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Nyāya

Nyāya (Skt., argumentation, that by which the mind is led to a conclusion). Logical proof or demonstration, the third (in addition to śruti and smṛti) means of religious knowledge in Hinduism. More particularly, Nyāya is one of the six philosophical systems (darśana) of Hinduism, based on logical argument and analysis. It is therefore also known as Hetuvidyā (the knowledge of causes), Vādavidyā (the knowledge of ways of demonstration), Pramāṇaśastra (discipline of logic and epistemology), etc. Its founder is held to be Gautama (known also as Gotama and Akṣapāda) to whom is attributed the major work of the school, Nyāya-Sūtra (c.3rd cent. BCE). Nyāya extends and develops Vaiśeṣika (producing the form Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika), which is classed as samānatantra, a similar philosophy. Both accept that life is burdensome and full of pain and suffering, and that the true goal is liberation (mokṣa) which can only be gained through right understanding—hence the stress on valid argument and demonstration. The purpose remains unequivocally religious: logic serves to lead to truth and thus to mokṣa, since the major impediment is avidyā (ignorance). In the 12th cent., Nyāya was developed further into Navya-nyāya (New Logic), especially in the 14th-cent. Tattvacintāmaṇi of Gaṅgeśa. He reinforced the means of valid cognition (pramāṇa), resting on the four means of ascertaining truth: (i) pratyakṣa, sense perception; (ii) anumāna, inference, from cause to effect, from effect to cause and from common characteristics; (iii) upamāna, analogy; (iv) śabda, verbal testimony from a reliable authority.

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Nyaya

Nyaya (nyä´yə): see Hindu philosophy.

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