Volume 23, December 2018
Kisor K. Chakrabarti
Annotated Translation of Udayana's AATMATATTVAVIVEKA
Jnanasri, a famous 10th century Buddhist philosopher, holds that internal states like cognition alone are real and that there is no external, independent physical world. He argues that one may perceive something, say, a horse, irrespective of whether there is a horse or not. Accordingly, one cannot justifiably move from cognition to the external, independent existence of the object of cognition. Udayana points out that one misperceives only something that one in the ultimate analysis has perceived before. While the previous perception may be false, it cannot be false always for then there is a vicious infinite regress. So true perceptions must also be admitted. The best explanation of true perception is that it is perceiving something where and when it is and that of false perception is that it is perception of something that is elsewhere or elsewhen or both. Thus, the Nyaya claims, the object of misperception too is external and independent of perception. Since the Nyaya position is not refuted, the above argument of Jnanasri suffers from assuming the bone of contention.