Archive | March 19, 2019

Mislocating Disjunctivism

I recently re-read Srinivasa Rao’s Perceptual Error: The Indian Theories, which I don’t especially recommend. (A much better book on the same subject is B. K. Matilal’s Perception: An Essay on Classical Indian Theories of Knowledge.)

But one thing that especially puzzled me this time around is Rao’s treatment of perceptual disjunctivism. (For what I mean by perceptual disjunctivism, see pp. 15-18 of this). Rao does not actually use the term “disjunctivism,” but that’s what he seems to be talking about in his Introduction, and what he says about it is that it’s the prevailing view in modern western epistemology, but is generally rejected in traditional Indian philosophy, including Nyaya.

That struck me as doubly odd. First of all, we disjunctivists are all too aware that we’ve been decidedly in the minority in western thought ever since Descartes. Second, the Nyaya school’s approach has always struck me as disjunctivist in spirit. If I’m right, then Rao has gotten things precisely reversed.

Hence I’m pleased to find an article that supports my impression of Nyaya: “Parasitism and Disjunctivism in Nyaya Epistemology” by Matthew R. Dasti.

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