Book I – Chapter II

Definition of controversy

1. Discussion consists in the putting forward (by two persons) of a conception and a counter conception, in which there is supporting and condemning by means of proofs and reasonings, neither of which is quite opposed to the main doctrine (or thesis), and both of which are carried on in full accordance with the method of reasoning through the five factors. [Jha]

2. Wrangling [disputation], which aims at gaining victory, is the defence or attack of a proposition in the manner aforesaid, by quibbles, fatilities, and other processes which deserve rebuke.

3. Cavil is a kind of wrangling, which consists in mere attacks on the opposite side.

Definition of fallacious marks of inference

4. Fallacies of a reason are the erratic [inconclusive], the contradictory, the equal to the question [neutral], the unproved, and the mistimed.

5. The erratic [inconclusive] is the reason which leads to more conclusions than one.

As for example, in the reasoning “Sound is eternal because it is intangible the jar which is tangible has been found to be non eternal,and sound is not tangible, therefore, being intangible, sound must be eternal,” we find that the character of intangibility has been put forward as proving the character of eternality; while as a matter of fact the two characters do not bear to each other the relation of proof and proved….

6. The contradictory is the reason which opposes what is to be established.

7. Equal to the question [the” neutral reason”] is the reason which provokes the very question, for the solution of which it was employed.

That reasoning, in which what is put forward as the reason is the character that is admitted (by both parties) to be common (to that which is to be established and its reverse), is “equal to doubt” (in not leading to a certain conclusion); and such a reason, therefore, has been called ‘indecisive';

8. The unproved is the reason which stands in need of proof, in the same way as the proposition does.

[As an example:] . . . “Shadow is a substance, ” the proposition; to prove which is put forward the reason “because it has motion”; and this reason does not differ from the proposition, inasmuch as it is still to be proved; …

9. The mistimed is the reason which is adduced when the time is passed in which it might hold good.

Definition of fraud or quibble

10. Quibble [casuistry] is the opposition offered to a proposition by the assumption of an alternative meaning.

11. It is of three kinds, viz., quibble in respect of a term, quibble in respect of a genus, and quibble in respect of a metaphor.

12. Quibble in respect of a term [verbal casuistry] consists in wilfully taking the term in a sense other than that intended by a speaker who has happened to use it ambiguously.

13. Generalising casuistry [quibble in respect to genus] consists in the urging of an absurd signification, which is rendered possible by the use of a too generic term. [Jha]

That word is called “too generic” which, while applying to the thing desired to be spoken of, also over reaches it; e.g., the brahminhood which is denoted by the term ” brahmin ” is, sometimes found to be concomitant with “learning and character” and sometimes it is found to over reach it, i.e., not concomitant with it.. . .

14. Quibble in respect of a metaphor consists in denying the proper meaning of a word by taking it literally, while it was used metaphorically, and vice versa.

Defects of reasoning due to the incapacity of the reasoner

18. Futility consists in offering objections founded on mere similarity or dissimilarity.

19. An occasion for rebuke [a clincher] arises when one misunderstands, or does not understand at all.

The man who misapprehends things becomes defeated; and “clincher” consists in this defeat.