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 addresses the problems for the philosopher of language within the theory of meaning. Theoretical terms are introduced into Vaiśeṣika proto-physics as names for objects whose existence is derived from known facts. It is noted that Gadādhara insists that tautologies have no literal meaning. Tautologies can be employed to express a proposition which is not their literal meaning, by employing the pragmatics of the conversational context. Udayana assimilates theoretical names to the class of directly referring names. Vardhamāna wrote an influential commentary on Udayana, the Kiraṭāvalī-prakāśa, in which he sets down for the first time the classic definition of a basis-for-usage for an ordinary nominal. Gadādhara has an argument against the whole direct reference approach. He also defends a descriptivist theory of theoretical names. His idea is that something similar happens when people find the sentence ‘ākāśa is the substratum of sound’ non-trivial.

Keywords: theory of meaning; Gadādhara; Udayana; theoretical names; Vardhamāna; descriptivist theory; Kiraṭāvalī-prakāśa

Chapter.  11159 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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