Part 10 - navya nyAya analysis Part 2
navya-nyAya padArtha-s or ‘categories’ of entities
The seven categories, which navya nyAya assigns to every entity in the universe are called padArtha-s are briefly as follows:
- Substance (dravya) –There are nine of these: the five basic elements (space, air, fire, water and earth), time, direction, soul (Atma) and mind. These are the only substances that can enter into ‘contact’ (saMyoga) relations. An example of ‘contact relation’ is the fire and smoke on the hill. The two entities, ‘fire and mountain’ or ‘smoke and mountain’ are brought into contact (saMyoga).
- Quality (guNa) – 24 qualities are listed as fundamental. These qualities inhere only in substances. The qualities that are measured by senses inhere in the substances, which form the locus for those qualities. According to nyAya, qualities such as pleasure, pain, etc inhere in the soul, while according to Advaita they are internal perceptions involving the mind.
- Action (kriyA).
- Generic Character (jAti) – jAti is normally translated as class or genus but, for nyAya, jAti is that characteristic by which genus is recognized in the individual; i.e. it connects the individual to the class. For example, a man is one who has the ‘man-ness’ (jAti) that all men (genus) have in common. Similarly, the jAti of a horse is the ‘horse-ness’ that differentiates a horse as belonging to the class ‘horse’. Generic characters inhere in substances, qualities and actions.
- Ultimate difference (visheSha) – This is one of the fundamental postulations of navya nyAya. Ultimate difference is that entity which differentiates one atom from another. Gross entities differ because they are made up parts (atoms) that are ultimately different. Atoms are indivisible. Therefore their differences are ‘ultimate’ in that they are not made up of parts. We will address this aspect again in relation to qualities and substances.
- Inherence (samavAya) – Inherence is that, because of which: (a) the substances are related to parts, (b) qualities and action are related to substances, (c) generic characteristics are related to substances, qualities and actions. Other philosophers criticize this concept of inherence as it leads to infinite regress. They ask, for example: How is inherence, which is not a substance, quality, action, or jAti, related to its locus? One has to bring in another inherence in order to be able to relate this inherence and such logic leads to infinite regress. navya nyAya postulates, however, that inherence is one of the fundamental categories and therefore does not require another inherence in order for it to relate to entities.
- Absence (abhAva) – There are two types of absence:
A) mutual exclusion (anyonyAbhAva) Mutual absence is the same as mutual exclusion, e.g. water is different from fire and vice versa. This may also be expressed as an ‘absence of identity’ relation: water ≠ fire or, in general, A ≠ B. Here the identity of A to B and B to A is denied.
B) relational absence. Relational absence is the denial of the relations other than identity. These are of three types: a) prior absence (prAg abhAva) - the absence of a thing somewhere before it is created; b) posterior absence (pradhvamsAbhAva) – the absence of a thing somewhere after it has been destroyed and c) continuous absence or constant absence (atyantAbhAva) – the absence of a thing somewhere when this absence is not limited to a portion of time. atyhantAbhAva means that it is not simply absent in the past, in the present or in the future; rather it is absent at any time or constantly absent. It is never present in the locus indicated. ‘Somewhere’ here means some locus that is being referenced. ‘Somewhere’ does not mean ‘anywhere’ or ‘everywhere’.
There are some disagreements among navya nyAyins regarding the traditional categories, their definitions and their contents.
Objects or entities are distinguished from each other by their qualities or visheShaNa-s. navya nyAya distinguishes two types of qualities. These are a) generic quality (jAti), which has been introduced above and b) imposed properties or individual qualities (upAdhi). The qualificand (the entity that is being qualified) must have at least one qualifier, if not many, in order to be able to differentiate it from other entities in the universe. In the statement ‘The man is handsome’, both ‘man-ness’ and ‘handsomeness’ are qualities of the man at the locus indicated. In the knowledge of a man, no matter what other qualifications the man may have, he will always have the qualifier, ‘man-ness’. This is considered to be the generic qualification (jAti) for a man in order for him to belong to the class called ‘men’, the genus. The generic characteristic is always expressed by adding ‘–ness’ to the noun that is being qualified. Thus ‘man-ness’ is the qualification by which any member of this genus is recognized. It must be present in all men or, to be more precise, it inheres in many ‘substances’. It is an inherent quality of all men.
By contrast, in a statement such as ‘this is Devadatta’, the locus pointed to will have the inherent man-ness, which all men must have, but also another quality – ‘Devadatta-ness’ – which is a particular qualification that distinguishes Devadatta from other men. The relation of ‘Devadatta-ness’ to Devadatta is not the relation of inherence but is called the relation of ‘Particular Qualification’ (visheShaNatvA-visheSha sambandha). It is recognized only by its being a qualifier of the qualificand, Devadatta. It distinguishes him from the rest of mankind, who also have man-ness but do not have Devadatta-ness. It is called a ‘particular’ qualification because of the doctrine which says that the relation between the imposed property and its locus is ‘particular’, differing from other particular relations. It is also called a ‘peculiar’ relation (svarUpa sambandha), since the relation is peculiar to its locus.
Proceed to the next essay.