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Journal of Indian Philosophy and Religion

Volume 21, December 2016

Collected Works of Kisor K. Chakrabarti, Part I

Kisor Kumar Chakrabarti
Pages 30-56

The Nyaya-Vaisesika Theory of Negative Entities

It is argued that efforts by Plato, Bradley, Cook Wilson, Bergson, Russell, Prabhakara, etc. to reduce negation to affirmation or negative predicates to positive predicates fail: the Nyaya-Vaisesika theory of negative entities deserves serious consideration. Important evidence for negative entities comes from perception such as that there is no book on the table: this testifies to the existence of absence of the book (the negatum or what is negated) on the table (the locus of negation) as an indispensable negative entity. Such perception is not set aside by compelling counterevidence, is reliable and justifies admitting negative entities on grounds of simplicity. A negative entity presupposes awareness of the negatum and differs as the negata differ but may be the same in different loci, e.g. the same absence of the book may be on the table and the floor. Negative entities are of four kinds: prior absence (absence of a thing before origin), posterior absence (absence of a thing after cessation), absolute absence (of something in something such as absence of color in air that is forever) and difference of one thing from another thing.

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