Classical Indian Philosophy Nyaya: Hetvabhasa and Questions

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Classical Indian Philosophy Nyaya: Hetvabhasa, Fallacy, Logic (Philosophy)

Hetvabhasa

  • Hetvabhasa is a Sanskrit term which means fallacy in the English language.

  • In other words, in Indian logic, a fallacy is called Hetvabhasa.

  • A fallacy occurs when the middle term appears to be the reason but it is not a valid reason.

  • There are five kinds of fallacies according to Nyaya school.

  • All the five fallacies are regarded as material fallacies.

  • Material fallacies occur when the reasoning is unsound because of an error concerning the subject matter of the argument.

  • Material fallacies are also known as fallacies of presumption.

  • They are informal fallacies.

  • They deal with errs regarding how an argument is expressed, the contents of the expression, etc.

  • On the other hand, formal fallacies are those where there is an error regarding the form, arrangement or structure of an argument.

  • They are committed by deductive arguments.

  • The five kinds of fallacies are;

Asiddha Hetvabhasa:

  • Also known as Sadhya sama.

  • It is the fallacy of unproved middle term.

  • It occurs when the middle term is not present in the minor term.

  • It is further divided into three kinds;

Ashraya Siddha

  • When the minor term used in the argument is not real. So, the minor term is the locus of the middle term but when the minor term is unreal, the middle term cannot be present in it. For example; sky-lotus is fragrant, because it is a lotus, like the lotus of the pond.

Svarupasiddha

  • It occurs when the minor term is not unreal but because of the very nature of the middle term, the middle term cannot be present in the minor term. For example; sound is a quality, because it can be seen. Here sound is the minor term, it is real but the middle term seen cannot be present in the minor term sound because sound cannot be seen, it can be heard.

Vyapvyatvasiddha

  • It occurs when the vyapti instead of being unconditional in nature is conditional (sopadhika). For example, whenever there is fire there is smoke. Here, the vyapti is conditional in nature because there are some cases where there is fire without smoke, like, a red hot iron ball.

Savyabhicara Hetvabhasa

  • It is also known as anaikantika.

  • It is also called the fallacy of the irregular middle term.

  • It is of three kinds;

Sadharana:

  • It occurs when the middle term is too wide in nature. As a result, it is present in both positive (sapaksa) and negative (vipaksa) instance.

  • So, it violates the rule that the middle term should not be present in negative instances.

  • For example, the hill has fire because it is knowable. Here, knowable can be present in both, fiery and non-fiery objects.

Asadharana:

  • It occurs when the middle term is too narrow in nature. As a result, it is present only in the Paksha and neither in sapaksa nor in vipaksa.

  • So, it violated the rule that the middle term must be present in Paksha (pakshasasattva).

  • For example, sound is eternal because it is audible.

Anupasamhari:

  • It occurs when the middle term is non-exclusive. So, the minor term is all inclusive and leaves nothing by the way of sapaksa or vipaksa.

  • For example, all things are non-eternal, because they are knowable.

Satpratipaksha:

  • It occurs when the middle term is contradicted by another middle term.

  • For example, sound is eternal, because it is audible and sound is non-eternal because it is produced.

Badhita:

  • It is a Hetvabhasa which occurs when the middle term is contradicted by some other pramana, other than inference, like, perception.

  • One instance of Badhita fallacy is fire is cold, because it is a substance.

  • Here fire is cold is a fallacy, because the middle term is not compatible with the minor term.

Viruddha:

  • It occurs when we have contradicted middle term.

  • For example, sound is eternal, because it is produced.

  • Instead of proving the major term, the middle term proves the opposite.

Questions

1. Sadharana fallacy occurs when

A. Middle term is too wide

B. Middle term is too narrow

C. Minor term is too wide

D. Minor term is too narrow

Answer: A

2. Vyapvyatvasiddha occurs when vyapti is

A. Sopadhika

B. Unconditional

C. Contradictory

D. Khyati

Answer: A

3. The five fallacies accepted by Nyaya are

A. formal fallacies

B. Material fallacies

C. Deductive fallacies

D. None of these

Answer: B

4. ______ is also known as Sadhya sama

A. Asiddha

B. Viruddha

C. Savyabhicara

D. None of these

Answer: A

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