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Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: Section IV

Published: 08.05.2012

Our investigation so far has made it clear that out of the many kinds of possibilities Jaina logicians do not consider technical possibility in the context of Syādvāda. The cases where casual considerations are predominant an account of technical or etiological possibilities is significant. But such considerations are unimportant from the point of view of descriptive statements about a thing, the proper context of Syādvāda. It is for this reason that such possibilities are beside the point in this context. Similarly, the possibility as minimal probability, too, is nowhere considered. Further, absolute conceptual possibility is not expressly and explicitly employed, although it is possible to say that it is presupposed for explanation of nomological possibility. In the context of Syādvāda three kinds of possibilities are clearly acknowledged: possibility as potentiality, epistemological possibility and nomological as well as existential possibility. Etiological possibility that figures in the causal explanation falls outside the preview of Syādvāda.

Jaina logicians and philosophers believe that this world is full of things of dravyas and hence accept, it seems, what A.O. Lovejoy calls the Principle of Plentitude. In this they are in great company of Aristotle and Leibnitz. They further hold that dispositions are actualized in course of time. Possibilities for them, thus figure on two levels: potentiality and actuality. Potentialities are given in order of being, but not necessarily in order of knowing. Actualities are given in order of knowing. This is how they become epistemic possibilities. All our statements, descriptions, and interpretations to which one can assent or from which one can dissent, are and should be occasion sentences and not eternal sentences, although former are explainable in terms of latter. Jaina logicians and philosophers, however, do not clearly draw a line of demarcation between possibility proper and contingency, for neither on the level of potentiality nor on the level of epistemic possibility can this distinction be drawn. The distinction comes to the foreground, that is, not on the level of truth-conditions but on the level of explanation of the way truth conditions are presumed to be given to us. This is indeed an important consideration and a detailed account of it would require consideration of three main issues: (a) total-truth values acknowledged, (b) the kinds of truth-conditions envisaged and (c) the way truth-conditions are presumed to be given to us. These considerations, although important in the full context of syādvāda, must be set aside here because our purpose here is to analysis 'syāt' and the possibilities it brings to the fore.

In conclusion it can be said that Jaina logicians and philosophers acknowledge, in the context of syādvāda, possibilities of potency, epistemic and nomological along with existential possibilities. Outside the context of syādvāda etiological possibilities too are acknowledged. They seem also to accept conceptual possibilities in the context of explanation although not for describing. Moreover, in the case of descriptions, according to them, no distinction can be drawn between possibility proper and contingency understood in any sense.

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. Aristotle
  2. Dravyas
  3. JAINA
  4. Jaina
  5. Syādvāda
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