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Is Indian Logic Nonmonotonic?

From: Philosophy East and West
Volume 54, Number 2, April 2004
pp. 143-170 | 10.1353/pew.2004.0009

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 Dharmakirti 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; Dharmakirti, 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 (sadhya)-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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