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Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: Part 3

Published: 30.11.2011
Updated: 02.07.2015

The so called mutual implication of the identity and distinction of two terms M and N means according to this view their identity in one respect a and their distinction in another b; the two relations are presented together, each being known independently. It amounts to saying that M and N are in the two relations the same two terms only in a factitious sense. They are two pairs of terms—Ma, Na, and Mb, Nb—presented together; and. the identity of Ma, Na, means that they are only different symbols of P.

But what does symbol of P mean, it may be asked. Can we simply say that Ma, Na are P as in connexion with i.e. as distinct from and together with Mb, Nb respectively? Apparently P has to be thought in two positions. The difference of symbols is not accidentally together with the identity P: it can not be got rid of and cannot in the last resort be taken to be-merely outside the identity, like the difference of Mb, Nb. In other words, a new relation—other than the mere coordinateness of distincts—has to be admitted between P and its ultimate symbols or thought-positions. So far as the identity of P can be distinguished from this relation, it is only P-ness and not P; and the relation "itself is but the particularity of P. The identity of a determinate thing then disappears and gives place to a dualism of the abstractions—thinghood and particularity.

Ordinary realism starts with the determinate thing and would resist this analysis as artificial. But the alternative would appear to be to take the determinate thing as simply given, as implying no identity and to reject self-identity as only a meaningless phrase. What precisely is meant by 'simply given'? It can only mean 'independent of all particularising or symbolising thought'. It is to assume that the distinct exists apart from distinguishing. If this is justified simply by the circumstannce that the distinction between the subjective and the objective is itself a known object, we come back to the old difficulty about distinction within the objective and distinction from the objective. Distinction from the objective, taken as itself objective, implies that knowing is known as distinct from the known i.e. as as unknown. If this is not a contradiction, knowing can only be understood as the indefinite that is known (i.e. is definite or objective) as the indefinite. The realistic equivalent of the relation of object and subject then is the relation of the definite and indefinite.

The objective indefinite has been admitted by some logicians with a realistic tendency e.g. by L.T. Hobhouse in his Theory of Knowledge. The content of simple apprehension which to him is the standard fact is at once definite and indefinite. What is apprehended is a definite with an indefinite background. The indefinite as apprehended is so far definite but it is definite as indefinite, not as superseding the indefinite. Yet to Hobhouse there is knowledge only so far as the content is defined by abstration. The knowledge of the indefinite as such is not regarded as necessitating any modification of the forms of definite knowledge. The difference of the definite and the indefinite is not understood as other than the difference between two definites. There is the other obscure relation approximating to adjectivity or identity indicated by the phrase 'definite indefinite.' But this relation, if not denied, is not considered by him at all. The Jaina recognises both these relations explicitly and obtains from their contrast certain other forms of truth, simpler and more complex.

The obscure relation in the content 'definite indefinite' requires elucidation. If the indefinite is definite as such, is this definiteness an objective character? To the realist, thought only discovers but does not constitute the object. Bare position corresponding to the simple positing act of thinking must then be objective. The indefinite is thought as indefinite and by the same logic the indefiniteness is also objective. The 'definite indefinite' is thus a fact but the two elements of it are incompatible in thought. The factual equivalent of this incompatibility would be disconnexion or no-relation: The elements cannot be said to be related objectively even in the way of distinction. Yet as the elements have to be thought together, their togetherness is to be admitted as objective in the same abstract sense. Here then we have togetherness of unrelated or undifferenced elements. We cannot deny a plularity nor can we affirm a definite distinction: the relation is a magical alternation. This would be the Jaina equivalent of the relation of identity. We may call it non-difference, distinction from distinction or indeterminate distinction.

If the given indefinite is definite as indefinite, the given definite is definite as definite. The given definite thus turns out to be a manifold, in contrast with the given indefinite. If the adjective 'definite' in 'definite indefinite' be objective, it is also objective in 'definite definite' and distinguishable from the substantive 'definite'. We use the terms adjective and substantive only in a provisional way. The adjectival definite is objective thought-position and the substantive definite as contrasted with it is objective given-ness, or existence in general. As they are both distinct, their relation is definite distinction or differenced togetherness. Thus we have two modes of togetherness—differenced and undifferenced. The Jaina calls them kramārpaṇa and sahārpaṇa respectively—consecutive presentation and co-presentation, as they might be translated. To him the indeterminism or manifoldness of truth (anekānta) presents itself primarily in these two forms of difference and non-difference.

The two definites in the phrase 'definite definite' mean thought-position and given-ness. They answer precisely to the elements of the determinate existent—viz. particularity and thinghood—which we obtained from the coordinateness of identity and distinction. In order to avoid the apparently artificial analysis, the realist takes the determinate existent as merely given. It is indeed given but so is the indefinite also given and the contrast of the two brings out the circumstance that the determinate existent is manifold—the very analysis that was sought to be avoided. The determinate existent then implies the distinct elements and is at the same time distinct from them.

Such is the logical predicament that is presented everywhere irt the Jaina theory. It may be generalised as a principle: the distinction from distinction is other than mere distinction and yet asserts the distinction. It is just the realistic equivalent of the simple statement that the subject is distinct from the object and knows this distinction, or as it may be put more explicitly, that the knowing of knowing is the knowing of knowing as referring to the object. As we have already suggested, the different basal categories of objectivity with which the different forms of realism are bound up answer to the different aspects of the act of knowing. If knowing is a unity, the known is a plurality, the objective category being distinction or togetherness. If knowing is itself a duality of 'contemplating' and 'enjoying', the known or the contemplated is a duality of distictions and distinction from distinction. If finally knowledge is of the object, refers to the known, the known must present an equivalent of this of-relation or reference.

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

Printed by:
Pawan Printers
J-9, Naveen Shahdara, Delhi-110032

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anekānta
  2. JAINA
  3. Jaina
  4. Objectivity
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