Journal of Indian Philosophy

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 757–776 | Cite as

On Arthāpatti

  • Nirmalya Guha


Arthāpatti (postulation) does not depend on observation of pervasion or background belief. It is certain in the sense that when S cognizes P through postulation, no other epistemic instrument (pramāṇa) would invalidate P. The Naiyāyika tries to reduce postulation to anumāna and/or tarka. I shall argue that it is neither. Due to its explanatory role, one may think that postulation plays an essential role in lakṣaṇā or indication. But this too is a misconception. Both tarka and lakṣaṇā depend on observation and background knowledge. Neither of them has the epistemic certainty postulation enjoys. I think, due to its observation-independent nature and certainty, postulation can be seen as the source of the knowledge of the truths of reason.


Arthāpatti Inference Abduction Tarka Lakṣaṇā 



Abhidhāvṛttamātṛkā by Mukulabhaṭṭa.


Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vols. 1–6, 1931–1935, Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss, eds., vols. 7–8, 1958, Arthur W. Burks, ed., Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.


Khaṇḍanakhaṇḍakhādya by Śrī Harṣa.


The Chapter on Arthāpatti, Tattvacintāmaṇi by Gaṅgeśa.


The Chapter on Arthāpatti, Ślokavārttika by Kumārilabhaṭṭa.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fulbright-Nehru Fellow, Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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