"Trivialism is the theory that every proposition is true. A consequence of trivialism is that all statements, including all contradictions of the form "p and not p" (that something both 'is' and 'isn't' at the same time), are true."

  • does this mean all language constructs are true? for instance, 'the chair is a person'. what is not true about that statement? it's just a string of words. Henry Miller said 'words are dead'
    – blue_ego
    Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 11:37
  • The answer is trivial: no. But perhaps you can explain why you think this would even merit a question? What leads you to believe it is even possible Buddhist philosophy would say “everything is true”?
    – user13375
    Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 12:01
  • No, I don't think so. Graham Priest talks aligns buddhism with paraconsistent logic, which voids the principle of explosion, meaning the claim anything can be inferred from anything (which sounds a bit like trivialism). It can feel that way, perhaps because you're often meant to drop inferences, I think, despite them being valid!
    – user23973
    Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 13:07
  • Just to add to this I’d say that I think the principal of the excluded middle is probably the one bit of western logic that Buddhism might take issue with. Without PEM; but all other normal western logical rules of inference; Buddhism would be constructive logic. You can read more here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuitionistic_logic but note this is far different than saying everything is true.
    – user13375
    Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 15:52
  • Does Graham Priest really align it with paraconsistent? That wouldn't seem to make sense as Catuṣkoṭi is, S is and is not P (quantum principle of explosion)
    – Paragon
    Commented Jul 31, 2022 at 21:24

1 Answer 1

  1. Nagarjuna explicitly refutes the propositions of the type "p and not p" as true.[ref. Mulamadhyamakakarika] This four-fold rejection is a feature of the Madhyamika dialectical reasoning.

Based on this, and your provided definition of trivialism, Buddhism is not trivialist.

  1. If there were no contradictions, then it wouldnt be the case that there would be no difference between choosing a right path or a wrong path- because they would both be true.

But the Buddha clearly and explicitly identifies right from wrong or correct from incorrect.

Therefore, it isnt the case that contradictions are true in Buddhism.

Therefore, it isnt trivialist.

  • Can you recommend any secondary books/papers on this topic?
    – Paragon
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 17:18
  • 1
    @Paragon David Seyfort Ruegg had published an essay titled "The Uses of the Four positions of catuskoti and the problem of the description of reality in Mahayana Buddhism" in 1977. That is a very good read to understand the tetralemma. Catuskoti is implicitly presented in Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika. As an example of its presentation, in chapter 1 "Examination of Conditions" we see how the four logically possible positions, pertaining to the arising and cessation of conditions, are refuted. Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 9:46

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