By Sundar Sarukkai.

“Philosophy, from its earliest origins whether in India or Greece, was always a form of public discourse. The aims of philosophy were about addressing individual and social concerns, which included questions of the nature of the real, knowledge, truth, freedom, soul, god and so on. If there was a method which characterised these enquiries, it was that of debate, which was essential to all philosophical practices. Indian philosophical systems are characterised by their special approach to debate, which included a detailed classification of the types of debates, typology of clinchers and fallacies, and so on. The textual practices in these systems also exemplified this well since every text would present the view of the ‘opponents’ first. Moreover, debate had a very specific meaning and structure. These were rules of arguing for a position: using the right methods of inference (logic) elucidated with the right examples, and making an argument without fallacies. Thus, debates in philosophy were not mere assertion of beliefs but were about arguing for positions with well-defined structures of reason. This is the method that science borrows from philosophy.”

This is an excerpt from a piece published in Vol 2 Qtr 1 of ‘Inter-Actions’. You can read the rest of it here.

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