A case of vyākaraṇic oxymoroṇ: The notion of anvarthasaṃjñā [Book Review]

Journal of Indian Philosophy 35 (2):133-147 (2007)
The anvartha-saṃjñā compound associates two contradictory terms: anvartha, which means “[used] in conformity with his [etymological/first] meaning”, and saṃjñā which implies the idea of a convention; it therefore appears to be quite intriguing. The question is: is it relevant to focus on this contradiction or is it only a false problem? The aim of this paper is to answer the above question and this implies to grasp somewhat better the use of this notion by the Pāṇinian grammarians. To do so, the author has studied the main texts of the Pāṇinian tradition, having in mind the following questions: did the Pāṇinian grammarians deal with this notion and, if so, in what terms? Did they perceive the contradiction raised by the association of the terms anvartha and samjñā? The study will show that this contradiction is only a false problem: according to the Pāṇinian grammarians quoted above, even when a saṃjñā is provided with an etymological/first meaning and its bearer (or one of its properties) is partly described by this meaning, this saṃjñā belongs, above all, to the domain of convention
Keywords anvarthasaṃjñā  vyākaraṇa  Pāṇinian grammatical tradition  metalanguage  conventional meaning  etymological meaning
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