Competitive Exams: Khyativada Indian theories of error

Download PDF of This Page (Size: 117K)

The theories of error in Indian philosophy centers around mostly whether the object of error consists in the subject's cognition or in the object itself, or in both, or neither. Various schools of philosophy maintain their own viewpoints regarding this, and thereby, develop their theory of error.

  • Nyaya theory of error called Anyathakhyativada takes that error is due to wrong synthesis of the presented and represented objects. For example, when we see a shell, looking from a distance we wrongly presume it be a piece of silver. Nyaya maintains that the erroneous objects ‘silver’ exists verily, but not in the presented object ‘shell’ In error, the represented object (silver) is confused with the presented object (shell). Gold exists verily, but elsewhere (anyatha). The word ‘anyatha’ means ‘elsewise’ and ‘elsewhere’ and both these meanings are brought out in error. The presented object shell is perceived elsewise, and the represented object gold exists elsewhere, e. g. In market. The represented object is retrieved from the memory through extra-ordinary perception (jnana lakhshana pratyakhsa).
  • Vedanta theory of error called Anirvachniya Khyativada holds that perception of the illusory object is a product of the ignorance about the substratum. Sa? kara characterizes illusion in two ways in his commentary on the Brahma Sutra. The first is an appearance of something previously experienced-like memory-in something else. The second is a minimalist characterization-the appearance of one thing with the properties of another anyasya anyadharma avabhasatam. The error can not be described as it is caused by Maya. As maya itself is indescribable, the object of illusion created by it also can not be legitimately described. It can not be called, nor can it be called irreal. It is neither real, nor non-real, nor both. It is indescribable (anirvachniya).
  • Buddhist theory of error namely Atmakhyativada is advocated by its schools Vaibhashiks, Sautantriks and Vignanvadis, according to which error consists in regarding the internal object as external, the mental as the extra-mental (jnanakarasyaiva bahiravabhaso vibhramah). Seeing gold is an aspect of consciousness (atma), it exists in the consciousness, but when it is objectified, that is claim to Be in the object Shell, error arises. Thus, in case of a false judgment like This is silver ‘it is the silvery predicate, which is surely subjective and in no way belongs to the externally given referent, i.e..’ this ‘This silvery predicate is wrongly predicated of the given. This’ as the bare referent of the erroneous judgment is, however, real. Only when it is characterized as silver error results. Error is, no doubt, due to mischaracterization. Only the characteristic (silvery-ness), which is attributed of the given (shell), is something internal or subjective and does not in any sense belong to the given. Thus, Buddhists take error to be existing not in the object, but the subject himself.
  • Buddhism school Madhyamik however disclaims any truth to any statement at all. It maintains the position called Asatkhayati according to which every perception is inherently erroneous. Error consists in the apprehension of unreal. Not only that silver is irreal, shell also is not real. All experience is a delusion; and the world, a tissue of false things falsely related.