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Is Indian Logic Nonmonotonic?

John Taber
Philosophy East and West
Vol. 54, No. 2 (Apr., 2004), pp. 143-170
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1400235
Page Count: 28
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Is Indian Logic Nonmonotonic?
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Abstract

Claus Oetke, in his "Ancient Indian Logic as a Theory of Non-monotonic Reasoning," presents a sweeping new interpretation of the early history of Indian logic. His main proposal is that Indian logic up until Dharmakīrti was nonmonotonic in character--similar to some of the newer logics that have been explored in the field of Artificial Intelligence, such as default logic, which abandon deductive validity as a requirement for formally acceptable arguments; Dharmakīrti, he suggests, was the first to consider that a good argument should be one for which it is not possible for the property identified as the "reason" (hetu) to occur without the property to be proved (sādhya)--a requirement akin to deductive validity. Oetke's approach is challenged here, arguing that from the very beginning in India something like monotonic, that is, deductively valid, reasoning was the ideal or norm, but that the conception of that ideal was continually refined, in that the criteria for determining when it is realized were progressively sharpened.

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