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John Koller, past president of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, is Professor of Asian and Comparative Philosophy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Author of Asian Philosophies (Prentice Hall, 1998), The Indian Way (Macmillan, 1982), A Sourcebook in Asian Philosophy (Macmillan, 1991), and numerous journal articles and book chapters, Koller has lectured at many universities in India and the U.S. and is an external Ph.D. examiner at four universities in India.

Abstract of paper given at Jainism and Ecology conference:
Perspectivalism as a Basis for Ecological Dialogue

In this paper I explore how the epistemological methodology of the standpoints (nayas) and sevenfold scheme of qualified predication (syadavada) which support the Jaina metaphysics of non-absolutism (anekantavada), provide the basis for a global dialogue about and with the environment. Nayavada methodically shows how mutually opposing views are one-sided and limited because they are based on only one, or a limited number of, standpoints, and analyzes the nature of the principle standpoints. Syadavada is a theory of predication that explains how statements about something that can be both permanent, remaining identical with itself over time, and that can change, becoming something else, can be true. Together, the methods of standpoints and qualified predication provide a basis for reconciling conflicting claims about ecological well-being.

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Jainism and Ecology conference participants