Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda ► Anekānta, Syādvāda And Saptabhaṅgī ► The Seven Predicates As Seven Exhaustive And Unique Modes Of Truth

Posted: 05.03.2012

The Seven Predicates are Exhaustive.

We have now explained the import and significance of the seven predicates. We have also seen how the number 'seven' is derived by different combinations of the three predicates, viz., existence, non-existence and inexpressibility, and also that no further combination is possible without repeating the same predicate twice. Of the seven predicates, the first and second are simple, the fourth is complex, and the remaining four are compounds constituted by all possible combinations of the first, second and fourth taken two or three at a time. Now if it could be proved that the first, second and fourth predicates - viz., existence, non-existence and inexpressibility - exhaust all possible elemental[1] predicates of a real, the conclusion would naturally follow that there are exactly seven, neither more nor less, predicates which can characterize a real in respect of the pair consisting of the characteristics of existence and non-existence. It should, however, be clearly understood in this connection that the seven predicates considered above merely exemplify the patterns which would be followed also by other heptads of predicates constituted by pairs of characteristics like permanence and impermanence, oneness and manyness, and so on. We should also here note that 'expressibility' cannot be regarded as an additional predicate, because the very act of affirmation or negation of a predicate implies it. 'Expressibility' together with its opposite 'inexpressibility' can, however, give rise to another heptad of predicates after the pattern illustrated by 'existence' and 'non-existence'.

To come to the main problem, let us see whether the triad - e.g. existence, non-existence and inexpressibility - exhausts all possible elemental predicates of a real. And for this purpose let us analyse the nature of our cognition.

Our simplest cognition or judgment exhibits two factors, viz., subject and a predicate, that is, a substantive and an adjective qualifying it. The substantive is the determinandum and the adjec­tive is the determinans.[2] Thus the judgment 'This is jar' may be rendered as 'a particular real manifests the character (indicated by the adjectival import of the word) jar'.[3] Akalaṅka, in his Tattvārthavārtika,[4] has discussed in detail the possible meanings of the predicate 'jar', which we shall here briefly notice. He states the proposition in the accredited form 'In some respect, this is jar. Here the object represented by the substantive 'this' has two aspects - native (svātma) and alien (parātma) - which vary according to the intention of the cognizer or speaker. Thus (1) if the intended native aspect is the aspect expressed by the concept or the word 'jar' (in its usual sense), the alien aspect is the aspect expressed by the concept or the word 'non-jar'. In other words, the object in its native aspect is jar (svātmanā syād ghaṭaḥ), and in its alien aspect non-jar (parātmanā syādaghaṭaḥ)[5]0 The object thus is both jar and non-jar. The principle implied is that the object is a comprehensive fact which includes in itself the opposite characteristics like jar and non-jar. The object as determined by the particular characteristic cognized, that is, as determinandum is the native aspect, and the object as not so determined, that is, the non-determinandum is the alien aspect. Corresponding to the determinandum and the non-determinandum, there are also determinans and non-determinans. It is thus seen that the substantive and the adjective of a proposition have two aspects each - one positive, another negative. (2) If, again, the intended native aspect of the object is the aspect expressed by the word 'jar' as an ad hoc symbol, the corresponding alien aspect would be the aspect expressed by the word 'non-jar' as a symbol standing for the usual or any other conventional or attributed meaning of the word 'jar'. The upshot is the same as in the first analysis, viz., the object in its native aspect is 'jar' and in its alien aspect 'non-jar'. Similarly (3) if the intended native aspect of the object is the aspect expressed by the word 'jar' standing for the jar-particular, the alien aspect would be the aspect expressed by the word 'non-jar' standing for the jar-universal. Here also the object in its native aspect is 'jar', and in its alien aspect 'non-jar'. Similarly (4) if the intended native aspect of the object is the aspect expressed by the word 'jar' standing for the jar-concept, the alien aspect would be the aspect expressed by the word 'non-jar' standing for the external jar-shape (bhāhyo ghaṭākāraḥ). In the same way, (5) if the intended native aspect of the object is the aspect expressed by the word 'jar' standing for its objective cognition (Jñeyākāra, that is, cognition qua contemplation, to use Professor Alexander's phrase), the alien aspect would be the aspect expressed by the word 'non-jar' standing for subjective cognition (Jñānākāra, that is, cognition qua enjoyment, again to use Professor Alexander's phrase). Thus here also the object in its native aspect is 'jar', and in its alien aspect 'non-jar'

This analysis of a cognition has clearly demonstrated that the object of our cognition is always a fact having two aspects - (1) the aspect that is determined by the predicate of the cognition and (2) the aspect that is not so determined. The object is jar, as well as non-jar, existent as well as non-existent, and so on. It is determinandum as well as non-determinandum, that is, determinate as well as non-determinate. This double nature of the real, obtained by analysis, is symptomatic of the fact that the real is a complex of opposites inexpressible by definite linguistic symbol. Thus the predicate 'inexpressible' is also obtained. The real, therefore, is found to be possessed of the triad of predicates - viz., existence, non-existence and inexpressibility - all of which are elemental in the sense that each of them presents a unitary characteristic. The analysis does not yield any fourth predicate which is elemental, and so the triad should be regarded as exhaustive.

Now, as the triad of elemental predicates is found to be exhaustive, it follows, on grounds already given, that there are exactly seven, neither more nor less, predicates which can characterize a real in respect of pairs of 'opposite' characteristics. Let us now see whether each of these seven predicates is a unique mode of truth.

Footnotes:
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[3]
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Published by:
Jain Vishwa Bharati Institute
Ladnun - 341 306 (Rajasthan)

General Editor:
Sreechand Rampuria

Edited by:
Rai Ashwini Kumar
T.M. Dak
Anil Dutta Mishra

First Edition:1996
© by the Authors

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