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From Word Meanings to Sentence Meaning

From Word Meanings to Sentence Meaning: Different Perspectives in Indian Philosophy of Language

International colloquium

The reflection on language and its structures was a major component of the Sanskritic intellectual horizon, intimately connected with the broader epistemological and soteriological concerns of different schools. This led to the emergence of various conflicting philosophical views on the nature of the cognition obtained from language (śābdabodha). In this respect, a pivotal issue is how padārthas (the meanings/referents of words) relate to vākyārtha (the meaning/referent of the sentence). During this one-day colloquium, the focus will especially be on the views set forth by the Pūrva-Mīmāṃsā philosophers (Bhāṭṭa and Prābhākara), the Buddhists, the Grammarians, and the theoreticians of Alaṃkāraśāstra, and on the reconstruction of the debate as it developed in the course of the first millennium CE.

Date: Friday, 11th November, 2016

Time: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm

Venue: Room 213, Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies

Convenors: Vincenzo Vergiani and Shishir Saxena

Dr Elisa Freschi, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Dr Hugo David, École française d'Extrême-Orient, Dr Akane Saito Kyushu University and Dr Kei Kataoka, Kyushu University will be at the department throughout Tuesday, 8th - Thursday, 10th November, 2016. They will participate in and lead various reading sessions, specifically of Sucarita's recently found commentary (Kāśikā) on Kumārila's Ślokavārttika.


Colloquium Programme

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9:30-10:15 am: Maria Piera Candotti, Université de Lausanne/Università di Cagliari (Visiting Scholar)
Bhartṛhari and the basic meaning unit: innovation or restauration

10:15-11:00 am: Daniele Cuneo, Universiteit Leiden
When words do not suffice: the polymorphic concept of bādha

11:00-11:15 am: Tea / Coffee Break

11:15-12:00 noon: Hugo David, École française d'Extrême-Orient
'vākyārtha eva padārthaḥ': On the reappropriation of an old Mīmāṃsā principle in a Vedāntic framework

12:00-12:45 pm: Elisa Freschi, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
From authorless words to Vedic prescriptions: The Mīmāṃsaka journey from the subject-independent nature of language to the prescriptive nature of language

12:45-2:00 pm: Lunch

2:00-2:45 pm: Kei Kataoka, Kyushu University
How to paraphrase a sentence? Bādari vs Jaimini

2:45-3:30 pm: Tiziana Pontillo, Università di Cagliari
The general samartha-constraint of word-formation rules in the Pāṇinian tradition

3:30-4:15 pm: Akane Saito, Kyushu University
Phonemes as the Conveyors of Sentence Meaning for Kumārila, Śālikanātha, Vācaspati, and Jayanta

4:15-4:30 pm: Tea / Coffee Break

4:30-5:15 pm: Shishir Saxena, University of Cambridge
Kumārila on why śabda cannot be classified as anumāna on the basis of āptavādāvisaṃvāda, as argued in the Śabdapariccheda & Vākyādhikaraṇa of the Ślokavārttika

5:15-6:00 pm: Vincenzo Vergiani, University of Cambridge
Of the unitary nature of complex sentences: Bhartṛhari's remarks in the second kāṇḍa of the Vākyapadīya


For further information, contact:

Dr Vincenzo Vergiani, Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit
Director of the project “Sanskrit Manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge”
Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA

Telephone 01223 335135
Fax 01223 335110
E-mail