Elisa Freschi was discussing the pramana (means of valid knowledge) arthapatti
It has been variously translated as ‘postulation’ and ‘presumption’. One commentor ‘Bama’ preferred ‘presumption’. Elisa offered a palette of terms including ‘cogent evidence’. This led me to thinking - maybe arthapatti is too simple for words.
My first bit of philosophical semaphore was:
We know how arthapatti works. It’s a bit like a switch where there is disjunction between the two values, on/off, true/false, yes/no. Plump Devadatta does not eat during the daylight hours therefore he must be eating at night. If one state is known i.e. alive and not at home then the other state is immediately know i.e. outside the home somewhere. Postulation does not apply. Postulation may be shown to be correct or it may be impossible to show whether or not it is. Think of Hig’s Boson and Kant’s Transcendental Postulate. We are attempting to reach towards a picture of how things must fundamentally be for things to appear as they do. Arthapatti is not tentative in any sense.
I can see where ‘assumption’ or ‘presumption’ may not be a perfect fit for what arthapatti does. There is no ‘before’ for arthapatti, there is no ‘after’ for arthapatti. Implication doesn’t fit. Knowing that plump Devadatta is fasting during the day is knowing that he eats at night. Implications have to be worked out so this is not one. Arthapatti has a bi-polar nature. It is basic and irreducible.
to which I added as an afterthought:
I wrote the following paragraph before I read your response. There is a general difficulty in the explanation of basic powers. Ostensive definition has the problem of knowing what it is you are pointing at. (I admit to being an unreconstricted Wittgensteinian)
If I might add. Even if the Sanskrit has the sense of apatti – artha then it too is explaining the simple in terms of the more complex and that cannot be a good explanation. Here as Wittgenstein wrote – ‘my spade turns’. If the complex has the simple embedded in it then circularity ensues. Simply by having a human mind you get ‘switches’ in the ‘kit’.
The ‘ostensive definition’ entry in the index to Philosophical Investigations is worth looking at. Here the well known ‘logos’ occurs (38)
For philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday.
Language has stopped doing what it normally does when it tries to express something that is too simple for language. Switch then may express the cybernetic aspect of arthapatti, or what in Advaita is called the inert nature of mind, its mechanical quality.
Connected with this cybernetic notion in my understanding of it is the counterpositive pratiyoga concept. Broadly speaking the illusory is founded on there being an actual reality. It works like figure and ground and it is again a mechanical thing. The counterpositiveness.......abiding in the illusory silver, is characterised by conventional reality(from Vedanta Paribhasa on Perception)
You haven’t heard the last of this.