“Chomsky and Habermas via Nyaya Theory of Debating”

Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

Indian Statistical Institute

March 2, 1997

Language Forum, Journal of Language and Literature, Vol. XXIII, No. 1-2, pp. 115-123, 1997

If Chomskian speaking subject would be misplaced from its “ideal” locus by the outside behavioral manipulation, threat or violence, there are two possibilities: (a) the linguistic creativity would be crippled; LAD might be inactive and dialogue without manipulation may end its course or (b) One can bypass this IL-problem and could still be linguistically creative. The extreme case of “end of dialogue” – situation was the ultimate termination of Socrates or a case of foreclosure, i.e. the rejection (rather than repression) of the existing and given symbolic order. This paper deals with the possibility (b), where there is a struggle for achieving emancipatory polylogue (instead of dialogue, polylogue refers to plural participation of speaking subjects with plural views) in connection with the concept of labor of speaking. The author reviewed two theories for this emancipatory speaking game: one was proposed by Habermas, who introduced the notion of Communicative Competence (CC–it is not the Dell Hymes brand of CC) and the old Indian logicians introduced another one. In this paper, Habermasian theory of labor (forces of production) and interaction (relation of production) with a goal achieve CC is compared with the objectives of Nyaya theory of debating, where three types of mode of debating (‘Vada’, ‘jalpa’, ‘vitanda’) were introduced under the umbrella term katha or speaking. ‘Katha’ is a dialogue between vadi (propagator) and prativadi (refuter). “When two opposite parties dispute over their respective theses,…… in which each of them tries to prove his (sic) own thesis with reasons, each of the thesis is called vada.” (Dasgupta, S., 1922: 360). Vada from the perspective of Critical Theory, is a “rational problem solving discourse” based on evidence and argument with no interest of winning the dispute. The only purpose of this rational conversation (ukti-pratyukti) is ‘Determination of theory with no humiliation of the opponent’. Thus, it depends on the mutual understanding between vadi-prativadi, both of whom are contributing in the decision-making policy. On the other hand, “Jalpa means a dispute in which disputants give wrangling rejoinders in order to defeat their respective opponents.” (ibid) In this case, one of the debaters must win and a judge or panel of judges may determine the winner. Uddotkara mentioned that this type of debate needs the providing and rebuttal “based upon equivocation (Chala) and parity of reasoning (jati) and censure of all kinds.” (Matilal, 1985: 13) “Chala means the intentional misinterpretation of the opponents’ argument for the purpose of defeating him (sic). Jati consists in the drawing of contradictory conclusions, the raising of false issues or the like with deliberate intention of defeating an opponent.” (Dasgupta, S: 362). Anyway, this tricky debate with the intention of winning has nothing to do with CC and it leads to a discourse generally found in some popular interviews and chat shows. Thirdly, “A Jalpa is called vitanda when it is only a destructive criticism which seeks to refute opponents’ doctrine without seeking to establish or formulate any new doctrine.”(Ibid) It is, from the standpoint of critical theory, a latent or non-latent strategic systematically distorted communication to manipulate others argument by using chala, jati etc. and there is no question of proving the counter-thesis. Thus, this paper provides a theory of speaking game without imagining the possibility of transcendental space for interaction without manipulation.


Number of Pages in PDF File: 6

Keywords: Nyaya Philosophy, Crippled Creativity, Dialogue without manipulation


About Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

Debaprasad Bandyopdhyay (b. 1965), through his 25 years journey in the realm of institutionalized academics did 27 different types of works, which are someway different from the earlier paradigms or, one might say that those works are not only mere reproductions of his inherited institutionalized cultural capital or a mimicry of a colonially imposed model that leads to intellectual anorexia or rather a type falsification of earlier paradigms. However, that might be not only a lofty claim but it also hid the fact that all our information and knowledge are socially accumulated knowledge that was, it is matter of regret, posed as private property through the sign © and the wisdom is rarely available. Bandyopadhyay’s works and projects are the products of his social milieu. Bandyopadhyay is a local sub-altern public sphere academician, who avoids the technical intelligentsia (followers of Sahib’s models and they are not committed to the persons who are accommodating surplus work-time to them by performing surplus labour) or inorganic intellectuals and thus fails to be a part of academic tribe and its subsequent socialization process. Of course, that socialization process does not lead to legendary Socratic dialogue. He is also a political activist though he has not affiliated to any political parties as he was always talking about the corporatization of political parties within the money-sign-based democratic system. He is a regular participant in TV and radio talk-shows and documentary films, street-corners’ talks and International seminars on socio-political, psychological, linguistic, environmental and economic issues. He also writes editorial columns in newspapers. He is also a part of parallel academics as it is found in West Bengal’s Little Magazine Movement, though that was not counted as the part his academic pursuit by his parent institute. His parent institute justifiably does not believe in the domain of parallel academics as this unorganized sector does not directly contribute in the transactions of formal/organized print capitalist eco-enemy paper-publication. Though the dissemination of knowledge is also observed in this space of these parallel academics as all these writings in public sphere simultaneously influence the classroom-discourse and some of them are translated into English, French and Italian. Not only that, Bandyopadhyay also sought engagement with the people, who, by supplying their surplus labour, are sustaining his livelihood. Bandyopadhyay, a linguist by training and a Ph.D.-holder (1996), a junior lecturer (1999-2011) in an autonomous central government institute in India, tries his best for those from he has received and is receiving the manifestation of surplus labour by executing some self-funded projects on economic issues in West Bengal, India. Recently he has got a consolation promotion to the post of Assistant Professor. He has done following 27 research works: 1. Crippled Creativity: An inquiry into language, psyche, society: 2. VALENCY OF BANGLA VERB AND PROBLEM OF COMPOUND VERBS: 3. Archaeology of Bangla Grammar : 4. CAN COMPUTER SPEAK? 5. FUZZY LOGICAL EXPRESSION IN BANGLA : 6. FOLKLORE AND FOLK-LANGUAGE: MYTH OR REALITY? 7. HISTORICISM IN THE DISCOURSE OF BANGLA LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 8. ABHABA, ECP, DELETION AND TRACE 9. SVATVA OR MY-NESS AND ECONOMIC ENTITLEMEMT 10. TRANSLATION STUDIES 11. MASCULINITY STUDIES 12. YAYATI & BABAR COMPLEX 13. SOCIO-ECONOMIC SURVEYS IN AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRY IN WEST BENGAL 14. CONCEPT OF BODY IN INDIAN PHILOSOPHY AND ARCHITECTURE 15. THE CONCEPT OF ERROR (KHYATI) IN MAD-(WO)MEN’S LANGUAGE 16. THE CONCEPT OF PERCEPTUAL TIME AND GRAMMATICAL TIME IN BANGLA 17. BANGLA CALLIGRAPHY, LANGUAGE ART AND LINGUISTIC PEDAGOGY 18. WO(L)D SPACES: NON-EXISTENCE OF WORDS 19. ANEKANTA METHODS 20. SILENCEME: SILENT OTHER IN LINGUISTICS 21. IMAGINED BOUDARIES AND PRE-COLONIAL INDIAN IMAGI-NATION 22. MAKING OF THE INDIAN PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE 23. SEGMENTING THE SUPRASEGMENTALS : MUSICKING IN SPEAKING 24. INTERPRETING GENETIC STRUCTURE BY DEPLOYING LINGUISTIC STRUCTURE 25. GLOTTOPOLITICS OF LINGUISTIC SUBALTERNITY OR AN AGENDA FOR PLANNING FROM BELOW 26. SEMIOTICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY 27. SOCIOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY ACADEMICS
Link | This entry was posted in Academic Papers & Books and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s