Power and Insight in Jain Discourse VII

Posted: 17.02.2016
Updated on: 19.02.2016

— VII —

Although Jain ascetics use the vernacular of their local followers, and reject the Brāhmaṇical idea of the intrinsic sacredness of certain words (MDhŚ 4.256), they do maintain a clear distinction between religious and non-religious ways of USING a given language, that is, the intrinsic structural (not metaphysical) features, intentions and functions of an expression.[164] In accordance with their basic religious principles, they emphasise not the religious (dharmika) qualities of a language per se but of speaking (and writing) as a social practice, and of the importance of the underlying rules as well as the intention and function of speech.[165] Already in the early canonical scriptures, Jain ascetics developed a normative doctrine of religious language usage, a discourse ethics supplemented by casuistic context-sensitive rules, which, as I will now show in greater detail, shares certain concerns and features with universal pragmatics.

Normative principles and rules of speech are constitutive for Jain discourse to the extent that they are used by speech communities, both to generate and to interpret speech. The way in which actual communication is informed by these principles is a matter of empirical investigation. Characteristically, Jain norms of speech are presented in the form of hierarchical levels of universality and corresponding competence of judgement and restraint of the speaker. Principles and rules of speech inform practice in varying degrees, according to their level of abstraction. For the following presentation, I distinguish four relevant dimensions of Jain doctrinal reflection on and prescription of ways of speaking:[166]

1. Principles and criteria for religious speech (ahiṁsā and satya);

2. General rules and clauses for language usage (bhāṣā-jāta);

3. Context-sensitive rules for proper ways of speaking;

4. Examples (considering karmic and social implications) (dṛṣṭānta).

(Ad 1) The main criteria for identifying 'religious' language-usage are (a) non-violence (ahiṁsā), and (b) truth (satya), that is, the first two of the five great and small vows (mahā-vrata and aṇuvrata) of Jainism,[167] which have to be accepted by anyone who wants to be formally recognised as a practising Jain.[168] 'Non-religious' language is characterised by the opposite qualities—violence (hiṁsā) and non-truth or from the point of view of the agent (the two perspectives are not clearly differentiated): nontruthfulness (asatya).[169]

(Ad a) Ahiṁsā is the most important criterion for religious language usage. Jains, like Buddhists, regard speech as an active force and a potential weapon which, if misused, implies violence and negatively affects the karman of the one who handles it.[170] However, they also emphasise the fundamental connection between pure speech and spiritual advancement, which the Buddhist Subhāsita-sutta[171] seems to deny.[172] In order to minimise violence, Jain ācāryas, like other South Asian legislators (cf. MDhŚ 4.138 f.), laid great emphasis on the rules concerning proper speech, which they systematised probably for the first time in Indian philosophy:[173] 'the Jains insist on the absolute necessity of refraining from directly or indirectly aggressive speech' (CAILLAT (1984: 67)).

(Ad b) Truthfulness or truth (satya) is the one fundamental Jain principle that is directly related to language use. Its importance for the Jains is indicated by the fact that it is second only to the all-encompassing ahiṁsā-vrata, whereas it is given fourth place in the Buddhist dasa-sīla list. The Āyār II, one of the oldest texts of the Jain tradition, gives the following wording of the satya-vrata (in Jacobi's translation):

'I renounce all vices of lying speech (arising from anger or greed or fear or mirth). I shall neither myself speak lies, nor cause others to speak lies, nor consent to the speaking of lies by others. I confess and blame, repent and exempt myself of these sins in the thrice threefold way, in mind, speech, and body' (Āyār–5).[174]

Noticeable in this statement is, firstly, that lying is 'renounced', i.e. the possibility is explicitly recognised, but deliberately excluded. Truth is not defined positively but negatively, through the exclusion of what it is not; which has been a popular approach in South Asian philosophy in general. Secondly, the vow refers to contexts of communication (speech acts such as consenting, causing others to do something). Thirdly, speaking the truth and lying are conceived as effects of the emotions which motivate the speaker's intentions (as the clauses indicate). Truth is here not primarily perceived in terms of the representational function of language, as a propositional relationship between words and things, but in terms of the expressive and regulative functions of language. After all, the intention of Jain authors was not primarily to produce a sound semantic theory of truth, but a pragmatic method for the liberation of the soul. The expressive aspect of speech, or truthfulness, is related to the character of the speaker, that is, his / her 'purity' of insight and sincerity:[175] 'truth means the state of being true' (TULSÎ (1985: 84)). The ethical and social dimensions of language are addressed in Āyār 2.4 and DVS 7.11 (see infra p. 161 and 162) in terms of the dispositions of the speaker and the effects of language on speaker and hearer. Viy 25.1.4.a (854b) reflects on fifteen kinds of activity (joga) which are affected by the four modes of inner sense (maṇa) and of speech (bhāsā), which are seen as intrinsically connected.[176] In all cases, pivotal importance is given to avoiding violence.

It is worth noting that both the Jain theory of speech and the theory of communicative action privilege pragmatic notions of truth. Habermas' analysis of validity claims focuses on the interplay of the dimensions of propositional truth, sincerity of expression and intersubjective rightness. Separately, these aspects are also distinguished in Jain texts on ways of speaking. The multi-functional nature of utterances, the contextrelativity of truth values cum truth acts,[177] and the relationship between belief and meaning,[178] etc., requires further investigation. In his analysis of intermodal transfer of validity between speech acts, HABERMAS (1981: 442 f.) / (1984–1987 I: 444 f.), (1984: 105–12, 126)) demonstrates that performative and ethical or aesthetic statements also contain propositions, which can be questioned by interlocutors. Vows, for instance, are expressives which also carry a strong normative element; while most commissives and declaratives cannot work without emphasising the expressive component.[179] Declarations of sincerity, however, cannot be redeemed by argument but only through behavioural practice. This observation makes us aware that one of the functions of Jain ascetic practice is the public validation of sincerity, which is converted into generalised acceptability qua prestige and moral authority.[180]

(Ad 2) The principles of ahiṁsā and satya are too abstract to be useful for judging actual behaviour. This is why Jains have added further, lower order rules of language usage, which supplement the general principles and facilitate translating them into practice (speaking and writing). Two of the 'senior' canonical Jain texts deal with language usage in greater detail—the chapter on modes ('species') of speech (bhāsā-jāya <bhāṣā-jāta>)[181] in the Āyār 2.4.1–2 and later parallels in the canon,[182] and the chapter on pure speech (vakka-suddhi <vākya-śuddhi>) in the Dasa-veyāliya (Daśa-vaikālika, DVS 7), which is probably derived from the Āyār, but offers further clarifying statements.[183] In addition, there are several passages in the Viyāhapannatti (Bhagavatī, Viy),[184] and the more systematic but on the whole 'strikingly ill-assorted'[185] explanations of the modes of speech (language) in Chapter 11 of the Pannavaṇā (Prajñāpanā, Paṇṇ) which, according to tradition, was composed c. 79– 37 BCE by an ascetic called Ārya Śyāma. The relevant passages of the Pannavaṇā and its principal commentary, Ācārya Malayagiri's (c. 1131–1203) Prajñāpanā-ṭīkā (PaṇṇṬ), were summarised by SCHUBRING (2000: 148 f., § 68; 157 f., § 74), MĀLVAṆIYĀ (1971: 321–26) and, in passing, by CAILLAT (1991: 10 ff.).[186] The categories of speech of the Āyāraṁga (Āyār), and one of the lists of sub-categories of the Pannavaṇā appear also in Mūlācāra (MĀc) 5.110–120 of the Digambara author Vaṭṭakera. This text is generally dated 1st–3rd century CE (OKUDA (1975: 12 f.)), and must have been composed after the Pannavaṇā.

The situations which are depicted in these texts as problematic invariably show individual ascetics interacting with the wider social environment, coinciding with our paradigmatic speech situation type c. They are distinctly different from situations of monastic politeness (vinaya), formal sermons (pravacana), or public debates (prayoga), which will be briefly discussed later.

The presentation of the bhāṣā-rules in the Āyār is hierarchically structured in accordance with Jain principles and ethos. It begins with the satya-mahā-vrata, explaining its various modes: referential truth, grammaticality, clarity of expression, the avoidance of doubt, and of false promises etc. Then, various modalities of the ahiṁsā-mahāvrata are described, such as the avoidance of harsh words, politeness, and indirect affirmation of violent deeds of others.[187] In addition to the vow of satya, five general clauses are given to the neophyte. They explain how to avoid false speech. That is, to speak with deliberation, and not in anger, fear, or mirth, because these states of mind might move one to 'utter a falsehood' (Āyār–5). Two further maxims are important for the ascetics: the observance of the bhāṣā-samitis, the circumspection regarding all speech acts, and of the bhāṣā-guptis, the controls of the four types of speech, which are laid down in the Uttarajjhayaṇa (Uttarādhyayana, Uttar) 24.[188] Like ahiṁsā and satya, they are intended to direct the attention away from violent speech, from the expression of desire, and ultimately away from speech at all. These maxims and rules are not linguistic in any technical sense, and not conventional or customary in a folkloristic sense. They rather resemble the Gricean postulates, and hence, I would argue, function within Jain philosophy in a manner similar to operationalisations of HABERMAS' (1980: 400) formal pragmatic presuppositions of communicative action. That is, as principles, or general interpretive procedures, which theorise the normative conditions of the acceptability of statements, and hence of the ability of language to avoid violence and to enable, or generate, both non-violence and social co-operation (which is therefore seen as problematic).

In the following, I will analyse and compare these Jain modes of speech, both with Habermas' validity claims of truth, truthfulness and rightness, which correspond to constative, representative, and regulative aspects of speech acts (which are differently weighted in different contexts), and with the Gricean postulates, which from the perspective of Habermas' model further specify empirical pragmatic conditions of validity claims. The discussion of some of the implications of the major bhāṣā-rules follows, for purely formal reasons, the sequential order of Grice's cooperative principle and conversational maxims, though a mode of presentation oriented towards Jain principles could have equally been chosen.

GRICE (1975: 45 f.) defines the 'cooperative principle' (CP), and the four main 'conversational maxims', which he labelled in analogy to the pure categories of understanding (reine Verstandesbegriffe) in KANT's (1974: 118 f.) transcendental logic, as follows:

CP:         'Make your conversational contribution such as required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged.'

Quantity: 'Make your contribution as informative as required (for the current purpose of the exchange). Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.'

Quality: 'Try to make your contribution one that is true: Do not say what you believe to be false. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.'

Relation: 'Be relevant.'

Manner: 'Avoid obscurity of expression. Avoid ambiguity. Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity). Be orderly.'

Although the Gricean postulates are widely accepted as a theory of general principles of human communication, it is clear that partners in a conversation have to resort to more than just the rules of their language and the cooperative principle. For instance, to (1) conventional meaning of words and context, (2) background meaning, such as common cultural assumptions etc. That is, dimensions such as those listed as the seven Jain nayas. What counts as an appropriate, informative, true (plausible), relevant, and unequivocal expression cannot be judged in abstract, but only by the participants in a specific discourse. But it is the task of the analyst to elicit both the unspoken conditions of communicative success and the social conditions of fulfilment of speech acts in concrete situations. Here, I only indicate similarities and differences between the Gricean conversational postulates and analogous categories of the Jain analysis of speech and discourse ethics, and attempt to elicit the implications for a comparison with the theory of communicative action.[189]

Cooperative principle-non-violence (ahiṁsā)

Grice regards the cooperative principle as fundamental for any conversation. His notion of 'appropriateness' corresponds to Habermas' more general notion of 'communicative intent', which presupposes a commitment to the universal validity claims of propositional truth, expressive truthfulness and normative rightness, in addition to the basic condition of linguistic comprehensibility. Despite their differences, both notions are grounded in Kantian moral philosophy, rather than in utilitarian principles.[190]

Interestingly, in the two key Jain texts mentioned, no equivalent to the cooperative principle per se can be found, nor, of course, is there any mention of a specific consensus orientation. This is in accordance with the individual− or jīva-centred attitude that is recommended from the 'ultimate point of view' (PN).

However, a passage in Kundakunda's Samaya-sāra, whose importance has been emphasised by CAILLAT (1984: 71 n. 54), clearly states the necessity to observe the 'accepted purpose of the talk exchange' (here: religious instruction), as maintained by Grice's principle. The purpose of this statement is to explain, why the teaching of (ultimately incommunicable) Jain doctrines forces ascetics to give up their ideal meditative silence temporarily to use worldly pragmatic language (VN) in agreement with conventional standards of comprehensibility and rightness:[191]

'Just as a non-Aryan (foreigner) cannot be made to understand anything except through the medium of his non-Aryan language, so the knowledge of the Absolute cannot be communicated to the ordinary people except through the vyavahāra point of view' (SSā 1.8).

The true insights of Jain teaching, it is stated here, cannot be understood by pupils and the wider public if ascetics do not orientate themselves towards the capacities and expectations of their audience and take a co-operative attitude. This is a Jain version of the theory of 'skilful means' (upāya).[192] The commentator Amṛtacandra explicitly states that ascetics should direct their utterances towards the pragmatic 'purpose of the discussion':

'The ultimate reality must be subjected to an intellectual analysis and the constituent elements so obtained must be selected and emphasised according to the interest of the student and also consistent with the purpose of the discussion. The variations in the context and the intellectual aim will naturally determine the nature of the descriptions adopted with reference to the reality studied. The method of selective description to suit the purpose of the context is the method adopted by the ordinary man … Since the method is determined by a purpose of practical interest, the investigation will be relevant only to that purpose and the conclusion obtained must therefore be partial ….' (Commentary on SSā 1.8; p. 18 of Chakravarti's rendition).

Supporting the spiritual quest of others is one of the duties of the (thera-kalpa) ascetic (DVS1 9.4.5). Yet, ultimately, social co-operation is not seen as a religious value in itself, but as a hindrance for the process of self-purification. Teaching religion to others is merely a 'method determined by a purpose of practical interest', but not directly oriented towards salvation itself, and therefore akin to the attitude 'adopted by the ordinary man who is engaged in his pursuit in life' (SSā 1.8, Commentary p.18).[193]

The doctrine of the ultimately (PN) non-religious character of teaching religious knowledge is, I think, the prime reason for the conspicuous absence of any mention of a functional equivalent of the cooperative principle itself in the Āyār. From the 'practical point of view' (VN) co-operative intent is acceptable, and even assumes a religious function, if the objective of the conversation is the furtherance of non-violence. In fact, the only difference between worldly co-operation (laukika-upakāra) and religious instruction or supra-mundane co-operation (lokṁttara-upakāra) is the purpose of co-operation itself; that is, either the pursuit of worldly aims, or of the purification of the soul.[194] The same holds true for the difference between 'worldly' and 'religious' rhetoric, as we will see later. One should, therefore, expect mentioning of the cooperative principle in the AS's discussion of pragmatic language usage as well. In order to explain its absence, I suggest an additional argument, derived from the observation that violence is the main threat to co-operation, and, conversely, that non-violence is its fundamental pre-condition. Thus, we find that the value of ahiṁsā, which ultimately promotes total non-action (ayoga) in the world, also reflects, on a secondary level, the potential of total (hierarchical and non-violent) co-operation, in the sense of opening spaces, refuges, for existence (Seinlassen). Accordingly, many Jain texts emphasise that the implication of ahiṁsā, non-violence, is dayā, compassion. The ahiṁsā-mahā-vrata, therefore, implies the sought-after cooperative principle, although it does not say so explicitly. Indeed, from a Jain point of view, it could be argued, with good reason, that the positive notion of communicative intent is merely an application of the more general negative moral principle of non-violence within the sphere of social life. This begs the question: How universal are the cooperative principle and the formal pragmatic validity claims? Does communicative intent presuppose a more fundamental commitment to an ethics of (physical) non-violence?[195] The cooperative principle, albeit apparently only concerned with straightforward information transmission from speaker to hearer, implies normative conditions such as physical non-violence (and of non-silence) to ensure ongoing linguistic co-operation. But it remains indifferent to the distinction between violent and non-violent aspects of overt speech (and of thought) itself. Communicative action considers form and content of speech also only under formal aspects, that is, acceptability, which may include violent communications. The Jain principle of ahiṁsā, by contrast, implies not only formal but also qualitative conditions for the perpetuation of co-operation.

Numerous examples of rules concerning violent speech in the Āyār and DVS implicitly refer to non-violence as a condition for co-operation and as form of co-operation, as in the following śloka:

'Revered is he who speaks not ill in one's absence, who uses not a sharp tongue in one's presence, who speaks not with assertion, nor uses words that are harsh' (DVS2 9.3.8–9).

It is not apparent from this statement why these attitudes should be revered, apart from general considerations of the detrimental effects of violence on the karmic constitution on the speaker. But it is clear by implication that one who avoids 'sharp tongue' etc., is revered also because, otherwise, the continuation of co-operation is threatened and might be terminated. This and many similar statements implicitly stress the value of completely avoiding 'face-threatening acts', although not saying so openly. They are presented in the form of negations of non-universalisable maxims.[196] The closest one can get to an explicit, positive postulate of a 'cooperative principle' are statements concerning the ascetic values of offering fearlessness (abhaya-dāna) and supra-mundane co-operation (pāramārthikṁpakāra) for the upliftment of the soul, which are seen as the greatest gift to society, in fact, constituting its fundamental condition

Paradoxically, however, the methods of liberation taught by Jain ascetics do not emphasise co-operation but its direct opposite: separation and non-interaction with the world. This paradox is the main obstacle for an understanding of the social implications of the principle of ahiṁsā. SEYFORT RUEGG (1985) addressed this problem in Gricean terms in an interpretation of the Ābhiprāyika− and Neyārtha-sūtras of Tibetan Buddhism. He argues that the Buddha's way of teaching non-cooperation amounts to an act of 'flouting' not only of the conversational maxims, but of the cooperative principle itself. But because the Buddha's acts of 'flouting' are not intended for the achievement of worldly gains, but for the spiritual liberation of others, SEYFORT RUEGG introduces the terms 'salvific principle' and 'salvific violence' as religious supplements to the pragmatic Gricean 'cooperative principle':

'In fact Grice's Cooperative Principle yields in such Sūtras to what we might call a Salvific Principle put to use in a perlocutionary manner. Still, in conformity even with this Salvific Principle of the Buddha, 'flouting'—or more specifically upāya-governed salvific exploitation—of the Conversational Maxims are to be found in Ābhiprāyika and Neyārtha Sūtras, just as they have been recognized in Grice's second type of conversational implicature involving exploitation of conversational maxims' (SEYFORT RUEGG (1985: 317)).

SEYFORT RUEGG's remarks are useful for understanding salvific violence, which 'conquers violence'. At the same time, his analysis is problematic, because he does not clearly distinguish between linguistic co-operation and social co-operation. Even the Buddha (or Mahāvīra) was of course forced to observe the cooperative principle during his sermons, like everyone else who wishes to communicate (SEYFORT RUEGG (1985: 315)), even if esoteric Buddhist (and Digambara Jain) schools deny this. From a pragmatic point of view, the 'salvific principle' of insight creation through acts of symbolic violence appears merely as a culturally specific norm, a systematic distortion of communication which, indeed, as SEYFORT RUEGG (1985: 318) argues, cannot be inferred from the surface meaning of a communication, only elicited via a systematic hermeneutics of the doctrinal system as a whole. Yet, from an emic point of view, the non-motivated 'intentional ground' of socially 'purposeful' communication, cannot be simply identified with the codified doctrinal system of Buddhism, as SEYFORT RUEGG (1985: 314 f.) suggests, because it refers to the existential conditions of meaning per se which can be explored only through direct meditative experience. From an etic point of view, the Buddhist intention to put an end to intention as a value, compared for instance with the phenomenological theory of the constitutive role of the structure of intentionality of consciousness or Dasein, is one ideology amongst others, and must be communicated in a conventional way.197

The conundrum of ideal non-cooperation becomes clearer, if we consider not only discourse but also religious practice. The practice of renunciation, which Buddhist and Jain doctrines aim to stimulate, is a religiously sanctioned act of social separation and selective non-cooperation, which does involve what might be termed 'sacred violence', in opposition to 'physical violence' and 'symbolic violence' (flouting) in the two forms of latent strategic action and systematically distorted communication ('salvific violence'). Within a hierarchical system, renunciation is a paradoxical act of status encompassment which creates at the same time new asymmetrical social relationships (renouncer / renounced, guru / devotees) and symmetrical social relationships (between devotees). In this way, acts of social separation and religious self-limitation are socially constitutive and culturally regenerative. Renunciation does not necessarily violate the conversational 'cooperative principle'. But, as a one-sided act of transcendence and symbolic incorporation of already established links of social co-operation, it contributes to the legitimation of stratified systems of functional differentiation and moral divisions of labour. Following DUMONT (1980: [197]) and SEYFORT RUEGG (1985), I therefore propose to distinguish between the 'salvific' violence of (Jain) religious rhetoric and the 'sacred violence' of the quasi-sacrificial act of renunciation itself.[198] Effectively, Jain renouncers do not live outside society, but 'unbound … amongst the bound' (Āyār 2.16.7). After renunciation, linguistic co-operation is strictly regulated, but continues. Worldly social co-operation, however, is severed more radically, although only unilaterally, while the scope of social co-operation in religious contexts is actually widened.[199] Sacred violence differentiates the levels of institutional non-violence and violence, while conditioning the patterns of selective co-operation. The necessary violence (ārambhajā hiṁsā) of the social world is always presupposed by Jain ascetics, in form of Brāhmaṇic household rites, the state and the socio-economic institutions and activities of their followers, which grant them one-sided material support:

'The lay estate … cannot exist without activity and there can be no activity without the taking of life; in its grosser form this is to be avoided sedulously but the implicit part of it is hard to avoid' (Āśādhara's 13th CE Sāgara-dharmāmṛta 4.12 summarised by WILLIAMS (1983: 121)).

Institutionalised ahiṁsā, therefore, does not only imply dayā, but also hiṁsā, within a structure of moral division of labour. That is, conceptually as well as practically, it necessarily implies—even presupposes—its own opposite.

In all these cases, from the practical point of view (VN), the principle of co-operation is implicitly presupposed, if not constituted, by unconditional acts of one-sided renunciation, although only the avoidance of violence is expressed. From the transcendental point of view (PN), however, ahiṁsā requires total non-cooperation with the world. Both possibilities of action, co-operation and non-cooperation, are open only to an individual which, by positing renunciation as the norm, is able to 'offer cooperation', or withdraw it,[200] selectively. It is mainly because the interdependence (and potential conflict) between the renouncer and the world cannot be stated openly in systems of hierarchical co-operation, that the Jain principle of ahiṁsā fulfils the functions both of the linguistic cooperative principle and of the constitutive principle of social co-operation only implicitly: without saying so.[201] In fact, most Jain norms for well spoken language do not advocate positive values, but the avoidance of their violation. Negative principles such as these are of a different kind than positive prescriptions à la Grice, who demands 'do cooperate', whereas the Jains implicitly say, 'do not not cooperate'. Thus, co-operation is implied in ahiṁsā, but in a modalised form.

The method of universalisation of specific moral norms and maxims qua double negation has been defended by WELLMER (1986: 21–37),[202] against HABERMAS (1991: 167 f., 172 f.) objection that consequentialist concepts of universal morality, predicated on norms of prohibition qua single or double negation, are inspired by the restricted 'liberal' aim of creating spaces of negatively defined individual freedom, contrasted with positive maxims, which are oriented towards publicly negotiated common interest. According to Habermas, the individualist conception of morality is based on a negative reading of the monologically applied categorical imperative. In contrast to positive duties, negative duties (and positive permissions) derive their plausibility from the qualities of apodictic prohibition: (a) unconditional validity, (b) determinateness of content, and (c) unequivocal specification of addressees. From the perspective of the potential victim, to every negative duty corresponds a right; for example, to the duty not to kill, the right to body and life. Yet, a principle of morality which permits only the legitimation of general norms of prohibition cannot serve as an unequivocal basis for the constitution of a positive common will. WELLMER (1986: 31 f.) and HABERMAS (1991: 170 f.) agree that neither positive nor negative duties can claim absolute validity, because every situation is different, and requires the invocation of different norms. In discourses of norm application, as opposed to norm legitimation, both negative and positive rights and duties can act as reasons for appropriate action,[203] though positive norms tend to be more unspecific. Yet, in concrete situations, moral norms themselves cannot be legitimated privately, only from the perspective of 'common interest', determining what is equally good 'for all'. While positive norms are burdened with discourses concerning concrete aims (problem of prognostics, performance, attribution of outcomes and unintended consequences, expectation and moral division of labour, evaluation of a result in terms of quantifiable aims), negative norms seem to remain aloof of problems of application, which cannot be avoided altogether though. Negatively defined principles can only protect the integrity and subjective freedom of the potential victim and, by implication, the freedom of the individual moral person itself. This may be the general principle underlying the Jain practice of deliberate renunciation of all violent action.[204]

The absence of positive principles in Jain ethics has frequently been criticised. In HABERMAS (1991: 166 f.) view, positive duties cannot be based on negative duties, but only on the principle of mutual recognition informing communicative action.[205] In his conception of morality, private morality and public justice differ not in principle, only in terms of the types of institutionally mediated interaction. The positive normative equivalent of the apodictic prohibition of speaking the untruth ("you should not lie") from the communication theoretical perspective is phrased in the following way:

'Act with an orientation to mutual understanding and allow everyone the communicative freedom to take positions on validity claims' (HABERMAS (1991: 173) / (1993: 66)).

Interestingly, this is not a maxim of truthfulness, but a reformulation of the cooperative principle. Being truthful, does not only imply the renunciation of deception, but is a positive act which contributes to the constitution of a social relationship.

There is another, practical, reason for the negative formulation of the cooperative principle. A negative statement forces the 'user' or interpreter of such a principle to work out the implied positive contextual presuppositions. This process involves the personal experiences of the individual concerned, in such a way that the positive 'implied' meanings and / or functions of the formal principle appear to be generated from the inner pool of values and expectations of the individual itself, and not as an externally imposed rule. The realm of 'sociability' or of 'the social' itself is theorised as an aspect of personal character, and not as an independently existing dimension of intersubjectivity (as in modern law, moral philosophy and sociology). From the perspective of Jain ethics, positive rules are generally regarded as lower order specifications of negative rules, whose conditions of application are implicitly presupposed. Negative rules secure a higher degree of formality and universality than positive rules, and hence greater contextual adaptability.[206] These are some of the reasons why positive principles are seldom expressed explicitly in the āgamas, but left to the interpretative imagination of their users, who have to work out their conditions of fulfilment.[207] However, if ahiṁsā is the functional equivalent of the cooperation principle, likewise do the modalities of the satya-mahā-vrata correspond to the conversational maxims, to which I will turn now.

Quantity—restraint (saṁyama)

There is no equivalent Habermasian validity claim for Grice's quantity-maxim, although it could be easily constructed. Functional equivalents of the maxim among the Jain rules of speaking are the principles of deliberation, moderation, and restraint (saṁjama <saṁyama>). Even if something is true, but is not to be said (avattavva <avaktavya>), because it may create harm, or if it cannot be understood, one should not say it. The purpose of the latter maxim is to avoid unintentional ambiguity due to ignorance of the listeners (cf. SSā 1.8).[208] The information processing aspect is expressed in Jain texts in general terms, such as 'speaking with precision' or 'straightforward' (ṛju). Often prescriptions are mixed with moral considerations, thus overlapping with the manner aspect, as the following example demonstrates:

'A monk or nun, putting aside wrath, pride, deceit, and greed, considering well, speaking with precision, what one has heard, not too quick, with discrimination, should employ language in moderation and restraint' (Āyār[209]

There is no mention here of the recipient of an utterance, nor of the 'information' to be communicated. The reasons are similar as in the case of the 'cooperative principle' ahiṁsā. Restrained speech is regarded in Jainism primarily (PN) as an exercise in self-purification, to be measured in terms of the strength of the commitment to Jain values, and the degree of Jain interactional competence. Only indirectly (VN) is restrained speech regarded as a vehicle for the univocal transmission of information. This, again, derives from the fact that the realm of the 'social' is only presupposed as a background for the individual 'path of purification'.[210]

The problem of ambiguity resulting from the fact that, from the perspective of PN, VN might be taken as a 'mixture of truth and untruth' is important. Interestingly, it is discussed in the Āyār and DVS itself in the context of half-true speech, or satyāmṛṣā bhāṣā (see infra pp. 162–169):

'Speaks not the wise something which is not known, or which generates confusion—whether this or that sense is right' (DVS2 7.4).

Ideally, a mendicant should remain silent. Otherwise, straightforward speech should be used. All language that could be both truth and false should be avoided:

'In speaking (a monk) should use as few words as possible; he should not delight in another's foibles; he should avoid deceiving speech, and should answer after ripe reflection.—One will repent of having used the third kind of speech (which is both true and untrue—P.F.); a secret should not be made known. This is the Nirgrantha's command.—[A monk] should not call one names, nor "friend", nor by his Gotra; "thou, thou" is vulgar; never address one by "thou"' (Suy 1.9.25–27).

Quality—truth (satya)

The equivalent of Grice's quality-maxim is satya, or truth. VANDERVEKEN (1993: 377) has shown that the maxim of quality can be generalised to cover commissives and directives, as well as assertives. A maxim of truth is positively expressed in the satyamahā-vrata, which Jain ascetics recite twice a day during their obligatory pratikramaṇa ritual (see supra).[211] However, in accordance with the preferred Jain method of negative determination, the general principle of truth is treated in this context only in terms of its characteristic violations (aticāra), that is, as the opposite of non-truth (asatya). The precise implications of the maxim of truth for language usage are specified elsewhere in form of a distinction of four types or 'species' of speech (bhāsā-jāya <bhāṣā-jāta>), which are at the centre of the Jain theory of discourse, which looks at speech primarily as an object, and not from the perspective of the speaker. These analytical categories should be known and utilised by mendicants (ideally by all Jains) to prevent both the preparation and performance of violence (ārambha):

'A mendicant should know that there are four kinds of speech: The first is truth; the second is untruth; the third is truth mixed with untruth; what is neither truth, nor untruth, nor truth mixed with untruth, that is the fourth kind of speech: neither truth nor untruth' (Āyār[212]

Notably, the same scheme of four modes is applied to speech and to cognition (maṇa <manas>) or knowledge (ṇāna <jñāna>) (Viy 622b/8.7.1b, 874b/15.1.4). Hence, the four bhāsā-guttis <bhāṣā-guptis>, or controls of speech, and the four maṇa-guttis <mano-guptis>, or controls of the inner sense, are both characterised by the same terms in Uttar 24.19–23. The four modes, thus, represent general attitudes towards truth, both in mind and in speech:


saccā <satya>



mosā <mṛṣā>



saccā-mosā <satyā-mṛṣā>

truth mixed with untruth


asaccā-mosā <asatyā-mṛṣā>

neither truth nor untruth

The formal structure of the four alternatives (tetra-lemma) is known as catuṣ-koṭi in Buddhist literature, but used differently here.[213] As the frequent use of the four alternatives (catur-bhaṅga or catur-bhaṅgī) as a classificatory scheme in Ṭhāṇ IV, for instance, indicates,[214] the catuṣ-koṭi is used in Jain scholasticism in a similar way as the nikṣepa pattern, described by BRUHN–HÄRTEL (1978: v) as a formal 'dialectical technique (often employed in a "pseudo-exegetical function")'.[215]

JACOBI (1884: 150 n. 2) understood the first three modes to refer to assertions and the fourth to injunctions. According to Paṇṇ 860 (255b), the first two modes are distinct (pajjattiyā <paryāptā>) ways of speaking, which can be analysed in terms of the true / false distinction, and the third and fourth are indistinct (apajjattiyā <aparyāptā>) ways of speaking, whose validity or non-validity is indeterminable. The sub-categories of distinct speech are true speech (satyā bhāṣā) and false speech (mṛṣā bhāṣā), and the sub-categories of indistinct speech are true-as-well-as-false speech (satyā-mṛṣā bhāṣā) and neither-true-nor-false speech (asatyā-mṛṣā bhāṣā). A muni should use only the first and the last mode of speech, and avoid the remaining two 'by all means' (DVS2 7.1) in order to minimise harm:

A monk or a nun, considering well, should use true and accurate speech, or speech which is neither truth nor untruth (i.e. injunctions); for such speech is not sinful, blameable, rough, stinging, &c.' (Āyār[216]

(a) Speaking truthfully can either be interpreted ethically, as straightforward and accurate talk (on-record), or ontologically, as an assertion of the way things are.[217] Both perspectives can be found in the Jain and non-Jain commentary literature alike,[218] often mixed together, as the identical characterisation of the four guptis of mind and speech illustrates. Satyā bhāṣā refers both to the psychological and the normative conditions of truthfulness, that is, sincere, grammatically accurate and contextually acceptable speech, and to propositional truth.[219] It is explicitly recognised in the Jain scriptures (though not in these terms) that, as a speech act, propositional language has also an expressive and normative content. The normative, the expressive, and the propositional components of spoken language are altogether necessary to communicate something.

Paṇṇ 862 states that 'the truth or validity of the speech depends on various situations and conditions' (MĀLVAṆIYĀ (1970: 325)). Ten different dimensions or 'validity conditions' of truthful speech are distinguished[220] (the compound −saccā <satyā> can be translated as 'sincere' or 'true' 'according to the conventions of ____'):[221]


jaṇavaya-saccā <janapada-satyā>



sammata-saccā <sammata-satyā>



ṭhavaṇā-saccā <sthāpanā-satyā>



ṇāma-saccā <nāma-satyā>



rūva-saccā <rūpa-satyā>



paḍucca-saccā <pratītya-satyā>



vavahāra-saccā <vyavahāra-satyā>



bhāva-saccā <bhāva-satyā>

Inner Meaning


joga-saccā <yoga-satyā>



ovamma-saccā <aupamya-satyā>


The same list is given and explained in Mūlācāra 5.111–116, with exception of yogasatyā, which is replaced by category No. 8 sambhāvanā-satyā, translated by OKUDA (1975: 128) as 'truth of possibilities' (Möglichkeitswahrheit; see infra p. 161).[222] There is no apparent systematic connection between the categories in this list. Yet, the list is clearly informed by the four 'doors of disquisition' (aṇuogaddāra <anuyoga-dvāra>) of canonical hermeneutics (AṇD 75), especially by the method of contextual interpretation (aṇugama <anugama>) through progressive specification via fixed standpoints (naya) (AṇD 601–606).[223] The occurrence of the terms nāma, sthāpanā and bhāva indicates the deliberate incorporation of a variant of the 'canonical' nikkheva <nikṣepa>, as BHATT (1978: xv, 20) suggested, although the davva <dravya> standpoint is missing.[224] A nikṣepa is a scholastic scheme which delineates fixed perspectives for the analysis of the principal dimensions of the possible contextual meanings of a word (contemporary linguistics is still struggling to establish comparable categories). The original purpose of the list of ten, as a whole, may have been similar. That is, assessing the meaning of an utterance from several commonly relevant perspectives.[225]

Most categories are self-explanatory. Truthful utterances based on the linguistic conventions of a country are explained by the commentaries through the example that 'in Konkan piccaṁ is said for payas and that by the gopāla the lotus is called aravinda only' (SCHUBRING (2000: 157 n. 4, § 74)). Because terms such as these are synonyms, they are all equally true.[226] Similarly, what is accepted by many people, i.e. linguistic expressions, is conventionally true (sammata-satyā).[227] Pragmatic theories of truth would fall under this perspective. A figurative representation, such as a statue which is not god itself, may itself not be accurate, but that what it symbolises can be recognised as true (sthāpanā-satyā).[228] The same applies to a name such as Devadatta or 'given by god' (nāma-satyā) (MĀc 113).[229] Allusions to external appearance in form of prototypes such as 'white cranes' (not all cranes are white) are examples of rūpa-satyā.[230] According to the commentators Haribhadra (PaṇṇV) and Malayagiri (PaṇṇṬ), the term pratītya-satyā designates an utterance which is true only under certain conditions, and thus predicated on empirical confirmation.[231] Examples are relative size ('this is long') or the relative state of transformation of objects at a given time (cf. MĀc 114).[232] Like other conventional expressions which, under certain conditions, could equally be classified as 'truth-mixed-with-untruth', common or idiomatic utterances such as 'the kūra (i.e. the cooked rice) is cooking' (MĀc 114) are acceptable as customarily true (vyavahāra-satyā).[233] The Śvetāmbara commentators explain the inner truth (bhāva-satyā) expressed by certain utterances with the example of a 'white crane' (śuklā balākā),[234] which MĀc 113 uses to illustrate rūpa-satyā, whereas Vaṭṭakera interprets the term as designating the 'higher truth', i.e. saying something untrue in order to avoid injury to someone (MĀc 116). This perspective is also applied to other contexts in the Śvetāmbara texts Āyār and DVS 7.11. An example of truth based on association with practice (yoga-satyā) is to describe someone according to his / her activity, for instance the designation chattrī (a kṣatriya who should protect his realm performs chattra-yoga), or daṇḍī (who performs daṇḍa-yoga or punishment).[235] Instead of yoga-satyā, the Mūlācāra 115 has sambhāvanā-satyā, which means that assuming the possibility of something is a valid condition of truthful language: 'If he wanted, he could do it. If Indra wanted, he could overturn the Jambudvīpa' (OKUDA (1975: 128)). As an example of speaking the truth, using comparison or analogy (aupamya-satyā),[236] MĀc 116 mentions the word palidovama <palyṁpama>, literally 'like a sack of corn', which designates a high number.[237] Aṇuogaddārāiṁ (AṇD) 368–382 demonstrates the practical 'usefulness' of this simile through the naya method of progressive disambiguation.[238]

(b) Untruthful language or speaking untruthfully (mṛṣā bhāṣā) is the proscribed opposite of truth or truthfulness.[239] In contrast to the ten conditions of truth, featuring the semantics of propositional utterances, the ten conditions out of which untruth 'arises' (compound: −nissiya <niḥsṛita>), listed in Paṇṇ 863, are primarily psycho-physical conditions.[240] According to SCHUBRING (2000: 157, § 69), 'speech springing from emotion is by itself understood as mosā.'[241] Eight of the ten categories overlap with the standard Jain list of the eighteen sources of sin (pāva-ṭhāṇa <pāpa-sthāna>),[242] starting with the four passions (kasāya <kaṣāya>), and attachment and aversion, which in the Paṇṇ are the sole cause of karmic bondage, disregarding yoga, or activity (MĀLVAṆIYĀ (1970: 384)). Most types of untrue speech, conditioned by these factors, can be categorised as expressive utterances. The last two categories, ākhyāyika niḥsṛita[243] and upaghāta-niḥsṛita,[244] do not refer merely to an underlying negative psycho-physical state in general, but to the unspecified psycho-physical conditions of two specific types of self-referentially defined commonly untrue speech acts—hearsay and false accusation—with predominately constantive and regulative attributes.


koha-nissiya <krodha-niḥsṛita>



māṇa-nissiya <māna-niḥsṛita>



māyā-nissiya <māyā-niḥsṛita>



lobha-nissiya <lobha-niḥsṛita>



pejja-nissiya <premana-niḥsṛita>



dosa-nissiya <dveṣa-niḥsṛita>



hāsa-nissiya <hāsya-niḥsṛita>



bhaya-nissiya <bhaya-niḥsṛita>



akkhāiya-nissiya <ākhyāyika-niḥsṛita>



uvaghāya-nissiya <upaghāta-niḥsṛita>

False Accusation

CAILLAT (1991: 11) observed that the Paṇṇ presents the kaṣāyas as the cause of untruth, not of injury, as in Āyār and DVS 7.11. This change of perspective, from ahiṁsā to −satya as the main criterion, may reflect the shift of emphasis in classical Jain karman theory from act to intention. The ten categories seem to have in common that they refer to acts which, intentionally or unintentionally, produce unwholesome perlocutionary effects in the addressee (and the speaker as well). They are either factually false, ethically wrong or both.[245]

(g) The category 'partially true speech'[246] or 'truth-mixed-with-untruth' (saccāmosā bhāsā <satyā-mṛṣā bhāṣā>) should not be mixed up with the conditionally true standpoints of syād-vāda, which apply only to valid statements, not to false knowledge (apramāṇa). 'Truth-mixed-with-untruth' designates intentionally or unintentionally ambiguous or unclear speech, which is strictly prohibited.[247] The meaning of the term is explained by DVS 7.4–10:

4. But this and that topic which confines the Eternal within limits— this half-true speech the wise [monk] should avoid. 5. By a speech which is untrue, though its appearance is that of a true one, a man is touched by sin, how much more a man who speaks plain untruth!' (DVS1 7.4).[248]

Satyā-mṛṣā bhāṣā is sinful language, based on the whole on non-universalisable ethical principles. For instance, the language of heretical forest-monks, who do not abstain from killing, whose thought, speech and behaviour is not well controlled:

'They employ speech that is true and untrue at the same time: "do not beat me, beat others; do not abuse me, abuse others; do not capture me, capture others; do not torment me, torment others; do not deprive me of life, deprive others of life"' (Suy 2.2.21).

The ten types of truth-mixed-with-untruth listed in Paṇṇ 865[249] do not explicitly address expressive or regulative aspects of speech acts, but only propositional content; despite the fact that performatives can also be both true and untrue. According to the commentaries, all types deal with indiscriminate speech, and with semantic and logical fallacies, such as category mistakes regarding the quality or quantity of objects or temporal modalities which can be easily 'mixed up' (compound: −missiyā <miśritā>), for instance in utterances designating part-whole relationships.


uppaṇṇa-missiyā <utpanna-miśritā>



vigaya-missiyā <vigata-miśritā>



uppaṇṇa-vigaya-missiyā <utpanna-vigata-miśritā>



jīva-missiyā <jīva-miśritā>



ajīva-missiyā <ajīva-miśritā>



jīvājīva-missiyā <jīvājīva-miśritā>



aṇanta-missiyā <ananta-miśritā>



paritta-missiyā <parīta-miśritā>



addhā-missiyā <adhva-miśritā>



addhāddhā-missiyā <ardhādhva-miśritā>


The list of ten modalities evidently reflects general issues of particular concern for Jain doctrine. It can be thematically subdivided in two triplets and two pairs. The first triplet—utpanna, vigata, utpanna-vigata—addresses unclear distinctions concerning life and death. The commentators explain the meaning of utpanna-miśritā as speaking in non-specific ways about the born, mixed with references to the yet unborn; for instance birth occurring in this or that village or town, that ten or more or less boys were born ('ten boys were born in this village today') etc.[250] In the same way, vigata-miśritā refers to cases of 'stating mortality in an indefinite way, e.g. saying that ten people have died in this village, etc.' (RATNACANDRA (1988 IV: 400)).[251] Utpanna-vigatamiśritā refers to both true and false, or contradictory assertions (visaṁvāda) regarding manifestations of both birth and death.[252] The second triplet—jīva, ajīva, jīvājīva— similarly addresses the problem of pointing in a general way to 'great numbers' of either living or dead beings, or quantities of mixed living and dead beings.[253] Life (jīva) in abstract and concrete form can be confused through vague language, such as the language of sets (rāśi), or other numerical expressions. The same applies to matter (ajīva), and both life and matter (jīvājīva). The consequence of imprecise language may be unintentional violence against individual living beings (in a 'heap of dead beings'). According to Āvassaya-nijjutti (ĀvNi 8.56–100), one of the principal heretics of the canonical period, Rohagutta, committed the mistake of mixing up categories by positing a third principle, nojīva or the half-living, which mediates between jīva and ajīva. Hence, his heresy was called terāsiyā.[254] The pair ananta and parīta addresses indiscriminate language regarding aspects of finite-infinite, part-whole, or singular term-existence relationships. The commentaries explain ananta-miśritā with reference to the case of certain plants, for instance root vegetables such as radish (mūlaka), which have only one body, yet are composed of an infinite number of souls (anantajīva).[255] The category parīta-miśritā focuses, conversely, for instance on the independence and separateness of each individual element within a composite form of vegetation.[256] The two ontological levels of the relationship between one and many can easily be mixed up in these cases; which has potential ethical (karmic) consequences. One of the principle concerns of the Pannavaṇā, highlighted in Malayagiri's commentary, is the difference between the categories infinite (ananta) and uncountable (asaṁkhyāta).[257] With regard to adhva, time, speech is both true and untrue if one says, for some reason, that 'it is night' during the daytime, or 'get up, it is day' when it is night.[258] The same applies to the part of a measure of time, or ardhādhva, such as a prahara, a quarter of the bright or dark period of the day.[259] The statements may be true in as much as time in general is concerned, but false with regard to time in particular (i.e. it may be bright, although technically it is still night).[260]

Examples for a potential mix up of the modalities of time, which may have negative moral consequences in cases of promises for instance, are given in Āyār 2.4.2, and in DVS 7.6–10 as paradigmatic cases for satyā-mṛṣā speech. The illocutionary form of these sentences is not essential, since they can be transformed into propositions of the form: 'x promises (commands etc.), that p':[261]

'6. Such speech therefore, as e.g. "we [shall] go", "we shall say", "we shall have to do that", or: "I shall do that", or "he shall do that", 7. uncertain in the future or with regard to a matter of the present [or] of the past, a wise monk] should avoid. 8.9. If [a monk] does not know, [or] has some doubt about, a matter which concerns past, present and future, he should not say: "it is thus"; 10. (this he should do only) when there is no room for doubt' (DVS1 7.6–10).[262]

Somadeva, in his Yaśas-tilaka of 959 CE (YT, p. 349–350), mentions a similar example of a statement which is on the whole true but to some extent false, that is, when someone 'after promising to give something at the end of a fortnight, gives it after a month or a year' (HANDIQUI (1968: 265)). He also mentions the statement 'he cooks food or weaves clothes' as one which is to some extent true but on the whole false because 'properly speaking, one cooks rice etc. and weaves yarn'. A different example of mixed speech, mentioned in Viy 18.7.1 (749a), are utterances of someone who is possessed. The fact that this case, referring to an existentially mixed psycho-physical state rather than to semantic ambiguity, cannot be easily fitted into any of the ten categories illustrates that the list is not exhaustive. From other viewpoints, the examples may also fit the categories of the other lists.

All of the ten enumerated modalities seem to refer to utterances in which the universal and the particular, or modalities of time, quantifiers, or other categories,[263] are mixed up in an indiscriminate and hence ambiguous way.[264] Though the mistakes discussed in the texts seem to be primarily based on indiscriminate cognition, producing objectionable uncertainty (cf. Āyār 2.4.1–2), the ten categories are very broad and can cover a great variety of motives, logical and semantic conundrums, such as vagueness or paradoxes, and linguistic forms and discursive strategies, such as off-record uses of metaphor, similes, veiled speech and politeness, which Brown and Levinson have analysed as popular forms for saying one thing and meaning another.[265] These phenomena deserve more detailed analysis in future studies. For the purpose of this essay, a few comparative notes on the implications of the findings for the question of the stance of Jain philosophy on the law of non-contradiction must suffice.

For PRIEST–ROUTLEY (1989: 3), 'admission or insistence, that some statement is both true and false, in a context where not everything is accepted or some things are rejected, is a sure sign of a paraconsistent approach—in fact a dialethic approach', i.e. the assumption that 'the world is inconsistent'. The Greek word dialetheia (two way truth) refers to a true contradiction facing both truth and falsity. [266]PRIEST– ROUTLEY (1983: 17) were the first to point out parallels between Jaina logic and modern discussive logic, but argue, like most logicians before them, that Jain perspectivism is predicated on the rejection of the law of contradiction.[267] However, GANERI (2002: 274) demonstrated in his re-construction of the assumptions underlying the method of seven-fold predication (sapta-bhaṅgī), based on an extension of discussive logic via modalised many-valued truth-tables, that Jain logic 'does not involve any radical departure from classical logic … The underlying logic within each standpoint is classical, and it is further assumed that each standpoint or participant is internally consistent.' The findings of BALCEROWICZ (2003: 64) on the contextual logic of the seven nayas concur with this general conclusion. Both authors show that Jain logic is context-sensitive and a quasi-functional system.

To syād-vāda and anekānta-vāda the Jain catuṣ-koṭi of the modes of speech can be added, as another example of 'Jain logic' which clearly operates within the confines of the law of non-contradiction, and does not need to be interpreted as a form of scepticism, nor of syncretism predicated on the notion of a total truth integration of all viewpoints, as MATILAL (1981) argues. Our brief glance at the Jain interpretation of the third mode of the so-called 'four-valued logic' of the catuṣ-koṭi, applied to language usage, that is, the explicit exclusion of the values 'false' and 'both true and false', showed that 'Jain logic' does not 'flatly deny'[268] the law of non-contradiction. The examples in Jain scriptures for modes of speech which are both-true-and-false, and their explicit rejection, demonstrate, on the contrary, that Jain philosophy is unequivocally opposed to violations of the law of non-contradiction. This conclusion is also borne out by the Jain analysis of the temporal aspects of action (Viy 1.1.1=13a, 9.33.2d = 484a), which explicitly denies the possibility that an action that is being performed is not equal to the completed action, as the heretic Jamāli held ('has the bed been made or is it being made'). The question of the identity of an action in time has important consequence for the evaluation of karmic consequences, also of speech-acts.Contrary to PRIEST–ROUTLEY's (1989) intuitions, it seems, the main technique of argumentation used by Jain philosophers in all these cases resembles Aristotle's refutation of Heraclitus and other 'paraconsistent' thinkers in ancient Greece:

'Key parts of his analysis involved the use of time to avoid contradiction—instead of saying that a changing thing was both in a given state and also not in that state, it was said that the thing was in that state at time t1, but not in that state at a different time t2—and the theory of potentiality—required to reunify these now temporarily isolated states as parts of the one (and same) change. The appeal to different temporal quantifiers illustrated the method of (alleged) equivocation used since ancient times to avoid contradiction and reinforce consistency hypothesis; namely, where both A and −A appear to hold, find a respect or factor or difference r such that it can be said that A holds in respect r1 and −A in respect r2. It can then be said that a contradiction resulted only by equivocation on respect or factor r. Often however the method of alleged equivocation does not work in a convincing way, and it breaks down in an irreparable way with the semantic paradoxes, as the Megarians were the first to realize' (PRIEST–ROUTLEY (1989: 8)).

Speech that is both-true-and-untrue is rejected in the Jain scriptures, because it mixes aspects which can be discriminated, if necessary with the help of the method of perspective variation in time. To what extent ancient Jain philosophers would have agreed with Aristotle on this point is a question which can only be clearly answered in a separate study. It seems to me that the Jain theory of time is fundamental, also for Jain perspectivism.

(d) The most interesting of the four modes of speech (and cognition) is 'speaking neither truth nor untruth' (asaccā-mosā). That is, speech to which the true / false distinction is not applicable. Muni Nathmal (Ācārya Mahāprajña) characterised asatyā-mṛṣā language as vyavahāra-bhāṣā, or conventional speech (Ṭhāṇ 4.23, Hindī commentary). Twelve types of the asatyā-mṛṣā bhāṣā are distinguished in Paṇṇ 866 = Viy 10.3.3 (499b):[269]


āmantaṇī <āmantraṇī>



āṇavaṇī <ājñāpanī>



jāyaṇī <yācanā>



pucchaṇī <pṛcchanī>



paṇṇavaṇī <prajñāpanī>



paccakkhāṇī <pratyākhyānī>



icchāṇulomā <icchānulomā>



aṇabhiggahiyā <anabhigṛhītā>



abhiggahiyā <abhigṛhītā>



saṁsaya-karaṇī <saṁśaya-karaṇī>



voyaḍā <vyākṛtā>



avvoyaḍā <avyākṛtā>


Nine of the twelve categories are also listed in MĀc 5.118–119. The categories 1– 7 are identical in both texts. Of the last five, only saṁśaya (No. 10) is mentioned by Vaṭṭakera, and a category labelled aṇakkhara <anakṣara>, 'incomprehensible', which can be read as an equivalent of aṇabhiggahiyā <anabhigṛhītā> (No. 8, maybe also incorporating aspects of No. 12).[270]

Speaking neither-truth-nor-untruth is interpreted by JACOBI (1884: 150 n. 2, 151)[271] and MĀLVAṆIYĀ (1971: 325 f.) as referring to injunctions. However, considering the great variety of listed speech acts (only the first three are injunctions), it seems better to use AUSTIN's (1962) term 'performatives', which are by definition neither true nor false, to characterise the first seven terms.[272] The last five terms cover aspects which Grice discussed under the conversational maxims of relation ('relevance') and manner ('avoid obscurity'). In Austin's terminology, addressing, ordering, requesting, and questioning etc. are all illocutionary acts. Questions,[273] commands, and exclamations are not propositions, since they can not be asserted or denied; that is, they are neither true nor false. Imperatives (directives), such as orders and requests, and regulatives (commissives), such as consenting and renouncing (promising, vowing etc.), through which the speaker commits him / herself to perform certain actions in future, imply normative conditions which ought to be fulfilled, but which are not fulfilled yet. In this sense, the propositional content is also neither true nor false. Truth, and its opposite, falsity, are properties that belong only to propositions. Propositions are statements that either assert or deny that something is the case. Not all sentences are true or false, because not all sentences make such claims. Commands, questions, and expressions of volition neither assert nor deny that something is the case, and are, consequently, neither true nor false.

ARISTOTLE (PH 4) already noted that 'every sentence is not a proposition; only such are propositions as have in them either truth or falsity. Thus a prayer is a sentence, but is neither true nor false.' Problems related to the ontological and truth-functional status of future events and the grammatical future were also discussed in Greek philosophy, which may or may not have influenced Indian philosophy in this point.[274] In De Interpretatione (PH), ARISTOTLE offers the following solution to a paradox posed by Diodoros Cronus as to the truth-value of the sentence 'Will there be a sea battle tomorrow?' Any definite answer ('yes' or 'no') to this indecidable question is presently neither true nor false, but if in future one becomes true, then the other becomes false:

'One of the two propositions in such instances must be true and the other false, but we cannot say determinately that this or that is false, but must leave the alternative undecided. One may indeed be more likely to be true than the other, but it cannot be either actually true or actually false. It is therefore plain that it is not necessary that of an affirmation and a denial one should be true and the other false. For in the case of that which exists potentially, but not actually, the rule which applies to that which exists actually does not hold good' (PH 9).

For Aristotle, as for the Jains, it is both unethical and factually wrong to assume the future is determined, since actions evidently influence events. Although it is not entirely clear what exactly Aristotle and the Jain author(s) had in mind, in both cases the commitment to free will and to the logic of events overrules the logic of propositions. Generally, empirical facts can neither be proven true nor false by logical necessity: 'Even if I say "It's raining now" when the sun is shining, I have not said something that is n e c e s s a r i l y false, just something that happens to be false' (HARNAD (1999: 1)).[275] From a purely logical point of view, Bertrand RUSSELL (1905) showed that all predicates with variables are not propositions to which a truth value can be attached in an unambiguous way. Hence they are neither true nor false. However, they can be transformed into propositions by replacing the variable with a value or a quantifier.[276] It is, of course, difficult to say to what extent ancient Jain philosophers already shared certain intuitions with modern logicians.

The first seven categories, sometimes combined, cover most speech acts a Jain ascetic would conventionally use in contexts of monastic life; for instance taking vows (paccakkhāṇa), requesting permission (āpucchaṇā), ordering (ājñā), confessing (ālocanā), begging forgiveness (kṣamāpaṇā) etc., Āmantaṇī <Āmantraṇī> speech or language, for instance, is 'used for attracting somebody's attention, a vocative word or expression' (GHATAGE (2003 III.2: 1001)), for instance 'O Devadatta'.[277] MĀLVAṆIYĀ (1971: 325) gives the following examples of an address and an order: 'when a person wanting John to come near him says "O! John"' or 'when a person says to another person, "Go ahead".' However, not in all contexts are such expressions neither-true-nor-false. Under certain circumstances, the first example may represent or can be read as an 'indirect' or 'implicit performative' speech act clad in form of an address, and it could be argued that, in certain contexts, the second example does not correspond to the prescription in Āyār 2.4 for mendicants to avoid pragmatic interventions.

The last five terms of the list are of a different nature. The term aṇabhiggahiyā <anabhigṛhītā> refers to 'unintelligible or incomprehensible speech' (RATNACANDRA (1988 I: 156)), which is either 'irrelevant' (DELEU (1970: 169)) or / and 'unacceptable' (GHATAGE (1996 I: 237)), but neither-true-nor-false. Its antonym, abhiggahammi boddhavvā, intelligible instruction, refers to 'clear and intelligible language' (RATNACANDRA (1988 IV: 351)), which is 'relevant' and 'acceptable', and neither-true-nor-false.[278] Malayagiri's commentary explains the difference between irrelevant and relevant speech through the following example: 'to the question "What shall I do now?" the answer "Do as you like" is aṇabhiggahiyā, the answer "Do this, do not that!" is abhiggahiyā' (DELEU (1970: 169)).[279]

It is not entirely clear why saṁsaya-karaṇī bhāsā <saṁśaya-karaṇī bhāṣā>, 'ambiguous language which causes doubt' (RATNACANDRA (1988 IV: 570)), is regarded as neither-true-nor-false, and therefore permissible. It must be assumed that only the use of strategically ambiguous messages for the purpose of creating vairāgya-shocks is seen as legitimate, but not language which creates doubt about Jainism in the minds of believers. He seems to follow Malayagiri (PaṇṇṬ), who argued that from the niścaya-naya not only satya-mṛṣā but also asatyā-mṛṣā statements are false—'if they are spoken with the intention of deceiving others'(MĀLVAṆIYĀ (1971: 346)). However, Viy 18.7.1 (749a) states that, by definition, the speech of a Kevalin, because it is harmless, can only be true or neither-true-norfalse.[280] The statement associates higher moral truth with this type of speech, which can thus be compared with the 'twilight-language' (sandhā-bhāṣā) of Tantric Buddhism, which is also characterised as neither-true-nor-false.[281] According to OKUDA (1975: 129), MĀc 119 explains saṁsaya-vayaṇī <saṁśaya-vacana> as 'speech which expresses doubt'. But its commentator Vasunandin (11th–12th century) interprets this as 'speech of children and old people' as well as the sounds of (fivesensed) 'roaring buffalos' etc., which cause doubt as to their meaning, while the Digambara authors Aparājita and Āśādhara and the Śvetāmbara Haribhadra commenting on DVS 7, read saṁsaya-karaṇī simply as 'ambiguous speech' (anekārthasādhāraṇā). Haribhadra classifies speech of children as aṇakkhara <anakṣara>, incomprehensible, which also figures as the ninth and last category listed in MĀc 119, which Vasunandin reserves for expressions of animals of two-four senses, and for sounds created by snipping fingers etc. (OKUDA (1975: 129)).[282]

Vyākṛtā bhāṣā refers to clear distinct speech with explicit unambiguous meaning (RATNACANDRA (1988 IV: 511)).[283] There is no example given by the commentaries for distinct speech which is neither-true-nor-untrue. Avyākṛtā-bhāṣā>, refers to indistinct involuted or poetic speech consisting of obscure or unintelligible words 'with deep and profound meaning' (RATNACANDRA (1988 IV: 445), cf. GHATAGE (2001 II: 800)).[284] Mantras or sūtras may be fitting examples. The fact that the Mūlācāra does not mention these two categories reinforces the suspicion that they are redundant, and overlapping with the category of incomprehensible language.

The most interesting case is pannavaṇī-bhāsā <prajñāpanī-bhāṣā>, explanation, the generic term which Mahāvīra himself employs in the scriptures[285] to designate his discourse, which also gives the Pannavaṇā-suttaṁ its name. Like all descriptions of speech acts, pannavaṇī is a somewhat ambiguous term, because it refers both to the illocutionary act, locutionary content, and perlocutionary effect of proclaiming something. This ambiguity is reflected in different translations of the word. SCHUBRING (2000: 158, § 69) and DELEU (1970: 169) translate pannavaṇī as 'communication' (Mitteilung). According to SCHUBRING (2000: 157 f., § 69), the examples for 'communication' given in Viy 10.3.3 (499b) = Paṇṇ 866, 'We want to [wollen] lie down' (āsaissāmo) etc., refer to 'expressions of an intention' (to do something). However, DELEU (1970: 169) and LALWANI (1985: 133) translate āsaissāmo <āśayiṣyāmaḥ> as 'we will lie down' and 'we shall lie down' respectively, that is, as the description of a future action or state.[286] MĀLVAṆIYĀ (1971: 211), who points to kindred views in the Pāli text Puggala-paññatti, prefers the word 'describing' as a translation of pannavaṇī which he renders as 'speech that intends to describe a thing'. In this, he follows the 13th century commentary of Ācārya Malayagiri who stated that pannavaṇī 'means the speech that intends to describe the thing (or event) [as it is]'.[287] It is a form of asaccā-mosā speech, 'a speech which has nothing to do with norm (validity or invalidity) but which only describes the thing (or event)': 'To be more explicit, the speech which has nothing to do with religious dos and do-nots but which simply describes the thing is called Prajñāpanī.'[288] MĀLVAṆIYĀ (1971: 212) cites the example quoted by the commentator Malayagiri's Prajñāpanā-ṭīkā, 'Those who refrain from killing living beings live long and enjoy good health (in the next birth)',[289] and notes: 'The gāthā in point contains no command "do not kill" but simply describes the fact that those who do not kill live long and remain healthy.' Such speech 'has nothing to do with religious dos and do-nots' (MĀLVAṆIYĀ (1971: 211)). Hence, it should be distinguished from implicit performative speech. But, of course, it may be interpreted as such by a listener who infers an 'ought' from the 'is'. MONIER-WILLIAMS' (1986: 659) SanskritEnglish Dictionary translates the causative prajñāpana as 'statement, assertion'

LALWANI (1985 IV: 133) apparently follows the Illustrated Ardhamāgadhī Dictionary of RATNACANDRA (1988 III: 443), based on Malayagiri, in using the word 'advice' (upadeśa).[290] What is probably meant by the term pannavaṇī is that from the conventional point if view, which underlies the Jain 'catuṣ-koṭi' of language usage, the testimony of an authoritative person is neither true nor untrue, because its meaning may be incomprehensible for a hearer, similarly to unintelligible utterances of non-enlightened creatures. With imperatives and addresses expressing universal truths or ideals has in common that no referent exists in re at a given place and point of time (as for instance in Malayagiri's example which should not be read as a prediction relating to a specific individual). The multidimensional implications of a general statement or rule such as this cannot be understood entirely in an instant, as WITTGENSTEIN (1953: 53–55, § 138–40) noted in his remarks on the relation between meaning and use of a word (WITTGENSTEIN (1953: 190 ff., § 138 f.)). Moreover, the example given by the commentaries concerning the necessary link between non-violence and health cannot be proved or disproved from a conventional perspective. It must be accepted on the basis of the authority of the speaker. Interestingly enough, the two truth theory is not invoked by the commentaries in defence of the concept of transcendental speech, being neither-true-nor-false, in spite of its capability to immunise any statement against criticism.[291]

Paṇṇ 832–857 gives another example for speech which is neither-true-nor-false by discussing the question of the 'congruity of grammatical and natural gender and number' (SCHUBRING (2000: 158, § 74)). It argues that words such as go, cow, which express (genderless) universals but are employed in masculine singular, are not false or both-true-and-false, say, with regard to female cows, but neither-true-nor-false. The same applies to imperatives (ājñāpanī), since 'we may order a person of any gender and this person may or may not carry out our orders' (MĀLVAṆIYĀ (1971: 326)).[292]

The last of the four variants of ohāraṇī-bhāsā <avadhāraṇī-bhāṣā>, or determinate speech, is another example of speech which is neither-true-nor-false. Reflexive expressions such as 'I believe' or 'I think' are said to be capable of expressing any of the four modes of speech, depending on whether they serve religion (ārāhiya <ārādhita>), in which case they are true by definition, harm religion (virāhiya <virādhita>), in which case they are false, both serve and harm religion, in which case they are true-as-well-as-false, or whether they do neither, in which case they are neither-true-nor-false (Paṇṇ 830–831 [246b]).[293]

The examples show that in the Jain philosophy of speech pragmatic efficacy, that is, non-violence, supersedes propositional truth:[294]

'It goes with the sphere of ethics that all four modes of speech, and consequently the mode of wrong speech as well, are admitted, provided they are employed in a pious way of mind (āuttaṁ =samyak), while even true speech coming from a sinner's mouth will count for nothing (Pannav. 268a)' (SCHUBRING (2000: 158, § 74).

Conversely, as mentioned before, 'a mode of speech springing from emotion is by itself understood as mosā' (SCHUBRING (2000: 157, § 74)). In other words, the speaker's beliefs, attitudes or intentions (if not his / her Being), and the specific pragmatic context is decisive, not the words themselves, or the propositional meaning. Arguments relating to the 'higher truth' of morality based on similar considerations. HANDIQUI (1968: 266) notes that the 10th century Digambara ācārya Somadeva is more concerned with ethics than with propositional truth:

'Somadeva appears in certain circumstances to attach greater importance to self-preservation and philanthropic considerations than to speaking the truth. He opines that the truth must not be spoken if it is likely to endanger others and bring inevitable ruin to oneself.'

Another example of this attitude is given by the Śvetāmbara Ācārya Hemacandra who, in his 12th century Yoga-śāstra (YŚ 2.61) and self-commentary, narrates that the sage Kauśika, who was famous for speaking the truth, 'went to hell because accurate information given by him led to the capture and killing of a band of robbers' (cited by HANDIQUI (1968: 266 n. 4)):

'On the other hand (api), even though a statement may be true, it should not be spoken if it causes affliction to others [This is] because, even if it is accepted [by all the people] in the world, Kauśika was sent to hell [on account of making such a statement]' (YŚ 2.61).[295]

The explanations of the four modes of speech in canonical Jain literature and its medieval Sanskrit commentaries show that they are conceived as meta-rules, on a level of abstraction comparable to the discourse ethics of universal pragmatics, while the sub-categories and examples correspond to the level of empirical semantics and pragmatics. The levels of abstraction of the lists of examples in the commentaries vary, since the Jain lists are relatively unsystematic, although some may have been intended as scholastic devices for cumulative indexication qua fixed analytical perspectives. From the point of view of comparative analytical philosophy, some examples could serve as illustrations for one or other of the conversational postulates à la Grice ('be relevant' etc.), Searle, or Habermas, while others can be related to the modern logical investigations of vagueness, category mistakes, quantifiers, or modalities of time in particular. In contrast to modern intentionalist semantics, Jain philosophers of language analyse examples of fundamental types of speech rarely with reference to the intention of the speaker, but prefer an objective or listener's standpoint. That is, they investigate the structure of the utterance as a whole, from the de-contextualised point of view of the four combinations of the basic true / false distinction, seen from the perspective of discourse ethics. The same perspective is preferred by universal pragmatics.

We can conclude from this brief discussion of the explanations of the four modes of speech in the Śvetāmbara canon and commentaries that the rules of Jain discourse are less concerned with referential truth than with the pragmatics of speech;[296] in particular with the expression of the 'higher truth' of religious insight gained through direct self-experience, and speaking in accordance with the ethics of nonviolence. Yet, it would be a mistake to assume that truth in Jain discourse is always defined as an aspect of objective illocutionary force, depending on the form of the utterance and the intentional state of a speaker alone, without the need to be backed up by argument in processes of critical inquiry. The primacy of pragmatic ethical and moral considerations, considered from a monological perspective, makes the Jain theory of speech in many ways akin to Habermas' theory of communicative action. The analysis of the implications of the Jain maxim of truth for language usage show that it combines as it were the validity claims two, three and four: propositional truth, normative rightness, and expressive truthfulness. Despite the primacy of non-violence and sincerity of expression, there are numerous examples for rules concerning referential truth, the ideal of univocal or straight (ṛju) speech, and the avoidance of deception, especially Āyār, Āyār, and DVS 8.46.[297] Such rules of avoidance of false representations (including false references to past, present and future) and non-deceptive speech etc., can be understood as expressions of a pragmatic anti-illusionist (anti-Brāhmaṇic) realism, that is, as antideception strategies. From the perspective of politeness theory, one could add that the underlying cognitive realism does not only serve as a strategy of self-protection, as WILLIAMS (1983: xix) argues, but also to calculate the karmic consequences of speech acts, and functional demands on social inferiors, who (have to) read and fulfil the pragmatic implications of intentionally ambiguous statements of social superiors.


The Gricean maxim of relation, concerning the relevance of a statement, is generally determined by the 'purpose of the talk exchange' as already stressed by the cooperative principle, of which it is but a mode[298] (and therefore absent in Habermas' scheme).[299] The principle of relevance is vital for the selection of appropriate contextual references of both utterances and standpoints of interpretation. In religious discourses, the implicit limitations inscribed in the semantic structure of the ideological system, enforced by a system of related institutional and social sanctions, play an important role in the discrimination of relevant contextual references.[300] I have argued elsewhere,[301] that the ethical 'code' of ahiṁsā / hiṁsā forces limitations and therefore an attitude of reflective distance onto those individuals who observe themselves self-referentially with the help of this semantic differential. Cognitive distance, in turn, generates the potential of a selective, discriminating relationship towards the world, i.e. it allows for choice, by presupposing the perceptibility of potentialities, the modalisation of perception, which—as we have seen—is generated through the practices of meditative introversion and perspective alteration.

In other words, the ways in which contextually relevant references are selected are negatively determined, and channelled, by Jain values and rules, given that they de facto orientate practice. Through its in-built directionality, the dominant ethical code of Jainism (ahiṁsā / hiṁsā) regulates pragmatic choices in everyday life, to the extent of the religious commitment and power of judgement of the user. Conversely, any semantically coded generalised strategy of selective choice implies corresponding processes of exclusion of non-relevant references, which form the complementary horizon of the unsaid and the unspeakable of legitimate religious experience. The discriminative functions of implied references to background knowledge and pragmatic conditions of fulfilment of religious claims, can be socially exploited through the off-record strategies of 'presupposition, hint, give associative clues' etc., which are associated with the Gricean maxim of relation. Precisely these qualities are associated with the proverbial South Asian ability both to tolerate and to ignore, which HACKER (1985) called 'inclusivism'.


The last maxim is explicitly concerned with the phenomenon of intentional multivocal speech, stressing the necessity of grammatically correct and unambiguous speech. The correlates of this maxim are held in great esteem by the Jains. The Āyār refers several times to the necessity of using clear language:

'Well considering (what one is to say), speaking with precision, one should employ language in moderation and restraint: the singular, dual, plural; feminine, masculine, neuter gender; praise, blame, praise mixed with blame, blame mixed with praise; past, present, or future (tenses), the first and second, or third person' (Āyār[302]

Not only referential truth, relevance, and the syntactically correct use of words is discussed in such contexts (cf. DVS 8.49), but also the orientation towards the intended effect of (religious) speech on the hearer. That is, not to create doubt, and lack of clarity (DVS 7.4). Manner can be interpreted as a combination of the validity claims of truth and sincerity with the condition of grammatical comprehensibility. Such features are usually considered in conjunction with other aspects of ideal speech acts, such as key, tone, spirit or style.[303] Grammar is not singled out in the Jain equivalent of the manner-maxim and privileged over other aspects of communicative competence, as it is in modern linguistics, but presented together with other rules of use, such as stylistic rules of performance.

Jain ascetic rules of manner directly address the problem of implicit meaning, and the necessity to avoid the (manner related) off-record politeness strategies of 'vagueness, ambiguity, over generalization, or incompleteness' (BROWN–LEVINSON (1978: 230 f.)). The clauses stating that both politeness (Āyār–6) and speech which might harm (Āyār–2) is to be avoided at all costs, however, forces the exclusion of a wide range of topics onto the performer of 'pure speech'. This is what makes Jain doctrinal texts often so dry—most of the 'juicy bits' are 'potentialised', left out, remain unsaid, although they are implicitly presupposed. In fact this is the area, where the 'rhetoric' of silence is, as it were, forced upon the Jain ascetic, who has to select words carefully, in order to steer between the need to communicate with the world and the obligation to observe the principles of satya and ahiṁsā.

To briefly summarise the results of the comparison between the Jain rules of speech with Habermas' validity claims and the Gricean postulates, it is apparent that for all of the universal pragmatic principles and conversational postulates there are functional equivalences amongst the Jain principles and rules of speech, which are by no means 'primitive' and 'ill-assorted', as for instance the philologist SCHUBRING (2000: 157, § 74) believed. Jain principles and rules of discourse are not mere examples of a culture-specific 'particularistic ethics', as LAIDLAW (1995: 14) argues, but form a 'comparatively systematic code which is well-grounded in objective considerations' (CAILLAT (1991: 14)).[304] The Gricean maxims and the Jain rules of speech are similar, though not identical. The norms of unequivocal and grammatically correct signification and transmission of information are fundamental for the Jain understanding of proper language use, but not sufficient for an understanding of its primarily ethical concerns, which overlap with Habermas' theory of communicative action. The Jain texts deliberately avoid defining certain words as 'sacred'. However, for Jainism, too, 'correct speech is of religious value' (CAILLAT (1984: 71)) in so far as the foremost requirement for the realisation of Jain norms is restraint (negative politeness) in mind, speech and action. The religious ideal of correct, truthful and non-violent manner of speech is summarised in the following passage, already quoted above:

'A monk or nun, putting aside wrath, pride, deceit, and greed, considering well, speaking with precision, what one has heard, not too quick, with discrimination, should employ language in moderation and restraint' (Āyār[305]

What is manifest in this statement is that the Jain maxims themselves address the necessity of avoiding the violence and the consequential karmic results of 'flouting' the rules of proper speech by means of off-record strategies. At the same time, negative politeness (especially conventional indirectness) is regarded as mandatory for maintaining the vows of non-violence and truth in language usage. A different matter altogether is the 'salvific' use of off-record strategies in contexts of religious instruction which will be discussed below.

(Ad 3) In addition to the general principles and maxims of proper speech discussed thus far, much space of the language related sections in the Āyār and DSV is devoted to experience-near examples and practical rules for selection of what to say and what not to say in accordance with the satya-vrata. These regulations do not have the status of general principles or maxims, but are derivatives of the latter, and provide generalised examples or schemata for the interpretation of certain types of situation. Generally single utterances and types of speech-acts (strategies) are discussed in the manner of modern analytical philosophy, often focusing on negative examples (asatya). The respective passages are almost identical in both key texts (Āyār–16 = DVS 7.22–35). They can be summarised as follows: First and foremost, one should avoid interventions in worldly affairs, particularly those involving value-judgements, taking sides, practical advice, or demands. Recommended speech-strategies are usually forms of negative politeness, such as conventional indirectness, impersonalisation or nominalisation.[306] Impersonalisation by way of transforming directives and commissives into assertives, that is, a second-person performative perspective into a third-person observer's perspective, is the preferred method; evidently, because in this way 'illocutionary force switches over into the propositional content and thereby loses, if not its meaning, at least its force' (HABERMAS (1993: 27)).[307]

For instance, one should not say 'this should be done', but 'this is'. And one should not speak about forbidden subjects, such as business-choices etc., at all. One should not ask householders to do something, or 'forecast', or make promises to them (DVS2 7.46 f.; 51). Another example of depersonalisation and nominalisation is the 'avoidance of harsh words'. That is, (false) accusations, abuse, and other varieties of face-threatening acts, such as speaking about the other's negative attributes (instead one should select positive ones, without being polite) (Āyār–11), or flattery, compulsive requests and rejection.[308] The most general strategy of nominalisation is not to mention anything which might lead to violent acts:

'In the same manner, a muni who is wise, Says not "This cow is fit for being milked", or "this ox is catigable" Or "capable of drawing a plough or carrying a load" Or "of drawing a chariot". (But if need be) Permissible is the following vocabulary: "This is a milch cow' "The ox is young" "The bull is thick or short" Or "this is worthy of a chariot"' (DVS2 7.24–5).

By the same token, a mendicant is not to say 'this is the murderer' or 'this is a thief' if such a person enters the house in the night, because if s/he gives a warning, either the thief or s/he him / herself might get killed, or 'the householder will suspect the ascetic … to be the thief' (Āyār The reverse strategy is applied to past acts of violence, as evident in the recommendation not to say 'well done' about an accomplished worldly task but always to stress the amount of unavoidable karman-producing violence employed (Āyār–6).[309] The second generally recommended strategy is thus to avoid references which might imply the potential for future acts of violence in both worlds,[310] and to condone past and present acts of violence, in order to stimulate acts of repentance. The latter is the only case of assertiveness which is explicitly demanded from an ascetic. In fact, a sermon is not considered to be asatya by Amṛtacandra (c. 11th CE) and other medieval writers, even if unpleasing (apriya) (PASU 91– 101),[311] in accordance with the general principle that determinate (avadhāraṇī) speech which enhances religion is true by definition.[312] The determining factor in the Jain literature on speech, rather than the semantics of words, is the non-violent function of the utterance, not the intention of the speaker. Because this would amount to a general absolution for the religious uses of symbolic violence.

There is only a fine line between unnecessary and necessary violent speech, however, especially in the satyā-mṛṣā and asatyā-mṛṣā modes. The avoidance of transgression requires great analytic skill (which explains why only senior ascetics are permitted to conduct sermons). The statement quoted above, about the required proper knowledge of 'true implication in the context of past, present and future' (Āyār[313] is relevant here. An ascetic must be able to discriminate temporal modalities so as to avoid and to repent acts of violence. The ability to distinguish between modalities of time is also the general condition of strategic manipulation, of one's individual purity, for instance, or of others, and of the self-realisation of the individual in the context of the hierarchical Brāhmaṇical system, where 'the temporal is intellectually subordinate to the spiritual and enclosed in it' (DUMONT (1980: 196)).[314] Temporal modalisation, in particular, enables a competent individual to apprehend or create unequivocal speech, and strategic ways of instrumentalising implicitly presupposed background knowledge.[315] By means of the ideal standards of on-recordness, and of non-violence, a competent Jain can discriminate truth and falseness, and right and wrong,[316] as well as explicit and implicit meaning, and its facets of false judgement, unclear speech, ambiguity of meaning, and deceptive purpose. The cultural specific conceptualisation of the ideal of clear, unambiguous speech generates also its opposite—an awareness of the implications of speech and the option to exploit them through lies, deception and intentional multivocality.[317]

Compliance with Jain rules of unequivocal, non-violent speech requires reflective monitoring of speech and conscious analysis of conditions of acceptability. The ability to discriminate between various modes of speech renders linguistic and social co-operation as problematic and therefore as manipulable. Rule-generated reflexivity also creates the cognitive potential for the strategic manipulation of social meanings, for instance through the intentional construction of multivocal statements (as it were an instrumentalisation of anekānta-vāda and syād-vāda). The doctrinally promoted distancing from the world, and the resulting apperception of the variability of perspectives and meanings, can be exploited in many ways—for salvific purposes or for personal gain. There are numerous instances of conscious flouting of (Jain) maxims, for both purposes, for instance in Jain narrative literature. What distinguishes religious and worldly usage of language is, from the point of view of Jain doctrine, only the effect, not the intention of the speaker, nor the words themselves. The speaker has to construct the message from the objective viewpoint of its potential violent / non-violent function, not from a instrumental means-ends perspective. In practice it is difficult to decide which intention prevails—speaker's intention or systemic intention (SEYFORT RUEGG). The Jains, too, have no other means for judging sincerity of expression, or orientation towards objectivity, but previous conduct. One has to investigate speech acts in context in order to understand the selection and the specific strategic value of certain generalised pragmatic strategies derived from general cultural value-orientations, and recurring functional imperatives. The analysis of isolated types of speech-acts has generally proved to be less fruitful, because it only leads to the proliferation of examples.

(Ad 4) Jains have a keen interest in the actual functioning of their principles (of speech) in particular contexts of speech and of action. Therefore they have added not only meta-rules (concerning the actual observance of rules) but also contextual examples (dṛṣṭānta or udāharaṇa) and regulations for specific situations to the general principles, maxims, and generalised strategies or types of speech. And here, too, we can find the discussion of the role of social norms and institutionalised contexts of language usage, which force a certain direction of interpretation and execution of unsaid social intentions of the speaker upon the hearer. GUMPERZ (1995: 130 ff.) coined the term 'contextualisation conventions' to analyse processes of negotiation of implicit socio-cultural presuppositions of different 'activity types' defined by a purpose or goal. In the opening stages of any conversation, he observed, 'contextualisation cues' are exchanged to create a platform for co-operation by signalling contextually relevant presuppositions and preferences regarding norm selection. These relational signals 'are inherently ambiguous, i.e. subject to multiple interpretations', and may or may not be accepted:

'Conversational inference is thus not a matter of assigning truth values to instances of talk. An inference is adequate if it is (a) reasonable given the circumstances at hand, (b) confirmed by information conveyed at various levels of signalling, and (c) implicitly accepted in the course of conversational negotiation' (GUMPERZ (1995: 208)).

The rhetorical and practical significance of examples has been recognised in the Jain scriptures from early on. Examples function as arguments in intersubjective negotiations of situation definitions. Different types of examples are distinguished for instance in Ṭhāṇ 4.499–503. At the same time, the texts reflect the awareness that general principles and rules cannot be legitimised with reference to examples alone. Ṭhāṇ 4.499 and 10.95 point to the common fault (āharaṇa-tad-dosa <āharaṇa-taddoṣa>) of using too many examples and quotes during a debate, and to faulty ways of relating example (udḥaraṇa) and rule, amongst other mistakes in the way of speaking.

From a monological observer's perspective, four paradigmatic contexts of pragmatic 'religious' speech discussed in Jain scriptures have been distinguished in this essay. They all concentrate on language usage of ascetics, as paradigms of Jain culture, and presuppose established co-operation: (a) religious debates at royal courts, (b) public sermons of leading ascetics, (c) informal communication of an ascetic with non-ascetics, and (d) communication between ascetics in the context of the monastic hierarchy. I dealt with the third case thus far, and already discussed the implications of narratives presented in public sermons elsewhere.[318] For the purpose of the argument of this essay, it will suffice to briefly examine cases of hierarchical monastic communication and of public debate to indicate the role of institutionalised normative expectations of reading and fulfilling the social implications of formal language usage.

The discursive context which is most relevant for ascetics in day to day life is the monastic hierarchy. It has three dimensions which sometimes, but not always, overlap: seniority (dikkhā-pariyāya <dīkṣā-paryāya>), guru-sīsa <guru-śiṣya> relationship, and the administrative hierarchy.[319] Qua rule, it is the duty of lowerstanding ascetics to serve higher-standing ascetics (as it is the duty of the laity to serve the ascetics). Non-compliance with this norm is sanctioned by elaborated judicial procedures which might lead to excommunication. That is, the social norms themselves tend to force an implicature upon the juniors, and restraint upon seniors (ideally: silence). I have shown elsewhere in greater detail that a junior mendicant is expected to read the implications of the speech and minute gestures and conversational clues of the guru, and obliged to serve him / her politely, that is, to perform sevā, as it is the duty of the householder to serve all mendicants.[320] Hence, Jain householders are called uvāsagas <upāsakas>, or servants of the samaṇas <śramaṇas>.[321] Pragmatic intentions and demands are never stated openly within the śramaṇasaṅgha. But it is a general rule that juniors are supposed to read the implications of seniors and should try to fulfil their unstated wishes:

'Guessing the teachers thought and the purport of his words, one should express one's assent, and execute (what he desires to be done). An excellent pupil needs no express directions, or he is (at least) quickly directed; he always carries out his duties as he is told' (Uttar 1.43 f.).[322]

The way of interpreting the implications of every gesture of superiors and serving (veyāvacca <vaiyāvṛttya>) them in accordance with the rules (vinaya), is defined as a religious act of internal asceticism (abbhantara-tava <abhyantara-tapas>).[323] Immersing oneself in the mind of a senior and reading his / her unstated wishes is an act of self-purification qua identification with an officially more advanced soul, taken as an external symbolic manifestation of one's own inner potential, just like a statue in a temple. At the same time, the prestige of seniors who 'get things done without ever saying so' is strengthened by this conventional procedure, which through use of implicit language also reproduces a sense of in-group membership.[324] This example is a good illustration of the general fact that multi-functional public roles imply unforced functional contributions from inferiors.[325] The observation also applies to the laity's duty to serve the ascetics. The asymmetrical relationship between mendicants and laity is conceptualised as a relationship between speakers and hearers—the laity are called both uvāsagas <upāsakas>, servants, and sāvagas <śrāvakas>, hearers. In both cases, as I have argued above, it is not a particular form of language usage, but the force of the norms and sanctions of the speech situation which direct the Jains of lower status to infer and fulfil the pragmatic intentions of their religious superiors, which are conventionally not openly expressed, but implicitly stated.

Speech situations for which Jain ascetics are especially trained are many. The two most important forms of non-ritualised language usage a Jain ascetic has to learn are the public sermon (pavayaṇa <pravacana>) to the laity and the art of debate (paoga <prayoga>) or disputation (vivāda) with other ascetics.[326] Both forms of discourse are primarily instruments of social influence, based on the idea of the superiority of the better argument in public discourse or agonistic dialogues, i.e. verbal battles. Polite formal exchanges within the context of a religious hierarchy (type d and c), by contrast, tend to conform with an ideal of 'speaking in concordance with the one who knows the truth' (GAEFFKE (1970: 34–8)). Prayoga was/is important for gaining or maintaining social influence at the royal courts etc., and played a major role in medieval South Asia. The way in which this art was taught in the more advanced stages of monastic education[327] resembles Aristotelian style rhetorical training, as the following citation from the Āyāradasāo <Ācāra-daśāḥ> (ĀyārD), a Jaina Cheya-sutta (Cheda-sūtra) text, illustrates:

'It is of four kinds: (a) application of one's knowledge after a complete assessment of one's own powers in debate, (b) application of one's knowledge in debate after a full assessment of the parisā (assembly), (c) application of one's knowledge in debate after a full appreciation of the environment (khetta) of the debate, (d) application of one's knowledge in debate after a full estimation of the nature of the adjudicators, the ability of the opponent and the attitude of the authorities, etc. (vatthu)' (ĀyārD 4.2, in TATIA–KUMAR (1981: 32)).

It is interesting to note the similarity between the four factors considered relevant for strategy selection in public debate, and BROWN–LEVINSON's (1978: 79 ff.) variables for the assessment of the seriousness of a FTA, that is, social distance and relative power in particular. The view that South Asians traditionally knew only poetry, but not rhetoric, because of the 'absence of the institution of public speech' (HACKER (1985: 13 f.)),[328] must be doubted in the light of the evidence presented. I would argue, on the contrary, that self-conscious pragmatic language usage, politeness, and the art of persuasion via the construction of implicatures, is one of the recognised arts of Jain ascetics (and laity).[329]

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