Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda ► Syādvāda Theory Of Jainism In Terms Of A Deviant Logic ► Introduction

Posted: 07.06.2012

Syādvāda, the doctrine of the relativism of judgments states that all actual and possible assertions in regard to an object are relative and therefore conditionally true or false. An individual's judgement about a thing or event need not only be valid for anyone other than the subject himself, but is also conditioned by its relationship to a point of space and time, and by its mode and substance.

Pramāṇa or complete judgement describes the object in the phenomenal world with all its possibilities which are stated by the Jainas[1] as follows:

(i) May by, it is (Syādasti);

(ii) may be, it is not (Syān-nāsti);

(iii) may be, it is and it is not at different times (Syād-asti-nāsti);

(iv) may be, it is and it is not at the same time which means that it is indescribable (Syād-avaktavya);

(v) may be, it is and yet indescribable (Syād-asti avaktavya);

(vi) may be, it is not and also indescribable (Syān-nāsti avaktavya);

(vii) may be, it is and it is not also indescribable (Syād-asti-nāsti avaktavya).

The above seven possibilities comprise the theory of Syādvāda (Saptabhaṅgī naya) and describe an object X of the phenomenal world subject to the factors of space, time, mode and substance from seven standpoints. However, the above seven predications must be consistent with the facts of objective reality and be based on the principles of affirmation and negation. We note that an object is conditioned by the factors of space, time, mode and substance, hence the affirmation and the negation of proposition regarding it are to be assigned suitable truth-values. Also, since the third, fifth, sixth and seventh, predications involve the concept of simultaneity and nonsimultaneity[2] (which accounts for the object being conditioned by time), we have changed the meanings of the connectives 'and' and 'or'. As a matter of fact, we have introduced two varieties of 'and'; one symbolised by '˄' (simultaneous conjunction), the other 'and' is symbolised by '˅' (non-simultaneous conjunction). As for the connective 'or' symbolised by '˅' we shall use the meaning assigned to it by Reichenbach[3] in his 3-valued logic introduced by him to describe various anomalies in quantum mechanics.

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