Brief Notes on the concept of Nyaya Philosophy


The value of the Nyaya system lies especially in its methodology or theory of knowledge on which it builds its philosophy. One of the charges against Indian philosophy is that it is based on religious authority and is, therefore, dogmatic and not cridcal.

The Nyaya philosophy is a standing repudiadon of this charge. The theory of knowledge, formulated by the Nyaya, is made the basis not only on the Nyaya-Vaisesika, but also of other Indian systems, with slight modifications.

The Nyaya applies the method of logical criticism to solve the problems of life and reality. It is by means of a sound logic that it tries to find out the truth and defend it against hostile criticism.


But the Nyaya theory of pluralistic realism is not as satisfying as its logic. Here we have a common-sense view of the world as a system of many independent realities, like material atoms, minds, individual souls and God, which are externally related to one another in space, time and akasa.

It does not give us a systemadc philosophy of the world as a whole in the light of one universal absolute principle. The philosophical posidon of the Nyaya is said to be lower than that of the Sahkhya or the Vedanta.

This becomes manifest when we consider its theory of the individual self and God. According to it, the individual self is a substance which is not essentially conscious and intelligent, but is accidentally qualified by consciousness when associated with a body.

But such a view of the self is contradicted by the evidence of our direct experience which reveals the self as an essentially conscious subject and not as a thing with the quality of consciousness.


Further, on this view, the liberated self has no consciousness and conception of God as the architect of the world, its efficient but not material cause, has an obvious reference to human annoy and reduces God to the position of a human artificer who makes things out of the given material.

There is indeed the suggestion that the world of things and beings is related to God as one’s body is to one’s self.

But this idea is not properl developed in the direction of a full-fledged theism. Still, as philosophy of life, the Nyaya theism is no less edifying and assuring than other forms of it.

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