What are the conditions to be a hetu in Nyaya Philosophy? Critically Evaluate

In Nyaya philosophy, hetu (reason) plays a crucial role in establishing logical inference.

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According to Nyaya, a hetu must satisfy specific conditions to be considered valid. These conditions, known as hetvabhasas, include five main criteria:

  1. Sadhya (major term): The hetu must be connected to the subject of inference (sadhya) in a way that implies a relationship between them.
  • Paksha (minor term): The hetu should be connected to the subject of inference, not the contradictory term (paksha).
  • Samanya (universality): The hetu should possess a universal connection with the subject of inference, holding true in all relevant cases.
  • Vyapti (invariable concomitance): There should be an invariable concomitance between the hetu and the subject of inference, meaning that whenever the hetu is present, the sadhya is also present, and vice versa.
  • Avinabhava (non-exclusive relation): The hetu should not have an exclusive relation with the subject of inference, meaning that there should be no other factor that can solely account for the presence of the sadhya.

Critically evaluating these conditions, one could argue that they provide a structured framework for establishing logical inference. However, critics contend that the Nyaya framework may be overly rigid and limited in its applicability to real-world situations. The conditions may not adequately capture the complexity and contextuality of reasoning, leading to a restricted understanding of logical inference.

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