Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda ► Non-Absolutism (Anekāntavāda) ► Section II ► Part 3

Posted: 27.03.2012

Time again is a determinant of existence. The jar exists in its own time and not in other time. The jar's own time is the present time and other time is the past or the future. If time were not a determinant of its existence, the jar could exist in the past and the future and thus would be an eternal substance. By the 'present time' we must understand the duration of time during which a jar endures. It has an upper and a lower limit constituted by its origin and its end. The upper limit separates the past from the present and the lower limit furnished by the end of the jar constitutes the future. Certainly it is absurd to suppose that the jar can exist in all these three divisions of time, or to suppose that it does not exist in its own time as it does not in the past and the future. The Vedāntist denies the reality of these determinations, but the denial of determinations is itself a case of determination. But unless a person is prepared to acquiesce in the Vedāntist's conclusion, or the Śūnyāvdin's conclusion that nothing exists, he will have to accept the findings of the Jaina on the reality of these determinations. The full import of the proposition 'the jar exists' is thus to be elucidated as follows: 'The jar is the substratum of existence as determined by the nature of the jar, its substance (of clay), its present time and its own location.' The non-existence of the jar would likewise be determined by reference to time, place and substance.

The affirmation of the universal proposition, that the nature of reals is determined by the fourfold internal determinant as what it is and by the fourfold external determinant as what it is not, raises a problem about these determinants themselves. Are the determinants determinate? If so, they must have internal and external determinants. And die same question will be raised regarding the second set, which again will require a third set of internal and external determinants, and the third set will require a fourth set and so on to infinity. The universal necessity insisted upon will lead to a regressus ad infinitum and the denial of this necessity at any stage will amount to surrender of a fundamental doctrine. It may be maintained on the analogy of the final self-determined stage that reals may be self-determined. The Jaina meets the problem by taking his stand upon concrete realism. He refuses to accept the solution that experience determines the nature of things as it is without reference to any determinant, external or internal. In the determination of the nature of reals the Jaina banks upon the testimony of experience, but he refuses to be a party to deliberate or undeliberate twisting of it. It is experience which envisages a real determined as existent and non-existent by its internal and external determinants respectively. If a priori considerations were depended upon in the determination of reality, there would be no check and no uniform standard. A real is to be accepted to be what it is found to be in experience. The dictum 'Things are determined by their proofs'[1] cannot be denied. If the knowledge of the determinant required another determinant, we would admit its necessity. If it did not require such determinants, we would not insist upon it. If the determination of the nature of the determinant actually depends upon another determinant, that need not cause a difficulty. A thing has a nature of its own and if the determination of the nature actually requires another nature of its own and that is found in experience, the first nature will be determined. And the second nature may or may not have a third nature. What is determined by another or is determined by itself has to be discovered by experience. The matter can be explained by reference to concrete facts. The specific nature (svarūpa) of a self (jīva) is to change into mental states and this mental change assumes one form as cognitive activity. Thus cognitive activity will be its internal determinant and the subsense of cognitive activity will be its external determinant. This determinant again has its specific determinants. Thus cognition is of two kinds - mediate or non-perceptual and immediate or perceptual. The nature of immediate cognition is its lucidity (vaiśadya) and that of the mediate is the lack of lucidity. Immediate or perceptual cognition has again two varieties - perfect and imperfect. Perfect perception is cognisant of the complete nature of all things and imperfect perception takes note of parts of things. It is thus a matter of experience whether a determinant has another determinant. If a determinant is found ultimately to be self-explanatory and self-determinant, there is no reason whatsoever to question its validity.

The contention that everything should be regarded as self-determined on the analogy of such determinants is a piece of hollow sophistry. Now, consciousness is found to reveal itself and its objects. Will it be a sound argument to maintain that brute material facts should be self-revelatory like consciousness? The nature of reals should be determined to be exactly what they are found to be and not otherwise. Fire is hot and water is cold, though both are substances. Is it sound logic to argue that fire should be cold like water, as both are substances? The difficulty raised by the opponent regarding the nature of determinants is thus found to be imaginary. As regards external determinants, there is absolutely no problem, since the number of reals being infinite and their nature being distinct and different in each, the nature of one can be easily distinguished from that of others. It cannot be maintained that things may be numerically different, yet they may have the same nature. 'A' is different from 'B' because 'A' has a nature different from that of 'B'. Either it has to be said that there is no plurality of things, or their different nature is to be conceded. Even if more than one entity is admitted, the second will determine the first and the first will determine the second externally. The difficulty about external determination is thus non-existent. And as regards internal determination we have shown that the difficulty is a figment of pure logic.

Another problem and we shall finish with the first two propositions. Let us examine the relation of subject and predicate in the first proposition.' Let the proposition be 'The self exists.' Is 'existence,' the predicate in the proposition, different and distinct from the subject, 'self'? Or, are they identical? If the subject and predicate meant the self-identical thing, the relation of subject and predicate, substantive and adjective, and the relation of coincidence of the predicate with the connotation of the subject in the subject (sāmānādhikaraṇya) would not be possible. The subject and the predicate denoting the same things would be two synonymous terms and the proposition would be tautologous. The statement of either the subject or the predicate would be sufficient. Of course it is possible to regard all propositions as analytical in character. But we do not solve the problem by such terminological devices. An analytical proposition is a proposition nonetheless. If the predicate did not mean anything different from the subject and vice versa, it is patent on the face of it that there would be no proposition. The problem is, 'Is a proposition possible'? We see that it is not possible if the subject and the predicate are of self-identical import. The self-same difficulty is confronted even in what are called synthetic propositions. Let the proposition be 'The pen is red.' It is a synthetic proposition inasmuch as the predicate, 'red,' stands for a quality which does not follow from the connotation of the subject. But the question may be raised, does red mean the same thing as the subject? Are they identical in meaning? If the answer be in the affirmative, the objection of tautology stands unrefuted. Apart from this difficulty which is common to all propositions, the propositions 'the pen exists' or 'the self exists' are instances, in which the problem is further aggravated by grave difficulties. The predicate 'existence' is to be asserted of all entities and if the relation of the predicate to the subject were 'identity' all entities would become identical, being identical with a self-same predicate, 'existence.' This will be manifest from analysis of the proposition we have taken for consideration, viz., 'The self exists.' The self is identical with existence, which is identical with all that exists. The result is, the self would be everything. This is the conclusion of the Vedāntist, but a realist would not take it to be true.

Identity cannot then be the relation between the subject and the predicate in a proposition, because of its untoward consequences, one logical and another ontological. The logical consequence of this view is the fallacy of tautology and the ontological consequence is the abolition of diversity and pluralism. Vedānta deduces these very consequences as evidence of the unreality of diversity, but a realist cannot be a party to it. Let us then consider the other alternative. Let the relation between the subject and the predicate be one of difference. 'The pen is red' is a proposition. If the pen were different from 'red,' it would not be red, and if 'red' were different from the pen, it would not be affirmed of it. But the difficulty is accentuated in a pronounced form in the proposition, 'The self exists.' If the self were different from existence, it would have no existence and it would be a fiction. And as has been observed before, existence being a universal predicate, each and every thing would be a fiction, being the subject of 'existence' and being different from it like the self. The consequence will be nothingness of the universe - the conclusion of śūnyavāda. The consequences are equally fatal to logic and realism. But it is equally difficult to maintain that the relation of the subject and the predicate is neither numerical identity nor numerical difference, since the two are contradictorily opposed and the denial of one involves the affirmation of the other according to the Law of Excluded Middle.

The Naiyāyika solves the problem by means of 'inherence' (samavāya). He would have it that though existence be different from the self, the former can be in the latter by relation of samavāya or inherence. Existence inheres in the self, though numerically different from it. But samavāya or inherence is a logical fiction apart from identity-cum-difference, which is the Jaina position. We shall examine this Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika concept in a separate chapter and shall see that it is only a device of philosophical escapism. The Jaina meets the difficulty by practically denying its reality. The difficulty is a creation of abstract logic, which the Jaina has condemned. The relation of the subject and the predicate is neither identity alone nor difference alone, but both together. If 'existence', as the predicate, were identical with the subject, the subject would be absolutely existent, and if it were different, the subject would be absolutely non-existent. But concrete reals are neither absolutely existent, nor absolutely non-existent. They are existent and non-existent both. If the predicate 'existence' be taken to stand for the whole substance, being concurrent with it, the relation can be taken to be identity. Existence as an attribute has no objectivity apart from the subject and is inseparable from it. Inseparability is concomitant with identity. The identity of a real is inseparable from it. And only that is inseparable from a real which constitutes its identity. Existence is inseparable from the self or the pen, because it constitutes its identity. But though inseparable and so identical, it does not constitute the whole of the identity. The pen and the self are both identical with existence, but still they are different and diverse, because existence is only a part of their being. We have to admit that the subject and the predicate are identical and different both, because we cannot get rid of the two, unless we are prepared to escape into the strangle-hold of Vedānta or to court intellectual death which the nihilism of śūnyavāda holds out as a temptation.

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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
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