Vātsyāyana: Cognition as a Guide to Action

Publication Date


Document Type

Book Chapter


Vātsyāyana (c.450 ce) is the author of the Commentary on Nyāya, the first full commentary on the Nyāya-sūtra of Gautama (c.150 ce), which is itself the foundational text of the school of philosophy called “Nyāya.” The Nyāya tradition is home to a number of leading voices within classical Indian philosophy and is celebrated in later doxographies as one of the six “orthodox” systems of Hindu thought. Vātsyāyana’s commentary sets the agenda for much of Nyāya’s philosophical developments throughout its history. This chapter explores his theory of knowledge, giving special attention to his account of the nature and importance of cognition as a guide to action. It illustrates the way in which this theme informs a number of apparently distinct elements of his project including his realism, his account of epistemic entitlement, and his notion of philosophy’s contribution to living well.

Original Citation

Dasti, M.R. (2017). Vātsyāyana: Cognition as a Guide to Action. In J. Ganeri (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Indian Philosophy, (pp. 209-230). New York: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199314621.013.15