The Mīmāṃsā school of Indian philosophy has for its main purpose the interpretation of injunctions that are found in a set of sacred texts, the Vedas. In their works, Mīmāṃsā authors provide some of the most detailed and systematic examinations available anywhere of statements with a deontic force; however, their considerations have generally not been registered outside of Indological scholarship. In the present article we analyze the Mīmāṃsā theory of Vedic injunctions from a logical and philosophical point of view. The (...) theory at issue can be regarded as a system of reasoning based on certain fundamental principles, such as the distinction between strong and weak duties, and on a taxonomy of ritual actions. We start by reconstructing the conceptual framework of the theory and then move to a formalization of its core aspects. Our contribution represents a new perspective to study Mīmāṃsā and outlines its relevance, in general, for deontic reasoning. (shrink)
The Mīmā ṃ sā school of Indian philosophy elaborated complex ways of interpreting the prescriptive portions of the Vedic sacred texts. The present article is the result of the collaboration of a group of scholars of logic, computer science, European philosophy and Indian philosophy and aims at the individuation and analysis of the deontic system which is applied but never explicitly discussed in Mīmā ṃ sā texts. The article outlines the basic distinction between three sorts of principles —hermeneutic, linguistic and (...) deontic. It proposes a mathematical formalization of the deontic principles and uses it to discuss a well-known example of seemingly conflicting statements, namely the prescription to undertake the malefic Śyena sacrifice and the prohibition to perform any harm. (shrink)
The study of textual reuse is of fundamental importance in reconstructing lost or partially lost texts, passages of which can be partly recovered through other texts in which they have been embedded. Furthermore, the study of textual reuse also provides one with a deeper understanding of the modalities of the production of texts out of previous textual materials. Finally, it constitutes a unique chance to reconsider the historicity of concepts such as “author”, “originality” and “plagiarism”, which do not denote really (...) existing universals, but have rather evolved—and still evolve—in different ways in different cultural milieus. After a general introduction and an analysis of the historical background of textual reuse in India and Europe, the essay attempts some general conclusions regarding the formulas introducing instances of textual reuse in Classical South Asian texts. (shrink)
The present issue of Journal of World Philosophies will host a series of papers discussing the phenomenon of linguistic communication2 from a philosophical point of view and from a cross-cultural perspective. The papers’ authors discussed the topic together with some other scholars in a workshop in Athens, 2015. The contributions are organized around the following four issues: 1. What do we know? 2. How (through which instrument of knowledge) do we know it? 3. What is the role of language as (...) a medium? 4. What is the role of the social context? (shrink)
Kumārila’s commitment to the explanation of cognitive experiences not confined to valid cognition alone, allows a detailed discussion of border-line cases (such as doubt and error) and the admittance of absent entities as separate instances of cognitive objects. Are such absent entities only the negative side of positive entities? Are they, hence, fully relative (since a cow could be said to be the absent side of a horse and vice versa)? Through the analysis of a debated passage of the Ślokavārttika (...) , the present article proposes a reconstruction of Kumārila’s view of the relation between erroneous cognitions and cognitions of absence ( abhāva ), and considers the philosophical problem of the ontological status of absence. (shrink)
Veṅkaṭanātha Veṅkaṭanātha was an Indian polymath who wrote philosophical as well as religious and poetical works in several languages, including Sanskrit, Maṇipravāḷa—a Sanskritised form of literary Tamil—and Tamil. He is traditionally dated to 1269-1370, but as explained by Neevel “the lifespans of … Continue reading Veṅkaṭanātha →.
The article offers an overview of the deontic theory developed by the philosophical school of Mīmāṃsā, which is, and has been since the last centuries BCE, the main source of normative concepts in Sanskrit thought. Thus, the Mīmāṃsā deontics is interesting for any historian of philosophy and constitutes a thought-provoking occasion to rethink deontic concepts, taking advantage of centuries of systematic reflections on these topics. Some comparison with notions currently used in Euro-American normative theories and metaethical principles is offered in (...) order to show possible points of contact and deep divergences. In more detail, after an introduction explaining the methodology and aims of our work, we discuss how Mīmāṃsā authors distinguished and defined some fundamental deontic concepts, such as different types of prescriptions and prohibitions. We then discuss how Mīmāṃsā authors approached the problem of conflicts among commands without jeopardising the validity of the normative text issuing them. In the second part of the article we introduce our formal apparatus, which is construed around the main taxonomic and conceptual distinctions used in the first part. Our formal rendering captures the most important features of the Mīmāṃsā theory and can thus serve as a concise and rigorous presentation of it for scholars working in deontic logic. (shrink)
The book is an introduction to key concepts of Indian Philosophy, seen from the perspective of the influential school of Pr?bh?kara M?m??s? (flourished from the 7th until the 20th c. AD). It includes the edition and translation of R?m?nuj?c?rya's ??straprameyapariccheda.
The bulk of the present volume focuses on the reuse of Buddhist texts. The Introduction gives some background to the topic of textual reuse in general and discusses the reasons for undertaking the analysis of textual reuse within Buddhist texts. It then elaborates on the extent of its pervasiveness within Buddhist literature through the example of Tibetan ritual texts. Lastly, it takes stock of the articles on text-reuse and discusses some general lines of interpretation of the phenomenon of textual reuse (...) in Buddhism, highlighting the importance of the genre over that of the time and language of composition. Thus, philosophical or technical texts tend to quote explicitly, whereas ritual texts see the predominance of the conveyed message over the transparency of the transmission so that reuse is mostly silent. Religious texts of various forms come in between these two extremes. (shrink)
The Purpose of the Mīmāṃsānyāyasaṅgraha and Its TranslationSome of the criticism frequently seen in book reviews is due to the reviewer's desire to have read something else. Indeed, I do not wish to judge James Benson's Mīmāṃsānyāyasaṅgraha: A Compendium on the Principles of Mīmāṃsā from the standpoint of what I would have written if I had been in his place. And thus, I will start by outlining his work and the goals he had in mind.The central part of this extensive (...) book consists in a critical edition of a previously unpublished Mīmāṃsā work together with its first English translation. All the other sections, including the introduction, summary of topics, and indexes, must be understood as subsidiary.The... (shrink)
Rāmānujācārya’s Tantrarahasya, a philosophical treatise mainly dedicated to the hermeneutics and epistemology of the Pūrva Mīmāṃsā School, might be considered hardly more than a jigsaw of reused passages, since one third of it has a direct source, and a further third has its roots in interlanguage usage. It is thus a perfect case study for investigating the compositional habits of philosophical authors in pre-modern śāstra literature. The article analyses the formal aspects of textual reuse by Rāmānujācārya and draws some general (...) conclusions regarding the author’s intellectual affiliation to Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā on the basis of the way he reuses his school’s texts as compared to the reuse of other schools’ texts. A final section discusses the possibility of generalising these results to the approach to textual reuse of the whole Pūrva Mīmāṃsā. (shrink)
The authors make an attempt to comparatively analyse some stances of the Old Indian philosophy of language, exemplified by the Medieval Indian author Jayanta, along with the Western tradition of the analytical philosophy of language, and to highlight the differences as well as the similarities. The main focus is on Jayanta's discussion of the meaning vs. reference problem.
Ve?ka?an?tha was the most important systematiser of the Vi?i???dvaita school of Ved?nta. This article describes his use of Buddhist sources and shows how Ve?ka?an?tha reused Buddhist texts to a much more significant extent than his predecessors Y?muna and R?m?nuja. The reused text-passages come mostly from the epistemological school of Buddhist philosophy but there are important exceptions, attesting that Ve?ka?an?tha was also aware of Buddhist schools such as the Vaibh??ikas, of whom only little is preserved today. Given that Buddhist philosophy was (...) no longer an active presence in South India at the time of Ve?ka?an?tha, his interest in it must be due to factors other than his polemical agenda. Perhaps, his project of enlarging Vi?i???dvaita Ved?nta made him confront outsiders such as Buddhist thinkers and his intellectual interest in philosophy made him engage in a genuine confrontation with them. (shrink)