•  48
    Thirteen lessons introducing novice language-learners to major grammatical concepts in classical Sanskrit, using example texts from actual philosophical, poetic, and epic texts. Includes lessons on reading commentaries, working with Sanskrit in translation, and poetic meter and figures of speech. Under contract with Hackett Publishing. Estimated publication year: 2023.
  •  2
    Translation of a section of the Nyāyasūtra (and early commentaries) on the reducibility of arthāpatti (postulation) to anumāna (inferential reasoning). This includes NS 2.2.1-6, with the commentaries of Vātsyāyana, Uddyotakara, and Vācaspati Miśra.
  • Translation of a section of the Mānameyodaya dealing with the independence of arthāpatti (postulation) from anumāna (inferential reasoning).
  •  45
    How Do We Gather Knowledge Through Language?
    Journal of World Philosophies 2 (1): 42-46. 2017.
    The present issue of Journal of World Philosophies will host a series of papers discussing the phenomenon of linguistic communication2 from a philosophical point of view and from a cross-cultural perspective. The papers’ authors discussed the topic together with some other scholars in a workshop in Athens, 2015. The contributions are organized around the following four issues: 1. What do we know? 2. How (through which instrument of knowledge) do we know it? 3. What is the role of language as a m…Read more
  •  112
    According to the seventh-century C.E. philosopher Kumārila Bhat.t.a, epistemic agents are warranted in taking their world-presenting experiences as veridical, if they lack defeaters. For him, these experiences are defeasibly sources of knowledge without the agent reflecting on their content or investigating their causal origins. This position is known as svatah prāmāṇya in Sanskrit (henceforth the SP principle). As explicated by the eleventh-century commentator, Pārthasārathi Misŕa, this positio…Read more
  •  62
    Debating with Fists and Fallacies: Vācaspati Miśra and Dharmakīrti on Norms of Argumentation
    International Journal of Hindu Studies 26 (April): 63-87. 2022.
    The tradition of Nyāya philosophy centers on a dispassionate quest for truth which is simultaneously connected to soteriological and epistemic aims. This article shows how Vācaspati Miśra brings together the soteriological concept of dispassion with the discourse practices of debate, as a response to Buddhist criticisms in Dharmakīrti’s Vādanyāya. He defends the Nyāyasūtra’s stated position that fallacious reasoning is a legitimate means for a debate, under certain circumstances. Dharmakīrti arg…Read more
  •  133
    Analytic philosophers have, since the pioneering work of B.K. Matilal, emphasized the contributions of Nyāya philosophers to what contemporary philosophy considers epistemology. More recently, scholarly work demonstrates the relevance of their ideas to argumentation theory, an interdisciplinary area of study drawing on epistemology as well as logic, rhetoric, and linguistics. This paper shows how early Nyāya theorizing about argumentation, from Vātsyāyana to Jayanta Bhaṭṭa, can fruitfully be jux…Read more
  •  77
    In Stewart Goetz & Charles Taliaferro (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Religion, Wiley-blackwell. 2021.
    In Indian philosophy, a pramāṇa is an epistemic instrument or doxastic practice that results in a veridical cognition (in an event of knowing). For just about all Indian thinkers, perception (pratyakṣa) and inference (anumāna) are the foundational pramāṇas, although they debated energetically over how to characterize the content of the resultant cognitions and how to explain the basis for the authority of these pramāṇas. Debate also includes the relationship of knowledge to religious liberation,…Read more
  •  30
    Metaphor or Delusion? A Mīmāṃsaka's Response to Conceptual Metaphor Theory
    Philosophy East and West 70 (2): 395-423. 2020.
    Conceptual Metaphor Theory, an approach to human thought and language that began with the work of Lakoff and Johnson, claims that metaphor is not merely a linguistic phenomenon, but is implicated in structuring human thought. On this view, that people use words like "attack" and "defend" to describe argumentative moves demonstrates that they think of argument as a kind of war. This is opposed to the view that some words like "attack" are polysemous, sometimes meaning to engage in physical warfar…Read more
  •  91
    Review of ShashiPrabha Kumar, Categories, Creation and Cognition in Vaiśeṣika Philosophy (review)
    Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics 43 139-141. 2020.
    As a guide to source material, the book will be useful to readers already somewhat familiar with Vaiśeṣika, and as a reference guide, the book’s lists of categories (padārthas) and other related concepts will also be handy for the same. However, the book is less satisfactory for readers wishing for a general introduction to the study of Vaiśeṣika, given its organization, coupled with its heavy use of untranslated Sanskrit and assumption that readers are already familiar with Indian philosophy. P…Read more
  •  54
    Arthâpatti is a pervasive form of reasoning investigated by Indian philosophers in order to think about unseen causes and interpret ordinary and religious language. Its nature is a point of controversy among Mimamsa, Nyaya, and Buddhist philosophers, yet, to date, it has received less attention than perception, inference, and testimony. This collection presents a one-of-a-kind reference resource for understanding this form of reasoning studied in Indian philosophy. Assembling translations of ce…Read more
  •  28
    The cross-cultural philosopher B.K. Matilal is one of many who have argued that some Indian philosophers are skeptics. Inspired by Matilal, in Three Pillars of Skepticism in Classical India, Ethan Mills argues that Nāgārjuna (150–200 CE), Jayarāśi (770–830 CE), and Śrī Harṣa (1125–1180 CE) are skeptics in a specific sense: as part of a textually inspired tradition of “skepticism about philosophy,” they share overlapping methods. Mills’ arguments about method are more successful than those about …Read more
  •  23
    The cross-cultural philosopher B.K. Matilal is one of many who have argued that some Indian philosophers are skeptics. Inspired by Matilal, in Three Pillars of Skepticism in Classical India, Ethan Mills argues that Nāgārjuna (150–200 CE), Jayarāśi (770–830 CE), and Śrī Harṣa (1125–1180 CE) are skeptics in a specific sense: as part of a textually inspired tradition of “skepticism about philosophy,” they share overlapping methods. Mills’ arguments about method are more successful than those about …Read more
  •  32
    As Richard Davis notes in his recent The Bhagavad Gītā: A Biography, this important text has by now been translated over three hundred times in English alone.1 Given this embarrassment of riches, and the relative poverty for other crucial works of South Asian philosophy, why would anyone translate the Gītā yet again? In the introduction to her new translation, Philosophy of the Bhagavad Gītā: A Contemporary Introduction, Keya Maitra gives an important, primarily pedagogical rationale: she hopes …Read more
  •  40
    Roy Tzohar, A Yogācāra Buddhist Theory of Metaphor (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201808. 2018.
    Indian philosophy has a history of sophisticated linguistic analysis (Pāṇini's grammar being the usual example), which includes theories of reference, polysemy, ellipsis, sentential unity, figurative language, and more. Roy Tzohar's A Yogācāra Buddhist Theory of Metaphor is a sustained argument for attending both to the intertextual nature of Indian philosophy and to the philosophical importance of topics such as metaphor and figurative language. Tzohar's central thesis is that Sthiramati, a fif…Read more
  •  40
    This paper examines three commentaries on the Śabdapariccheda in Kumārila Bhaṭṭa’s Ślokavārttika, along with the the seventeenth century Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsā work, the Mānameyodaya. The focus is the Mīmāṃsā principle that only sentences communicate qualified meanings and Kumārila’s discussion of a potential counter-example to this claim–single words which appear to communicate such content. I argue that there is some conflict among commentators over precisely what Kumārila describes with the phrase sā…Read more
  •  55
    This introduction brings to life the main themes in Indian philosophy of language by using an accessible translation of an Indian classical text to provide an entry into the world of Indian linguistic theories. Malcolm Keating draws on Mukula's Fundamentals of the Communicative Function to show the ability of language to convey a wide range of meanings and introduce ideas about testimony, pragmatics, and religious implications. Along with a complete translation of this foundational text, Keating…Read more
  •  90
    Christopher G. Framarin's Desire and Motivation in Indian Philosophy, Routledge Hindu Studies (review)
    Journal of the American Oriental Society 133 (1): 160-62. 2013.
    Desire and Motivation in Indian Philosophy. By Christopher G. Framarin. Routledge Hindu Studies Series. London: Routledge, 2009. Pp. xv + 196. $170 ; $44.95.
  •  36
    The Literal/Non-Literal Distinction in Indian Philosophy
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2016.
    Article lays out the conceptual space for Indian theorizing about literal and non-literal meaning by way of each of these three textual traditions. Since the article’s structure is topical rather than historical, a chronology of major figures is appended to help orient readers. The focus of the article is the period demarcated roughly from 200 CE to 1300 CE, often characterized as the Classical Period of Indian philosophy.
  •  38
    In this paper, I examine Kumārila Bha ṭṭ a's account of figurative language in Tantravārttika 1.4.11-17, arguing that, for him, both metonymy and metaphor crucially involve verbal postulation, a knowledge-conducive cognitive process which draws connections between concepts without appeal to speaker intention, but through compositional and contextual elements. It is with the help of this cognitive process that we can come to have knowledge of what is meant by a sentence in context. In addition, t…Read more
  •  36
    Indian Buddhist Philosophy by Amber D. Carpenter (review)
    Philosophy East and West 65 (3): 1000-1003. 2015.
    Review of Amber Carpenter's "Indian Buddhist Philosophy."
  •  29
    Thinking about embedded metaphors
    Journal of Pragmatics 88 19-26. 2015.
    Non-cognitivists about metaphor deny that metaphors like “No man is an island” are meaningful apart from their literal content. Cognitivists argue that metaphors do have additional meaning. One argument for this is evidence from cases where metaphors seem to interact with compositional semantics, such as being embedded under propositional attitudes. Recently, Ernie Lepore and Matt Stone have given a response to this argument in the form of non-cognitivist truth conditions for such cases. I a…Read more
  •  45
    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 …Read more
  •  170
    The Cow is to be Tied Up: Sort-Shifting in Classical Indian Philosophy
    History of Philosophy Quarterly 30 (4): 311-332. 2013.
    This paper undertakes textual exegesis and rational reconstruction of Mukula Bhaṭṭa’s Abhidhā-vṛttta-mātṛkā, or “The Fundamentals of the Communicative Function.” The treatise was written to refute Ānandavardhana’s claim, made in the Dhvanyāloka, that there is a third “power” of words, vyañjanā (suggestion), beyond the two already accepted by traditional Indian philosophy: abhidhā (denotation) and lakṣaṇā(indication).1 I argue that the explanation of lakṣaṇā as presented in his text contains int…Read more