The soul is an elusive thing, and anyone who wants to describe it must do so with metaphors, painting it in a picture of words. The metaphors one chooses for this task will reflect the aspects one is most eager to promote of what it is to be a person, a living, breathing, thinking presence in the world. Popularly, the soul is often pictured as a little fellow inside one's head, a homunculus with whom one is in constant communication. Such (...) a picture lends color to the idea that to be a sentient being is to be in a condition of inner dialogue with oneself, reasoning things out, talking things over, and perhaps also being guided by one's conscience, an inner voice heard only by oneself. Notice that the soul so .. (shrink)
This book examines the theories of meaning or artha. It discusses approaches in different schools of thought-Grammarian, Mimamsika, Buddhist, early Naiyayika, Navya Naiyayika, and Vedantin-highlighting the significant relationship between 'word' and 'meaning/knowing/ knowledge'. The author probes and explores the tension between tenets of the Navya-Nyaya school and elucidates on the important changes brought about by the introduction of modes of thought in the theory of meaning. An important contribution to the philosophy of language, this volume demonstrates that classical Indian theory (...) of language can inform and be informed by contemporary philosophy. -/- This book will interest students and scholars of philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, and linguistics. (shrink)
I would like to thank the editors of Philosophy East and West for courteously asking me if I would like to respond to Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips' very thoughtful remarks about the review I wrote of Phillips' translation and commentary on the pratyakṣa chapter of Gaṅgeśa's Tattvacintāmaṇi, prepared in collaboration with N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya (Phillips and Tatacharya 2004). Let me begin by reaffirming what I said at the beginning of my review, that the book is "a monumental and (...) momentous achievement, one whose importance cannot be understated." I have indeed enormous admiration for the magnitude of their achievement and respect for the contribution they have made through this translation to the field of .. (shrink)
Plato articulates a deep perplexity about inquiry in ?Meno's Paradox??the claim that one can inquire neither into what one knows, nor into what one does not know. Although some commentators have wrestled with the paradox itself, many suppose that the paradox of inquiry is special to Plato, arising from peculiarities of the Socratic elenchus or of Platonic epistemology. But there is nothing peculiarly Platonic in this puzzle. For it arises, too, in classical Indian philosophical discussions, where it is formulated with (...) great clarity, and analysed in a way that casts it in a new light. We present three treatments of the puzzle in Indian philosophy, as a way of refining and sharpening our understanding of the paradox, before turning to the most radical of the Indian philosophers to tackle it. The Indian philosophers who are optimistic that the paradox can be resolved appeal to the existence of prior beliefs, and to the resources embedded in language to explain how we can investigate, and so move from ignorance to knowledge. Highlighting this structural feature of inquiry, however, allows the pessimist philosopher to demonstrate that the paradox stands. The incoherence of inquiry is rooted in the very idea of aiming our desires at the unknown. Asking questions and giving answers rests on referential intentions targeting objects in a region of epistemic darkness, and so our ?inquiry sceptic? also finds structurally similar forms of incoherence in the pragmatics of interrogative discourse. (shrink)
When J. L. Austin introduced two “shining new tools to crack the crib of reality”—the theory of performative utterances and the doctrine of infelicities—he could not have imagined that he was also about to inaugurate a shining new industry in the philosophy of the social sciences. But with its evident concern for the features to which “all acts are heir which have the general character of ritual or ceremonial,” Austin’s theory soon became indispensable in the analysis of ritual, linguistic and (...) every kind of social action. While Indianists such as Frits Staal, Bimal Matilal and David Seyfort Ruegg have made good use of the work of Austin and his “ordinary language” school, it is Quentin Skinner who has attempted to turn Austin’s insights into a general “theory and method” for the study of intellectual cultures. The question I want to address in this paper has to do with the applicability of Skinnerian techniques to the study of literary and intellectual Sanskrit culture in premodern India. If not all of Skinner’s methods transfer to the new context, identification of the points at which they breakdown helps to clarify the distinctive contours of Indian intellectual history, and suggests appropriate methodological innovation. (shrink)
The article reviews the book "Epistemology of Perception: Gaṅgeśa's Tattvacintāmaṇi, Jewel of Reflection on the Truth (About Epistemology): The Perception Chapter (Pratyakṣa-khaṇḍa) Transliterated Text, Translation, and Philosophical Commentary," by Stephen H. Phillips and N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya.
Hidden in the cave : the Upaniṣadic self -- Dangerous truths : the Buddha on silence, secrecy and snakes -- A cloak of clever words : the deconstruction of deceit in the Mahābhārata -- Words that burn : why did the Buddha say what he did? -- Words that break : can an Upaniṣad state the truth? -- The imperfect reality of persons -- Self as performance.
This second volume in the Foundations of Philosophy in India series is an important contribution to the philosophy of language. Here Jonardon Ganeri highlights the significant relationship between semantic power and epistemic power to understand the important philosophical category of meaning.
What is the rational response when confronted with a set of propositions each of which we have some reason to accept, and yet which taken together form an inconsistent class? This was, in a nutshell, the problem addressed by the Jaina logicians of classical India, and the solution they gave is, I think, of great interest, both for what it tells us about the relationship between rationality and consistency, and for what we can learn about the logical basis of philosophical (...) pluralism. The Jainas claim that we can continue to reason in spite of the presence of inconsistencies, and indeed construct a many-valued logical system tailored to the purpose. My aim in this paper is to offer a new interpretation of that system and to try to draw out some of its philosophical implications. (shrink)
Original in content and approach, Philosophy in Classical India focuses on the rational principles of Indian philosophical theory, rather than the mysticism usually associated with it. Ganeri explores the philosophical projects of a number of major Indian philosophers and looks into the methods of rational inquiry deployed within these projects. In so doing, he illuminates a network of mutual reference and criticism, influence and response, in which reason is simultaneously used constructively and to call itself into question.
Jonardon Ganeri gives an account of language as essentially a means for the reception of knowledge. The semantic power of a word and its ability to stand for a thing derives from the capacity of understanders to acquire knowledge simply by understanding what is said. Ganeri finds this account in the work of certain Indian philosophers of language, and shows how their analysis can inform and be informed by contemporary philosophical theory.
Following H. T. Colebrooke's 1824 'discovery' of the Hindu syllogism, his term for the five-step inference schema in the "Nyāya-sūtra," European logicians and historians of philosophy demonstrated considerable interest in Indian logical thought. This is in marked contrast with later historians of philosophy, and also with Indian nationalist and neo-Hindu thinkers like Vivekananda and Radhakrishnan, who downgraded Indian rationalist traditions in favor of 'spiritualist' or 'speculative' texts. This article traces the role of these later thinkers in the origins of the (...) myth that Indian thought is spiritual and arational. The extent to which nineteenth-century European philosophers were aware of Colebrooke's 'discovery' is documented, and then their criticisms of the Hindu syllogism and its defense by orientalists like Ballantyne and Müller are examined. (shrink)
David Lewis modified his original theory of causation in response to the problem of ‘late preemption’ (see 1973b; 1986b: 193-212). However, as we will see, there is a crucial difference between genuine and preempted causes that Lewis must appeal to if his solution is to work. We argue that once this difference is recognized, an altogether better solution to the preemption problem presents itself.