Jonardon Ganeri

in Artha

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780198074137
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199082131 | DOI:

Series: Foundations of Philosophy in India


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This chapter explores the arguments of the early grammarians, Mīmāṃsakas, Buddhists, and Naiyāyikas. It also investigates the arguments for and against a referentialist interpretation of description. It tries to develop a notational system which accurately reflects the structure of the artificial Sanskrit used by the Indian semanticists, while being reasonably in keeping with standard modern practice. The Mīmāṃsaka thesis is that the mechanism of deflected reference explains the role of descriptions in sentences which are ‘about’ a definite object. Patañjali's thesis is that the validity of the ‘one-remainder’ rule leads to the conclusion that the meaning relatum (artha) of a nominal is a particular. His criterion succeeded in distinguishing between genuine singular terms and Russellian definite descriptions. The Nyāya authors are not driven, as were the Mīmāṃsā hermeneuticians, by the goal of validating Vedic discourse, but their epistemological project nevertheless made issues of understanding central for them.

Keywords: artha; interpretation of description; Mīmāṃsakas; Buddhists; Naiyāyikas; Patañjail; Vedic discourse

Chapter.  10628 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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