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"Intellectual Ahiṃsā" Revisited: Jain Tolerance and Intolerance of Others

John E. Cort
Philosophy East and West
Vol. 50, No. 3, The Philosophy of Jainism (Jul., 2000), pp. 324-347
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1400177
Page Count: 24
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"Intellectual Ahiṃsā" Revisited: Jain Tolerance and Intolerance of Others
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Abstract

It has been widely proposed that the Jain logical methods of linguistic analysis collectively known as anekāntavāda (manypointedness) are an extension of the Jain ethical imperative of ahiṃsā (non-harm) into philosophy as a form of intellectual tolerance and relativity--described by several scholars as "intellectual ahiṃsā"--whose genealogy and development over the past sixty-five years are given in detail. It is shown how Jains used anekāntavāda to expose the relative truth of non-Jain metaphysics, while arguing that only Jain metaphysics, which alone is based on the omniscience (kevala-jñāna) of the Jina, contains absolute truth (samyag-jñāna). Examples are given of Jain intolerance of others, based on nonphilosophical literacy and historical evidence, before returning to the issue of Jain tolerance for and curiosity about non-Jain philosophical positions, in an attempt to ground future discussions of Jain tolerance and intolerance on a fuller range of Jain data and not on ideological formulations inadequately grounded in historical analysis.

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