Means of knowing

In establishing any ideas or understanding of the world, one needs to be clear about one’s starting premises and assumptions.

The Indian tradition of philosophy began as a way to a define a practical way of life.

The premises of this philosophy were classified based on what makes sense from a practical standpoint.

  • Direct perception (pratyaksha): this is accepted by all schools of thought
  • Inference, analogy (anumana, upamana): these are accepted by all schools of thought
  • Testimony (shabda): this consists of the Vedas. This is only accepted by the Vedanta and Purva Mimamsa schools. One cannot practically understand all there is to know in a limited time. Accepting the research and studies done by past generations is part of most fields of study. Newton said:

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.

– Issac Newton