SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Dr Marie-Hélène Gorisse - Reaching an Agreement through Reasoning in Inter-faith Contexts: A Case-study on the Foundation of Inference in Jainism

Dr Marie-Hélène Gorisse (SOAS; Ghent University)

Date: 12 January 2016Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 12 January 2016Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B102

Type of Event: Seminar


In classical India, philosophers from different traditions built a common area of discussion within which an agreement on philosophical issues could in principle be achieved. The tool to convince interlocutors in such a context is a truth-preserving argument consisting in the highly regulated stated form of an inferential reasoning. Now, these debates being essentially inter-doctrinal ones, the characterisation of this truth-preserving argument raised the question of the existence of shared principles and was a battle-field for the different traditions to establish their own conceptions on the constitution of the world and our ability to know it.

In this lecture, I will present the theory of inference supported by the 11th c. Jaina author Prabhācandra, focusing on its divergence with the ones developed in Buddhism and in Nyāya at the same period, especially in relation to the question of the foundations.

From this, I will address the consequences of this conception on two epistemological issues. First, what does account for the reliability of inferential knowledge in Jainism: an extra-mundane type of knowledge, the consensus of a community, or another instance of


Marie-Hélène Gorisse is senior teaching fellow on Indian philosophy at SOAS University of London and at Ghent University. She is specialized in theories of knowledge and argumentation in Jainism, as well as in their links with Buddhist and Naiyāyika ones. She has recently been working on the conception of inference in the work of Prabhācandra (11th c.), and is planning to extend this by investigating the types of conflict-resolution strategies in Jain argumentative texts.

Organiser: Peter Flügel

Contact email: