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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter I discuss the treatment of perceptual illusions found in the works of Jayatīrtha (fl. 1370). Jayatīrtha belonged to a school of theistic realists known as the “Mādhvas.” His arguments about illusion begin from the critical encounter with his tradition’s arch-enemies: the nonrealist Advaita Vedāntins. According to the Advaitins, perceptual illusions are simply inexplicable and undermine the realist assumption of a determinate ontology. In his Nectar of Reasoning, Jayatīrtha responded to the Advaitins by giving one of the most extensive critical accounts of perceptual illusion in the history of Indian philosophy. The theory he elaborated is essentially a version of the “misidentification” approach to illusions, which had previously been defended by the realist Nyāya school. Following Mādhva, Jayatīrtha argued that the object of the misidentification involved in illusions is simply nonexistent, a unique position among Indian realist philosophies.

Keywords: perception, illusions, realism, Mādhva Vedānta, Advaita Vedānta, anti-realism, Dvaita, nondualism, Jayatīrtha, indeterminacy

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