La doctrine des deux vérités —
Deux objectivités
plutôt qu'une distinction entre subjectif et objectif
Un débat sur Vasubandhu
entre Jonardon Ganeri et Mark Siderits

Jonardon Ganeri, The Concealed Art of the Soul,
Oxford, OUP, 2007, Chapter 6 "The Imperfect Reality of Persons", pp. 157–184.

(Ganeri, 166) One recent interpreter [Siderits] has said that '[t]he Buddhist Reductionist [i.e. Vasubandhu] claims that "person" is a mere convenient designator for a complex causal series of impermanent, impersonal psychological elements. That is, ultimately there are no persons, only physical objects, feelings, perceptions, volitions and consciousness.'(30) Another interpreter [Duerlinger] has said, however, that '[w]e need to realize that Vasubandhu does not reject the view that persons ultimately exist. For he too believes that conventionally real persons ultimately exist by reason of being the same in existence as collections of aggregates.'(31) Vasubandhu himself says, famously, that 'persons are real with reference to conception, real in the same sense that such things as heaps and streams are'.(32) The distinction between what is real with reference to conception (prajñapti-sat) and what is real substantially (dravya-sat) is one I will return to in the next section, where I will argue that it is a distinction between two concepts of objectivity (and therefore not a distinction between the subjective and the objective, or between mere appearance and reality).

30 Mark Siderits, Personal Identity and Buddhist Philosophy: Empty Persons (Aldershot: Ashgate 2(03), pp. 24-5.
31 James Duerlinger, Indian Theories of Persons, p. 21.
32 prajñapti-sat pudgalo râsidhârâdivat. Abhidharmakosabhâsya, p. 1205.

(Ganeri, 167) It has been suggested that the import of his statement is that the term 'person' is, for Vasubandhu, a fictional term, and indeed that persons are merely for him conceptual fictions. We have already seen some of the difficulties that translation of the word saṅketa has given rise to, and similar difficulties accompany the word prajñapti. This word is rendered as 'nominal' by Stcherbatsky and Matilal, 'conventional' by Duerlinger, 'relative' by Poussin, 'conceptual' by Kapstein and 'convenient designator' by Siderits. Stcherbatsky's translation leads him to represent Vasubandhu as thinking that persons are merely nominal entities, and the translation of prajñapti as 'convenient designator' clearly runs the same risk. If 'person' is a mere name, like 'Hamlet' or 'the hare's horn', then it does not have a real referent, and persons are illusions of language and conception. It is a short step from there to agreeing with Hume that some fiction is involved.

(Ganeri, 169) Vasubandhu himself has something more to say about the imperfect reality of persons. Something is real in the cloaking and concealing (samvrti-sat) or conceptual (prajñapti-sat) sense if it is no longer cognized when it is divided, either physically or in the mind. Something is real in the ultimate /170/ (paramârtha-sat) or foundational (dravya-sat) sense if it is still cognized even when so divided. We must remember, while reading his explanation, that in Vasubandhu's world-view, everything is constituted out of primitive 'components' or elemental 'qualities' (dharma), some of which are physical (rûpa) and others psychological (nâma).

Vasubandhu, Abhidharmakosa 6.4

Traduction Dunne modifiée (Ganeri, 170):

That of which one does not have a cognition when it has been broken is real in a concealing way (samvrti-sat); an example is a pot. And that of which one does not have a cognition when other [elemental qualities (dharma)] have been excluded from it by the mind is also conventionally real; an example is water. That which is otherwise is ultimately real (paramârtha-sat).

Vasubandhu elaborates:

That of which one does not have a cognition when it has been broken into parts is real in the concealing way. An example is a pot, for when a pot is broken into shards, one does not have a cognition of it. And that of which one does not have a cognition when other elemental qualities (dharma) have been excluded (apohya) by the intellect (buddhi) is also to be known as real in the concealing way. An example is water, for when one mentally excludes its [Physical] form (rûpa) and so on, one has no cognition of water. That is, the 'concealing' designation is applied to those things such as pots and water. Hence, when we say, within the scope of the concealing, 'There is a water-jug and water,' we have spoken the truth (satyam); we have not uttered a falsehood. Hence, it is called a 'concealing truth.'

The existence of things in a way other than that is ultimate reality. That of which one still has a cognition even when it has been broken is ultimately real. And that of which one still has a cognition even when other elemental qualities are mentally excluded is also ultimately real. An example is [physical] form (rûpa). For when that form is broken into infinitesimal particles, one still has a cognition of that real thing (vastu) [namely, form]. And when other elemental qualities such as taste are mentally excluded, one still has a cognition of that whose nature is form. One should see that this is also the case with sensation (vedanâ) and so on. Something is said to be ultimately real [or true (satyam)] because it exists ultimately.

Traduction Louis de la Vallée Poussin, Volume IV, pages 139–141:

Bhagavat a proclamé quatre vérités; il a aussi déclaré deux vérités, la vérité relative (samvrtisatya), la vérité absolue (paramârthasatya). Quelles sont ces deux vérités? [10 b]

4. L'idée de cruche prend fin quand la cruche est brisée; l'idée d'eau prend fin quand, par l'esprit, on analyse l'eau. La cruche et /140/ l'eau, et tout ce qui leur ressemble, existent relativement. Le reste existe absolument.

/141/ Si l'idée d'une chose disparaît (na pravartate) lorsque cette chose est brisée en morceaux, cette chose existe relativement (samvrtisat), par exemple une cruche: l'idée de cruche disparaît lorsque celle-ci est réduite à des tessons. Si l'idée d'une chose disparaît lorsque, par l'esprit, on dissout cette chose, cette chose doit être regardée comme existant relativement; par exemple l'eau. Si, dans l'eau, nous prenons et retirons les dharmas tels que couleur, etc., l'idée de l'eau disparaît.

A ces choses, cruche, vêtements, etc., eau, feu, etc., du point de vue relatif ou conformément à l'usage conventionnel (samvrtitas), sont donnés leurs différents noms. Si donc on dit, du point de vue relatif (samvrtivasena): «Il y a une cruche (ghato 'sti), il y a de l'eau», on dit vrai, on ne dit pas faux. Par conséquent ceci est relativement vrai (samvrtisatya).

Ce qui diffère est vérité absolue. Lorsque, une chose étant brisée ou dissoute par l'esprit, l'idée de cette chose continue, cette chose existe absolument (paramârthasat); par exemple le rûpa: on peut éduire le rûpa en atomes, on peut en retirer par l'esprit la saveur et les autres dharmas, l'idée de la nature propre du rûpa persiste. De même en va-t-il [11 a] de la sensation, etc. Comme ceci existe absolument (paramârthasat), c'est vrai absolument (paramârthasatya).