The Tibetan tradition of epistemology and logic (tshad ma) evolved within the framework of the commentarial tradition based primarily on the works of the Indian scholar Dharmakīrti. It soon developed into an indigenous system with its own specific terminology and formal features. On one hand, the investigations in this domain are focussing on the contributions of individual authors, in particular, the famous figures of the early tradition rNgog Blo ldan shes rab (1059–1109) and Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge (1109–1169), but also of lesser known scholars. On the other hand, specific topics are being addressed, such as the theory of argumentation and philosophy of mind.

Related publications

Hugon, Pascale, The Origin of the Theory of Definition and its Place in Phya pa Chos kyi seng geʼs Epistemological System. In: P. Hugon and K. Vose (eds.), Tibetan Scholasticism in the 11th and 12th Centuries – Contributions to a panel at the XVth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Atlanta, 23-28 June 2008. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 32 (2009) [2010], pp. 319‒368.

Hugon, Pascale, Phya pa Chos kyi seng geʼs Views on Perception. In: H. Krasser, H. Lasic, E. Franco, B. Kellner (eds.), Religion and Logic in Buddhist Philosophical Analysis. Proceedings of the Fourth International Dharmakīrti Conference. Vienna, August 23‒27, 2005. Vienna, 2011: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wisschenschaften, pp. 159‒176.

Hugon, Pascale, rNgog Blo ldan shes rab’s (1059–1109) Concise Guide to the Nyāyabinduṭīkā.Journal of Tibetology 9 (2014), pp. 194‒234.

Hugon, Pascale, Tibetan Epistemology and Philosophy of Language. In: Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2020 Edition), URL = <>. [Substantive revision of the 2015 entry]

Hugon, Pascale, The Tibetan Translation of the Indian Buddhist Epistemological Corpus. Medieval Worlds 11 (2020), pp. 187‒212. (The final publication is available at Medieval Worlds via


Logic and Theory of Argumentation

Pascale Hugon

This project is examining various theoretical and practical aspects of philosophical argumentation in the Tibetan context (with a focus on the pre-classical period), namely, on the one hand, prescriptions in works on logic regarding philosophical debates, and on the other, the argumentative methods adopted by authors themselves in their treatises. Particular attention is being paid to the involvement of epistemic elements in the rules pertaining to logical reasoning and its verbal expression in proofs or refutations, namely the role played by the nature of the mental state of the cognizer (such as the opponent for the sake of whom an argument is formulated).

A special focus of this investigation is argumentation by way of consequences (Tib. thal ‘gyur/thal ba, Skt. prasaṅga), which is a key element in the logical system of Madhyamaka thinkers.

Related publications

Hugon, Pascale, gTsang nag pa on Similar/Dissimilar Instances and Examples. In: Sh. Katsura and E. Steinkellner (eds.),The Role of the Example (dṛṣṭānta) in Classical Indian Logic. Vienna, 2004: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien (Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 58), pp. 53‒90.

Hugon, Pascale, Interpretations of the Trairūpya in Tibet.Hōrin 11 (2004), pp. 95‒117.

Hugon, Pascale, Arguments by Parallels in the Epistemological Works of Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge. Argumentation 22.1 (2008), pp. 93–114. (DOI 10.1007/s10503-007-9074-7) (view here).

Hugon, Pascale, Philosophical Argumentation in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition– Between Theory and Practice. Kuwon Kenkyūronbunshū (Journal of the Young Buddhist Association [Bukkyō seinen kai] of Waseda University) 2 (Revised Edition) (2011), pp. 1‒15.

Hugon, Pascale, Argumentation Theory in the Early Tibetan Epistemological Tradition.Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 34.1‒2 (2011)[2012], pp. 97‒148.

Hugon, Pascale, Clapping Hands in sKyid grong? Logical and Contextual Aspects of a Famous Debate Narrative,” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines 23 (2012), pp. 51‒102. (PDF)

Hugon, Pascale, Inherited Opponents and New Opponents – A Look at Informal Argumentation in the Tshad ma rigs gter.Journal of Tibetology 8 (2012), pp. 26‒57.

Hugon, Pascale, Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge on Argumentation by Consequence (thal ’gyur): The Nature, Function, and Form of Consequence Statements. Journal of Indian Philosophy 41.6 (2013), pp. 671‒702 (DOI 10.1007/s10781-013-9205-4).

Hugon, Pascale, Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge and His Successors on the Classification of Arguments by Consequence (thal ʾgyur) Based on the Type of the Logical Reason.Journal of Indian Philosophy 44.5 (2016), pp. 883–938 (DOI: 10.1007/s10781-015-9285-4).

Hugon, Pascale, Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge on Argumentation by Consequence (thal ’gyur) (2): The analysis of the correspondence between a consequence and its reverse form and the thirteenfold typology of consequences.Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 39 (2016), pp. 51–113 (DOI: 10.2143/JIABS.39.0.3200523).

Hugon, Pascale, Sa skya Paṇḍita’s Classification of Arguments by Consequence Based on the Type of the Logical Reason – Editorial conundrum and mathematics for commentators.Journal of Indian Philosophy 46.5 (2018), pp. 845–887 (DOI: 10.1007/s10781-018-9365-3).

Tibetan Commentaries on the Works of Dharmakīrti

Pascale Hugon, Patrick McAllister

This project is aiming at establishing a repertory of the Tibetan commentaries that were composed on Dharmakīrti’s works, with a focus on the early period of Tibetan scholasticism (11th–13th c.). This data will be included in the EAST database []. The extant commentaries in that list will be considered for research on particular topics.

Related publications

Hugon, Pascale, Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge’s Synoptic Table of the Pramāṇaviniścaya. In: E. Steinkellner, D. Qing, H. Krasser (eds.), Sanskrit Manuscripts in China. Proceedings of a panel at the 2008 Beijing Seminar on Tibetan Studies, October 13 to 17, Beijing, 2009: China Tibetology Publishing House, pp. 47‒88.