The seventh century CE philosopher Kumārila Bhaṭṭa argued that we are warranted in taking our world-presenting experiences as veridical so long as we lack defeaters or reasons to suspect our epistemic process is flawed. On this view, svataḥprāmāṇya in Sanskrit, henceforth the SP principle, such experiences are defeasibly sources of knowledge, even when we do not reflect on their content or investigate their causal origins. Recently, Daniel Immerman (2018), on the basis of work by John Taber (1992) and Dan Arnold (2008), has argued that the SP principle is a version of the “knows-knows principle” (KK principle). In particular, he thinks Kumārila, as interpreted by his 11th century commentator Pārthasārathi Miśra, is committed to the view that if you know something then you are in a position to know that you know it. In this paper, I argue both that the SP principle is not a version of the KK principle and that Pārthasārathi’s Kumārila would not have held the KK principle. Through investigation of the SP principle we will see that Kumārila is not primarily concerned with KK and the justified true belief model of knowledge predominant in Anglo-Analytic philosophy, but is instead concerned with first-order warrant and occurrent cognitions.
Dr Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Humanities Division of Yale-NUS College, Singapore, with a joint courtesy appointment in the Department of Philosophy, National University of Singapore. He completed his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin in 2015. He holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Missouri, St Louis. His work explores language, meaning, and knowledge and his research interest is in the history of philosophy as a way of doing philosophy. Specifically, his work engages with classical Indian philosophical traditions as well as contemporary Anglophone (analytic) philosophy of language.