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VAISHESHIKA or VAIśEṣIKA (Sanskrit : वैशेषिक) is one of the six orthodox schools of Hinduism (Vedic systems) from ancient India. In its early stages, the Vaiśeṣika was an independent philosophy with its own metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, and soteriology. Over time, the Vaiśeṣika system became similar in its philosophical procedures, ethical conclusions and soteriology to the Nyāya school of Hinduism, but retained its difference in epistemology and metaphysics.
The epistemology of Vaiśeṣika school of Hinduism, like
Vaisheshika school is known for its insights in naturalism , and it is a form of atomism in natural philosophy. It postulated that all objects in the physical universe are reducible to _paramāṇu_ (atoms ), and one's experiences are derived from the interplay of substance (a function of atoms, their number and their spatial arrangements), quality, activity, commonness, particularity and inherence. According to Vaiśeṣika school, knowledge and liberation were achievable by complete understanding of the world of experience.
Vaiśeṣika darshana was founded by Kaṇāda Kashyapa around the 2nd century BC.
* 1 Overview
* 2.1 Syllogism
* 3 Literature * 4 The Categories or _Padārtha_ * 5 The atomic theory * 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links
Although the Vaisheshika system developed independently from the Nyaya school of Hinduism, the two became similar and are often studied together. In its classical form, however, the Vaishesika school differed from the Nyaya in one crucial respect: where Nyaya accepted four sources of valid knowledge, the Vaishesika accepted only two.
The epistemology of Vaiśeṣika school of Hinduism accepted only two reliable means to knowledge - perception and inference.
Vaisheshika espouses a form of atomism , that the reality is composed of four substances (earth, water, air, fire). Each of these four are of two types, explains Ganeri, atomic (paramāṇu) and composite. An atom is that which is indestructible (anitya), indivisible, and has a special kind of dimension, called “small” (aṇu). A composite is that which is divisible into atoms. Whatever human beings perceive is composite, and even the smallest perceptible thing, namely, a fleck of dust, has parts, which are therefore invisible. The Vaiśeṣikas visualized the smallest composite thing as a “triad” (tryaṇuka) with three parts, each part with a “dyad” (dyaṇuka). Vaiśeṣikas believed that a dyad has two parts, each of which is an atom. Size, form, truths and everything that human beings experience as a whole is a function of atoms, their number and their spatial arrangements.
Vaisheshika postulated that what one experiences is derived from _dravya_ (substance: a function of atoms, their number and their spatial arrangements), _guna_ (quality), _karma_ (activity), _samanya_ (commonness), _vishesha_ (particularity) and _samavaya_ (inherence, inseparable connectedness of everything).
Hinduism identifies six _Pramāṇas _ as epistemically reliable means to accurate knowledge and to truths: _Pratyakṣa_ (perception), _Anumāna_ (inference), _Upamāna_ (comparison and analogy), _Arthāpatti_ (postulation, derivation from circumstances), _Anupalabdi_ (non-perception, negative/cognitive proof) and _Śabda_ (word, testimony of past or present reliable experts). Of these Vaiśeṣika epistemology considered only _pratyakṣa_ (perception ) and _anumāna_ (inference ) as reliable means of valid knowledge. Nyaya school, related to Vaiśeṣika, accepts four out of these six.
* _PRATYAKṣA_ (प्रत्यक्ष) means perception. It is of two types: external and internal. External perception is described as that arising from the interaction of five senses and worldly objects, while internal perception is described by this school as that of inner sense, the mind. The ancient and medieval texts of Hinduism identify four requirements for correct perception: _Indriyarthasannikarsa_ (direct experience by one's sensory organ(s) with the object, whatever is being studied), _Avyapadesya_ (non-verbal; correct perception is not through hearsay , according to ancient Indian scholars, where one's sensory organ relies on accepting or rejecting someone else's perception), _Avyabhicara_ (does not wander; correct perception does not change, nor is it the result of deception because one's sensory organ or means of observation is drifting, defective, suspect) and _Vyavasayatmaka_ (definite; correct perception excludes judgments of doubt, either because of one's failure to observe all the details, or because one is mixing inference with observation and observing what one wants to observe, or not observing what one does not want to observe). Some ancient scholars proposed "unusual perception" as _pramāṇa_ and called it internal perception, a proposal contested by other Indian scholars. The internal perception concepts included _pratibha_ (intuition), _samanyalaksanapratyaksa_ (a form of induction from perceived specifics to a universal), and _jnanalaksanapratyaksa_ (a form of perception of prior processes and previous states of a 'topic of study' by observing its current state). Further, the texts considered and refined rules of accepting uncertain knowledge from _Pratyakṣa-pranama_, so as to contrast _nirnaya_ (definite judgment, conclusion) from _anadhyavasaya_ (indefinite judgment). * _ANUMāNA_ (अनुमान) means inference. It is described as reaching a new conclusion and truth from one or more observations and previous truths by applying reason. Observing smoke and inferring fire is an example of _Anumana_. In all except one Hindu philosophies, this is a valid and useful means to knowledge. The method of inference is explained by Indian texts as consisting of three parts: _pratijna_ (hypothesis), _hetu_ (a reason), and _drshtanta_ (examples). The hypothesis must further be broken down into two parts, state the ancient Indian scholars: _sadhya_ (that idea which needs to proven or disproven) and _paksha_ (the object on which the _sadhya_ is predicated). The inference is conditionally true if _sapaksha_ (positive examples as evidence) are present, and if _vipaksha_ (negative examples as counter-evidence) are absent. For rigor, the Indian philosophies also state further epistemic steps. For example, they demand _Vyapti_ - the requirement that the _hetu_ (reason) must necessarily and separately account for the inference in "all" cases, in both _sapaksha_ and _vipaksha_. A conditionally proven hypothesis is called a _nigamana_ (conclusion).
The syllogism of the Vaiśeṣika school was similar to that of the Nyāya school of Hinduism, but the names given by Praśastapāda to the 5 members of syllogism are different.
The earliest systematic exposition of the Vaisheshika is found in the Vaiśeṣika Sūtra of Kaṇāda (or Kaṇabhaksha). This treatise is divided into ten books. The two commentaries on the Vaiśeṣika Sūtra, Rāvaṇabhāṣya and Bhāradvājavṛtti are no more extant. Praśastapāda ’s Padārthadharmasaṁgraha (c. 4th century) is the next important work of this school. Though commonly known as bhāṣya of Vaiśeṣika Sūtra, this treatise is basically an independent work on the subject. The next Vaisheshika treatise, Candra’s Daśapadārthaśāstra (648) based on Praśastapāda’s treatise is available only in Chinese translation. The earliest commentary available on Praśastapāda’s treatise is Vyomaśiva’s Vyomavatī (8th century). The other three commentaries are Śridhara’s Nyāyakandalī (991), Udayana’s Kiranāvali (10th century) and Śrivatsa’s Līlāvatī (11th century). Śivāditya’s Saptapadārthī which also belongs to the same period, presents the Nyāya and the Vaiśeṣika principles as a part of one whole. Śaṁkara Miśra’s Upaskāra on Vaiśeṣika Sūtra is also an important work.
THE CATEGORIES OR _PADāRTHA_
According to the Vaisheshika school, all things that exist, that can be cognized and named are _padārtha_s (literal meaning: the meaning of a word), the objects of experience. All objects of experience can be classified into six categories, _dravya_ (substance), _guṇa_ (quality), _karma_ (activity), _sāmānya_ (generality), _viśeṣa_ (particularity) and _samavāya_ (inherence). Later Vaiśeṣikas (Śrīdhara and Udayana and Śivāditya) added one more category _abhava _ (non-existence). The first three categories are defined as _artha_ (which can perceived) and they have real objective existence. The last three categories are defined as _budhyapekṣam_ (product of intellectual discrimination) and they are logical categories.
1._Dravya_ (substance): The substances are conceived as 9 in number. They are, _pṛthvī_ (earth), _ap_ (water), _tejas_ (fire), _vāyu_ (air), _ākaśa_ (ether), _kāla_ (time), _dik_ (space), _ātman_ (self or soul) and _manas_ (mind). The first five are called _bhūta_s, the substances having some specific qualities so that they could be perceived by one or the other external senses.
2._Guṇa_ (quality): The Vaiśeṣika Sūtra mentions 17 guṇas (qualities), to which Praśastapāda added another 7. While a substance is capable of existing independently by itself, a guṇa(quality) cannot exist so. The original 17 guṇas (qualities) are, _rūpa_ (colour), _rasa_ (taste), _gandha_ (smell), _sparśa_ (touch), _saṁkhyā_ (number), _parimāṇa_ (size/dimension/quantity), _pṛthaktva_ (individuality), _saṁyoga_ (conjunction/accompaniments), _vibhāga_ (disjunction), _paratva_ (priority), _aparatva_ (posteriority), _buddhi_ (knowledge), _sukha_ (pleasure), _duḥkha_ (pain), _icchā_ (desire), _dveṣa_ (aversion) and _prayatna_ (effort). To these Praśastapāda added _gurutva_ (heaviness), _dravatva_ (fluidity), _sneha_ (viscosity), _dharma_ (merit), _adharma_ (demerit), _śabda_ (sound) and _saṁskāra_ (faculty).
3._Karma_ (activity): The _karma_s (activities) like guṇas (qualities) have no separate existence, they belong to the substances. But while a quality is a permanent feature of a substance, an activity is a transient one. _Ākāśa_ (ether), _kāla_ (time), _dik_ (space) and _ātman_ (self), though substances, are devoid of _karma_ (activity).
4._Sāmānya_ (generality): Since there are plurality of substances, there will be relations among them. When a property is found common to many substances, it is called _sāmānya_.
5._Viśeṣa_ (particularity): By means of _viśeṣa_, we are able to perceive substances as different from one another. As the ultimate atoms are innumerable so are the _viśeṣa_s.
6._Samavāya_ (inherence): Kaṇāda defined _samavāya_ as the relation between the cause and the effect. Praśastapāda defined it as the relationship existing between the substances that are inseparable, standing to one another in the relation of the container and the contained. The relation of _samavāya_ is not perceivable but only inferable from the inseparable connection of the substances.
THE ATOMIC THEORY
According to the Vaiśeṣika school, the _trasareṇu_ are the smallest _mahat_ (perceivable) particles and defined as tryaṇukas (triads). These are made of three parts, each of which are defined as dvyaṇuka (dyad). The dvyaṇukas are conceived as made of two parts, each of which are defined as paramāṇu (atom). The paramāṇus (atoms) are indivisible and eternal, they can neither be created nor destroyed. Each paramāṇu (atom) possesses its own distinct viśeṣa (individuality).
The measure of the partless atoms is known as _parimaṇḍala parimāṇa_. It is eternal and it cannot generate the measure of any other substance. Its measure is its own absolutely.
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