists between them.

This invariable relation between the reason (Hetu) and the probandum (Sādhya) is the essential determinate of inference that distinguishes it from other forms of cognition, viz, perception, and testimony. Vyapti is an important factor in attaining inferential knowledge. There is a diversity of opinion among the scholars about Vyapti. The nature of an inference cannot be known without the knowledge of the nature of Vyapti or invariable concomitance.

Vyapti is the uniform, unconditioned, or natural relation between reason and predicate. The reason must be known to be invariably concomitant with the predicate in Vyapti. The universal relation of the reason with the predicate is the Logical ground of inference.

No inference (Anumana) is possible unless there is an invariable concomitance (Vyapti) between the mark and the character inferred Vyapti between the middle and major terms means generally a relation of Vyapti of co-existence (Sachacarya) between the two, e.g. wherever there is smoke, there is fire. Previous knowledge is the knowledge of the Linga or mark as having a universal relation with the Sadhya or major term and as being present in the Paksa or minor term.

Though there is a difference of opinion among the philosophers of different schools in respect of the definition, functions, and nature of Vyapti (i.e., invariable concomitance), all of them are of the view that inference is not possible without the proper knowledge of it and hence it has been considered as a special cause (karana) of inference by the Logicians.

Types of Vyapti

There are two kinds of Vyapti:

Anvayavyapti: It is invariable concomitance of the presence of the reason with the presence of the predicate.
Vyatirekavyapti: It is the invariable concomitance of the absence of the predicate with the absence of the reason.

Hetvabhasha (fallacies of inference)

Vedanta states in Indian logic, a fallacy is called hetvabhasa, which means the middle-term appears to be a reason but is not a valid reason. Vatsyayana points out that the fallacy of the Hetu are called hetvabhasa because these Hetus do not possess the characteristics of the Hetus proper, and yet they appear like the hetus because of their similarity to them.

Gangesa provides three general definitions of hetvabhasa. 1) There are hetvabhasa the object of that valid cognition which is opposite of the absence of the instruments of inference 2. Hetvabhasa is that object which if known prevents the knowledge of Linga from leading to an inference 3. Hetvabhasa is that characteristics which prevents known inference.

There are five kinds of Hetvabasha:

(i) Asiddha (unfounded or unknown reason): The reason which is not invariably concomitant with the probandum or that it does not exist in the subject, the reason is to be taken as the unknown reason.

This type of reason is of three forms:

(a) asrayasiddha: That reason whose subject is unknown, e.g., the sky lotus, is fragrant because it is a lotus, similar to one in the pond. Here, the subject – sky lotus, is a non-existing thing and so unknown.

(b) svarupasiddha: That reason whose form is not to exist in the subject. An example of svarupasiddha is “sound is transitory because it is visible like a pot.” Here, visibility is the reason, but that is entirely unknown in sound as it is only audible.

(c) vyapyatvasiddha: that reason which has its invariable concomitance with the probandum unfounded.

(ii) Viruddha (contradictory reason): It is that which has invariable concomitance with the negation of the probandum. e.g. sound is eternal because, it is a product, like ether. The fact of being a product is actually concomitant with non-etemality, the opposite of the probandum here.

What is produced is always non-eternal and not-etemal. Therefore, the reason “being a product” becomes a contradictory one.

(iii) Anaikdntika (inconstant or straying reason): It is of two kinds, the common strayer and the peculiar strayer. That which is present in all the three paksa, sapaksa and vipaksa, is the common strayer; e.g. (in syllogism) sound is eternal because it is cognizable, the reason cognisability exists in all eternal and non-eternal things. That reason which is absent from both sapaksa and vipaksa but exists only in the paksa, becomes the peculiar strayer, as (in syllogism) “earth is eternal because it has smell” the reason smell does not exist in any sapaksa or vipaksa, but exists only in earth (paksa).

(iv) Prakaranasama (counterbalanced or opposing reason): It is that which is opposed by another reason which proves the existence of the opposite of the proposed probandum. For e.g., the sound is non-eternal as it is devoid of all qualities of eternal things. This is opposed by “sound is eternal because it is devoid of all qualities of eternal things.” This is also called satpratipak§a one having an adversary.

(v) Kalatyayapadista (stultified or belated reason): It occurs when the opposite of the proposed probandum is known to exist in the subject by any other more trustworthy means of cognition. It is also called badhita.

For e.g., the syllogism, “fire is not hot, because it is a product like water’. Here, the probandum proposed to be proved by the reason “being a product” is “absent of heat.” But, it is opposite “presence of heat” in the subject is already ascertained through perception, as heat is experienced through tactile perception.


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