Thinking Negation in Early Hinduism & Classical Indian Philosophy

  • Purushottama BilimoriaEmail author
Part of the Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures book series (SCPT, volume 34)


A number of different kinds of negation and negation of negation are developed in Indian thought, from ancient religious texts to classical philosophy. The chapter explores the Mīmāṃsā, Nyāya, Jaina and Buddhist theorizing on the various forms and permutations of negation, denial, nullity, nothing and nothingness, or emptiness. The main thesis argued for is that in the broad Indic tradition, negation cannot be viewed as a mere classical operator turning the true into the false (and conversely), nor reduced to the mainstream Boolean dichotomy: 1 vs 0. Special attention is given to how contradiction is handled in Jaina and Buddhist logic.


Negation Mīmāṃsa Nyāya Buddhist logic Jaina anekāntavāda Priestian dialetheism 

Mathematics Subject Classification

Primary 03A05 Secondary 03-03 · 01-02. 



I wish to express gratitude for the immense guidance I received from Jayshankar Lal Shaw and Anand Vaidya toward revising the chapter. I also thank (the late) Frits Staal, (the late) Bimal K. Matilal, Stephen Phillips, my students in Berkeley. The editors of this volume and an anonymous referee have also provided invaluable feedback from the time of the conference to this point in the process.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California at BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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