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The article deals with the structure and function of perceptual judgment in the perception theories of the Buddhist Diṅṅāga (c. 480–540 CE) and the Vaiśeṣika Praśastapāda (c. sixth century CE). I show their indebtedness to the Vyākaraṇa tradition and particularly to Patañjali (second century BCE). Following Shōryū Katsura’s idea that the status of perceptual judgment with regard to the Buddhist system of instruments of valid cognition (pramāṇa) was first established by Dharmakīrti (600-660 CE), I argue that Diṅṅāga’s examples in his definition of perception in Pramāṇasamuccaya-vṛtti I,3d could be considered as perceptual judgments in the sense of Charles Peirce (“The first judgement of a person as to what is before his senses”). After the examination of Diṅṅāga’s and Praśastapāda’s examples of perceptual judgments, I come to the conclusion that Diṅṅāga, as a nominalist, sees in them an expression of ordinary linguistic behaviour (lokavyavahāra) shaped by convention and grammatical tradition (Vyākaraṇa), while Praśastapāda, as a realist, seeks to show that perceptual judgments follow the Vaiśeṣika ontological categories. If in Diṅṅāga’s epistemology perceptual judgement remains outside the pramāṇa system (its status is simply not defined), in Praśastapāda’s Vaiśeṣika it pertains to the pramāṇa of perception (pratyakṣa).
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