Making the Case for Jaina Contributions to Critical Thinking Education

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Anand Jayprakash Vaidya

Abstract

The central goal of the cross-cultural critical thinking movement is to change the dominant model of critical thinking pedagogy that is used in the US, UK, and those countries that follow this model. At present the model is centered on an Anglo-American and Euro-Centric model of critical thinking that actively and blatantly ignores contributions to logic and critical thinking education from non-Western sources; more importantly, the model implicitly sends the message to students of critical thinking that critical thinking is a valuable set of skills that derives from what is taken to be Western culture. Cross-cultural critical thinking, by contrast, is centered on a globally inclusive model of critical thinking that presents contributions to critical thinking from a variety of different cultures and traditions. This alternative model aims in part to convey the message that critical thinking is part of the human condition and that understanding it within the human condition is essential to the proper deployment of it in a pluralistic society where there is disagreement over matters of ultimate value. In this paper I offer a presentation and defense of a set of contributions deriving from the Jaina tradition of philosophy that could be presented in a globally sensitive critical thinking course. The central concepts I present and interpret are: non-one-sidedness (anekāntavāda), the theory of epistemic standpoints (nayavāda), intellectual non-violence (intellectual ahiṃsā), and the theory of seven-fold predication (saptabhaṅgī). In each case I focus on the relevance that the concept has for critical thinking education at the introductory level.

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How to Cite
Vaidya, A. (2018). Making the Case for Jaina Contributions to Critical Thinking Education. Journal of World Philosophies, 3(1), 53-78. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.iu.edu/iupjournals/index.php/jwp/article/view/1617
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Author Biography

Anand Jayprakash Vaidya

Anand Jayprakash Vaidya is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Comparative Philosophy at San Jose State University in Northern California. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles and his PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara for his analytical study of how we come to know what is possible and impossible and what consequence knowledge of possibility has for theories of consciousness. His current research focuses on cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary public philosophy in the areas of mind, epistemology, critical thinking, and social justice. A wandering nomad at heart who lives in San Francisco with his wife Manjula, Anand is an avid fan of heavy metal, jazz, and classical Indian music, who regularly plays guitar and practices yoga and meditation.