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Anekanta : Philosophy of Co-existence: 07.04 Naya, Anekanta and Rules of Thinking - Expressible and Inexpressible

Published: 02.08.2010

Expressible and Inexpressible

Proper or normal behaviour may not be regulated concretely without establishing a mutual correlation between words and its meaning. The meanings are the expressions while words are the mode of expressions. We gain the knowledge from the words through their meaning. If words are used correctly then the correct meaning is expressed. If words are not used properly or used wrongly then the true meaning is not revealed. In the discussion on naya (viewpoint) minute attention has been paid to the correct usage of meaning. Meaning has many modes. All the modes may not be said together. In fact even throughout one's life it may not be possible for one to express the innumerable modes. In order to express these innumerable modes one needs innumerable expressions. Our dictionaries fall very short to fulfill this requirement. If we perceive it from this angle we may well say that substance is not expressible.

We talk about one mode of a substance. On the basis of the expression of one mode it may be called expressible. Expression is used on the basis of particular or difference. With the help of arth naya (meaning viewpoint) the realisation of identity or universal is achieved. In identity a word does not hold the main position, but meaning does. In verbal or word viewpoint the realisation of meaning is only through words. In it words have place of prominence rather than meanings. In direct knowledge it is not essential to look for a relationship between words and meaning. In indirect knowledge the search for the relationship between words and their meaning is imperative. The word-based knowledge found in the meaning gives a new dimension to the thought and language.

Meaning based on words is one approach of knowledge acknowledged as a facet of long-term mode, for example, so and so was a man, is and will be. Word compilers for dictionaries, in order to express the meaning of a single word have also made a compilation of synonyms or words giving one meaning. According to the perspective of etymological viewpoint (sambhirudh naya) this effort is useless. They feel that the meaning and knowledge of a word or its synonym is fully accomplished by a word itself. Another word cannot convey its meaning. For example take the two synonyms of cloud. One is taritwan and the other dharadhar but they originate differently. Whereas the word taritwan has been coined from vidyut or thunder, the word dharadhar has been coined keeping dhara or the rains in mind. Hence these two are synonyms. One word cannot express the meaning of both these words. In order to express each synonym, word or verbal viewpoint is required.

In order to realise the meaning of a word when the word is expressive of the meaning, then the synonym available helps avail concrete knowledge of its word meaning. For instance, when the word man is mentioned, then the meaning of man as living being is realised. According to word viewpoint this is its right usage. Since, the viewpoint of function (evambhoot) naya accepts the ontological aspect of synonym it does not accept the living being called man as man due to the lack of his thinking action. According to this stream of thought, one who thinks is man so the word man {manushya) means man only at the time when he thinks. We can even utilise the example of the clay pot. According to the thought process of word viewpoint a clay container having a particular shape is called a clay pot. The viewpoint of function however does not think it proper to associate it with such a meaning if it is not engaged in the act of drawing or retaining water. According to word viewpoint a pot is a pot whether it is engaged in the act of drawing and holding water or not. But according to the viewpoint of function a pot is a pot because it does the work of drawing and holding water. At the time it does not do the work of drawing and holding water, it stops being a pot. The perspective of the viewpoint of function is an absolutely perfect one for gaining meaning. Based on it one can move on to progressive thinking beyond the bondage of orthodox traditional thinking.

Sources

Anekanta: Philosophy of Co-existence Publisher:  JainVishwa Bharati, Ladnun, Rajasthan, India Editor: Muni Akshay Prakash

Edition:  2010 (1. Edition)

ISBN:  817195140-6

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  1. Evambhoot
  2. Naya
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