Against the extrinsicity of validity of cognitions UPDATED

Mīmāṃsā authors think that cognitions are by themselves, i.e., intrinsically valid. In other words, they are not valid because of some additional reason, but just because of the sheer fact of being unfalsified.

In order to establish this claim, Veṅkaṭanātha defeats three possible candidates as extrinsic reasons for the cognitions’ validity, namely agreement (saṃvāda, with other people’s cognitions or with one’s other cognitions), quality of the cognition’s cause and causal efficacy (arthakriyā). The latter candidate is rejected because it would lead to an infinite regress (one would need to establish the causal efficacy of the cognition of causal efficacy and so on) and because some cognitions just don’t have any causal result. The passage is as follows:

arthakriyā ca na vyāptā, aśakyārthakriyeṣv anādarapadeṣu ca pratīteṣu puruṣapravṛttyabhāvena tanmūlārthakriyābhāvāt.

Nor is the causal efficiency (arthakriyā) included (vyāp-) [in the ascertainment of a cognition’s validity], because there is no causal efficiency as the root of certain [cognitions], given that there is no human activity (pravṛtti) in the case of apprehended [cognitions] in regard to which causal efficiency (arthakriyā) is impossible and whose contents (pada) have not been taken into account (anādara). (SM ad PMS 1.1.5)

UPDATE: The translation has been updated according to the suggestion (see comments below) by Lalitālālitaḥ (for which I am extremely grateful). I am sure he is right about the general meaning, but I would have still preferred anādarapadārtheṣu or anādaraviṣayeṣu.

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

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6 thoughts on “Against the extrinsicity of validity of cognitions UPDATED

  1. A small thought rushed –

    Even if we leave aside the question of intrinsic or extrinsic validity of cognitions, yet the very thought of trying to know, judge and ascertain the validity of some coginition being a foreign and human enterprise, validity itself seems to remain, in a larger sense, an external construct by the human cognitive convention.

    • परतस्त्वं द्विधा भवति – उत्पत्तौ ज्ञप्तौ च ।
      तत्र द्वयोः परतस्त्वं नाम अपरेण प्रयोज्यत्वम् इति यदि स्यात् तर्हि द्वाभ्यामपि प्रामाण्यादि परत एव सिद्ध्येत् ।
      परं स्वतस्त्वपरतस्त्वे पारिभाषिके तथा निरूप्येते यथा स्वतस्त्वपरतस्त्ववादिनां मते ।
      यथा प्रामाण्यस्वतस्त्वं ज्ञानसामग्रीभिन्नाजन्यत्वं यदि स्यात् तर्हि परतस्त्वं तदभावो भवति । अत्र विवादे त्वदीया दृष्टिर्न कदापि विचारकैराश्रिता । अत एवाज्ञानप्रयुक्तैवैषापत्तिस्तवेति जानीहि ।

      • Thanks, Sudipta. As pointed out by Lālitalālitaḥ below, it depends on whether you refer to validity itself (validity’s utpatti) or to our finding out about it (validity’s jñāpti). Only the latter depends on conscious agents looking for it.