Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mukulabhaṭṭa and pragmatics in Indian philosophy


Mukulabhaṭṭa was a ninth-century Kashmiri thinker who wrote a critical response to Ānandavardhana’s important Dhvanyāloka. Mukula’s only extant work, the Abhidhāvṛttamātṛkā (Fundamentals of the Communicative Function) is a study of literal and non-literal meaning, but his work straddles genre boundaries, including recognizably alaṃkāra-śāstra themes within a broader epistemological and linguistic framework. His work, though influential for Ālaṁkārikas who follow him, such as Mammaṭa, has not been given significant attention by modern scholars until relatively recently, most notably in Larry McCrea’s The Teleology of Poetics in Medieval Kashmir.

Lakṣaṇā as Removing Apparent Incompatibility

(1) “gaur vāhīkaḥ.” (“The peasant is a bull.”)
(2) “gaṅgāyam ghoṣaḥ.” (“The village is on the Ganges.”)
(3) “pīno devadatto divā na bhuṅkte.” (“Fat Devadatt does not eat during the day.”)

According to Mukulabhaṭṭa, all of these expressions have something in common: their full meaning is understood through lakṣaṇā, often translated as “indication.” ... [Read the full post at the Indian Philosophy blog.]