Formal Structures in Indian Logic

  • J. F. Staal
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 3)


There is a use of the term ‘model’ in which it can be said that a linguistic expression, in a natural language, is a model for its sense. A translation of a linguistic expression from one language into another may be said to provide another model for the sense of the original. If the sense of a linguistic expression is of a logical nature, the expression can be translated into an expression of formal logic or into a formula. This is not surprising, for logic and mathematics came into being when expressions of natural languages were translated into formal symbolisms, which were more precise and practical and less cumbersome. Subsequently these artificial languages attained full independence and started a development of their own. Originally, however, these symbolisms could only have been constructed along the lines suggested by the possibilities of expression and the scope of expression of the natural languages themselves. That in mathematics and in modern logic such a linguistic origin of the symbolism has often receded into the background does not imply that the origin of certain symbolisms was independent from the structure of natural languages1).


Natural Language Linguistic Expression Modern Logic Indian Logic Logical Literature 
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  1. 1).
    S. Sen, A study of Mathurānātha’s Tattva-cintāmani-rahasya. Wageningen, 1924.Google Scholar
  2. 2).
    S. Schayer, Über die Methode der Nyāya-Forschung. Festschrift M. Winternitz, Leipzig 1933, 247–57; and in other publications.Google Scholar
  3. 3).
    D. H. H. Ingalls, Materials for the study of Navya-nyāya logic. Cambridge, Mass. 1951. Cf. the present author’s review in Indo-Iranian Journal 4 (1960), 68–73.Google Scholar
  4. 1).
    T. Burrow, The Sanskrit language. London, 1955, 207–8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, The Netherlands 1961

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. F. Staal
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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