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The Nyāya Conception of a Scientific Theory

Categories: Nyāya System
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About Course

Nyāya Sutras describe a scientific theory as comprised of four aspects. The first aspect represents the purpose of the system; the second, the functional parts that execute this purpose; the third, a mechanism of control that translates the purpose into functional activities; and fourth, a system that maintains coherence in the system and allows it to persist over time. These descriptions can be easily understood if we think of ‘science’ as the model of an organisme.g., a human body, an organization, or a society—which embodies a purpose, has functional parts, a system of control to translate the purpose into action, and something that keeps the system cohesive over long periods of time. The general doctrine of such organisms defines a “scientific theory” in Nyāya and it is radically different from mechanistic conceptions of scientific theories. In this course, we will discuss the alternative idea of a scientific theory, that models reality not as machines but as organisms with capacities to self-defend, self-correct, and self-propel.


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Course Content

Nyāya Sūtra References

  • Sutra 1.1.26
  • Sutra 1.1.27
  • Sutra 1.1.28
  • Sutra 1.1.29
  • Sutra 1.1.30
  • Sutra 1.1.31

The Mechanism of Organism

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