Definition - What does Arthapatti mean?

Arthapatti is a Sanskrit term meaning "presumption" or "implication." In the yogic philosophy of the Advaita Vedanta system and the Bhatta school of Purva-Mimamsa, it is said to be one of the six pranamas, or means of obtaining knowledge.

Arthapatti refers to the way in which knowledge is derived from a set of circumstances. It is analogous in contemporary logic to the concept of circumstantial implication. It generally requires an observation of fact(s) and postulation based on such fact(s) to arrive at the information.

Yogapedia explains Arthapatti

Arthapatti recognizes not all information is immediately accessible; thus, to use postulation and presumption is considered one method of gaining proper insight and knowledge. It supposes a fact in order to support a well-established fact. However, some scholars consider this a weaker method of gaining knowledge than other pranamas. Certain schools of philosophy do not accept information gained through arthapatti.

Particular examples of knowledge derived through arthapatti include using data on sunrise times to determine the time the sun will rise tomorrow, or observing someone’s weight and eating patterns, and postulating about their dietary habits.

Arthapatti is the fifth of the six pranamas, with the other five being:

  • Pratyaksha - perception
  • Anumana - inference
  • Sabda - testimony
  • Upamana - comparison
  • Anupalabdhi - non-perception
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