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Topics on Being and Logical Reasoning Author(s): Richard S. Y.

Chi Reviewed work(s): Source: Philosophy East and West, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Jul., 1974), pp. 293-300 Published by: University of Hawai'i Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 25/11/2012 07:32
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Y. but not Being (bhdva).RichardS. 25 Nov 2012 07:32:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .It is. or being-by-itself of (svabhava). atman(individualself) and svatantra(own system). durability. Consequently. The rejection of the independence anything whatsoever.which is regardedas a "lesserevil.the doctrineof the void Buddhism (sfinya) is acceptedby all schools.and non-Buddhistic by ethics. of the subjectof logic and the Chinesecounterpart It might be ontologymightnot be significant enoughto warranta comparison.even includingthe realisticschoolssuch as Sarvistivada." What the doctrineof the void rejects is the existence of independentbeing. to of ideas the two the possible organize disciplinesexisting implicitly in Chinese thought. however.I am unableto offera similartreatment on the Chineseaspectof this subjectto supplement his articledue to a situation whichmight be called"cultural betweenEast and West. These numerousterms can be roughly categorized into three major groups representedby the terms svabhava (own state of being). the of being mere dialecticswhich never rose to the level of gives appearance personalidentity. the Chineselogic philosophy.168. Chi Topics on being and logical reasoning for his most Having carefullyread Bochenski's paper. The threesignify respectivelythe self-preserving aspect.82.that I may be allowed to express my randomthoughtson severaltopics relatedto the subject of being and logical I shallconfinemy comments to Buddhism.reality. self-preserving aspect of the concept implies the qualitiesof substantiality.I do not have any point to make in disagreementwith his views no means nihilistic.etc. On one hand.whether of things or of ideas. is characterized The conceptof independence by a multitudeof technical the coined The terms throughout ages. In China. meanings of these terms may not necessarilybe equivalentin extension. in generalis well knownto be negativistic. it rejects nihilismeven more than realism. I hope. therefore. Some of these terms are unrelatedin non-Buddhistic contexts. the self-referentaspect and the selfof of the when it is appliedrespectively concept independence.I have only admiration scholarlytreatmentof the subject of logic and ontology and have greatly benefited from it. reasoning. on the other.As Bochenskihas rightlypointedout. but this would require lengthy researchbefore one could offer a comprehensivesurvey comparableto Bochenski'scontributionon Western thought. has been the central teachingof Buddhism.inertness. imbalance" Buddhistic philosophy is dominatedby epistemology. These qualitiesare This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.216 on Sun.and to logical reasoning. assertingaspect in to entities general. ir The first.discreteness.

This "fabricated reality" is said to be unreal in the sense of "being nonexistent by its very nature. One This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. The empirical: All processes in the empirical world. the study of "self. This "ultimate reality" is said to be unreal in the sense that its nature is "ultimate absence of a reality-in-its-own-right. but is the result of their nonexistence." 3. self-asserting aspect of the concept of independence is its application to doctrine and logic. The absolute: The ultimate reality is just the elimination of the fabricated reality from the relative reality. It has at least three meanings at three different levels of truth: the apparent.216 on Sun." 2. has been the major topic in practical Buddhism. Suppose the world consists of independent substances. but are devoid of independent existence because they are subject to certain conditions. The reflexiveness of the concept of personal identity renders the action of "identification"meaningless. Then we would not be able to see anything or to hear anything. This hypothetical result is contrary to our direct experience.294 Chi in direct contradiction with the universal law of "dependent origination" (pratitya samutpada). because it is merely a feeling of reality created by mental fabrication. IV The third. but can be only its obstacle.168. According to the reasoning of the Madhyamika school. including the process of mental fabrication. The discussion of this topic started as a minor controversy but ended with the split of the Madhyamika into two subschools. The word svabhava is just as ambiguous as the English word reality. Such a reality is fictitious." III The second. self-referent aspect of the concept of independence. a possessor of free will. which indicates the interdependence of all existences." which is supposed to be the basis of suffering. the empirical world which appears before us is not the result of the existence of some independent substances. etc.82. Philosophers give various interpretations. are certainly not fictitious. represented by the term atman. The apparent: The existence of independent objects in our perception appears to be real. the empirical and the absolute. It has a range of connotations: an agent. This "relative reality" is said to be unreal in the sense of "being devoid of a being-in-itself. A substance cannot be the cause of the existence of the empirical world. an individual-in-itself. Since Buddhism was motivated by the desire to solve the problem of suffering. 25 Nov 2012 07:32:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . is the application of the concept to personal identity (pudgala). The following one is by Vasubandhu: 1. a possessor of life. and the entire world would be reduced to sheer nothingness.

25 Nov 2012 07:32:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The denial of the first is equivalentto alternativesis also self-contradictory. v At this point I cannot help thinking about the old problemof the "fourrefutation" cornered (catuskoti). His only logical instrumentis reductio ad absurdum.4Scholarsagree with R." headedby Bhavaviveka.peoplegenerally expect they expectfroma syllogismis proofratherthan merevalidity. itself is both redundant Accordingto the law of double and fourth the third the are materiallyequivalent. N.and the maximumvalue that a major premise can offer is the acceptanceby two audience. be faults should apparenteven to someonewithout a background These in that Buddhistlogicianscould possiblyfail to see refuting the opponent's of one's own thesis was position.A close analogywould be to use shouting to stop the noise of a quarrel. not only unnecessary The maximumfunctionthat a syllogismcan provideis its validity.the rejectionof all four third is self-contradictory.If a criticalschoolwere particularly privilegedto keep its had all own dogma when it others.168. that of the uncommitted either more or take more for granted.2 one anotheron some points. V. expectfroma majorpremiseis self-evident of logical inferencegives rise to dogmatism." as Bhavaviveka did. is a criticalphilosophy Buddhism.includingT.Madhyamika which rejects all dogmatismas mere indulgencein speculation(d. the scheme and self-contradictory.both assertionand nor It and neither assertion is denial. their denial.which never stands alone but always dependson the thesis proposedby the opponent. then Buddhismwould becomean antidogmaticdogmatism. the other is called "Prasanheaded Candrakirti. disputingparties. has been studiedby manyscholars.In actuality. R.What however. It rejectsthe assertionof certainpropositions. puzzlingbecausefirst. Robinson. so is the fourth. its fault would be even more rejected irremissible than that committed school. denial. it would be incredible this point. It seems that This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. H. Murtil This problem and K. and vice versa.3 and myself. supportedby a valid syllogism.82." by one's own thesis. Denying both the first and the the samemistakeas that committed secondwouldbe committing by the fourth.or at most.Candrakirti's solution by a noncritical to this problemis not proposingany independent thesis at all. If Buddhismwere to establishits own positionby presentingin its doctrineof the void its own "firstprinciple.The latter consideredthat the presentation but also unacceptable.rsti).216 on Sun. The former asserted the necessityof presenting gika. Jayatilleke. the assertionof the second. Secondly.whichhas beena puzzlingtopicfor centuries.295 is called "Svatantrika.The alternatives negation.and disagreeon some other points.and what they truth ratherthan mereacceptance. The overevaluation in particular.

monadic and dyadic. and the rejection of establishing an independent thesis (svatantra) in logical reasoning. It is. 25 Nov 2012 07:32:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . although the four forms are indeed distinct and exhaustive. as long as one holds one's own view to be ultimate. and thus leading to skepticism or agnosticism. that is.. one cannot escape from dogmatism even by denial. one can never avoid dogmatism. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. It is also natural that others try to avoid dogmatism by denying everything." From the above we can see that. These formulae include the "tetralemma" proposed by Robinson. "Whether the world is finite?" etc. when people have learned that both "extremes" have been rejected as dogmatism. they are hardly relevant to catuskoti at all. in which none of these formulae can fit. few people could reach full agreement. not in assertion. whether affirmation or negation. that they try to avoid them by remaining in a middle position.5with the exception of the "inexpressibles" (avyakrta). It is quite natural. In order to solve the puzzle. in the form either of the mean.6 This scheme belongs to the quantified form of conventional two-valued logic. The idea of catuskoti is just an extended version of the rejection of dogmatism (d. The Buddhists had gone further than the Greek Skeptics. The catuskoti merely shows that. or skepticism. or of a synthesis." According to Buddhism. only slightly different from Aristotle's categorical propositions. synthesis. we have to trace what motivated the Buddhists to talk about this topic. in fact. who called every assertion of a positive proposition "dogmatism. I have listed all the possible formulae on four-cornered arguments.rsti) in doctrine. quantified and unquantified. or even in denial. In the Appendix to this article. These formulae can cover most examples given by Jayatilleke. The presence of scanty examples of quantified propositions in the Mila Madhyamaka Kdrika is not sufficientto prove the relevance. and the last one.296 Chi on this subject. and some are not. The first two are familiar to everybody. the Indian version of the so-called "categorical propositions": "-vyapaka" "-avrtti" "-ekadesavrtti" "avidyamana-" inclusion exclusion intersecting nonexistent (Form A with existential import) (Form E with existential import) (Conjunction of Form I and Form O) (Conjunction of Form A and Form E without existential import) The first three were introduced by Dignaga. by his critic Uddyotakara.168. and no unicorn is not.82." "No unicorn is participant. in the Hegelian sense. the last two can be illustrated by the following examples respectively: "Some philosophers are participants of this conference. because denial of a proposition is equivalent to the assertion of its counterproposition.216 on Sun.

then it would be committing the same mistake as that committed in the second and the fourth alternatives which have been refuted by Buddhists. If Buddhist refutation is a kind of denial. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192." does not seem to be applicable. which shows the absurdity of a proposition rather than its falsity." Therefore Buddhist logic belongs to strictly conventional two-valued logic. the law of excluded middle. in reality we do need four different categories for classifying thinkers. the third alternative is condemned as "self-contradictory" and the fourth. in which some conventional laws of logic. then what is the difference between refutation and denial? The answer is that the Prasangika's method in refutation is not proving the falsity of a proposition by means of a syllogism but by reductio ad absurdum.. . single assertion and denial. conventional and unconventional. even if it is considered as a logical classification. logical and illogical. If it is other than denial. The difference between falsity and absurdity is that the falsity of a proposition "p" is equivalent to the truth of its negative proposition "~p." while the absurdity of "p" is not equivalent to the truth of "~p. two or three are not enough. In this respect. In many Chinese and Tibetan texts. they reach the same result for different reasons. double assertion and denial. Consequently. since it is supposed to include many conflicting schools. The next question is whether the system of catuskoti is sound in the sense that the four alternatives are logically distinct and exhaustive. that is. 25 Nov 2012 07:32:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." because "p" and "~p" may be equally absurd when they are nonsensical.216 on Sun. Dialectics and pure mathematics are. it is incredible that Nagarjuna and Brouwer could possibly think in the same way. two different disciplines. Jayatilleke's comment. it is farfetched to think that catuskoti belongs to a particular kind of non-Aristotelian logic. the four are both distinct and exhaustive.. or self-contradictory. The agreement of the two systems is a sheer coincidence.297 Objection might arise at this point. ill formed. the system should reserve room for the illogical. Synthesis and skepticism should not be put in one and the same category. are rejected. Third. Second. The answer is as follows: First. "The Buddhist four-fold logic is in this respect no more true or false than the Aristotelian.. Establishing a system in which certain laws are rejected is totally different from not imposing any law at all.82. as "sheer play of words without content.7 At this point I must confess that I have made a similar mistake by comparing catuskoti with intuitionism. after all. etc. whether the law of the excluded middle or anything else. there is no reason why one should impose any law of logic at all. It happens that the system of catuskoti can be formulated by the logic of intuitionism.168. the system is a linguistic classification. Linguistically speaking.8 Despite the superficial resemblance.

not its sympathizers. "Four alternative views are possible on any subject. After many years of dispute. catuskoti is applicable to metaphysical speculations only. 1. 25 Nov 2012 07:32:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . In the vast Ch'an literature. the catuskoti refuted by Buddhists. If the system of "four alternative views" in this context is taken in its broader sense. there are thousands of concrete "cases" (kung-an) which record individual "situations" (chi) in daily life. Instead of abstract theories. The existence of a paradox is generally due to the existence of a flaw somewhere in the argument. VI When the rejection of independence is carried out thoroughly. Consequently. If he means the system in its narrow sense. This dialectics was short-lived and exerted little influence on Chinese thought. which has been hidden because it appears to be too selfevident to be mentioned at all. The paradoxes can be solved. it is dialectics rather than formal logic. called Zen in Japan. it is the Ch'an School of China.168. Usually it is the unnoticed existence of some implicit premise.9 There are two possible explanations. then this statement might be the result of a minor slip of the pen.298 Chi Although the subject of catuskoti is extensively mentioned by Buddhists. according to the methodology of the Ch'an school. it is not at all "Buddhist logic" because Buddhists are its critics. that is. I would like to give a brief account of "logic" in China during three periods. as in the Appendix to this paper. VII To conclude.216 on Sun. Some cases are simple. As Bochenski has said. then there is nothing wrong in his statement. The logic of ancient China. several cases can be reduced to the problem of personal identity: "Who identifies whom with what?" Some others involve very complicated paradoxes. by utilizing a psychological state created by the urge to solve the paradox. excepting its early period. As a matter of fact. and Buddhists would most unlikely apply it to propositions in general. there was indeed such a school of Buddhism in history. In reality. it is not necessary that a system should be sound before one can reject it. For instance. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. abstract language disappears completely. though it is usually false. because some propositions are definitely true or definitely false and leave no room for alternatives. if one minor point is clarified.82. Buddhists are not responsible for its being sound or not." might cause objection. called "the state of being puzzled" (i-ch'ing). His comment. it eventually reaches a point at which abstraction and theorization are abolished. I still think that Murti's view on this subject is the right one.

pp. in thousands of cases. Catuskoti is by no means "Buddhist logic. I have heard too often that "Zen is illogical and irrational. R. N. there must be a great deal to be studied. 4 (Jan. no. Murti. this field is unexplored. The importation of Buddhist logic.10 The influence of Buddhist logic on Chinese thought is almost nil. Chi. 4. his headquarters in the capital. Jayatilleke. 5. was kept as a highly guarded secret. 25 Nov 2012 07:32:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . pp.45. Since Ch'an deals with extremely complicated paradoxes and offers a detection procedure for logical fallacies hidden in propositions usually considered "logical. pp. Y. The difference between Aristotle's four-operator system and Dignaga's three-operator system. it is hard to tell how "logical" it is. 2. K.1963). but it is quite certain that without verbal instruction. Yuan-ts'e. 6.299 2. Robinson. FormalLogic. if it is truly "logical. K. which is rather irrelevant. 351."in Philosophy East and West. N. is almost unintelligible to even learned Chinese scholars. a literature which is full of professional jargon. What I can tell is that. one would find that tautological formulae in material implication." East and West. seem to be "illogical. and that between Aristotle's three-member syllogism and Dignaga's three-member syllogism (which was reduced from a five-member syllogism) is not substantial. thereby adding some mysterious religious flavor.334-347." too. where important doctrinal discussions were held.l I cannot judge the authenticity of the strange story. If one looked into a book on elementary logic. The logic of Ch'an. S. Since people already have the preconceived idea that it is illogical. V. Since it is unexplored. which was regarded as the weapon for doctrinal combat. 130. ~p D (p Dq). Philosophy 17. 1-4 (1967): 69-83. the teaching of logic. H.216 on Sun. The content of Ch'an literature is unusually rich. "SomeLogical Aspects of Nagarjuna's System. As a sort of counterintelligence measure." I do not know what the word "illogical" is meant to convey in this statement. when Buddhist logic was introduced by Hsuan-tsang to China in the eighth century. Buddhist This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. 6. 3. It is more likely to be overlogical than illogical.82. nos.The Central Philosophy of Buddhism (London. 333"The Logic of Four Alternatives." The real Buddhist logic established by Dignaga belongs to conventional two-valued formal logic. According to some record. was "bugged" by his rival. NOTES 1.8-10. Early BuddhistTheoryof Knowledge(London. T." its subject matter inevitably involves logic.1969). 156-163. R. such as p D (q D p). R. the huge literature on logic written by Hsangtsang's disciples. 1957): 302-303. pp. despite the recent appearance of many books about this subject on the market. Jayatilleke.Buddhist FormalLogic (London. 3." this kind of logic is implicit and situational but not formularized. EarlyBuddhist Theoryof Knowledge..1960).p.168.

. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. 350.~(Ex) (fx p q (Ex) (fx.168. (Ex>. with the symbolsof intuitionism but the interof intuitionism differsfrom that of catuqkoti.300 Chi 7.x). Ibid. lxxvi. xxvi-xxvii. 8. 162-163.p. pretation --% PA-- and "dyadic" are borrowed. The following formulae can formallyfit in the scheme. Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge.g. 129. ~p. The terms"monadic? namesfor the two groupsof formulae. pp. 9.82. (Ex) (fx. becauseI haave not foundconcise c. pp. 25 Nov 2012 07:32:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .~ (]Ex) (fx.q p.(E) p(contradiction) D>yadic ~p . (Ex) (fx.~gx) ~ (E(x) (fx.~(Ex) (fx. BuddhistFormal Logic.gx).(ygX) (fx.gx). None of the above formulaecan fit in the schemeof catuikofl. 10.~gx) ~(Ex)~X a. BuddhistFormal Logic.~ (Ex) ~fx ~(Ex)fx.gx).~gx) (Ex) (fx.p.sfx x)f. ~q (Ex)fx. The CentralPhilosophy of Buddhism.. (Ex)-fx p v ~p(tautology) Dyai .p.216 on Sun. 11. The last groupof quantified to tetralemma: dyadicformsis equivalent ab = O abO= 0 ab = 0 * ab-=O b. APPENDIX Unquantified Monadic p lup Quantified (Ex)fx.