On knowing universals: The Nyaya way

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Presented here are arguments for the novel and interesting Navya-Nyaya thesis that we can be perceptually acquainted with universals or properties (nominalist arguments will not be addressed directly: we start out with the assumption that there are universals ). The first section briefly explicates the Nyaya notion of universals and then states the formal Nyaya position on how we might come to know universals. The second section analyzes the Nyaya arguments for the thesis that universals are perceived, rather than merely thought about or conceived, first by rehearsing the arguments for a theory of real perceivable universals, offered by Jayanta Bhatta in his Nyayamanjari, and then by detailing Gangesa s unique contribution to this debate: the idea that universals or qualifiers are given as objects in indeterminate or non-conceptual perception. The third section argues that this thesis should be welcomed by direct realists. This essay aims to articulate a deep connection between direct realism about the external world and the availability of universals in non-conceptual perception, as opposed to the non-conceptual awareness of bare particulars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287 - 302
Number of pages16
JournalPhilosophy East & West
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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