K. Yoshimizu on valid inferences in Kumārila (and on the chronology of Kumārila and Dharmakīrti)

All nice things come to an end, and so did the IABS conference. Now, many among you will be heading to Heidelberg for the Dharmakīrti Conference. Although I will not be able to attend, I received from K. Yoshimizu his paper for it, with the assent to discuss it here.

The paper elaborates on Yoshimizu 2007 (Festschrift Steinkellner), in which Yoshimizu discussed Kumārila’s view of the foundation of the validity of inference on the basis of a fragment from the Bṛhaṭṭīkā, of which only quotations in later texts are extant. Frauwallner (1962) had used the same fragment to prove that Kumārila had modified his view on inference from his younger work (the Ślokavārttika) to his later Bṛhaṭṭīkā, which was influenced by Dharmakīrti. Thus, Frauwallner suggested that the Bṛhaṭṭīkā must have been a later work by Kumārila and proposed the following sequence:

  1. Kumārila’s Ślokavārttika, which shows acquaintance of Dignāga, but not of Dharmakīrti, and grounds inference on avinābhāva or vyāpti, invariable concomitance
  2. Dharmakīrti’s logical work called Hetuprakaraṇa, showing that the sheer concomitance (avinābhāva) is not enough and one needs to ground inference on an ontologically given vyāpti, which he called niyama
  3. Kumārila’s Bṛhaṭṭīkā, embracing niyama

niyama has an advantage over avinābhāva insofar as it includes a uni-directional relation (from the effect to the cause) and an enhanced degree of certainty, since it is based on ontology (in Dharmakīrti’s works: on either causality or identity, Yoshimizu stresses the fact that Kumārila does not embrace this partition).

Further, Yoshimizu, in contrast to Frauwallner, contends that the position found in the Bṛhaṭṭīkā represents an inner development of Kumārila’s position, in which he reaches a definition of valid inference autonomous from Dignāga’s. In the paper he will read in Heidelberg, Yoshimizu substantiates this claim through quotes from Kumārila’s intermediate work, namely the Tantravārttika, in which the term niyama is discussed within Mīmāṃsā contexts. This shows, Yoshimizu maintains, that the Bṛhaṭṭīkā fragment on niyama was the result of an inner development of Kumārila’s thought. This leads Yoshimizu to a final, interesting remark, namely that Kumārila was quite strict as for the validity of the Veda in its exclusive domain, namely dharma. However, he never went further to say that the Veda was the only means of knowledge, thus banning human reasoning altogether.

If Yoshimizu is right, should we imagine that Dharmakīrti has been influenced by Kumārila also in regard to the concept (and the terminology) of niyama?

These are just my thoughts on Yoshimizu’s paper. All mistakes are entirely mine. For my summaries of the IABS, see this post. For further posts on Kiyotaka Yoshimizu, see here.

Comments and discussions are welcome. Be sure you are making a point and contributing to the discussion.

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