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What is the sentence meaning? Sucarita's developments of Kumārila's theories

Time: Mo.-Fr., 29.Mai-2. Juni 2017 09:30-17:00
Venue: Institut für Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens, Seminarraum
Hollandstrasse 11--13, 1020 Wien, 2nd floor
Organisation: Elisa Freschi


During the workshop, we will translate and analyse the section dedicated to the sentence meaning of Kumārila Bhaṭṭa's (6th c.?) Ślokavārttika. The text offers the uncommon advantage of discussing the topic from the point of view of several philosophical schools, whose philosophical positions will also be analysed and debated.

The workshop will focus on the unpublished commentary by Sucarita on the vākya section of Kumārila's Ślokavārttika. More in detail, we will read the long and philosophically fascinating introductory essay by Sucarita, where he discusses in detail the Bhāṭṭa and Prābhākara theories of sentence meaning. Sucarita is himself an insightful thinker and he has over Kumārila the advantage of knowing a more developed version of the Prābhākara theories. His critique of them is in many cases original. Its depiction of the shortcomings of the 'atomist' view ---according to which the sentence meaning is the sum of the individual word meanings--- and of the 'wholist' view ---accord to which the sentence meaning is conveyed by the words once together, without the intermediate step of the word meanings--- throws light on an intricate and not-yet solved aspect of philosophy of language.

Shishir Saxena will prepare a collation of the two available manuscripts (from Adyar Library and from Sampūrṇānanda Library) and distribute it during the workshop. Please email the organiser if you want to receive it in advance.

For organisational purposes, you are kindly invited to announce your participation with an email to


Interested scholars of the IKGA

Daniele Cuneo (Leiden University)

Hugo David (EFEO, Pondichéry)

Kei Kataoka (Kyushu University of Fukuoka)

Charles Li (University of Cambridge)

Larry McCrea (Cornell University)

Andrew Ollett (Harvard University)

Akane Saito (Kyushu University of Fukuoka)

Shishir Saxena (University of Cambridge)

Vincenzo Vergiani (University of Cambridge)

Öster­reichi­sche Aka­demie der Wissen­schaften
Institut für Kultur- und Geistes­geschichte Asiens
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