Advertisement

Journal of Indian Philosophy

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 439–461 | Cite as

Mukulabhaṭṭa’s Defense of Lakṣaṇā: How We Use Words to Mean Something Else, But Not Everything Else

  • Malcolm Keating
Article

Abstract

We frequently use single words or expressions to mean multiple things, depending upon context. I argue that a plausible model of this phenomenon, known as lakṣaṇā by Indian philosophers, emerges in the work of ninth-century Kashmiri Mukulabhaṭṭa. His model of lakṣaṇā is sensitive to the lexical and syntactic requirements for sentence meaning, the interpretive unity guiding a communicative act, and the nuances of creative language use found in poetry. After outlining his model of lakṣaṇā, I show how arthāpatti, or presumption, forms the basis of both semantic and pragmatic processes in this approach. I employ a model from contemporary linguist James Pustejovsky as one way of reconstructing Mukulabhaṭṭa’s analysis. Finally, I argue that presumption is responsible for the wide range of interpretations in creative uses of language, and that our interpretations are constrained, through defeasible in a way that our decodings of literal meanings typically are not.

Keywords

Mukulabhaṭṭa Lakṣaṇā Metaphor Metonymy Language Semantics Pragmatics 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Carroll, L. (2010). Alice’s adventures in wonderland and through the looking-glass. London: Bibliolis Books, Ltd.Google Scholar
  2. Chomsky, N. (1964). Current issues in linguistic theory. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  3. Davidson, D. (1978). What metaphors mean. Critical Inquiry, 5(1), 31–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dvivedi, R. (1973). Abhidhāvṛttimātṛkā of Mukulabhaṭṭa. Varanasi: Vidyābhavana Saṃskṛta Granthamālā 165.Google Scholar
  5. Grice, H. P. (1989). Studies in the ways of words. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Guha, N. (2012). Lakṣaṇā as a creative function of language. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 40, 489–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ingalls, D. H. H. (1990). The Dhvanyāloka of Ānandavardhana with the Locana of Abhinavagupta. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Jha, D. (1942). Purva-Mimamsa in its sources. Banaras: Banaras Hindu University.Google Scholar
  9. Keating, M. (forthcoming). The cow is to be tied up: Sort-shifting in classical Indian philosophy. History of Philosophy Quarterly.Google Scholar
  10. McCrea, L. (2009). The teleology of poetics in medieval Kashmir. Boston: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Nunberg, G. (1995). Transfers of meaning. Journal of Semantics, 12(2), 109–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Parish, P. (1992). Amelia Bedelia. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  13. Pollock, S. (2001). The social aesthetic and Sanskrit literary theory. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 29, 197–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pustejovsky, J. (1995). The generative lexicon. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  15. Śastri, S. (1929–1933). Mīmāṃsā-darśana of Jaimini, with Kumārila’s Tantra-vārttika and Ṭup-ṭīkā, Vaidyanātha’s Prabhā and Murāri Miśra’s Aṅgatvanirukti (Vol. IV). Pune: Ananda Āśrama Sanskrit Series 97.Google Scholar
  16. Venugopalan, K. (1977). Abhidhāvṛttimātṛkā of Mukulabhaṭṭa. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 4, 203–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

Personalised recommendations