Matilal, Bimal Krishna;
The Word and the World: India's Contribution to the Study of Language
Oxford University Press, 2001, 204 pages
ISBN 0195655125, 9780195655124
topics: | india | philosophy | linguistics
In his review of this book, Arindam Chakrabarti takes a cynical view: For most Western analytic philosophers the occurrence of the word "philosophy" in the popular expression "Indian Philosophy" is an orthographic accident like that of "ant" in "Kant".
while the smart comment is certainly revealing towards Chakrabarti's uneasiness with the attitudes to Indian philosophy, there is surely something about the point that "Indian philosophy", even where it is evaluated, is thought of as an object of interest, unconnected with Philosophy in general.
Human language is a very complex phonomenon. But its supreme relevance lies in the recognition that thinking is almost impossible without language, and hence by analysing language we can analyse thought. e.g. [Dummett 80] believes that language is the 'base of the entire structure' we call 'philosophy'. p. 1
One modern philosopher, Dummett(1980) firmly believes that the philosophy of language is "the base of the entire structure" we call philosophy - argues that there is a very general aspect of our concern with language and this concern is with the fundamental outlines of an account how language functions.
at times almost excessive preoccupation with language on the one hand and with philosophy on the other, may indeed be regarded as a characteristic of Indian civilization. (F. Staal, Sanskrit Philosophy of Language, 1969, 463) shabda in this writing will often be translated as 'language'... [akShapAda, author of Nyayasutra, has attested to] the 'word' as "pramANa", 'a means of knowledge. Nyayasutra 1.1.7: shabda or Word is what is instructed by a trustworthy person (Apta) here shabda stands for shabdapramANa - the means of knowledge called "word". [WEST: Nietzsche - all discussions are linguistic. Wittgenstein - good / true - how are these notions realized linguistically? Quine: Aristotle's meaning = marriage of word and thought]
It has often been claimed in recent times that in the Indian scientific and philosophical tradition, mathematics plays a less crucial role and its place is taken by grammar or linguistics. ... Linguistics, and along with it the philosophy of language, developed in India from the fifth century BC, although not much is known about these subjects in the early centuries except for the work of three grammarians (pANini, followed by kAtyAyana and paTañjali), and that of the etymologists (called nairuktas) such as yAska. In the West, linguistics developed relatively late, although for an early discussion of the philosophy of language one can go back to Plato's Cratylus. [Cratylus: Plato presents the NATURALISTIC view of word origins. words get their meanings in a natural process, independent of the language user (?God may have given these?). the opposite (CONVENTIONAL) view, posed by aristotle, says that words arise due to convention among language users. ] vyAkaraNa (literally it may mean 'analysis') or grammar was regarded as the gateway to other disciplines. it was part of the vedAnga, one of the six 'limbs', i.e. auxiliary (or preparatory) disciplines, for the successful study of the vedas. the six ancillaries include grammar, phonetics, etymology, metrics, astronomy, and the science (or art) or rituals.
[In the classical pedagogical tradition, Vedas were thought to have six parts (angas): - ShikSha: language and learning - Kalpa is the procedure such as how to perform yagna. - Vyakaran is grammar. - Nirukta is the dictionary of words / etymology. - Chhanda is the system of writing or syntax. - Jyotish is the knowledge of past, present and future or the science of Astrology. ]
The early development of 'grammar' or what may be termed 'science of language' led to many interesting results. Intimate relationship between logical and grammatical categories was noticed: what may be called certain 'universals' of logic and language were noted, distinction between language and metalanguage, or rather between use and mention, was underlined, and metalinguistic notions were more clearly understood and treated accordingly. For example, in rule 1.1.68, pANini notes the distinction between the practices in the 'language' of grammar and in ordinary language. In grammar, by the use of a word (say 'cow') we refer to the word itself, while in ordinary language by the use of a word we refer to its meaning, the object, a cow..
pANini seems to say that in normal language when we use a word to refer to itself, i.e. where we mention it, we mark it (in Sanskrit) with an iti (which, incidentally, functions as quotation-marks in Sanskrit), but in grammatical rules where we frequently mention the word instead of using it, it is convenient to have the reverse convention: mark the word with iti when we use it and leave it unmarked when we mention it. [NOTE: what was "laukika" in pANini's time is now classical]
pANini's aShTAdhyAyI (अष्टाध्यायी Aṣṭādhyāyī, 5th-4th c. BC) is certainly a monumental work - an achievement of encyclopaedic research and technical perfection, a comprehensive grammar of the Sanskrit language which includes both the Vedic Sanskrit and what is called 'classical' or laukika Sanskrit. It consists of nearly four thousand sUtras, short grammatical rules in aphoristic style. A comparatively simple outline: - vyAkaraNa may be taken to mean the process of analysing language and in such a process the first element we reach is a sentence, which consists necessarily of a verb in various tenses and moods, and a number of substantives called kArakas 'causal or contributory factors' to the action denoted by the verb or the action-word, and also the qualifiers and other related items belonging to such kArakas. - The forms of verbs found in the sentence can be viewed as made up of an original root/stem called dhAtu and a number of endings called PRATYAYAS. These endings, pANini thinks, give the verbs their temporal and modal significance. While dealing with verbal endings, pANini notices that there are a vast number of verbal derivatives which are treated as substantives and take kAraka inflections, but which can be analysed into root/stems and a set of inflections which he calls kr^t (KRIT). [verbal derivatives ==> kr^t; taddhit -> noun extensions; ting ==> verb inflections: pratyayas - needs further elucidation] - This has led to the interesting philosophical discussion between the nairuktas or etymologists and the pANinIyas. According to the etymologists, all nouns (substantives) are derived from some verbal root or the other. yAska in his nirukta refers to this view (in fact defends it) and ascribes it to an earlier scholar shAkaTAyana. This would require that all words re to be analysable into atomic elements, 'roots' or 'bases' and 'affixes' or 'inflections' -- better known in Sanskrit as dhAtu and pratyaya.... yAska reported the view of gArgya who opposed shAktAyana (both preceded pANini who mentions them by name) and held that not all substantival words or nouns (nAma) were to be derived from roots, for certain nominal stems were 'atomic'... p.8-9 pratyaya meant, among other things, 'a causal factor' or a 'condition' (a constituent), in dependence upon which a product will come into being (see the meaning of pratyaya in any Buddhist text). p.9
Grammar is regarded as a shAstra, 'a system of thought' with a purpose and directed towards a goal, composed for the sake of a well-defined readership. As a shAstric discipline it has four anubandhas or 'parameters', or delimiting lines: subject, connection, purpose, and readership. The 'subject' of grammar is shabda, 'words and sentences', its relation with shabda is that it analyses shabda into stems and suffixes and thus helps our understanding of its significance. Its purpose is clearly stated in pANini's title of aShTAdhyAyI: shabdAunushAsana: teaching of the principles that would serve to distinguish correct forms from incorrect ones. [paTañjali remarks that the purpose could also be:] - protection of purity in scriptural texts (rakShA), - transformations of word-affixes to suit ritual context (Uha) - recitation of the Scriptures (Agama), - a simpler way of learning the language (laghu), and - certainty, a way of learning about the proper meanings when ambigyous words are used (asaMdeha) p.11 [patañjali says at one point] language is the great 'spirit' (deva) that has entered into mortals, and the study of grammar helps us to get control of this spirit, that has become identified with the essence of mankind. ... [Instead of making lists of correct words (or incorrect ones, which would be much larger)] the best method is to formulate rules following the principles of 'generalization' (sAmAnya) and showing 'exceptions' (viShesha) to such generalities. p.12 patañjali says that language reveals its own secret to one who studies grammar just as the faithful wife reveals her beautiful body to her husband.
word acquisition (learning the meaning of words): indian philosophers from very ancient times are almost unanimous - such learning can come from eight ways - a) grammar (vyAkaraN) - derivative (yangika) word meanings can be understood based on the root. b) analogy (upamAna) - a description of the word based on a known concept c) lexicon (koSha) d) statement of a trusted person (AptavAkya): parent pointing at object and saying "this is a horse" e) speech-behaviour of elders (vyAvahAra): perhaps the most important of these eight ways (nAgesha, prabhAkAra), gangesha: "everybody in his or her first learning of the language depends exclusively on the speech-behaviour of the elders." Language Acquisition process: older adult commands 'Bring a cow,' and the younger adult obeys by bringing a cow. The child as an onlooker understands that the utterance (sound emitted by older adult) as a whole means the activity. ... of the younger adult. Then on another occasion from such and other commands as 'bring the horse' and 'tie the cow' the child through an unconscious process of assimilation and elimination ( AvApodvApa) learns the meanings of such words as cow, horse, bring, tie etc. involves not only perception and inference, but also an understanding of the adult's intention as revealed by their bodily movements [AUGUSTINE, Confessions, I.8: When they (my elders) named some object and accordingly moved towards something, I saw this and I grasped that the thing was called by the sound they uttered when they meant to point it out. Their intention was shown by their bodily movements, as it were the natural language of all peoples: the expression of the face, the play of the eyes, the movement of other parts of the body, and the tone of the voice which expresses our state of mind in seeking, having, rejecting, or avoiding something. Thus, as I heard words repeatedly used in their proper places in various sentences. I gradually learnt to understand what objects they signified; and after I trained my mouth to form these signs, I used them to express my own desires. aside: Wittgenstein opens Philosophical Investigations with this statement from Augustine. That words "signify something" is implicit in this quotation. He goes on to challenge the notion that such a meaning is signified, except for concrete visual words "table", "chair", "bread". Using examples that include indexicals like "this" and "there", he asks: "What is supposed to shew what [a word] signifies, if not the kind of use they have?" [PI.10] Then he develops the argument that sensations are private, and not shared, and may drift. This private language gains stability by being anchored in public (shared) words.] f) larger context of the sentence or passage (sannidhyatAH): The special or the specific meaning of a word (which may be ambiguous in its use) - e.g. an ambiguous word yava which may mean long-bearded barley (AryAn) or a kind of seed (mlechha) can be disambiguated when the following sentence runs - "when other plants droop down, the yavas stand up and flourish." Contextual factors have primacy in resolving ambiguities in meaning. g) Explanation or commentary: parallels word-meanings supplied by definition h) Syntactic connection (?vr^ddhAH?) with words whose meanings are already known: e.g. the unfamiliar word pika: "The pika sings sweetly sitting in the mango tree", here the meaning of pika can be inferred from its syntactical connection with other known words e.g. pika may be understood to mean a singing bird, such as a cuckoo.
There were two theories in terms of which [words with multiple meanings were to be explained]. bhartr^hari calls one the 'multiple-word theory' and the other 'single-word theory'. According to the former, we should consider one such word with multiple meaning as a dummy for many words, each of which has its own singular meaning. According to the latter, it is considered to be a single word with multiple meaning. ... In some cases it is clearly recognizable (on the basis of etymological history) that the same sound form (rUpa) represents actually two or more words having two or more meanings. This will support the former view, and the resulting ambiguity is resoved easily, as bhartr^hari emphasizes, by the contextual factors (prakaraNa). But this raises, among other things, two problems. First, there are certain roots such as pA. This means both 'to drink' and 'to protect'; it is the same sound-form having two completely different meanings and this cannot be explained through etymology or derivation. Should this not be regarded just as two roots which happen to have the same soundform, pA? Second, many words seem to have some primary meanings and several secondary or related meanings. They are usually explained with recourse to metaphor. Indian theorists, being mainly concerned with the synchronic study of language, explained that the non-primary senses developed out of usage but they are always connected, in some way or the other, with the primary meaning. Sometimes, however, some non-primary meaning may gain prominence through constant usage and then be regarded as another 'primary' meaning... mimAMsA: only 'monosemy' was natural - synonyms and multiple meanings are corruptions... for multiple meanings, each meaning is to be regarded as primary. Old view (patañjali's?) that frequency of use determines the primary meaning is criticized and rejected. Words used by mlechha's are accepted in Sanskrit creating homonyms. problem: shleSha (pun or paranomasia). kumArilabhaTTa: certain cases of genuine synonyums may be accepted where no other explanation is possible (ananyagatikatvena). kumArilabhaTTa in tantravArttika: Since names are used for referring to objects, it is fruitless to have a second (or a third) word if only (the first) can serve the purpose.
WORD CLASSIFICATION [~parts of speech] yAska: four groups - nAma - nouns or substantives - AkhyAta - verbs - upasarga - pre-verbs or prefixes - nipAta - particles, invariant words - prepositions (?) This breaking down of sentence into words generated a philosophical controversy. In the prAtishAkhya text, [phonetics text; before Gargeya] the gist of the controversy was put cryptically as saMhitA pada-prakr^tiH. According to one analysis the words would be the primary elements (prakr^ti) out of which the sentence is constructed, while according to another analysis it means the opposite, that is, the sentence would be the primary entity, originally given, and the words are arrived at only through analysis and abstraction. 18 [AM: i.e. words are the maximal chunks in the intersection sets of sentences. How? sentences, or rather phrases, carry meaning. if we restructure them, we can constitute them into frequently occurring chunks, which we call words, just as words themselves can be broken into roots and suffixes etc. e.g. the phrases "break the heart" and "heart failure" both involve a related sense of "heart" - yet, the meaning of this word is much more work to pin down, than the meaning of the phrases (by def, phrases have to be more concise than words) - so this makes it possible to define the phrases more easily than the decontextualized word. How does one define the meaning for a decontextualized word? ... a conspiracy of the lexicon builders. ] to call something 'primary' in this context meant that it had a preferred ontological status, as either a constructed conglomerate or an abstracted constituent. the controversy over relative primacy of the word and the sentence was long and protracted...
the term for what are generally called (ontological) categories is padArtha, literally meaning 'what the word refers to' or 'referents'. 19 yAska's contribution lay in singling out two main (ontological) categories: a process or an action (bhAva), and an entity or a being or a thing (sattva). L. Sarup chose to contrast these two, bhAva and sattva, by using the terminology of 'becoming' and 'being' (Sarup 1921, 5). recently E. Kahrs has questioned these translations and suggested being for bhAva, and entity for sattva. yAska first defined the notion of AkhyAta, verb, and then the notion of nAma, noun, by reversing the order of his own enumeration. ... 19
the verb is defined as that which has the bhAva ('process') as its predominant notion and a noun is defined as that which has sattva ('thing'), as its predominant notion. the 'process' is one that has, according to one interpretation, an early stage and a later stage and when such a 'process' is the dominant sense, a finite verb is used as in vrajati, 'walks', or pacati, 'cooks'. but when a process is referred to as a 'petrified' or 'configured' mass (mUrta) extending from start to finish, a verbal noun is used, e.g. vrajyA (a) walk, or pakti, (a) cooking. in the latter case the notion of process is subordinated, for the element of sequence in the process is lacking. hence we have a noun derived from a verb to express it.  [AM: compare Langacker 'summary scanning' (vs sequential): Enter - progression along a set of states Entrance - episodic nominalization - involves collectivization ] there might have been a profound insight in yAska's writing when he used the demonstrative pronoun 'that' and said that a substantive or a 'thing' is referred to by the pronoun 'that'. Whatever we can point out by saying 'that', such as a cow, an elephant or a horse, would be the referent of a noun-word. Even an abstract idea or an action can be referred to by a noun-word because we can also refer to it by 'that'. [reinterpreted by helArAja in his commentary on the vAkyapadIya - definition of dravya]
The pre-verbs or prefixes were never considered to be independently meaningful. Their significance lies in the contribution they make to the meaning of the main verb to which they are attached. Sometimes they modify, sometimes they reverse the meaning of the main verb. A well-known (later) For example the root-verb hr. means 'to steal', but with pra- it means 'to strike', with A- it means 'to eat', and with pari- 'to abandon'. p.20 [prahAra - to strike, to beat up, AhAra - meal; parihAra - to renounce] Some have propounded the theory that the pre-verbs are not to be regarded as 'denotative' of any meaning, but only 'indicative' of some meaning that is actually located in the verbs, and to round up the view, they would say that the verbal root does not have any fixed meaning. In fact such roots implicitly possess the power to have many meanings, and a particular pre-verb's function is to bring about some such meaning as is already implicitly present in the verb. On this view, preverbs would be only functional, lacking any denotation. A pre-verb is like a lamp that would focus upon a particular meaning among other meanings or a set of meanings lying within the domain of the verbal root. 20 However, there are those that oppose this view. [AM: Verbal root has no fixed meaning. But neither does any word. It is only at the discourse level that meanings get fixed, if at all. Hence talking about word meanings is actually not very meaningful. Words mean only that which is expressible in all the discourses where it can be meaningfully used. ]
Indian philosophers (espcially of the Nyaya school) give an account of [metaphorical] phenomenon by identifying two different 'powers' in a word: one is that of saying (abhidhdna) and the other is that of pointing, signifying or indicating (laksana). The first is called the primary meaninggiving power while the second is called the secondary or indicatory meaning-giving power. By the first, the word speaks, as it were, while by the second it only indicates, and a metaphor is born. Consider the example: 'The village is on the (river) Gahga' (=Gahgdydm ghosah). The primary meaning of the word 'Gahga' is the river we call Gahga, but the sentence which locates the (fisherman's) village on the river Gahga would be speaking about an impossible state of affairs if only the primary meaning of'Ganga' is taken into account. Common rationality demands that we construe the meaning differently in order to make sense of the sentence uttered. By metaphorical extension—a practice pervasively prevalent among the speakers (of Sanskrit in this case, but generally, of any language)—the meaning of the word 'Ganga' is given (by its indicatory power) as 'the banks of the Gahga' and hence the sentence is taken to be describing the situation, that the village is on the banks of the Gahga—a perfectly legitimate conclusion about what the sentence means or how the hearer is supposed to cognize its meaning in the context. On analysis, the Naiyayikas identify two necessary conditions: (a) the primary meaning should be a 'misfit' in the context; it would not go with the meanings of other words in the sentence, and (b) the indicated meaning (presumably intended by the speaker) would have to be associated with the primary meaning in some way or other. It is to be noted that there are some established ways (conventions) in the language community by which this metaphorical extension is achieved, and it is not always necessary that the intention of the particular speaker be taken into account. In fact, the hearer does not 'enter' into the mind of the speaker, but the context and the other circumstances would make the intended meaning 'visible' to him.
vaisheShika sUtra - relation between word and meaning is a matter of convention (samaya). [also in NyAya; opposition - grammarians and mImAMsakas - siddha, given to us, eternal. Though the object it is referring to is non-eternal, the substance of its meaning, like a lump of gold used to make diff ornaments, remains undestroyed, hence permanent.] p.27 [How do we know words as eternal? patañjali:] people are seen using words to convey meanings, but they do not make an effort to manufacture words. When we need a pot, we go to the potter and ask him to manufacture a pot for us. The same is not true of words - We do not usually approach grammarians and ask them to manufacture words for our use.  Shabara: autpattika - not created by human convention. The connection between word and meaning can't be physical (then uttering "sweet" would taste sweet, and "knife" would cut our tongue). C = connection between object of cognition and the causal factor of that cognition (cf. pratyAyya-pratyAyaka). If there is C between word and its object, then why does the word not cause cognition of the object when it is heard for the first ntime by the hearer (who has not learnt the language)? But this is a false argument. We can't see a pot in the darkness although it is there. Just like light is needed, we learn a language by watching the linguistic behaviour of others... non-derived (eternal) nature of C [jaimini and shabara]: a. form (Akr^ti) is destructible, whereas that which the word signifies is indestructible. b. we cannot remember the person who created the convention for C. Some exceptions (e.g. pANini created C between "vr^ddhi" and the letters A, ai etc. for his grammar, and piNgala, the C between the letter "m" and the three long vowels, but these are technical terms. For the majority of words, there is no originator. This proves their uncreatedness. c. child learns from elders - which supposes the connection C. [THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE, Shabara:] If there was a time when not a single word was connected by C to its object, then the act of connecting could have never taken place. Therefore the C is uncreated (non-conventional). 29 [IDEA: MWEs : Plato argued in the dialogue Cratylus that there was a natural correctness to names. To do this, he pointed out that compound words and phrases have a range of correctness. For example, it is obviously wrong to say that the term "houseboat" is any good when referring to, say, a cat, because cats have nothing to do with houses or boats. He also argued that primitive names (or morphemes) also had a natural correctness, because each phoneme represented basic ideas or sentiments. For example, the letter and sound of "l" for Plato represented the idea of softness. However, by the end of the Cratylus, he had admitted that some social conventions were also involved, and that there were faults in the idea that phonemes had individual meanings. ... ] nyAya: opposes mImAMsA view - historically, a consensus emerged regarding the use of certain words to denote certain objects and convey meanings. These conventions are remembered, not their originators. However some naiyAyikas resort to the theory of origin of language from God. sphoTa theory - word and its linguistic meaning both remain undistinguished in the mind of the competent speaker as well as hearer. 30
ghaTatva: the property of pothood - 'what is X' rephrased as 'what is the pravr^tti-nimitta of the term X'? What are the qualities of X? nyAyasutra: a word conveys three meanings: - the thing or the individual (vyAkti) - the form of the thing (Akr^ti), and - the universal (jAti). The word 'cow' refers to the cow-individual, or the form or image of a cow (e.g. golden cow), or universal cowhood. nAgesha: Akr^ti - visible mark, liMga - characterized by appearance, colour, actions etc. e.g. "draw a cow" ==> refers to the form, for neither the cow nor the universal cowhood, could be construed as an object of the action, drawing. 32 [vyAkti-Akr^ti-jAti: individual - configuration - universal ROUGHLY: jAti = qualia; Akr^ti = formal qualia; vyAkti = individual;] patañjali [vaiyAkaraNa-mahAbhAShya] - what is the word "gauH" (cow)? is 'that by the utterance of which there is comprehension of the object having the dewlap, tail, hump, hoofs, horns (all taken together)". [later writers:] "gauh shuklash calo DittaH" (a moving white cow called DittaH)- here the four words all refer to the same object, the cow in question, but the basis are different for each word: - "cow" - class-name (universal); - "white" - quality name, a colour in this case; - "moving" - action name, a particular movement of the cow - "DittaH" - proper name - basis of this usage is not non-existent but arbitrary (yadr^cchA) - connected with the whims of the speaker. 34 mImAMsakas: shabda - two forms - one the sound, and one the letters (varNa) that constitute the word - while noises are ephemeral, the words or bits of language are eternal. [sound vs phoneme map of a word]. The letters are nothing but verbal utterances produced by the vibration of the vocal chord, although different and variable utterances of the same letter k indicate that there is a sound-universal called k-ness manifested in each such different utterance. [vAcaspati commentary, bhAmati:] When we recognize a letter k from an utterance and then recognize it again from another utterance, we in fact re-identify it as the same token (and not just as a "similar" one). [Possible western paraphrase:] The letters k and c are like k-type and c-type, which, being universal, are indestructible, and the actual utterances are tokens of this type. [But this is risky:] upavarSha claims: utterances only "manifest" the letter k (diff from tokens representing the universal). 34-5 Three views of "meaning" of word: the individual, the universal, and third (by commentator helArAja), as the individual characterised or qualified by the universal. This last came to be regarded as the navya nyAya view. bhartr^hari: from objective/phenomenal universals to 'word' universals: - artha-jAti = thing-universal - shabda-jAti = word-universal All words mean or designate their own word-universal and thereafter we imagine that word-universal superimposed upon the forms or universals of external things. Not exactly nominalism, for the the universals of external things are not rejected, but the word-universals are recognized as primary meanings of the words and an intimate (genetic) connection is established between the word-universal and the thing-universal. [NOMINALISM = the position in metaphysics that there exist no universals outside of the mind ~ properties are in word not in object. Plato famously held that there is a realm of abstract forms or universals apart from the physical world. Where is this universal realm? is it in the realm of space and time, or in the mind? Realists: it is present in space-time wherever it is manifested. Nominalists consider it unusual that there could be a single thing that exists in multiple places simultaneously. The realist maintains that all the instances of greenness are held together by the exemplification relation, but this relation cannot be explained. [WIKI] ] [ Realists - universals exist outside Nominalists - universals in mind only - no universals in external world ] If the 'basis' (see katyAyana's theory) for the use of the word 'cow' is cowhood (a universal) what would be the 'basis' for the use of the word 'cowhood'? [infinite recurrence] Hence we must take as the basis for the use of any word to be the very same word-universal itself. When we imagine [that word-universal superimposed upon the forms or universals of external things], the two may not be really different - the latter may be a 'transformation' (vivarta) of the former. Whether bhartr^hari had meant this or not is not clear. bhartr^hari's main view is that each linguistic unit - letter / word / sentence is actually an invariant sphoTa - varNa-sphoTa, pada-sphoTa, vAkya-sphoTa), i,e, an invariant, sequenceless, and partless 'whole' entity, manifested only by the corresponding audible noise in speech. At the level of sphoTa, a linguistic unit and its meaning or the 'thought' it supposedly conveys are one and undifferentiated. from Madhav Deshpande's article on indian language philosophy On the origins of the word sphoTa: Kātyāyana concludes that the true sounds (varṇa) are fixed in their nature in spite of the difference of speed of delivery (Vārttika 5 on P.1.1.70, Mahābhāṣya, I, p. 181). The speed of delivery (vṛtti) results from the slow or fast utterance of a speaker (vacana), though the true sounds are permanently fixed in their nature. Here, Kātyāyana broaches a doctrine that is later developed further by Patañjali, and more fully by Bhartṛhari. It argues for a dual ontology. There are the fixed true sounds (varṇa), and then there are the uttered sounds (vacana, "utterance"). It is Patañjali who uses, for the first time as far as we know, the term sphoṭa to refer to Kātyāyana's "true sounds which are fixed" (avasthitā varṇāḥ) and the term dhvani ("uttered sounds"). Patañjali adds an important comment to Kātyāyana's discussion. He says that the real sound (śabda) is thus the sphoṭa ("the sound as it initially breaks out into the open"), and the quality [length or speed] of the sound is part of dhvani ("sound as it continues") (Mahābhāṣya, I, p. 181). The term sphoṭa refers to something like exploding or coming into being in a bang. Thus it refers to the initial production or perception of sound. On the other hand, the stretching of that sound seems to refer to the dimension of continuation. Patañjali means to say that it is the same sound, but it may remain audible for different durations. [WHORFIAN] It is strongly advocated by bhartr^hari that there cannot be any proper awareness-episode without its being interpenetrated by words or language. Hence words and the concepts they convey cannot be very well separated in this view. 37
varying particulars cannot be the 'basis' or 'ground' for using a class-name (jAti-shabda) - two objections - 1. innumerability (ananta): - learning what it means would be impossible (e.g. cows of the past, present and future), and - 2. variability: learning/usage would 'deviate' from each other (vyabhicAra) The "ananta" argument in bhartr^hari shadows the APS argument when extended to semantics (SEMANTIC UNDERSPECIFICATION), which forms the core of the GL enterprise. 2. "core" meaning - lexicon model - may be defined as "minimal logical structure" that accepts all positive exemplars and rejects all negative. Does this exist? In the absence of such models, indiv's may learn different meanings = vyabhicAra ] BUDDHIST approach to the ananta problem: DiNgnAga proposes the theory of apoha or 'exclusion' as word meanings rejecting the reality of the thing-universals. exclusion of what is other than that, where 'that' refers to the particular falling withing the domain of the (meaning of the) class-name. Thus anything that is not a cow is excluded. [OBJECTION: Requires a greater order of objects to be listed! ] Two camps (39): Negativists - emphasize elimination / exclusion Positivists - particulars reached through such elimination / contrary (rival) possibilities Just as the presence of smoke generates the knowledge of the presence of fire at a particular spot, by excluding the spots where fire is definitely absent (vipakSha-vyAvr^tta) and just as this knowledge is aided by our obsvn of smoke together with fire (sapakSha-sattva), the word 'cow' generates the knowledge of a cow by excluding similarly the not-cow individuals. dharmakIrti elaborated the apoha doctrine. This dispute continued for about seven centuries (till AD 1200). 38 True perception, according to DingnAga is totally untouched by imagination or conceptual construction ==> perception is pre-linguistic or non-linguistic <==> totally opposed to bhartr^hari. wordless awareness is blind; so is the totally conception-free perception. Philo of lang is only part of a larger discipline - epistemology or philosophy of knowledge. [IDEA: COGNITIVE SCIENCE: concepts - abstractions of experience - informs both perception as well as language]
Declension has been analyzed extensively in Sanskrit, where it is known as karaka. Six varieties are defined by Panini, largely in terms of their semantic roles, but with detailed rules specifying the corresponding morphosyntactic derivations: * agent (kartri, often in the subject position, performing independently nominative) * patient (karman, often in object position accusative) * means (karaNa, instrument instrumental) * recipient (sampradAna, similar to dative) * source (apAdAna, similar, but not the same, as ablative) * locus (adhikaraNa, location or goal) As an example, consider vrikSh[at] parN[am] bhUm[au] patati [from] the tree a leaf [to] the ground falls "a leaf falls from the tree to the ground" Here leaf is the agent, tree is the source, and ground is the locus, the corresponding declensions are reflected in the morphemes -am -at and -au respectively. [ The Latin ABLATIVE combines the functions of the Indo-European ablative (indicating "from"), instrumental (indicating "with" or "by"), and locative (indicating "in") cases, which merged together in the development of Latin. From these original meanings several others developed, including the ablative of cause (indicating "caused by"), the ablative of time and means (indicating "at the time of", deriving from the locative), and the ablative absolute. theta-roles - no explicit semantics : Chomsky uses theta-roles Fillmore 67 - case grammar | karaka ==> semantics = arity + finer-grained seantics theta-criterion - very formal role - each syntactic position has a theta role ] if locus, action-substratum is adhikaraNa - but the same action-substratum may be karman if action is prefixed with pre-verbs e.g. adhi-As (lying, staying or being seated) : grAme tishThati (lives in village) (locus) grAmam adhitiShThati (stays in the village) (karman) [kArakas are "expedient"] relate affixes in words and the representation of certain semantic relations. Unless the narrow semantically conceived kArakas are widened grammar would [be difficult to formalize]. [the kArakas were not cases - e.g. the genitive (possessive - John's book) was not a kAraka - AC]
Unless the narrow, semantically conceived kAraka categories are widened (in the way Panini did) to include various other items, grammar would have to be conceived differently. The same expediency may have proted Panini to disregard a distinction between agents (kartr.) which are sentient beings and those that are not: devadattaH vr^kShaM chinnatti: devadatta [agent] is cutting the tree parashur vr^kShaM chinnatti: the axe [instrument] is cutting the tree or sthAlI pacati - the cauldron cooks. pANini / pANinIyas : shabdapramANakAh - regarding speech patterns as authority; patañjali "We accept the authority of the speech. What speech 'tells' us is what we depend upon (in deciding issues)." ==> Grammar is not concerned with ontology (or semantics) - but with what people actually say, how they speak of things and events. syntactic-semantic dispute on nature of kAraka - naiyAyikas - artha-pramANakaH - things or events are authority - how the world is, not how people talk about it. vaiyAkaraNas - shabda-pramANakaH - speech is the authority [shadows the debate on the cartesian / chomskian position - formalist/ syntactic, rules determine correcteness of language; vs. the embodied / cognitive sci position - meaning determines correctness of lg] kAraka roles in epistemological debate: pramiti - know (knowledge) - action pramAtr. - knower - agent prameya - object to be known - object pramANa - means of knowledge - instrument nAgArjuna - the kAraka distinctions are arbitrary - same item can be object in one frame and instrument in another. vAtsyAyana (c. 350AD) - kAraka is based not on things, but on power vested in the thing. CASES from nyAyasutra 2.1.16:  (he) sees the tree" The tree is object - karman (he) shows the moon by the tree" the same tree is instrument - karaNa (he) sprinkles water for the tree - beneficiary/recipient - sampradAna the leaf falls from the tree - fixed point of departure - apAdAna the crows live in the tree - locus (substrate-of-action of living) - adhikaraNa neither the thing itself nor the event is a kAraka - a kAraka category applies to the thing that participates in an action during which it is endowed with some special functional activity. moral: usage must determine grammatical theories - vindication for shabda-pramANakaH of patañjali. quiddity (essence) of kAraka - debate - kriyAnimitta - causal factor of action (nyAya) kriyAnvayin - syntactically connected with action / verb kriyA term "kriyA" itself ambiguous - may stand for the action, or the verb, a syntactic entity. [some verbs may not be actions - e.g. in dhAtupatha: gaDi - "part of the face" ==> gaNDati kapolam - "the cheek is a part of the face" - here ganDati is not an action, but a substance - part of the face; so for this kriyA cheek is the kartr., agent. ]
all kAraka items are doing something or performing some function towards the completion of the main action. - Bhartr^hari, vAkyapadiyA III.7.18 causal relation between a kAraka and the action - includes direct relations (agent, instrument) and indirect - sampradAna, apAdAna, etc are indirect. But if we widen the notion of caussal relationship too far we may make the definition too broad ativyApta (over-extensive) sixth vibhakti - expresses both a kAraka or sheSha "remainder" (genitive) relation between thing and substance - ownership or parenthood - (Caitra's wealth / son). Thus rAmasya putraH : Ram's son - genitive/remainder but rAmasya gamanam; Ram's going, (agency) jalasya pAnam; the drinking of water (karmattva) From pANini - sixth - sheSha - may involve direct causal factors mAtruH smarati - he remembers mother sarpiSho jAnite - acts with the idea that there is butter but "caitrasya taNDulam pacati" - cooks the rice of Caitra - the Caitra role is not a direct causal relation anvayin syntactically connected 47 anvita not syntactically connected 46 daNDena ghatah "the pot (is produced) by the stick" - stick is only hetu, a causal factor, but not a kAraka (though it takes 3d vibhakti), but pANini 2.3.23 explains how the kAraka (instrument) relation is clarified if we consider daNDena ghatah kr^taH - "pot is produced by the stick" bhavAnanda - 14th/16th c. - way out: kAraka is what is syntactically connected (anvita) with the action-verb (anvita) and is endowed with one of the six properties - Can adverbs take kAraka roles? stokam pacati - "(he) seldom cooks" - takes 2nd vibhakti affix - but on one view adverbs do not denote any meaning. On another, they are modifiers for verbs - the affix is indicative of the abheda or identity with what it qualifies. kr^ti = effort but it is impossible to have an unique distinguishing feature - lakShaNa for the six kArakas
Most Indian philosophers accept that linguistic utterance is an important source of knowledge. recognized as verbal testimony in the Western tradition. According to nyAya - is another type of pramA, type of knowledge, causal factors of which are separate from perception and inference. According to some others - it is an inference. Yet others - a type of perception. Following largely based on gaMgesha and mathuranAtha. shabda - human speech - hence, linguistic utterancees. Language mechanism: (Speaker is participant in a linguistic community) 1. Speaker emits such sound as is identifiable as a piece of linguistic utterance 2. This is done to communicate some knowledge or information to a hearer. 3. Hearer is participant in same linguistic community 4. utterance must be a sentence consisting of a word, or a word with affix. 5. The hearer has auditory perception of each word in the utterance. 6. The hearer, as a consequence of 3 and 5, is reminded of the meanings / objects / things associated with each word. 7. The hearer then acquires knowledge of the connected meaning communicated by the utterance.
Several auxilliary factors or pieces of knowledge are invovled in reaching the final knowledge or shabdabodha or pramA: A. AkAMkShA (syntactic expectancy): the words must be syntactically related - ensures grammatical acceptability of the sentence. B. YogyatA (fitness) : Meaning of word-elements must fit and hearer must have awareness of such compatibility - or at least, must not be aware of any incompatibility. (e.g. fire and dampness are not compatible). C. Asatti (proximity): Word-elements must be spatio-temporally proximate to each other. D. tAtparya : If some word in the sentence is ambiguous, the hearer should be able to make an intelligent guess about the speaker's intention from the context, situation of utterance etc. e.g. saindhava = salt or horse. "Please bring me saindhava" uttered during a meal can only mean salt. [AkAMkShA - syntactic compatibility; YogyatA: semantic compatibility Cognitive dissonance if not present. degree of incompatibility prop to degree of attention ==> entropy. The higher the compatiibility, the less attentive focus. ] [Asatti --> proximity - related to algorithms such as LSA??] any efficient causal factor (kAraNa) needs an intermediate factor (vyApAra) to produce the end result (phala, in this case a pramA) [event structure of causal action = action (vyApAra) + result (phala)] Instrumental-cause + Vyapara ==> phala (result) PERCEPTION I: sensory-faculty V: sense-object connection R: perceptual knowledge INFERENCE I: knowledge of pervasion between evidence or reason V: pAramarsha, judgement having special structuure, combined knowledge that the evidence is pervaded by the inferable feature. Usually a knowledge of the connection between universal features or sortals. R: inferential conclusion - particular case (P) contains this particular evidence ==> pervaded by (concomitant with) the feature we intend to infer. LINGUISTIC (shabdabodha) I Knowledge of Word-Elements V Knowledge of their meanings R Hearer's knowledge-episode from shabda
vr^tti - connection between word and meaning vr^tti-jn~Ana - awareness of this connection (also: shakti-jn~Ana) e.g. utterance of word "pot" may generate an auxiliary term, say "space". This reflects an auxiliary factor in meaning - since this associative awareness is different from the knowledge following an utterance "space". 52 There is syntactic expectancy between words A and B if uttering A cannot contribute to knowledge of sentence-meaning without being in combination with B. Some feel that this syntactic expectancy is in fact the sequential order in which words and suffices are arranged in a particular language following its rules of grammar and syntax (AnupUrvI = AkAMkSha). Sequence of words violating these rules will not be causally potent to set the mechanism in action. 53 lacking yogyatA: "Pigs fly", "Drink bananas" - do not result in shAbdabodha an instance of shAbdabodha is given by the description of exactly the message contained in and communicated through the utterance... corresponds very roughly to 'paraphrase' ... represent the meaning of each word along with its semantic connection with others in the cluster. This process is variously called shAbdabodha, anvayabodha or vAkyArtha-bodha. 54
... the chief qualificand, chief substantive around which the other elements would gather as qualifier, qualifier of qualifier, the bonding agent between qualifier and qualificand and so on. [?? substantive - not only NOUN - can be verb] The grammarians and the mImAMsakas believe that the principal element in a sentence is the verb itself ...
The meaning of the verbal stem is dominant = principal qualificand. e.g. rAmaH annaM pacati (Rama cooks rice) Here 'ti', technically called AkhyAta, means agency, and qualifies the meaning of the verbal stem pac ... it also has three more meanings: a substratum, a number (singular) and a particular time (present). The one with the first-inflection is connected with the substratum of agency; the number also goes along with it, and the present time qualifies the operation or activity - hence the content of the shAbdabodha: 1. In the activity, which is presently taking place, which is tied to the substratum which is identical with the (single) rAma, and which is conducive to the softening located in the substratum which is identical with rice. 56 The new vaiyAkaraNas: 1b. The activity of cooking occurring in the present time is qualified by rAma as its agent and qualified by rice which is connecte with it by way of being its object. 56
The AkhyAta, not the stem = principal qualificand. Apadeva has defined bhAvanA as 'bhavitur bhAvanAunkUlo bhAvaka-vyApAraviSheshaH' - it is assumed that in each sentence there is a verb, and in each verb there is an implicit verb bhU, to be, to become. ... when something becomes, that which happens or becomes is called bhavitr., 'become-er', and it presupposes something else that makes it become -- this second is called bhAvaka or bhAvayitr., 'maker of becoming'. bhAvana is the operation or function of the maker conducive to his making whatever he makes. bhAvana is therefore the making function. This is expressed by the AkhyAta, 'ti' in 'pacati' and according to the mImAMsakas, this meaning is the chief qualificand... the action of cooking becomes the object (karman) or the instrument (kAraNa) of the making function (bhAvanA). 'pacati' is paraphrased as pacam karoti ('makes cooking'), and 'annam pacati' as 'pAkena annaM karoti' ('makes rice by cooking'). 2. It is a making function, which is happening at present, which is done through the instrumentality of cooking (i.e. qualified by cooking), which (cooking) has rice as its object-goal (karman) and is done through the instrumentality of firewood, and the making function is qualified by the rAma as its agent. --The naiyAyika position--% First-inflection word = chief qualificand (usually nominative or subject) the meaning of 'ti' in pacati in this view is the effort (kr^ti), a property, which can be located in the agent who cooks. rAmaH mahAnase kAShThena annaM pacati rAma cooks rice with firewood in the kitchen 3. It is rAma (r) who is qualified by the effort (e) that is conducive to cooking (c), which cooking has rice (r) as its object-goal, (i.e. qualified by the object-hood resident 'niShTha' in rice), which is qualified by instrumentality in firewood (f), and a. it is the same rAma who is qualified by being located in the kitchen (k), or b. which cooking (belonging to rAma) is qualified by being located in the kitchen. [This is more compact using Sanskrit case-markers; but in modern notation as suggested by matilal elsewhere, use Q_o notation; Q_i (c,f)= c qualified by c as instrument Q(R Q(e Q_o(c,r) Q_i(c,f) Q_l(c,k))) ] here the affix -e in mahAnase is locative and -ena in kAShThena indicates instrumentality; and the -aM in annaM is objecthood. 60
In the recent discussion of testimony in the West (see Fricker 1987) several knotty questions have emerged. The central questions are: Is the committedness of the assertion of the speaker a matter of perception or inference? How do we make sense of the principle of credulity, i.e. our reliance on the privileged epistemological position of the speaker? And what is understanding as opposed to knowledge of meaning? While I shall expound the Nyaya view, I will add another: Must understanding be a more fundamental attitude which necessarily precedes our coming to believe or know what the speaker states to be the case? 61 The general idea in the West has been to accept an attitudinal verb 'understand' -- a sort of non-committal comprehension of what is being communicated without believing it to be either true or false - e.g. I can ask a student in class to translate into Skt: "You owe me a million dollars', and the student will proceed to tranlsate without batting an eyelid. Gangesha view: straightforward knowledge of what is said arises first, and this non-committal comprehension seems to be a more complex attitude and parasitic on the [prior knowledge], being generated by attending factors such as the classroom environment. Knowlege = event; cognitive episode re: subject; hearer derives occurrent knowledge from linguistic utterance... [Gangeshopadhyay: 12th c, but could be 13-14th. founder Navya Nyaya. born Mithila, Karion village. wrote tattvachintAmaNi: deals with rules of logic on testimony. In logic, testimony is of four types: direct, assumed, comparative, and vocal. Basing his work on these four testimonies, Gangesh completed Tattvachintamani divided into four parts: pratyakShchintAmaNi (knowledge through perception) anumAnachintAmaNi ((knowledge through inference), upamAnachintAmaNi (knowledge through analogy), and shabdachintAmaNi (knowledge through words) - enabled the terminology of navya-nyAya. trad: was a fool until transformation after Kali-worship at a smaShAn ghAt] [Q. occurrent knowlege 62, cccurrent false cognition 64 designate - ch11? occurrent true belief = knowledge simpliciter] ] For FREGE thoughts are real - they are inter-subjective, not subjective or private images of individual agents. Frege: [Preface, Grundgesetze] If we want to emerge from subjectivism at all, we must conceive of knowledge as an activity that does not create what it knows, but grasps what is already there. 64 two types of failures in fitness: a) when objects referred to by the elements do not fit, e.g. 'barren women's child' b) when the objects may fit in a possible world, but not in actuality, e.g. someone says 'there is a snake in the next room' when I know there is none.
mImAMsaka: trustworthiness of speaker a causal factor necessary for knowledge. Does not consider (non-scriptural) utterance as a separate form of knowledge Nyaya: so long as the three causal factors are present, even testimony by a compulsive liar may give rise to a belief with knowlege-claim in the hearer (at the first leve, knowledge simpliciter). But simultaneously or in the next moment this will be undermined by strong doubt about its knowledgehood (apramANya-saMshayAskandita). This would take place at a second level. 67 Nyaya view: (non-scriptural) utterance is a special form of knowledge - is not the same as Perceptual knowledge because: Gangesha: a yogyata claim may not be really fulfilled - because we know of only positive exemplars, and we cannot reject it unless we have an instance where it is not true. uncertainty in the causal factors or indicator reason (liMga) cannot constitute a basis for inference. 68 Doubts about the trustworthiness of the speaker cannot at the first instant stop the occurrence of the knowledge-claim, but paradoxically, helps to generate such knowledge. ... doubt is the psychological factor for inference to arise, (saMshaya-pakShatA) JagadIsha: [DIFF WITH PERCEPTION] consider a perceptual situation where a cat is sitting on a mat. The object-complex creating perceptual awareness has a 'neutral' structure. different verbal expressions of the perceptual knowledge reveal different structures: 'the cat is on the mat' vs 'the mat is under the cat'. [in the first, it is the cat that is qualified by...] These would give rise to different knowledge-episodes.
occurrent true belief or knowledge simpliciter, vs knowledge of that knowledge - two levels = involving distinct knowledge-episodes and diff sets of causal factors. Gangesha: Any true belief is knowledge, i.e. knowledge simpliciter. The q of justification arises, in this view, only at the second level when one tries to ascertain the knowledgehood of the acquired belief. According to Nyaya, to know and to know that one knows are two distinct events, caused by two distinct sets of causal conditions. The second-level knowledge, i.e. to know that one knows p, is usually a sort of implicit inference which immediately follows the episode of knowledge simpliciter. The basis for this inference will be an evidence, and this takes the role of the so-called justification. Hence, in most Gettier cases, where a true belief has been acquired but through the wrong route, it may be regarded as knowledge simpliciter on this view. This seems to go against general accepted Western 'linguistic' insight, according to which the 'Gettier' examples are regarded as counter-examples, i.e. non-knowledge, although they are true beliefs and happen to have some justification. In the particular Navya Nyaya view, in the case of knowledge by testimony, if all the necessary causal factors co-operate and no inhibiting factors are present then there will arise true belief, i.e. knowledge, in the hearer in all such cases, though at the very next moment, when the hearer is about to embark upon the venture of knowing whether he knows p, doubt will infect the attitude and destroy the previous lack of uncertainty. Lack of uncertainty is constitutive of the previous attitude of true belief (and hence it was claimed to be 'knowledge' or pramA). Udayana said (NTP) that we all have a strong natural disposition (cf: samutkata-vAsanA) to believe truly, i.e. to have knowledge, so our first gut reaction is not to look for falsifiers. (Compare it with, not gullibility, but the Davidson-like point that 'believes truly' is generally implicated by 'believes' D 75,66). Note that at this second level, Gettier like counter-examples may be easily detected and excluded. Following vAcaspati, we may claim that not all cases of cognition or true belief when they arise need justification, for in many 'familiar' cases we act automatically without even unconsciously asking for justification. In the 'unfamiliar' cases or in cases where doubt has crept in, we generally use two types of inference to establish knowledgehood or truth of the occurrent belief. One is based upon 'confirmatory behaviour' as evidence, and the other upon likeness with the familiar' as evidence. Another type may use 'assurance about the operation of adequate causal factors' as evidence. In any case, if the inference is right, it will establish knowledgehood and the required justification will be given. This means that the person now not only has knowledge (an occurrent true belief) but also has a right to be sure. He is now entitled to call his cognition a case of knowledge. In some (Gettier-like) counter-examples, if the resulting belief is true, it would be knowledge according to Gangesha. and if untrue, it would not be knowledge, though the person may go on to call (i.e. vyavahAra) it knowledge. For, according to the view we are expounding, speech-behaviour that something is X (utterance 'it is X') ordinarily presupposes awareness of awareness that the thing is X. I cannot rightly say 'this is a camel' unless I am aware that this is a camel. If, in some Gettier-like cases, I am wrong in my inference about the knowledgehood of the given occurrent belief (for the evidence may be pseudo-evidence), then I am mistaken about the truth of my belief -- and this is in accord with Nyaya fallibilism: not all knowledge-claims can be sustained. 71-72 Is there a level of awareness, before the final meaning is deciphered? Perhaps we can glimpse it when nearly asleep or half-conscious, when some false perceptions are indicated by a simpliciter view. E.g. a mobile phone rings, and you realize that this sound is artificial. Throughout a woman's voice is speaking, laughing etc (even before the ring). In your half-asleep state, after the phone rings, you find yourself thinking of the woman's voice as if it's on a TV or radio ==> using a simplistic inference scheme that extends the machine-ness of the mobile phone to the voice??? ] mImAMsakas - the scriptures that inform us about the heavens are informative for they tell us about things that we have no other way of knowing. Hence they are informative, not repetitions of what we know already. [ENTROPY] - FRESHNESS CONDITION 72
in its rudimentary form, sentence is not just a concatenation made up of different sound units arranged in a particular order, but a single whole, a single symbol which bears a meaning. ... Language is what is revealed or made public to another person by the 'noisy realities', not the noisy realities themselves. Sounds are as inessential as the black marks (writings) on paper... 77 nAgeshabhaTTa : etymology: from sphuT - bursts; that from which meaning bursts forth, is revealed 78 John Brough, Theories of general linguistics in the Sanskrit grammarians Transactions of the Philological Society 27-46, 1951 (p,33): The sphota is simply the linguistic sign in its aspect of meaning-bearer. Panini rule 6.1.123: 'avan sphoTAyanasya' - possibly a reference to an early grammarian named Sphotayana - Haradatta, paniniyan from 10th c.AD, speculated that Sphotayana was the propounder of the sphoTa doctrine. nAgeshabhaTTa : sphoTavAda - also attributes to sphoTAyana Yaska has quoted another cryptic sentence and attributed it to AudumbrAyaNa : indriya-nityaM vacanam - 'Speech or language is eternal in the faculties' (Yaska, 1918 edn 1.1), which is explained as stating that a sentence is actually in the mental faculties of the language users, the speaker and the hearer. p.79 bhartrihari himself refers to a similar view by a vArtAkSha. the sphoTa concept may also have appeared in the early grammarian vyAdi, whose saMgraha is lost to us, but all this is mere speculation. 79 brough has conjectured that the forerunner of bhartrihari's sphota theory was this view of AudumbarAyaNa. bhartr^hari: sphoTa - partless (whole) entity, unanalyzable (has no units).
[from For Bhartrihari, the linguistically given entity is a sentence. Everything below the level of sentence is derived through a method of abstraction referred to by the term anvaya-vyatireka or apoddhāra. Additionally, for Bhartṛhari, elements abstracted through this procedure have no reality of any kind. They are kalpita ("imagined") (Vākyapadīya, III, 14, 75–76). Such abstracted items have instructional value for those who do not yet have any intuitive insight into the true nature of speech (Vākyapadīya, II. 238). The true speech unit, the sentence, is an undivided singularity and so is its meaning which is comprehended in an instantaneous cognitive flash (pratibhā), rather than through a deliberative and/or sequential process. Consider the following verse of the Vākyapadīya (II.10): Just as stems, affixes etc. are abstracted from a given word, so the abstraction of words from a sentence is justified. Here, the clause introduced by "just as" refers to the older more widely prevalent view seen in the Mahābhāṣya. With the word "so," Bhartṛhari is proposing an analogical extension of the procedure of abstraction (apoddhāra) to the level of a sentence. - from Madhav Deshpande's article on Indian language philosophy
patañjali : sphoTa is the speech or language (shabda) while the noise or sound (dhvani) is a quality (feature) of the speech (language). The noisy element (audible part) can be long or short, but the sphoTa is what remains constant or same, unaffected by individual speaker differences. For patañjali, a single letter or 'sound' (varNa) such as k, p or a fixed sound-series or letter-series can be a sphoTa (= the invariant). each sphoTa has a constant 'size' determined by number of units. [PHONEME - Semantically distinct character of the sound - representn of sound] 79 sounds can vary in intensity and duration - but the letters have a fixed nature (avasthIta) but the style of delivering them through speech organs (vr^tti) depends on the speaker. vyAdi [probably pANini contemporary whose saMgraha is now lost] - a verse in bhart^hari ascribed to him distinguishes between prakr^ta-dhvani (original sound) and vaikr^ta-dhvani (transformed sound) ==> this distinction may have crystallized into patañjali's sphoTa-dhvani distinction. mImAMsakas may also have influenced patañjali: letters (varNas) or sound-units are permanent, diff from instances of their utterance. these leave traces (saMskAra) in the mind, and inference is based on such recollections. 80,82 The modern theory between what is sometimes called the phonemes and the objective or 'perceived' sounds may have some relevance with patañjali's sphoTa-dhvani theory. 80 naiyAyikas: sound-units are not permanent - but they are produced (kArya) and therefore impermanent. Thus an instance of the sound-universal k (or ka-tva jAti) is given an utterance k by a speaker. (Like a type token distinction). The meaning of a word is presented the last sound heard, aided by the memory-impressions of all the preceding sounds. all the sound-atoms must have togetherness (samAnAdhikaraNya) - must be 'pereived' or cognized as a whole. word-meaning relationship: nyAyikas: established only by samaya (convention) - chosen by the first language users or the original language-user (God) mImAMsakas: anupattika - natural and uncreated, apauruSheya - impersonal - not created even by God, for the mImAMsakas do not believe in a creator God grammarians - kAtyAyana: word, meaning and the w-m relation area all "siddha", uncreated. Grammarians felt that both nyAya and mImAMsa view as limiting - the uttered word must be distinguished from the physical sequential sounds ==> dhvani-sphoTa distinction
Is sphoTa is a mysterious entity related to shabda-brahmaN (Indologists: AB Keith or KS De) - appears untrue Is sphoTa = meaning-bearing symbol, 'linguistic sign' (Kunjunni Raja, Brough) or abstract sound class sorted out from gross matter? (Joshi)? Cardona: varNa-sphoTa is a sound-unit, not meaning-bearing.
for bhartr^hari, 'meaning-bearing unit' is the wrong term: Thought anchors language and thought 'vibrates' through language. There is no essential difference between a linguistic unit and its meaning or the thought it conveys. sphoTa refers to this non-differentiated language-principle. Thus I believe that it is sometimes even incorrect to ask whether sphoTa is or is not the meaning-bearing speech unit in Bhartrihari's system. 86 shabdanA (languageing) is thinking. [AM: This leads to the Whorfian or Linguistic Determinism position. AC: Whorfian: "language determines thought". This position may be more Relativism (?? lang has no absolute reference, may depend on language or culture) whereas Whorfian position is that language determines thought. AM: If thought can express itself only in language (Bhartrihari) surely it is the case that only those things can be thought which are linguistically distinguishable. ] language activity (shabdanA or shabdana-vyApAra) is a common human activity. In Bhartr^hari's metaphor, it is the very vibration (spanda) of consciousness.  There are two levels of language or shabda: - the implicit or inner speech (sphoTa) - the articulate noise (nAda) the former is more real, and is the causal basis of the latter. In another view, nAda is the 'transformation' of sphoTa. 134 ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY: from Ludwig Wittgenstein onward accept the proposition that, as Wittgenstein said, "What we cannot say, we must pass over in silence." That is, the words we possess determine the things that we can know. If we have an experience, we are confined not just in our communication of it, but also in our knowledge of it, by the words we possess. SAPIR-WHORF HYPOTHESIS: From an entirely different starting point, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis argues that individuals experience the world based on the words they possess. Sapir and Whorf asked people to describe how many stripes or bands they saw in a rainbow. Since rainbows are actually a continuum of color, there are no empirical stripes or bands, and yet people saw as many bands as their language possessed primary color words. ] [AM: But what bhartr^hari is calling shabda is not word! It is more like a conceptual model, which is not quite linguistic. See discussion p. 141]
The sphoTa doctrine was rejected by most other philosophical schools, particularly the mimamsa and nyaya schools rejected it. The Mimamsakas felt that the sound-units or the letters alone make up the word. The sound-units are uttered in sequence, but each leaves behind an impression, and the meaning is grasped only when the last unit is uttered. Kumarila Bhatta (7th c.) argued that since the sphoṭas at the word and sentence level are after all composed of the smaller units, and cannot be different from their combination. However, in the end it is cognized as a whole, and this leads to the misperception of the sphoTa as a single indivisible unit. Each sound unit in the utterance is an eternal, and the actual sounds differ owing to differences in manifestation. The Nyaya view is enunciated among others by Jayanta (9th c.), who argues against the Mimamsa position by saying that the sound units as uttered are different; e.g. for the sound "g", we infer its g-hood based on its similarity to other such sounds, and not because of any underlying eternal. However, he agrees with Kumarila in terms of the compositionality of an utterance. A number of other authors have commented on this theory. Coward, Harold G., The Sphota Theory of Language: A Philosophical Analysis Motilal Banarsidass, 1997, 158 pages. ISBN 8120801814,
Bhartr^hari, in vAkyapadiyA (enormous work of 2000 verses, p.121) ch.2, notes that there are two principal philosophical theses regarding the notion of sentence and sentence meaning: - a-khaNDa-pakSha (indivisibility or sentence-holism): sentences are wholes and they are the unanalysable units of meaningful discourse. - khaNDa-pakSha (atomism) - divisibility thesis; this latter is view of mimAMsikas and naiyAyikas. how does bhartr^hari account for learning the meanings of words? we reach words as parts of the sentence, and word meanings as parts of the sentence meaning through 'analyis, synthesis and abstraction' (apoddhAra). this method is only instrumental in facilitating our language-learning, a convenient way of making explicit our implicit linguistic competence. The words are no less abstractions than letters are. The meaning of a word in isolation is an imaginary construct. in fact, words are as much devoid of meaning as the letters or some syllables in a word, like 'rat' in 'socrates'. the meaning of a complete sentence is given to us as a whole block of reality. we chip this whole and correlate such abstracted (extracted) bits and pieces of meaning with word and particles which are also reached by such a process of breaking apart the whole sentence. on this theory, a sentence cannot be a composite entity with words as constituent elements, and the meaning of a sentence likewise cannot be given by the allocation or computation of word-meanings individually considered. (this view is very similar to that of w.v.o. quine, 1960). the whole meaning expressed by a sentence can share a common structure and have common 'parts', but such parts would not be capable of existing in isolation from the rest. in this sense they would be just our own 'abstractions'. a weaker implication may be that in ontological terms, the wholes (whether sentences or other wholes) may have parts but such parts lose their significance (perhaps ontic significance) as soon as they lose their contextuality in the whole. (the opponent would have to say that there may be wholes which have parts but the latter will not lose any ontic significance if they lose contextuality or connection with the whole.) this holistic solution of bhartr^hari was seriously challenged by the mImAMsakas. p. 107 [apoddhAra apa + uddhAra - recover meaning? significance - also the whole method - extraction and abstraction - example of this process in language learning?]
MIMAMSA VIEW (two schools): Both recognize sentence as a composite entity composed of words, particles, etc. These elements are meaningful units of expression. The sentence-meaning must be connected with these units. The hearer grasps the meaning of a sentence if he has LINGUISTIC COMPETENCE... sentences cannot be the smallest meaningful units, for sentences are virtually countless and we certainly cannot learn a language by learning countless sentences. It is only by learning the [finite set] of words and knowing how a language works that we gain linguistic competence. 107 linguistic competence = vyutpatti  [IDEA: once we reject the view that linguistic structures have some intrinsic thing called "meaning" then also we find it difficult to define the minimal unit of discourse - e.g. phonemes are defined based on minimal pair distinctions. Calls for some other approach to determining these. CONSTRAINT THEORY of MEANING. linguistic utterances do not carry one specific meaning, but merely constrain the possible changes in the existing interpretation. These constraints are not deterministic but graded - different constraints are possible to different degrees. The set of constraints are obtained based on sentences, which are much more tightly constrained, and finally in grounded discourse, which is extremely constrained, and finally in one's own thought even which may not be completely predicationally defined, since predicates themselves have some degree of definitional variability. These constraints may be definable as regions in some high dimensional space. If the constraints invoked by the word constitute its "meaning", then what is polysemy? In particular, "logical polysemy" as in newspaper, may not be a polysemy at all - since the boundaries of one constraint region runs into another, it may be a set of connected regions in some high dimensional space, except that the frequency of usage is higher in different regions, so that the interpretation may be said to have several modes (or centers) IDEA2: context sensitivity in perception. e.g. in Hindi, the letter r and v when juxtaposed, make the unrelated letter kh - can be disambiguated only in context. If the entire whole makes sense one way, it is kha, another way, it is rava, but no one stops for a moment to analyze this. Same as the visual "THE" and "CAT" example. ] bhATTa (Kumarila c 650AD): [abhihitAnvaya: COMPOSITIONAL] meaning of sentence understood after understanding first the meanings of indiv words. words are independent, complete objects. prAbhAkaras (prabhAkara c. 670) whatever a word designates, is connected with other words [anvitAbhidhAna: UNDERSPECIFICATION]. We know or learn the meaning of a word only by considering the sentential context in which it appears; we learn such word meanings together with their (possible) semantic connections with other words. [anvita = connected; abhidhA = denotation]. Sentence meanings are grasped directly, skipping the stage of grasping singly the individual word meanings. 108
Both sides in the dispute appeal to a general theory about language acquisition. 109 uttamavr^ddha (older adult) : Bring a horse madhyamavr^ddha (younger adult) brings the horse. Similarly, "bring a dog and tie the horse". the child, learns the grounded meanings by listening to the language and observing the actions. bhATTa argument against bhartr^hari's sentence-holism: Sentences are innumerable, but the word-lexicon has a manageable size. The logic of parsimony demands that it is the word that should be endowed with the designative power (shakti) - learning five words we can interpret eight sentential combinations - can interpret new combinations we have never heard before - if there are several unfamiliar words in a sentence we cannot cognize its meaning. thus there is denotative power in the words. [amazingly reminiscent of Poverty of Stimulus] denotative power in words: gives us as 'meanings': - isolated objects - actions - qualities - relations prAbhAkAra against pure word-atomism (bhATTa): since indiv word meanings are derived only the context of some sentence and therefore from words already syntacticaly connected with other words, we learn such word-meanings along with their semantic connections to other word-meanings. The denotative power of the word gives us not simply the object, or action, or quality, or relation, but also each item's possible connection with other items. [Underspecification debate] 110 If isolated atomic word meanings are like distinct iron pins (ayaHshalAkA), how can they constitute a continuous line representing the unity of the sentential meaning? bhATTa: Sentence unity is achieved through AkShepa - extrapolative judgments from individually cognized word-meanings (as in seeing a baby in a cradle, we infer that the mother is nearby), or through arthApatti - suggestive inference (??in the presence of an objection) - as in, seeing that the desk is not in my room, I infer that someone has removed it elsewhere. [abduction] These two, together with Asatti (proximity) AkAMkShA (syntactic expectancy), and semantic fitness (yogyatA) allow us to infer the sentence meaning. Asatti: proximity AkAMkShA: syntactic expectancy yogyatA: semantic fitness [see p.53] + AkShepa - extrapolative judgement: baby in cradle ==> mother is nearby arthApatti - suggestive inference: desk not in my room ==> someone moved it naiyAyika: interconnection between word-meanings is derived from their syntax (AkAMkShA) - greater emphasis on syntax compared to the bhATTa. prAbhAkAra view: word designative power extends to a designatum plus possible linkages with other words. this semantic contribution (object plus a relation) guarantees the unity of sentence meaning. There is no need for suggestive unity, or extrapolative judgement
words have meanings only in the context of a sentence - as in grammatical particles, adverbs, prepositions, etc. e.g. "sake" in "for the sake of". 111 Quine extends the notion to include certain adjectives - e.g. "little elephant" vs "little butterfly", "true artist", "poor violinist" etc. here the meaning of little or poor is determined largely by the context. [UNDERSPECIFICATION] Strong Context claim: All words are like this (have meanings only in sentential context) -> Extreme form of syncategorematicism: all words are definable only by considering context [holistic view, bhartrihari] Milder interpretation: sync may be a vague way of understanding the later Wittgensteinian claim that the meaning of a word is the use it has in language. categorematic words - can have independent meanings Is this the view of the prAbhAkaras? maybe not quite : - prAbhAkara: a word cannot have such a meaning as is unconnected with the meanings of other words - syncategorematism: a word unconnected with other words cannot have a meaning. 112
The argument of the prAbhAkara: bhATTa argues that the prAbhAkara by making all word-meanings 'context-sensitive', faces a problem. Consider the 2-word sentence 'XY'. If we ask what meaning is conveyed by X then we have to answer that if it conveys any meaning at all then it conveys the unitary meaning of 'XY'. The same holds for Y as well. This is so because the prAbhAkara has claimed that the meaning of the word of a sentence ontains within itself, though implicitly, the whole sentence-meaning, i.e. the connected meaning. This seems to amount to sentence-holism, which the prAbhAkara tries to avoid. The prAbhAkara maintains that sentences are made of parts which are words and if the meaning of one part contains the meaning of the whole, the other part becomes redundant. The prAbhAkara answers that the word 'cow' in the sentence 'Bring the cow' or 'The cow is white' designates a cow along with the idea of its linkage with all other possible objects, or a cow with all the possible qualities, modalities and actions, and the second element is necessary only to help us determine which particular linkage, to the exclusion of all other possible linkages, is to be taken into account. 113 Unconnected word meanings can be recognized (like wheels in an image of a wagon, Jayanta 900AD), but it would be wrong to construe them as separate entities. Each of them can play a role only in combination with the others. 114 More generally, bination of factors produces a combined effect and each factor in combination produces its own effect, which is discernibly only in that combined effect. The designative power of a word becomes manifest only in combination with other words or only when it is placed in its natural home, a sentence (one word sentences being allowed). A word may remind us of an isolated independent object, but to contribute to the sentence meaning, it must mean directly an object with a linkage.
The context principle would oppose what has been called epistemological atomism [Dummett:1981] - the view that at least some objects are 'given' to us in sense perception or intuitition - and hence our knowledge is in the first instance knowledge of isolated objects (and their properties). This view would then construct the meaning (sense or reference) of complex expressions (sentences, etc.) in terms of those sense-perceptible givens or the isolated objects. In Der Gedanke, Frege seems to have rejected this view impressionistically. Perception of objects, he said, involved grasping of thoughts. It is not to be confused with pure sensory reaction. Knowing is always knowing that. white flash moving swiftly + noise of hoofs + sound of neighing ==> "a white horse runs" 116 bhAtta: these three are presented through diff avenues of knowledge (pramANas) and are grasped as unconnected bits of objects. When such isolated object-atoms (or, for lg, meanings) are grasped, there will automatically arise the judgement which unites them. prabhAkAra argues that this uniting requires us to know the relations between the words, and if so, there is no need to go down to the word-meaning atoms themselves. ShAlikanAtha (c.850AD), following prabhAkara : How do we as hearers know the sentence meaning with our usual linguistic competence (vyutpatti)? Word meanings properly understood are connected facts, not isolated, unconnected bits of objects. Otherwise it would be impossible to derive knowledge of the connected sentential meaning from unconnected bits. To imagine any such device, as the bhATTa does, would violate parsimony. 117 The dispute between the two groups rolled on for several centuries. At some point the prAbhAkaras conceded that the isolated meaning of the word can be recollected by the hearer as soon as the word is heard - the object cow, from the word 'cow', is quickly recollected because of intensity and recrurrence. But this recollection only facilitates our awareness of the proper meaning of the word in the context. 118 While the context principle of Frege was formulated to answer presumably a diff set of q's, some of the philosophical issues raised by it were not entirely different from the issues raised by the age-old controversy between the bhATTa and the prAbHAkara. The prAbhAkara explicitly makes an epistemological point about how we grasp sentence meaning. By positing such semantic or epistemic objects as things, properties or actions with possible linkages constituting the domain of the meaning of words in a sentence, he steers clear of the two extremes: the Scylla of crude realism implicit in the extreme atomism of the bhATTa [FODOR] and the Charybdis of a sort of idealism implied by Bhartr^hari's holism. [see Matilal and Sen, Mind, 1989]
Bhartr^hari developed a theory of speech or language which was unique and evoked strong criticism from all quarters... but he exerted strong influence, indirectly upon others, but directly upon Kashmir Shaivism, particularly on Utpala and Abhinavagupta (ch.12). Any reading is a creative reformulation, and hence a translation. 122 [Q. Then, is composition a creative act?] The very thought that meaning, thought, or 'what is said' is isolatable from the speech or the text seems repugnant to Bhartr^hari's holistic conception of lg. Hence translation in the sense of 'transfer' of thought from one garb to another seems impossible in this theory. 122 DUALITY in meaning: Nyaya realists: distinction between the word (signifier) and the object (signified). Jacques Derrida: the metaphysicians' age-old search for a "transcendental signified" - a concept indep of language - that forces upon us the duality of the signifier and the signified. In the light of Bhartr^hari, this is a platitude that we would do well to give up. For B, the signifier-signified duality (vAk and artha) is more fiction than reality. It is vikalpa, a convenient fiction, lacking ultimate truth value. 122-3 Bhartr^hari's holistic doctrine, with the identity of vAchaka (signifier) and vAcya (signified), requires us to give up the search for any independent 'transcendent' meaning as the translational constant, and yet the same view allows that there could be a situational meaning of vAcya that would be correlated with diff linguistic expressions or vAchakas (signifiers) which would be deemed as intelligibly equivalent. The thought is not separable from its verbal cloak - thought and language are born together, like karNa in his armour. 123 How are we to distinguish good translation from bad ones, to determine distortion or even falsification by translation? The goodness or badness of translation would be determined not based on inter-linguistic semantic rules, but by the entire situation of each translation, the total reactions, effects, motivations and preferences it generates. 123 Our perceived world is also an interpreted world - and this interpretn is invariably in terms of language - interpretation is "languageing". Both language and this world it refers to form an indivisible, unitary whole. 124 The first sentence of the enormous text, vAkyapAdIya (I.1): The essence of language has no beginning and no end. It is the imperishable Brahman, the ultimate consciousness, which is transformed in the form of meanings and which facilitates the functioning of the world. An absolute beginning for language is untenable. Language is continuous and co-terminous with the human or any sentient being. ==> language is underived and eternal - opposing, with the mimaMsakas, the nyaya view of language being arbitrary and conventional - no real connection between the word 'cow' and the object cow. J. Derrida: Everything begins by referring back, that is to say, does not begin. 125 vAkyapAdiya I.93: sphota is the universal or linguistic type - sentence-type or word-type, as opp to their tokens (sounds). vAkyapAdiya I.94: sphoTa is avikArya 'unmodifiable' or 'immutable' and sounds which have modifications cause the perception or comprehension of the sphoTa just as light causes perception of objects. the illuminative power of consciousness is intertwined with its vAg-rUpatA or shabdanA (languageing). Taking some help from Kashmir Saivism (Utpala and Abhinava), one can say that each awareness-episode has two natural powers, the power to reveal or illuminate (prakAsha) and the power to discriminate or differentiate (vimarsha). The second power which is equiv to differentiation through verbalizability, is never found without the first. 128 This seems to imply that the pure sensory grasp where awareness is not isolatable from what one is aware of, and where what we are aware of is not conceptualizable or verbalizable - such sensation is not possible. 128
vAkyapadiyA I verse 124: the illuminatory power of consciousness is intertwined with vAg-rUpatA, the power of articulating the grasped object in language. an awareness-episode has to reveal (prakAsha) some object, it has to contain the seed of verbalization or verbal discrimination (vimarsha). 134 vr^tti: - Just as the shabdabhAvanA where explicit forms are withdrawn (saMhr^arUpa) cannot accomplish anything (kAryaM na kriyate), similarly non-conceptual (avikalpaka) cognition is of no use. - when walking on grass, a tactile awareness arises. a similar awareness that is unique and vague (kachid - means both unique, or vague) state of cognition in which an object's nature (vastvAtma) is said to be cognized (jnAtate ity abhidhIyate) provided the object is tinged with awareness (jnAnAnugata), and its explicit form shines forth (vyaktarUpapratyayAvabhAsa). This state (of cognition) contains the about-to-sprout (abhimukhIbhUta) seed of the residual traces of language (shabdabhAvanAbIja). 134-5 There are two types of shabda - articulate or speakable, and non-articulate; AkhyeyarUpAnam anAkhyeyarUpAnam ca shabdAnAm "[I take 'inarticulate' to refer to the shabda of babies - their actions of sucking their mother's breasts, etc. are prompted by such word-impregnated awareness]" And there arises denotative power of the words regulated by each denotatum (pratyarthaniyatAsu shaktiShu) while the object picked out (upagr^hyamAna) and given a form (AkriyamAna) by that cognition which is impregnated with words (shabdAnuviddhena) and empowered with that denotative power (shaktyanupAtinA). 135 - like illumination inhering in fire, speech inheres in all cases of awareness - the fine nature of vAc (sUkhShmo vAgdharmah) penetrates and permeates even such states as lack ostensible mental activity (asaNchetitAvasthA). Even the epistemologically first-born (prathama+upanipAtin) illumination (prakAsha) of the external objects (bAhyArtha), since it cannot apprehend the nimitta or special features that cause our usage of certain words, (e.g. "white", or "cow"), make the object (vastu+svarUpa+mAtra) appear in our awareness (pratyavabhAsayati) by some unspecifieable designation such as 'this' or 'that' (idam tad ity ayapadeshyayA vr^ttyA). 135 proponents of kashmiri shaivism, Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta, asssimilated this theory... 136 Most Indian philosophers, the buddhists, naiyAyikas, and mimAMsakas have argued for two types of perceptual awareness - nirvikalpaka and savikalpaka. The first is the sensory awareness where no concept hence no language or shabda can appear, and the second is where words, concepts and universals are present. The usual argument is that the epistemologically first-born is the given, without shabda, as in the body's 'raw feel', the mute's awareness, etc. bhartr^hari, and following him, Utpala and Abhinava: even for the nirvikalpaka, awareness is interpenetrated with shabda. Without this vAg-rUpatA (word-impregnation) which bhartr^hari calles pratyavamarsha, 'determination by word' (I, verse 124), and the Kashmiris call vimarsha or sometimes parAmarsha, an awareness cannot be aware; illumination will not illuminate (na prakAshaH prakAsheta).
Two aspects: two inherent, inalienable, mutually complementary properties of any awareness episode: prakAsha, and vimarsha (roughly, illumination, and discrimination) [in Wittgenstein jargon: awareness is both showing and saying] pre-linguistic grasp cannot be firm unless the object is sufficiently distinguished, and if so, then vimarsha has set in, and a shabdabhAvanA (penetration by word) is implicit. pure prakASha without vimarsha is impossible. 136 [Not what Kant or Nelson Goodman say - that perception without conception is mute, or that conception without perception is blind. See Matilal Perception, ch. 10] Some empirical evidence have been cited in favour of this not too obvious thesis: instinctual awareness of babies that causes them to act, cry, articulate their first words, must be a sort of awareness where the purpose and method to achieve that purpose are distinguished - hence it presupposes vimarsha and hence shabdabhAvanA. Utpala: even in sensory awareness (sAkShAtkAra) there is vimarsha, for otherwise how would instantaneous running away be possible (e.g. from seeing a snake) without doing pratisandhAna (active thinking)? A consideration (parAmarsha) Dharmakirti : opposes any possibility of 'discrimnation by word' (vimarsha, vikalpa or shabda) contaminating the purity of nirvikalpaka, i.e. sensory awareness. SENSORY: what is graspable (grAhya or pratibhAsamAna) LINGUISTIC: adhyavaseya, determinable In his pramANavArttika: Sense perception arises from the capacity of the object (arthasAmarthya) whereas word-impregnated awareness involves the sequence: - sensation leading to the awakening of saMskAra (memory-impression) - leading to the remembering of saMketa (convention of learning word-meaning), - leading finally to discrimination by word, shabda-yojanA or vikalpa.
both sides agree that mental attention (manaskAra) is needed for perception. [p.140 : an essential causal condition of each cognitive awareness] abhinava: Just as the object accounts for the pratibhAsa, 'appearance' of the object in the awareness, the manaskAra, 'mental attention' accounts for the vimarsha, i.e. distinguishing the same, resulting in full-fledged perceptual awareness. manaskAra is defined by abhinava as the readiness for the 'distinguishing" act (vimarshonmukhatA)... thus manaskAra impregnates perception with subtle word-seeds (pratisaMhrta-rUpa-shabda-yojanA), 'ascertainment through words withdrawn to themselves'. For such shabda-yojanA, a prior saMketa (see dharmakirti 2 above) is not needed. 138-9 dharmakirti: child does not have saMketa - conventional word-meaning - how can his perception be impregnated with word-seed? without this word-seed then, how can he learn language?
shabdabhAvanAbIja (word-seed) : CONCEPTS are formed and can be discriminated prior to words - ] abhinava: learning the meaning of words (saMketa grahaNa): the child learns the word 'cow' by looking at the cow and hearing instructions such as 'This is a cow'. But this ascription of the word or the predicate cow, would be impossible unless the subject is discriminated (by vimarsha, or parAmarsha, 'discrimination'). The "this" in the sentence is clearly a vimarsha. Even pointing a finger would imply vimarsha - the word itself is not necessary. Neither is the referent necessary, e.g. we can learn the word pika from "a cuckoo is called pika" (or a cat is called pussy). reminiscent of the NATIVIST theory in the Western tradition, or the Socratic quip: Learning is nothing but remembering. 140 [NATIVIST: that there are innate rules, esp. as used for learning - helmholz: Facts of perception; behaviorism, - George Graham, Stanf Ency Philo] Plato: thought is the 'inner dialogue' of the soul Davidson (1975): this platitude is of a piece with 'primitive behaviourism' which being 'baffled by the privacy of unspoken thought' may take comfort in the view that thinking is really 'talking to oneself', 'silent speech'. Davidson and Quine: wrong belief: of thought and language, since language may be easier to understand, it should have the privileged position over thought. But indeed, language and thought are two sides of the same coin. Davidson: "Each requires the other in order to be understood." Some philosophers today avoid the epistemologist's dilemma by claiming that even a pure sensory datum is elusive unless it is reinforced by language (Wittgenstein 1958, Philosophical Investigations]. Quine: public language anchors experience, arresting drift. But bhartr^hari's claim seems even more fundamental. Here language anchors experience and experience anchors language. Similar position, W. Sellars (1963): all awarenesss of sort, resemblance, facts, etc. -- in short, all awareness of abstract entities, in deed all awareness even of particulars, is a linguistic affair.
In this monograph I deal with what is today called 'philosophy of language' on the basis of an analysis of materials drawn exclusively from the writings of classical Indian philosophers. While I have avoided facile comparison with any modern view and let the texts speak for themselves, I have tried to [present] not simply an exposition but also a critical analysis of the classical theories. A brief account of how I came to write this monograph may be in order here. A few years ago, I was invited by the Director of the Central Institute of Indian Languages at Mysore (Manasagahgotri), India, to give a seminar on Indian theories of semantics, while the Institute was acting as host to an International Conference on Semiotics. I presented the sphota doctrine along with some other issues discussed by the grammarians and philosophers of classical India. The audience consisted of scholars and students generally from the field of modern linguistics, and most of them were non-Sanskritists. They found my presentation not only intelligible but also of absorbing interest because, as it was remarked by one participant, none of the available books in English on the subject made the discussion accessible to non-Sanskritist linguists or philosophers. A book to fill this need would be welcome. Several works reviewing the Sanskritic literature on the philosophy of language exist, but a comprehensive survey from a modern point of view is still lacking. Texts dealing with some particular aspects or authors include at least four monographs: Gaurinath Sastri, Bishnupada Bhattacharya, K. Kunjunni Raja and K. Subrahmania Iyer. What they have written is philosophically interesting. But while Sastri and Iyer are exclusively concerned with one author—Bhartrhari (Iyer's study of Bhartrhari is very valuable), Bhattacharya covers the area of dispute between the Vaiyakaranas and the Naiyayikas. Raja gives a somewhat comprehensive survey, but he seldom provides adequate analysis of the views he refers to. M. Biardeau's monograph on Bhartrhari is illuminating, but her approach is decidedly different from mine as well as from that of many others. S. D. Joshi's and G. Cardona's persistent study of the Paninian school of grammar has been very helpful and philologically sound. p.vii-viii
the problem of universals (chapter 4) defines one end of what is understood by philosophy of language in India, and the karaka theory (chapter 5) defines the other. Another important issue is why and how we derive knowledge from linguistic utterances. This is actually connected with the broader philosophical problem: the epistemology of testimony. A certain amount of interest in this problem has been recently visible among some modern analytical philosophers. There is little scope here to discuss the problem with all its implications, and chapter 6 provides only a synoptic view. A project is in progress to prepare an anthology on this very important topic, in which classical arguments will be examined vis-a-vis the discussion and arguments of modern philosophers. It is, however, difficult to say at this stage, to what extent this attempt will be successful.
The first three chapters focus upon the sphota theory, which is recognized in some quarters as a unique contribution of the Sanskrit grammarians to the global philosophy of language. I have tried to give prominence to Bhartrhari's view, separating it from that of the former and the later grammarians. Chapter 10 deals with an important issue which caused prolonged controversy among different schools of Indian philosophers, and some parts of the discussion are reminiscent of the modern problem about G. Frege's Context Principle. (Professor P. K. Sen and the present author wrote an article in a comparative vein, which appeared in Mind, January 1988. Interested readers are requested to consult the article.) Chapter 11 deals with the problem of translation vis-a-vis Bhartrhari's holistic view of language. It occasionally refers to a few lines from J. Derrida's On Grammatology and the dispute over the primacy of the scriptic over the sonic (e.g. logocentrism) in linguistics. The reason for this sudden reference to Derrida is historical: part of the chapter was written as a paper for a seminar organized by J. Derrida and his colleagues. Chapter 12 is an elaboration of Bhartrhari's view of cognition. I have tried to explain a rather obscure passage of Bhartrhari and used some comments of Dharmakirti and Abhinavagupta to illuminate what I have called 'the Bhartrhari thesis'. Three appendices have been added to the book. While they are to some extent connected with the main topic of the book, they are also of independent interest. [On the whole] it will be clear that, in classical India, different disciplines such as linguistics, philosophy, logic and even aesthetics or literary criticism were interconnected—more intimately than we are prepared to allow today.
1. Introduction 3 2. On Grammar and Linguistic Studies 7 Synonyms and homonyms 15 3. Words and their meanings 18 4. Names and Things: Universals 31 5. The Karaka Theory 40 6. Knowledge from Linguistic Utterance 49
7. Sphota Theory: Early history and Patanjali's View 77 8. Bhartrhari's view of Sphota 84 Linguistic determinism 86 9. Critics of the Sphota Theory and Views of Later Grammarians 99 10. Words vs. Sentences 106 11. Translation and Bhartrhari's Concepts of Language (Sabda) 120 12. Cognition and Language 133
I Mysticism and Ineffability: Some issues of Logic and Language 142 II Semiotic conceptions in the Indian theory of Argumentation 156 III Meaning in Literary criticism: Vakrokti and Dhvani 167 Bibliography 180 --- blurb: Not just an exposition of classical Indian philosophy of language, but also their relevance to philosophy today. Topics include sphota theory, the word as a unit of sentence, the problem of translation, and an elaboration of Bhatrihari's view of cognition. Addresses the theories of meaning and the related problem of universals, and the connection between the ordinary meaning and the profundity of sense in a literary composition.
Mind, Vol. 101, No. 401 (Jan., 1992), pp. 183-188 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2254139 For most Western analytic philosophers the occurrence of the word "philosophy" in the popular expression "Indian Philosophy" is an orthographic accident like that of "ant" in "Kant". That this is a bad mistake is what Professor Bimal Krishna Matilal strove to prove all his life through eight major books on Epistemology, Logic, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Language and Moral Philosophy. Each of these books makes extensive critical and creative use of scholarly materials of Classical Indian philosophy (written mostly in Sanskrit between 450 B.C. and 1750 A.D.) but addresses problems of contemporary Anglo-American concern and is written in an idiom informed by post-Russellian linguistic analysis. This monograph which describes itself as a "new trip to the old land" (p. 121) of two thousand years of Indian Grammatology is the last in that series of eight. Unlike his previous seminal works on Negation (1965), Epistemology, Logic etc. (1971) and Perception (1986) this is a smaller and thematically less integrated collection of twelve main essays. They deal with salient issues in philosophy of grammar (What is a word? How is language-mastery possible? What distinguishes a name from a verb? What is the semantic justification of the six cases in relation to the verb? etc.), epistemology of understanding, and the metaphysics of meaning (Which is the real meaning-bearer-the word, the sentence or the whole of language?). Any book of this kind could be a victim of two vicious dilemmas. Either it shows that ancient and mediaeval philosophers in India were wrangling about the same issues which now preoccupy philosophers of language in the West, or it shows that their concerns were very different from contemporary professional philosophers. In the former case, knowledge of the ancient controversies is of merely historical value, and in the latter the issues are too outlandish and irrelevant for the "philosophers" now. A second dilemma concerns the style of writing: Either the author quotes and translates original Sanskrit chapter and verse, or he reformulates the traditional disputes in an English intelligible to contemporary philosophers. In the former case he puts off Western philosophers, whereas if he does the latter he is suspected of reading too much of current ideas into these "dead" texts and making it all up (like an enthusiastic classicist coming up with Anaximander's anticipation of Kaplan's theory of demonstratives). Matilal was conscious of these pitfalls. In his other books he achieves a balance between accurate exposition of the original materials and drawing of Western parallels, between choosing recognizable issues for the analytic audience and giving a flavour of the special problems of Sanskrit semantics. But in the present work he seems somewhat tired of the thankless effort at vindicating "current relevance" of these Indian controversies. Thotigh he still cannot help alluding to Frege, Quine, Dummett and Derrida occasionally, on the whole this is a straight dose of typical Indian debates between 5th Century Grammarians and 9th Century Naiyayikas, between Buddhists and Shaivas, written in clear argumentative English. So the book will emerge as more of a synoptic exegesis (with unapologetic use of transliterated Sanskrit technical terms-always explained in English, of course) rather than an original or even critical work on the stlbject. Still it deserves the attention of philosophers as richly as the purely exegetical works on Frege, Wittgenstein or Aristotle do. The temporal and territorial parochialism which makes us treat the question: "What did Frege mean by Sinn?" as a philosophical question yet look upon the question: "What did Bhartrhari mean by Sphota?" as merely a historical question should abate a little if this book is studied with care. Besides three important-even if somewhat unblended - Appendices about mysticism, semiotics and the essence of poetry about which I shall comment briefly at the end, the book has twelve chapters. The leitmotiv of the last half-dozen of these is that key concept of Indian Grammarians: the meaning-bearing soul of an utterance (a word or a sentence), the speech bud "from which the meaning bursts forth" (p. 780) called "sphota" in Sanskrit. Naturally, the hero of these chapters is that inadequately understood fifth century philosopher of language, Bhartrhari, who made the most of this notion of a speech-bud or morphic seed. His final view sounds somewhat like the first sentence of the New Testament's Gospel of John: The essence of language has no beginning and no end. It is the imperishable Brahman, the Absolute Consciousness which is transformed in the form of meanings'and thus facilitates the functioning of the world. (Matilal's translation, p. 125) The beginninglessness of language (not a language) had to be argued for, against the conventionalist philosophers who held either divine or human agency to be responsible for connecting words with objects. Since no convention can be enunciated or taught without some presupposed concept of the meaning-relation and a sign system, even the putative first user of a word for a specific meaning must have used some other sign system to convey the initial decision "Let us make this noise to mean this thing" (at this point Matilal quotes Derrida, the latter-day champion of unbeginning texts). But the Eternal Verbum which is what the innocuous speech bud or sphota turns out to be is not only eternal, it is also an undifferentiated unity of the sign and the signified. Now, linguistic holism is not so difficult to stomach (especially after Quine). But the identity between the meaner and the meant is a part of Bhartrhari's thesis which even the bulk of Indian Semanticists including people upholding the eternity of words found hard to agree with. To appreciate the Grammarians' line of reasoning we must start with the noise?word distinction. Not only are noises tokens and words types. Words are individuated in an essentially semantic way. "Sound" as an adjective and "Sound" as a noun are not the same word. So, their connection with meant entities must be natural. Now, such words are artificially sliced parts of sentences (see pp. 95-8 for six definitions of a sentence). What we hear as the articulated sentence is supposed to have been latent (like the multicolored plumes contained in the peahens' egg (p. 86)) in the original undifferentiated speech-bud. The speech-bud has two powers implicit in it: the power to come out as a series of acoustic blasts and the power to convey an informational content. The question "What did she say?" could therefore be a request to re-identify the exact utterance or equally a request to clarify the message. The mystical-sounding identity is therefore based on the following general line of argument: 1. The world of objects is essentially made of thought (an idealistic thesis) 2. Thought is essentially made of speech. Therefore, the world of objects is essentially made of speech. (Of course, one could question whether constitution is a transitive relation!) Matilal never clearly shows how Bhartrhari argued for the first premise. Perhaps when we see Frege-a rank realist-identifying facts with true thoughts and also notice Wittgenstein calling the world "the totality of facts", we might guess the underlying drift, although Bhartrhari obviously did not believe in Fregean thoughts or Wittgensteinian states of affairs. But he succinctly states two independent, arguments for the second premise: The first goes like this: No intentionality without linguistic structure (the "Sellars point"?). No consciousness without intentionality. Therefore, no consciousness without speech. The second would be: Every awareness illuminates something outside itself. Illumination consists in articulation of the structure of the object. No articulation of structure is possible without a speech-like grid. Hence, awareness consists in the use of speech. It is not clear whether Matilal himself agrees with this identity thesis. But he surely takes it seriously enough to translate eleven crucial verses of Bhartrhari's seminal work "Of Sentences and Words" (on p. 87-8) on the subject and tries to make the thesis more plausible by quoting Davidson on p. 141. Chapters 8, 9 and 12 contains many attacks and defenses of various formulations of these two arguments. Some of Bhartrhari's opponents were ready to admit that thought, reality and language display some parallel structures. But similarity is not identity. The pan-linguistic monists might have been committing the classic mistake of the idealist: slipping from isomorphism to inseparability to identity. Other opponents took just the opposite view. In spite of being an idealist, the Buddhist Dignaga held that pure perceptual consciousness is free from all linguistic conceptualization, that language falsifies pure consciousness and the bare particulars it grasps by bringing in imaginary universals. Ultimate Reality is therefore quite untouched by words, far from being constituted by them. Branching out from this central debate we get detailed discussion of at least three other major issues. First, in chapter 6 there is a lucid treatment of the important question (which is rarely asked by western philosophers of language) whether our sentence-generated grasp of a content is perceptual, inferential or sui generis. In this connection, Matilal discusses the three competing analyses of sentence meaning: the nominative-centered theory, the verb-centered theory and the very peculiar verbal-suffix-centered theory. The second major debate is about the relative primacy of words versus that of sentences. Bhartrhari of course is the foremost proponent of sentence holism. Within the word-atomist camp there are two rival views: connected designation and designation-then-connection. These issues have been discussed by Matilal in greater detail in a paper published in Mind, January 1988, pp. 73-97, along with a comparison with Frege's context principle. What he seems to have realised more clearly in the book is the subtle distinction between the Prabhakara position that "a meant entity unconnected with other meant entities i.e. anything other than a state of affairs-cannot be signified by a word and the Fregean position that "a word unconnected with other words cannot have a meaning". In the original paper (co-authored with P. K. Sen) he seemed to have almost missed the distinction. The third important issue is about the metaphysics of meaning. Do words stand for universals (because they are themselves type entities and appeal to some property or other in terms of which we recognize or pick out their meanings) or can they ever manage to denote genuine particulars? Chapters 3 and 4 take us into the dizzy depths of Indian ontological doctrines and counter-arguments about the nature of thing-universals, word-universals, about Nominalism, Realism and Exclusionism as theories of universals. The details will be invaluable for any.comparative ontologist even if they are a little scholastic. In spite of being quite a mine of information and a good survey of the field, the language of this book lacks Matilal's usual ease and precision. Linguistic errors like "The word 'emptiness' is a predicate property" (p. 149), facile and improper rewordings like "the sphoTa is a universal" then "the sphoTa is then the class" (p. 92) and bad translations like "connective comparative cognition" (for a Sanskrit word which simply means a counting awareness of succession) mar the otherwise readable text. Even as survey of the literature the discussion is sketchy. It is clear that before his premature death in June 1991, Matilal was in a hurry to get as much of his research in print as he could. The job needed to be done. After this spade-work it can now be done by others with more depth and accuracy. To those who want to bring knowledge of Western philosophy of language, linguistics and poetics to bear upon a reinterpretation and rejuvenation of the rich Sanskritic tradition of reasoning about language and meaning, Matilal's book will show where to look and start. Department of Philosophy ARINDAM CHAKRABARTI University of Washington, Seattle
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