Date(s) - 09/07/2023
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Nyāya and the World – An Interdisciplinary, International Workshop
Nyāya Philosophy has deeply impacted India and the World. In India, Nyāya/Vaiśeṣika is considered to be a foundational discipline along with Pāṇinī, essential to comprehending everything from Mathematics, Aesthetics, Ayurveda, and Law, and as such, was part of the repertoire of every educated Indian. Nor was it confined to the Hindu tradition alone. Jains and Buddhists developed their versions of Nyāya so that it became all-pervading.
Further, as several scholars have recently shown, the Nyāya ways of reasoning directly migrated from India to Central Asia, and the Middle East to Europe. There they became known as the Scholastic Method, which became the foundation of the European University. The Scholastic Method, in turn, was the precursor of the Scientific Method.
Now, throughout the world, the Humanities are in decline. Enrollments are plummeting, and there is a crisis of confidence of sorts. One of the reasons for this state of affairs is the belief that Humanities are not thought to enable rigorous and structured thinking of the kind that the Social and Natural Sciences inculcate.
This is where Nyāya comes in. At its root, it is a sophisticated and structured analysis method for all types of evidence. It has stood the test of time throughout the World. Yet, today, it is rarely taught or discussed outside of narrow Philosophical circles. This state of affairs needs to change – a critical reexamination of Nyāya can aid critical thought across all domains of inquiry. As Kauṭilya was to write: “pradīpaḥ sarvavidyānāṃ upāyaḥ sarvakarmaṇām| āśrayaḥ sarvadharmāṇāṃ śaśvad ānvīkṣikī matā” || Artha. 1.2.11-12. That is, the study of Ānvīkṣikī (which is another name for Nyāya) is the illuminator of all knowledge, the means for all action, and the support of Dharma.
As a commentator was to write: “dharmādharmau trayyāṃ arthānarthau vārttāyāṃ nayānayau daṇḍanītyāṃ balābale ca etāsāṃ hetubhiranvīkṣamāṇā lokasya upakaroti vyasane.abhyudaye ca buddhiṃ avasthāpayati prajñāvākyakriyāvaiśāradyaṃ ca karoti”. Or: “Investigating by means of reasons, good and evil in the Vedic religion. profit and loss in the field of trade and agriculture, and prudent and imprudent policy in political administration, as well as their relative strengths and weaknesses, the study of critical inquiry (ānvīkṣikī) confers benefit on people, keeps their minds steady in adversity and in prosperity, and produces adeptness of understanding, speech, and action.”
By bringing an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars, this Workshop aims to bridge this gap between Nyāya and the World.