Early Indian logic and the question of Greek influence (2004)
AuthorsAston, G. V.show all
The main arguments for Greek influence in Indian logic are that the Indian and Greek systems of logic display more similarities than can be reasonably explained as the result of coincidence; that Indian logic, unlike Greek logic, shows no signs of progressing through stages of development; that Greek logic pre-dates Indian logic; that the Greeks were in India at the right time to influence Indian logicians; and that the Greeks are known to have influenced Indians in areas other than logic, e.g. art and astronomy. I show that the arguments for Greek influence in Indian logic are not compelling. Moreover, I present a case that Indian logic most likely developed without Greek influence. The main argument against Greek influence in Indian logic is that there are developmental stages in Indian logic, and these demonstrate that logic in India most probably evolved from the ancient tradition of debate in a manner completely independent of any Greek influence. My account of early Indian logic draws on a wide variety of sources. These range from the very earliest surviving records that describe the days of the Buddha (fifth century BC) down to the works of Nāgārjuna (second century AD). These sources include ancient works on debate, as well as religious, philosophical and medical works. The logically significant material scattered through these works has been separated from all other extraneous material and arranged both chronologically and by topic. My thesis therefore presents the essential features of early Indian logic without the complications normally associated with research in this area. The stages in the development of early Indian logic show that there is no need to invoke Greek influence in order to account for the existence of well-developed logic in India during the Hellenistic period.