Volume 16, 2018
Sreekala M. Nair
Argumentation as a Social Epistemic Method
A Contemporary Reading of Katha (Philosophical Argumentation) in Nyaya Tradition
Although argumentation as a method was developed initially by the authors of the Nyaya school, one may claim that this was a general philosophic method acceptable also to other schools. There was a tacit agreement among the philosophers of ancient and classical India regarding the efficacy of the Nyaya method. The Nyaya method of philosophical argumentation known as katha, in fact was the result of an intellectual climate pervaded by public discussion, debates, arguments, and counter arguments. Katha consists of three types of debate: vada, jalpa and vitanda. The first kind corresponds to the friendly and congenial debate. Vada is usually to be held between the teacher and the students or between friendly philosophers where each participant is a seeker after truth. Jalpa is held between two rival parties, and the explicit goal here is victory. Vitanda, the third type is characterized by the lack of any attempt to prove the counter thesis. This paper makes an effort to establish Indian method of argumentation as a social veritisitc method.