Classical Indian Philosophy of Mind

The Nyāya Dualist Tradition

By Kisor Kumar Chakrabarti

Subjects: Comparative Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791441725, 329 pages, May 1999
Hardcover : 9780791441718, 329 pages, June 1999

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Table of contents





1. Introduction

2. Understanding Nyaya-Vaisesika Dualism

3. Cognition

4. Other Internal States

5. The Existence and Permanence of the Self

6. The Self as a Substance

7. The Self and the External Sense Organs

8. The Self and the Inner Sense

9. The Self and the Body

10. Miscellaneous Arguments

11. A Nyaya Causal Proof of the Existence of God

12. The Samkhya View and the Nyaya Critique

13. The Advaita View and the Nyaya Critique

14. Conclusion

Appendix: An Annotated Translation of Atmatattvaviveka


Selected Bibliography


Addresses the psycho-physical dualism of the Nyaya school of Indian philosophy with references to both Indian and Western philosophy.


This book examines psycho-physical dualism as developed by the Nyāya school of Indian philosophy. Dualism is important to many world religions which promote personal immortality and to morality which promotes free will. For the Nyāya, the self is a permanent, immaterial substance to which non-physical internal states like cognition belong. This view is challenged by other Indian schools, especially the Buddhist and Cārvāka schools.

Chakrabarti brings out the connections between the Indian and the Western debates over the mind-body problem and shows that the Nyāya position is well developed, well articulated, and defensible. He shows that Nyāya dualism differs from Cartesian dualism and is not vulnerable to some traditional objections against the latter. A brief discussion of the Sāṃkhya and the Advaita theories of the self and the critique of these views from the Nyāya standpoint are included, as well as a discussion of a classical Nyāya causal argument for the existence of God. The appendix contains an annotated translation of selected portions of Udayana's masterpiece, Ātmatattvaviveka (Discerning the Nature of the Self.)

Kisor Kumar Chakrabarti is the Forrest S. and Jean B. Williams Professor, Ferrum College. He is the author of The Logic of Gotama and Definition and Induction.


"This is, in many respects, an absolutely fascinating book. It presents the views of a major Indian school of philosophy in a clear and compelling way. The views on mind, or self, and body are explained in a way that makes it easy for a student of Western philosophy to understand and appreciate them. The Indian views are interesting in themselves and quite pertinent to Western philosophy, including contemporary discussions of mind and cognition."– John Kearns, author of Reconceiving Experience: A Solution to a Problem Inherited from Descartes

"The author is evidently extremely knowledgeable about both Indian and Western philosophy. This comes out in a number of brilliant discussions of aspects of Western thought, both contemporary and classical, that he finds relevant to positions taken and analyses proffered by Nyaya-Vaisesika thinkers. Chakrabarti is especially brilliant in his expositions of facets of Nyaya-Vaisesika philosophy." - Karl H. Potter, University of Washington.