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 argues that Indian philosophers of language came to see that the referentialist interpretation is inconsistent with the realist theory of meaning, and explores the consequences of that realization. The meaning relation is that relation which attaches meanings to terms. This is the ‘power’ (śakti) of word. Then, it investigates in detail the ‘infinity’ and ‘discrepancy’ arguments. Vyāḍi's theory is the conjunction of referentialism with the realist theory of meaning. This theory insists that each token of a nominal is a semantic primitive, for which, in the semantic theory for a language containing that token, one must provide a distinct semantic clause. The infinity and discrepancy arguments stress a central problem for any theory of meaning: to show how, if at all, general linguistic competence is related to the possession of a finite body of knowledge.

Keywords: śakti; Indian philosophers; realist theory of meaning; meaning relation; infinity argument; discrepancy argument; referentialism

Chapter.  6672 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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