The Language of Logic- Narayana Prespectives is a unique introduction to the
Philosophy and language if Indian Logic- Navyanya. Setting out with the technical languages
of Navyanaya, the book takes the reader through its applications to computerized language
processing, and culninates in the philosophical aspects of indian logic. By introducing complex
ideas with lucid narration, illustrations, and interesting analogies, it opens the door for a general
audience to the intricacies of the tradional Nyaya-vaiseika doctrine.
Tirumala P Kulkarni, a PhD in Dvaitavedanta, is a pioneering youn scholar, who is highly
regarded for his contribution to the field of Sanskrit Computational Linguistics. He presently
works as a professor in Poornapranja Vidyapeetha Sanskrit College. Bengaluru and teaches
Devaitavedanta. Navyanyay and Alankarasastra. He is a member of the team developing tagged
corpora and Sanskrit grammatical toolkits for the SHMT project of Government of India, and is
known for designing innovative coureware for practical Sanskrit. This course has the potential
to change the senario of teaching Sanskrit. He has been awarded with the prestigious
Jaideep Joshi, Btech in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, is
currently pursuing a PhD in Ecology at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. His wide range
of interest include studying collective animal behaviour, Sankrit, and Indian philosophy.
The words in any language are finite. The concept each word corresponds
to, however, forms a continuum. Naturally, the words — both content
words as well as function words are overloaded. This brings in
ambiguity in Natural languages. It is this ambiguity, which makes it
unfit to use Natural Languages for logical deductions. Logic demands
a language with precision. In the West, this led to the development of
a new formal language and resulted in a complete calculus for logical
deductions in the form of Predicate Calculus. But this formal language
being artificial, we do not find its use or application in other branches
Indian logicians (Naiyayikas) who were actively involved in the debates
of establishing the authenticity of the Vedas also noticed ambiguity
as an impeding factor for logical argumentation and debates and
developed a technical language, which then can be used as a tool for
disambiguation. This language, often known as the Technical Language
of Navyanyaya, became the language of all serious discourse. It did not
replace the human language, but was used as a supplementary tool to
the existing language. Sibajiban Bhattacharyya (1990, p129) observes
"This language, developed within the language of realistic Vaisesika
ontology, was, however, found to be ontologically neutral, and was used
not merely in different philosophies... but also in grammar, philosophy
of language, poetics, law, and other branches of study."
There have been significant efforts to make the Indian texts on Nydya
accessible to the modern scholars by Ingalls, Matilal, Staal, Sibajiban
Bhattacharya, J L Shaw and Jonardan Ganeri in recent times. The
oral tradition of Indian education system laid more emphasis on the
memorization. Today’s education system on the other hand uses visual
aids more than the memory. Prof V N Jha while teaching a Japanese
student realized the need to make the Navyanyaya language accessible
through the visual aid and this resulted into the graphical representation
of the Navyanyaya Expressions (NNE) as illustrated in his book on
"Visayatavada" and later on followed by Toshihiro Wada in his book
on "The analytical method of Navyanyaya’’.
During 1992-94, a series of workshops were held at IIT, Kanpur
in which Prof Sibajiban Bhattacharya, Prof Prahladachar, Prof
Mukhopadhyaya, Prof Rajaram Shukla, Prof Vineet Chaitanya, and Prof
Rajeev Sangal participated. The aim of the workshop was to understand
the technical language of Navyanyaya, present it to the scientists and
technologists through the familiar Conceptual Graphs of Sowa, and
express it through the FOPC (First Order Predicate Calculus). This
resulted into my own MTech thesis. From 1998-2000, Dr Tirumala
Kulkarni and Dr Shrinivasa Varakhedi joined a two-year programme
on Natural Language Processing (NLP) at IIIT and the discussions
during these sessions resulted in better understanding of the concepts of
samanddhikaranya and vyapti. Dr Varakhedi’s PhD thesis discusses the
use of samanddhikaranya and vyapti for representation of existential
and the universal quantifiers.
Another important allied branch of Nydya is the Vaisesika, which is
famous for its ontology. The Vaisesika school provided a systematic
classification of the padarthas (lit: the meaning of a word) - the things
that can be cognised. Later both the schools merged together to form
Nyaya-vaisesika school. Udayana, the late 10th century Naiyayika,
discussed the impediments for something to be a class character (jazi),
known as jdtibadhakas. One of them is samkara, which results into
multiple inheritance. Another constraint is infinite regress (anavastha).
According to this condition, no universal can be admitted to exist.
For, this leads to infinite regress. Kishor Kumar Chakrabarti, quoting
Udayana’s explanation that there can be no universal of which every
universal is a member, points to the similarity of the argument with
Russell’s paradox. As is well known, Russell’s Paradox challenged
the theoretical foundation of set theory. The well founded ontological
system of Vaisesika with the six impediments for jati such as samkara,
anavasthda, etc. provides a sound base for ontological classification of
It is our belief that the Indian logic with the technical language (because
of its ontologically neutral technical language) on the one hand and the
well founded ontological system on the other hand provides a sound
base for "knowledge engineering". Unfortunately, this knowledge is
not easily accessible to the present day computational linguists, or the
There was a need to make this work easily available to the researchers
who do not have any formal training in Navyanydya. Dr Tirumala
Kulkarni and Mr Jaideep have done an excellent job in presenting the
basic concepts of Navyanydadya, motivating them through examples
that are relevant today. With his strong background in Nydya and a
vast teaching experience in Sahitya, he has added various rasas to the
otherwise dry language of Navyanydaya. For a "knowledge engineer"
working in the field of NLP, this serves as an introductory book for both
the Vaisesika ontology as well as the technical language of Navyanyaya.
An easy flowing language, motivating examples, illustrative pictures
and diagrammatic representation of NNEs make this book self-
sufficient in itself. This book can even serve as a textbook for courses
with focus on Natural Language Processing. I congratulate the authors
for this wonderful work.
I am from the gurukula background. I have traditionally studied Nyaya
and Vedanta from Gurus. In the gurukula system, we have to reproduce
yesterday’s topics before the Guru everyday, along with monthly,
half-yearly and annual exams. This method not only helps but also
forces us to study the work in depth. I have studied Nydya under HH
Sri Vishveshatirtha Svamiji, Prof D Prahladacharya, Pandit Keshava
Bayari, Prof A Haridas Bhat, Pandit Gururaj Mathada and others.
In 1990, Prof M P Rege, the scholar of western philosophy and
logic from Pune, visited our gurukula and taught us Symbolic Logic
for fifteen days. We were trying to compare the two systems to find
similarities. During 1998-2001, my friend Dr Shrinivasa Varakhedi
and J had an opportunity to present and discuss the Navyanyaya (Neo
Logic) concepts to the scholars from a modern scientific background.
It was our fortune that we met stalwarts like Sri Vineet Chaitanya, Prof
Ramakrishnamacharyulu, Prof Rajeev Sangal and Dr Amba Kulkarni.
A particularly useful lesson that I learned in this endeavour was that
we have amazing concepts and methods in traditional works, but the
need of the hour is to present them using modern methods. Many
non-traditional observations in this book are due to these discussions.
I specially remember Sri Vineet Chaitanya for his sharp and new
observations, like calling a type of avacchedaka as mode of cognition,
recognizing the importance of the parydpti relation, and recognizing
the role of Naiydyikas as knowledge engineers.
For a long time, it was in my mind that there should be a small guide
on Navyanydya for beginners, especially for the people from technical
backgrounds. In 2012, Prof Malhar Kulkarni, IIT Bombay, introduced
me to his student Jaideep Joshi, presently a research scholar in IISc, who
within a very short period came up with a reader in Nydya language. The
speciality of this book is that a student from a technical background,
having understood the age-old concepts, has co-authored this book.
Three kinds of readers may find this book useful:
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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