“Hunting power is a very strange affair. There is no way to plan it ahead of time. That’s what’s exciting about it. A warrior proceeds as if he had a plan though, because he trusts his personal power. He knows for a fact that it will make him act in th emost appropriate fashion.”
Carlos Castaneda

Journey to Ixtlan

Nyaya – Doubt to Confutation



Doubt is a conflicting judgment about the precise character of an object. It must not be confused with error which is false knowledge. Doubt is incomplete knowledge which serves as the incentive for investigation. False knowledge may produce conviction which puts the mind to sleep by removing all desire for further knowledge.


Purpose serves at the motive behind all action which may be to attain something or avoid something. Until there is purpose, there can be no successful action. The text goes on to list 5 kinds of doubt

A Familiar Example

A familiar example is the thing about which an ordinary man and an expert entertain the same opinion. Such an example can be used as an example in the process of reasoning from the known to the unknown.

Established Tenet

Established tenet is a dogma resting on the authority of a certain school, hypothesis or implication.  The text goes on to list 4 kinds of dogma.

The Members

The members are the logical steps used to establish the object of knowledge:

  1. Proposition – enunciation of the object of knowledge:  This hill is fiery
  2. Reason – a vehicle of inference used to prove the proposition: Because it is smokey
  3. Example – an object of perception: Whatever is smoky is fiery, as a kitchen
  4. Application – consists of comparison: So this hill is smoky
  5. Conclusion – convergence of the previous 4 means toward the same object & right knowledge: Therefore, this hill is fiery

The text goes on with a detailed explanation of the inner workings and qualification of these 5 members. I believe they form the rules & foundations for a Indian philosophical art of debate I’ve heard mentioned in my studies.


Confutation is reasoning which reveals the character by showing absurdity of all contrary characters.


Ascertainment is the determination of the object by means of opposite views after a first impression which creates doubt. The sequence of investigation is as follows: first impression, doubt, opposite views, application of the rules of reason, determination of the object, ascertainment, knowledge of reality.

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