Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: Part 4

Published: 01.12.2011
Updated: 02.07.2015

What is this of-relation? It is the relation of knowing and its content, the knowing or assertive function which is sometimes identified with the function of meaning. It is a relation, not of two contents, but of content and no-content; of being and no-being—something that is neither the one nor the other and is intellitible only by the concept of freedom that can neither be said to be nor not to be. This freedom, stripped of its subjective associations, is but the category of indetermination. Distinction and indentity infact—or as we call them, differenced togetherness and undiferenced togetherness (of particularity and thinghood) - are themselves related in the way of indetermination or alternation: particularity and thinghood are in each relation without being in the other relation at the same time. Identity is distinct from distinction and yet implies it i.e. is in alternation with it. There are thus three basal categories—viz. distinction, distinction from distinction as other than distinction, and the indetermination of the two. Ordinary realism is based on the first category, there are forms of realism that admit, some kind of definite identity as distinct from distinction, and finally Jaina realism admits both in the form of indetermination, the identity being interpreted as indefinite.

The Jaina develops this category of indetermination into seven alternative modes of truth. The indetermination is ultimately of the definite and indefinite. Now this yields two relations - definite distinction between them and indefinite distinction. But indefinite distinction between them is to our knowledge nothing other than the indefinite as a term of it: we do not know more of the indefinite than that it is indefinite. The most complex mode of truth then that we know is the definite distinction between the definite and the indefinite, or as we put it more explicitly, between the definite-definite and the definite-indefinite. Every other aspect of truth, as we shall see presently, is implied by it as distinct from and alternative with it.

Now the definiteness of the given indefinite, as has been shown already, though objective, sits lightly on the indefinite and is a detachable adjective. The conception of detachable definiteness being thus obtained, the given definite turns out to be a manifold, to be a togetherness or distinction of two definites—the detachable definite on the one hand or particular position which has no reference to existence or non-existence and giveness or existence in general on the other which as contrasted with the particular i.e. as characterless may be called its negation. No other negation is admitted by the Jaina to be objective: what is called absolute negation—one form of which is the contradictory—the negation of what it is not possible to affirm at all is to be rejected as not objective, as no truth at all. The definite-definite or the determinate existent may then be said both to be and not to be: particularity or pure position is its being and existence in general is its negation. There is no contradiction if we bear in mind that the being of pure position is not given existence but only what must be thought, what is objective in this sense. The same logic is sometimes expressed by saying that a determinate existent A is in one respect and is not in another respect. This does not simply mean that A is A and is not B: it means that existent A, as existence universal, is distinct from its particularity.

The determinate existent is, in the sense explained, being and negation as distinguishably together, together by what the Jaina calls kramārpaṇa. The given indefinite—the 'unspeakable' or avaktavya as it has been called—as distinct from the definite existent, presents soemthing other than this 'consecutive togetherness': it implies sahārpaṇa or co-presentation which amounts to non-distinction or indeterminate distinction of being and negation in the above sense. It is objective as given: it cannot be said to be not a particular position nor to be non-existent. At the same time it is not the definite distinction of position and existence: it represents a category by itself. The commonsense principle implied in its recognition is that what is given cannot be rejected simply because it is not expressible by a single positive concept. A truth has to be admitted if it cannot be got rid of even if it is not understood.

So far then we have obtained four modes of truth—being, negation, their distinction and their non-distinction—all implied by the distinction between the definite given and the indefinite given. Now this distinction is itself a mode of truth: and as the definite given is taken to be being and negation or particularity and existence together, the indefinite may be considered as together with or distinct from each of these elements taken singly. It may be taken to be a particular i.e. to be together with position, and it may be taken to be many indistinguishable negations, to be the universal - existence—as itself a confusion of the negations of many particulars, as not-A, not-B, not-C.....indefinitely together. Thus we have altogether seven modes of truth—bhaṅgas as they have been called - viz. particular position or being, its negation or the universal - existence, position and negation as distinguishably together or determinate existent, these as indistinguishably together or the indefinite, this indefinite as itself a being or particular position, as many negations together, and finally as distinct from the determinate existent., If there be an eighth mode, it would be non-distinction of the definite and indefinite, which however is but the indefinite, nothing more specific than the fourth mode.

The value of these modes of truth for logic cannot be fully discussed within the limits of this paper. We may conclude by pointing out thai these modes of truth are not merely many truths but alternative truths. The last mode may be regarded as implying the other modes but is not therefore in any sense a comprising unity. What is implied by a mode is a different mode. The implying relation in objective terms is but indetermination. The implying mode and the implied mode are at once distinct and indefinitely non-distinct. Truth as an indetermination or alternation of truths is but manifold possibility. Each mode of truth as alternative with the others is a possible though it has to be taken as objective.

There is the conception of indeterministic will to which there are many possibles, any of which can be really chosen by it. Here we have already the notion of manifold possibility as objective to the will. But the logic of this notion has not been sufficiently investigated, though the relations of objective possibles cannot be adequately expressed by the categories of ordinary logic. The Jaina theory elaborates a logic of indetermination—not in reference to tbe will—but in reference to the knowing though it is a pragmatist theory in some sense. As a realist, the Jaina holds that truth is not constituted by willing though he admits that the knowledge of truth has a necessary reference to willing, His theory of indeterministic truth is not a form of scepticism. It represents, not doubt, but toleration of may modes of truth. The faith in one truth or even in a plurality of truths, each simply given as determinate, would be rejected by it as a species of intolerance. What is presented and cannot be got rid of has to be accepted as truth even though it is not definitely thinkable or is thinkable in alternative definite modes.

Sources
Published by:
Jain Vishwa Bharati Institute
Ladnun - 341 306 (Rajasthan) General Editor:
Sreechand Rampuria
Edited by:
Rai Ashwini Kumar
T.M. Dak
Anil Dutta Mishra

First Edition:1996
© by the Authors

Printed by:
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Avaktavya
  2. JAINA
  3. Jaina
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