Marie-Hélène Gorisse is teaching Indian classical and modern philosophy as a senior teaching fellow at SOAS University of London and as a visiting professor at Ghent University.
She is specialized in theories of knowledge and argumentation in Jainism, as well as in contacts between epistemology in the Jaina tradition and epistemology in the Buddhist, Naiyāyika and Mīmāṃsaka ones. She has been working on the consideration of the context of assertion of knowledge statements (PhD, Lille), as well as on the conception of inference (first post-doctoral fellowship, Ghent) in the work of the Jaina digambara philosopher Prabhācandra (11th c.). She has translated a selection of chapters of Prabhācandra’s Prameyakamalamārtaṇḍa, the Sun that opens the lotus of the knowable. And as a Gonda fellow at the University of Leiden, she now plans to extend this research on knowledge and argumentation in Jainism by investigating the types of conflict-resolution strategies in Jain argumentative texts.
More precisely, in the course of her work on Jaina conception of inference, it became clear that in the determination of what is a truth-preserving argument leading to recognised knowledge statements, not only formal considerations, but also epistemic, metaphysical, soteriological and ethical ones, were taken into account. These observations call for an investigation on the Jaina theses that are active in the process of resolution of inter-doctrinal conflicts. There are especially two hypotheses worth considering for such a project, because they are traditionally advanced to distinguish a Jaina identity. First, Jaina philosophers are known for their classification of sources of knowledge, according to which extra-sensory faculties like omniscience are in principle accessible to human beings. This has consequences on instances of validation external to reasoning. Second, Jaina philosophers are particularly known for their philosophical perspectivism, according to which the complexity of the knowable is such that no analysis can exhaust its nature, and that, by definition, a philosophical thesis is only contextually valid.
In this dynamic, investigating the types of conflict-resolution strategies in Jaina argumentative texts should enable to determine which elements of the argumentation process are involving more than strictly-formal truth-preserving structures. This is closely linked with the question of the instances of validation of a given discourse in Jaina monastic communities. Gorisse will collect material towards this investigation, especially polemical texts in Jain monasticism, like debates described in the hagiographies of monks, and will sketch an overview of this literature, as well as will identify patterns of argumentation.