"Intellectual ahiṃsā" revisited: Jain tolerance and intolerance of others

Philosophy East and West 50 (3):324-347 (2000)
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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