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Showing posts from July, 2015

Analogical reasoning and postulation

Like postulation (arthāpatti), the pramāṇa or instrument of knowledge known as upamāna, often translated as "analogy,"is both fascinating and underdeveloped in contemporary analysis. There are few stand-alone books focusing just on upamāna, although it is frequently treated along with testimony and perception. I suspect this is because, as with postulation, upamāna is often reduced to another more well-accepted pramāṇa--usually verbal testimony, inference, or perception.

Two books devoted only to upamāna are:
Chattopadhyay, Uma. Dishonoured by Philosophers: Upamana in Indian Epistemology. New Delhi, D.K. Printworld, 2009.  Kumar, Shiv. Upamāna in Indian Philosophy. Delhi: Eastern Book Linkers, 1994. I have been reading just Kumar's book, since I am waiting for an inter-library loan of Chattopadhyay to arrive. In doing so, I came across a debate about the relationship between postulation and upamāna. By the way, I am not translating the latter term since I am not sure wh…

On writing a prospectus for a dissertation

Recently, I was talking with a few grad students from my PhD program about the process for writing a dissertation prospectus. At UT-Austin, the prospectus process is fairly rigorous (possibly in part because there are no qualifying exams to move on to ABD status). These students are at the beginning stages of prospectus work and wanted to know how others went about their year of committee-selection, writing, and research.
Hindsight is, as they say 20-20, and looking back at my prospectus year, I think I could have spent a bit longer refining my project. However, the benefit of defending at the end of year three (the suggested time frame for a projected five-year PhD) was that I could take advantage of being in candidacy for teaching within the university for a longer time, and I had a mental block removed to dissertation-writing. While the details of how a dissertation proposal works will vary among institutions, below are a few reflections I had for these students. In a cursory sear…