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.]

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Some recommended blogs

It's been over a year since my last blog post. Between my dissertation defense scheduled in two months (November 21), preparing for the job market, and teaching responsibilities, I don't have time to resume regular blogging, although I just wrote a blog post which will appear elsewhere.

That post will appear at some point on the Indian Philosophy blog, and I thought I'd take the time to recommend it, along with a few others relevant to language and philosophy:
  • The Indian Philosophy Blog: quite a long list of contributors on this group blog, and established scholars engage with junior faculty in comment threads. It's a great place to hear about new research. Recently Elisa Freschi gave summaries of some conferences she attended, which was very valuable.
  • Language Log: also a group blog, the topics here range from funny "crash blossoms" in the news to reflections on contemporary research in linguistics. It also has tends to have valuable comment threads.
  • Angelika Krazer's Semantics Notebook: while not updated frequently, it's a rich read, focusing on current research.
  • Finally, Futility Closet describes itself as an "idler's miscellany of compendious amusements" but it includes short excerpts from philosophy papers, logic puzzles, math problems, as well as amusing anecdotes. It's a good resource for teaching.