Jain theories of inference

Start - End 
2012 - 2015 (completed)
Department of Languages and Cultures
Research group(s) 



In classical India, philosophers from the different schools built a common area of discussions within which an agreement on philosophical issues could be achieved. Focusing on the 11th century CE as the final stage of a period rich in such debates, my research project aims at restoring the contribution made to this field by philosophers from Jainism.

 First, I aim to improve the accessibility of Jain texts on knowledge, argumentation and meaning, by a proper edition, an English translation and a philosophical commentary of one basic text, Prabhacandra’s Sun that grows the lotus of the knowable.

Second, the specificity of Jain philosophy mainly pertains to the way it takes into account the context of an assertion. I aim to show that this unique contribution should not be seen as marginal, because it pervades all spheres of philosophy and because dialogues between Jains and followers of other schools, especially Buddhism, were fruitful ones.

Third, I aim to test how a comparison between Jain classical theories and contemporary discussions can contribute to their respective developments, by confronting the Jain thesis according to which the meaning of a word is defined in relation to the way one can use it within a debate with the actual developments in the field of the semantic-pragmatic interface; and by confronting the Jain conception of logic in terms of interaction between agents with the actual discussions concerning the links between logic and proof in science.