Meaning of the Sentence in Indian Philosophy

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The project aims at a fully documented critical edition and an English translation of an important section of the Nyāyamañjarī (chapter 6, section 2), in which the mainstream theories on sentence signification are discussed from the points of view of the Nyāya and Mīmāṃsā traditions.

The Nyāyamañjarī was composed in Kashmir, in the second half of the ninth century CE, by Bhaṭṭa Jayanta. It is an encyclopaedic treatise of theses concerning ontological, epistemological and linguistic issues developed in the classical period of Indian philosophy. The Nyāyamañjarī is often used by historians of Indian philosophy to study classical Nyāya as well as other traditions, due to the accuracy with which rival theories are often presented by Jayanta. Moreover, the work has become a landmark in the historiography of Indian philosophy also because its approximate date is confirmed by both internal and external evidences. The Nyāyamañjarī is therefore a crucial work in the study of the history of ideas and for the chronology of related works and their authors. Despite its relevance, however, the Nyāyamañjarī has only been translated into English, and the history of its textual transmission is in many respects unknown.

The new critical edition will be based on a comprehensive inventory of all known sources, on a detailed description of the manuscripts, on a genealogical study of the textual transmission, and on a rich apparatus of the indirect transmission. The new edition will significantly improve the knowledge of Jayanta's work. The main purpose of the English translation is to integrate the critical edition by a transparent exposition of the editorial choices. The translation will also include the first English rendering of the Nyāyamañjarīgranthibhaṅga, the only extant commentary on the Nyāyamañjarī. A detailed and interactive glossary of the technical terms, based on definitions and applications of the terms developed on the basis of Jayanta's definitions and usages, will be built along with the translation. In both the Sanskrit text and the English translation the structure of arguments and counterarguments will be brought in full evidence, since the identification of the views of the schools involved in the debate is a necessary condition for the correct interpretation of the text. The results of the project will be relevant to philologists, historians of Sanskrit and general linguistics, historians of Indian philosophy (particularly philosophy of language), and specialists of Nyāya, Mīmāṃsā and Vyākaraṇa. The critically edited text and the English translation will lay down a solid foundation for thematic studies on the philosophical contents of this specific Nyāyamañjarī section, especially in relation to atomistic and holistic theories of signification of sentences. The project will thus benefit today’s philosophical and linguistic discourses related to historically, geographically and linguistically distant ideas.

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