, ‘viewpoints’). In Jain philosophy, the doctrine of viewpoints, sometimes called the doctrine of relative pluralism. This doctrine is a unique instrument of analysis which asserts that all viewpoints are only partial expressions of the truth. No statement can be absolutely true because it is a view arrived at from only one angle or one particular standpoint. When combined with the kindred teaching of syādvāda
, this doctrine results in the distinctive Jain teaching of anekāntavāda
, in which Jain philosophers delineate seven nayas
. The seven possible points of view (saptabhaṅgī
) are figurative, general, distributive, actual, descriptive, specific, active (see e.g. Tattvārthasūtra
1. 31 f.), and they are abstracted from what a thing may be in itself (pramāṇa
). These doctrines have helped the Jains avoid extreme and dogmatic views, and have bred an intellectual toleration and a breadth and realism to their thinking which acknowledges a complex and subtle world.