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Gaṅgeśa (fl. c.1325)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-F020-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved October 26, 2021, from

Article Summary

Gaṅgeśa launched and solidified advances in logic and epistemology within the classical Indian school of Logic, Nyāya. He is traditionally taken to have inaugurated the ‘New’ school, Navya-Nyāya. Nyāya, both Old and New, is a multidimensional system that belies the stereotype of Indian philosophy as idealist and mystical in orientation. Gaṅgeśa worked with a realist ontology of objects spoken about and experienced every day. He articulated what may be called a reliabilist theory of knowledge: under specified conditions, sense-mediated and inferential cognitions (along with two other types) are reliable sources of information about reality.

Gaṅgeśa was a pivotal figure in classical Indian philosophy; most later debate both within his school and outside it presupposed cognitive analyses that he standardized. These analyses focus on properties exhibited by things known, properties central to the processes whereby they are known. Properties relating the cognized to the cognizer are especially important. Though Gaṅgeśa had a lot to say about the ontological status of these properties, others in his school found them problematic. Such controversy appears to have contributed to New Logic’s success: proponents of rival views were able to utilize Gaṅgeśa’s formulas and definitions without abandoning their own positions on what is real.

Citing this article:
Phillips, Stephen H.. Gaṅgeśa (fl. c.1325), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-F020-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2021 Routledge.

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