Sunday, 7 March 2010

Bhasya and Quaestio

In his Guidelines in Indian Philosophy, p. 208, De Smet makes the interesting observation that the bhasya method developed by the 'schoolmen' of India is almost identical with the method of the quaestio developed independently by the medieval Schoolmen of Europe.

In the bhasya method, each topic is to be explained and settled in 5 steps: (1) the object (visaya) of the sutras concerning that topic is declared; (2) the doubt (samsaya) regarding that object; (3) the prima facie view (purvapaksa) which has some plausibility but which contradicts the tradition of the bhasyakara; (4) the final and authoritative opinion (uttarapaksa or siddhanta) is explained and defended and established; (5) this accepted opinion is then applied to other passages (samgati) which both confirm and are explained by it.

I find it exciting that questioning and dialectic is once again, in India as in the West, the road to truth.

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