Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science ► 03 ► [3.1.3] A Critique - Metaphysical View: Non-Absolutism - Law Of Anekanta - B) Experience Vs. Pure (A Priori) Logic

Posted: 13.02.2008

Experience Vs. Pure (A Priori) Logic

The Jains who are noted for their firmness and sobriety of outlook, maintain that if the nature of reality is allowed to be determined by a priori logic, in defiance of experience, the results would be fatal. Certainly logic is not competent to tell us whether anything exists at all. It is only perception, which can assure us that anything exists.

Thus, the position that is adopted by the Jains is this: Pure logic, prior to and independent of experience, is a blind guide to the determination of Truth. Logic is to rationalize and systematize what experience offers. All our knowledge is ultimately derived from experience. Even the knowledge that something exists is not capable of being derived from any other source. The existence and behaviour of things and their mutual relationship can be ascertained only on the basis of experience and the function of reason or pure logic is only to reduce the data of experience to order and system. To allow logic to work in vacuo and to dictate term to the data of experience to behave in a way different from their own is neither a sound philosophical procedure nor a safe course of thought. The unfettered exercise of logic in defiance of the testimony of experience has been responsible for the hopelessly chaotic results achieved by metaphysical speculations. That philosophy has not made progress commensurate with the progress of science is due to the illegitimate freedom usurped by reason by deposition of empirical evidence. The laws of thought, if they are to be the laws of being and becoming must be propounded in a fashion that they may be really helpful to the progress of knowledge.

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