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Anupalabdhi (Sanskrit: अनुपलब्धि) means 'non-recognition', 'non-perception'.[1] This word refers to the Pramana of Non-perception which consists in the presentative knowledge of negative facts. [2]

Anupalabdhi or abhāva parmāna is the Pramana of Non-perception admitted by Kumārila for the perception of non-existence of a thing. He holds that the non-existence of a thing cannot be perceived by the senses for there is nothing with which the senses could come into contact in order to perceive the non-existence.[3]

According to the Bhatta school of Purva-Mimamsa and Advaita Vedanta system of philosophy, Anupalabdhi is a way to apprehend an absence;[4] it is regarded as the source of knowledge, the other five being – pratyaksha ('perception'), anumana ('inference'), shabda ('testimony'), upmana ('comparison') and arthapatti ('presumption'). The perception of negation or non-existence in its various forms is also due to the relation of attributiveness.[5]

All things exist in places either in a positive (sadrupa) or in a negative (asadrupa) relation, and it is only in the former case that they come into contact with the senses, while in the latter case the perception of the negative existence can only be had by a separate mode of movement of the mind, a separate pramanaanupalabdhi. [6]

Indirect knowledge of non-existence can be attained by other means but direct knowledge of non-existence of perceptible objects and their attributes is available only through this kind of pramana which is not inference.[7]

There are four verities of Anupalabdhi which have been identified, they are – a) karana-anupalabdhi or 'non-perception of the causal condition', b) vyapaka-anupalabdhi or 'non-perception of the pervader', c) svabhava-anupalabdhi or 'non-perception of presence of itself', and d) viruddha-anupalabdhi or 'non-perception of the opposed'.The lack of perceptible (yogya) adjuncts (upadhi) is known through non-perception of what is perceptible (yogya-anupalabdhi) and the lack of imperceptible adjuncts is known by showing that which is thought to be an adjunct.[8]

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According to Dharmakirti, anupalabdhi is the affirmative assertion of a negative prediction, and is same as anumana of an abhava.[10]


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