Abstract

Ancient India formalized rhetorical debate in the Sanskrit Nyāya Sūtras. Still influential, they remain relatively unknown because India is thought more mystical than logical, because Nyāya has been misinterpreted through Greek logic and terminologies, and because of its epistemology and soteriology. Perrett's four Western “approaches” to India—“magisterial,” “exoticist,” “curatorial,” and “interlocutory”—provide perspective. Magisterial blindness and exoticist assumptions prohibit understanding of Nyāya and delay its inclusion in rhetorical studies. A curatorial/interlocutory approach (translation and elucidation) reveals Nyāya's nature, as well as its similarities with Aristotle's enthymeme and example, enriching our understanding of the history and nature of rhetoric.

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