Agnieszka Rostalska's picture
Gonda fellow
Agnieszka Rostalska

Agnieszka Rostalska obtained her Ph.D. in Eastern Philosophy from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Pedagogical University of Krakow, Poland. After her MA degree in Philosophy (specialisation: Philosophy of Mind) from the Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Journalism, University of Gdansk, Poland she completed Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Studies at the Institute of Middle and Far East Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and Postgraduate Studies in Indian Philosophy and Religion at the Department of Philosophy and Religion, Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India (Indian Council for Cultural Relations award). Afterwards, she pursued a research project titled “Indian realism from a contemporary perspective” at the Department of Indian Languages and Cultures of Ghent University, Belgium. She specialises in Indian philosophy and comparative and cross-cultural philosophy. Her current comparative research focuses on epistemic authority and testimony in Indian Nyāya philosophy with reference to current research in Anglo-American epistemology of testimony and virtue epistemology. Rostalska is an active member of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, the Member of the OZSW (Dutch Research School of Philosophy) Comparative and Global Philosophy Study group in The Netherlands and an Associate Book Reviews Editor for the Journal of Dharma Studies. Philosophy, Theology, Ethics and Culture, Springer.

Research topic: Imagination and appeal to reliability. Dharmakīrti’s polemics with Nyāya philosophers

Rostalska’s research project at the International Institute for Asian Studies (December 2018 - May 2019) involves a philosophical study of selected passages from Dharmakīrti’s Sanskrit works: Pramāṇavārttika (PV, Commentary on Epistemology) and Vādanyāya (VN, Logic of Argumentation). Its main aim is to elucidate and critically examine the selected epistemological theories propounded by Dharmakīrti in response to the concurrent theories of the philosophers from the Nyāya tradition. His engagements with the concepts of the Naiyāyikas is evidenced in three particular cases: 1) the role of imagination (kalpanā) in the process of perception and conception, 2) the appeal to reliability (āptatva and pramāṇabhūta) for the justification of the authority of scriptures, tradition and personal authority of the Buddha, and 3) classification and interpretation of ‘clinchers’ (nigrahasthāna) in debates. These complex issues are of relevance not only to Indian and comparative philosophy, but also to current social epistemology and argumentation theory.

According to Dharmakīrti, perception as a cognition is accurate (avyabhicāri) but non-conceptual (kalpanāpoḍha) and imagination does not play an instrumental role in this process. This view stands in opposition to the Naiyāyikas view of determinate perception, for which imagination (kalpanā) plays an important function. Rostalska reconstructs the vital Nyāya–Buddhist polemics on the issues concerning the accretion of sensations, the role of imagination and the process of conceptualisation.

In the context of truth-hitting awareness (pramā) Dharmakīrti’s concept of reliability termed as “the one who has become a means of knowledge” (pramāṇabhūta) is used interchangeably with the terms “tradition” (āgama­) and “testimony” (śabda). Rostalska emphasizes that such an undertaking, offered in the context of a complex discussion of testimony as an independent means of knowledge, makes his interpretation of the notion of reliability ambiguous and should not be treated as synonymous with the Nyāya’s notion of reliability (āptatva).

In the concise text Vādanyāya Dharmakīrti appeals to the Nyāya concept of debate (vāda) by using Nyāya philosophical terms, but provides them with his own interpretations. He points out the distinct roles which are played by the disputant and the opponent, and attributes to both different clinchers, i.e. epistemic and procedural flaws and violations of pragmatic principles, which are the causes of one’s victory and other’s defeat. Rostalska provides an overview of the Nyāya–Buddhist debates, narrowing her focus to Dharmakīrti’s interpretation of the concept of clinchers (nigrahasthānas), which she compares and contrasts with its original formulations in Nyāyasūtra and its commentaries of Vātsyāyana (5th cent CE) and Uddyotakara (6th cent CE).

Field

  • Indian Philosophy
  • Buddhist Studies

Country of origin

Poland

Period of stay at IIAS

01/12/2018 to 31/05/2019

Home institute

Research topic

Imagination and appeal to reliability. Dharmakīrti’s polemics with Nyāya philosophers

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