Himal Trikha, 2012
Perspektivismus und Kritik: Der epistemische Pluralismus der Jainas angesichts der Polemik gegen das Vaiśeṣika in Vidyānandins Satyaśāsanaparīkṣā. (Publications of the De Nobili Research Library 36.) Wien: De Nobili, 2012. (401 S.)


This book explores the pluralistic epistemological model of a tenth-century South Asian philosopher and emphasizes the vital role of critique for establishing pluralism on rational grounds.

The focus of the book is a text section from the Sanskrit work Satyaśāsanaparīkṣā, in which the Jaina scholar Vidyānandin discusses tenets of the Vaiśeṣika, a brahminical philosophical tradition. Vidyānandin refutes the Vaiśeṣika tenets by way of a systematic deconstruction of a key concept in the Vaiśeṣika ontological system, namely, the concept of inherence (samavāya). In the first part of the book, Vidyānandin’s uncompromising criticism of the Vaiśeşika is taken as an example for philosophical approaches to competing world views and examined in the context of the classical Jaina theory of manifoldness (anekāntavāda). Through the systematic differentiation of several forms of perspectivism it is shown that Vidyānandin’s edifice of thought offers a narrow path between relativism and dogmatism: It represents a form of epistemic pluralism, in which the identification of erroneous epistemic alternatives plays a crucial role for the establishment of valid epistemic alternatives. The second and third parts of the book contain a critical text and an extensively annotated translation of the text selection from the Satyaśāsanaparīkṣā. Vidyānandin’s arguments are examined against the backdrop of closely related passages from other Sanskrit works of the classical and medieval periods. The methodical analysis of these passages and the determination of their place in the argumentation’s structure allow for the identification of different layers of the text’s composition and reveal Vidyānandin’s specific contribution in a discourse that spanned centuries.

Table of Contents and Extracts (pdf)