Critique, Contradiction, and Common Sense in the Anekāntajayapatākā

Anil Mundra

PhD Candidate, Philosophy of Religions

Critique, Contradiction, and Common Sense in the Anekāntajayapatākā

The Jain theory of “non-one-sidedness” (anekāntavāda) — that any real object possesses contrary properties — has understandably been deemed paradoxical by both its classical Indian detractors and many well-wishing modern proponents. However, examination of a Sanskrit locus classicus, Haribhadrasūri’s Victory Flag of Non-One-Sidedness (Anekāntajayapatākā, c. 8thcentury C.E.), reveals that the theory insists not only on non-contradiction but indeed the dictates of common sense. On this reading, its basic insight turns out rather like Hegel’s “determinate negation” without his idealism.

This is a draft of the central chapter of my dissertation, and it is long and technical. The central concepts of the text come on pages 3, 19, and 28. But beyond that, those of you who understandably do not want to wade through the whole thing might consider choosing your own adventure depending on your interests:
  • If you’re into Anglo-American and “common sense” philosophy, go directly to the second section: “Experience and Intuition, Common Sense and Conventional Practice” (~15 pp.)
  • If you incline more toward Continental philosophy and Hegel, go to the third section: “Contradiction and the Compossibility of Contraries” (~15 pp.)
  • If you’re most interested in Sanskrit intellectual history and exegesis, go to the fourth section: “Hermeneutics and Doxography” (~5 pp.)
  • If you’d rather think about the methodological issues of comparativism, go to the last section “Comparison, Common Sense, and Colonialism” (~2 pp.)

I’m very grateful to anyone who takes the trouble to read and discuss even a single section!

The paper may be accessed here.

Tuesday, April 13th, 12:30 PM

Hosted by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop at the University of Chicago. To RSVP and receive a Zoom link and password for the paper, please email Tyler Neenan (

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