This collection of articles and review essays, including many hard to find pieces, comprises the most important and fundamental studies of Indian logic and linguistics ever undertaken.
Frits Staal is concerned with four basic questions: Are there universals of logic that transcend culture and time? Are there universals of language and linguistics? What is the nature of Indian logic? And what is the nature of Indian linguistics? By addressing these questions, Staal demonstrates that, contrary to the general assumption among Western philosophers, the classical philosophers of India were rationalists, attentive to arguments. They were in this respect unlike contemporary Western thinkers inspired by existentialism or hermeneutics, and like the ancient Chinese, Greeks, and many medieval European schoolmen, only—as Staal says—more so. Universals establishes that Asia's contributions are not only compatible with what has been produced in the West, but a necessary ingredient and an essential component of any future human science.