Jaina Theory of Multiple Facets of Reality and Truth (BLII) (book review) Nagin J. Shah

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

200628: reading second time...note again, the result of opposing thought-systems etc is not median, not synthesis, not relatively, but simple recognition of truth according to this context, according to this other. context...


280120: reading an essay on buddhist four-membered logic https://aeon.co/essays/the-logic-of-buddhist-philosophy-goes-beyond-simple-truth made me think of the seven-membered logic in jaina, though it does not refer to it, and an urge that comes to me in trying to understand all ways. i have an urge to ‘unify’, to synthesize, the most disparate. this is why i like jaina thought... here is another book on jaina: [book:Central Philosophy of Jainism, The|33534530] and another [book:Jainism as Meta-Philosophy|34729893]


131216: later addition: after the election of the orange-skinned man to the most powerful position in the world (launching nuclear weapons in a twitter rage...), there is an attempt at 'normalizing' his abnormality, and so i must clarify my position on truth versus lies he has trafficked in. i do not mean to say we liberals must accept such, for example, racism, misogyny, bigotry, as equally true, but only as valid in the perceptions of his followers, however distorted is that version of the world. this is a view of the world that must be challenged. this is not true and thus does not follow any sort of logic. there must be the plea for tolerance of every view that is tolerant, rejection of the intolerance, and in this way jaina philosophy remains useful...


first review: great short book that may require a lot of introductory readings, much sense of various schools of Buddhist and Indian philosophy, that investigates, propounds, critically engages with 'jaina' logic, in a collection of essays, all to me fascinating, all encouraging, all interesting. though i have read a few philosophy texts (453) several of which are 'Indian' philosophy (26), i have not read much i would consider on or using much 'logic' (0), though i would not say i am particularly 'illogical', this sort of text never interested me. so reading this without much background, without knowledge beyond basic 'western' logic, even knowing characteristic symbols any more than the Sanskrit or whatever Indian used in quotes... this surprises me in many ways...


so can i sum up what i liked so much about this book? maybe it is not the logic which i can barely follow, maybe it is just the impression that it is logical- someone has made the arguments, they seem to know what they are arguing- that this 'seven-membered logic' is robust, is useful, is supporting an entire attitude i can admire: that is, non-absolutism, non-dogmatic, 'perspective' logic and ways of thinking, society, politics, life. there are essays that explore this thought, some i follow, some i do not, but this portrait of 'jaina' thought is heartening...


rather than buddhist logic which narjuna has shown rendering metaphysical/ontological contentions by logic as 'emptiness', jaina logic insists on the real sense of opposites. buddhism has four-membered logic: is, is not, both is and is not, neither is and is not. all is emptiness. jaina devises at about the same time, seven-membered logic: perspective is, is not, perspective both is and is not, perspective neither is or is not, perspective is and inexpressible, perspective is not and inexpressible, perspective is and is not and inexpressible...


because of the readings done in philosophy, i have been exposed to many philosophical perspectives, and this has made me wonder: why are not many if not all 'views' correct in some contexts or respects? are there not as many or more ways of living, seeing, knowing, our worlds as there are 'worlds' or even 'universes' or people? are we not in error dismissing new or different or contradictory 'views'? it seems to me that rigid 'views' metaphysical or ontological or epistemological or ethical or logical- is a tendency towards dogma, and this i associate with revealed 'religious' faiths, rather than enquiring, open, searching values i tend to imagine as 'philosophy' proper, with experience, essence, becoming, and not 'dogma' of any sort... jaina seems to offer not skepticism, not nihilism, not relativism, but something more complex, something practical and effective in unifying or transcending differences of such views..

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