Semantic Powers: Meaning and the Means of Knowing in Classical Indian Philosophy

Hardcover | February 1, 1998

byJonardon Ganeri

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Jonardon Ganeri defends a conception of language as essentially a means for the reception of knowledge through testimony. He argues that the possibility of testimony constrains the form of a theory of meaning. In particular, the semantic power of a word, its ability to stand for or take theplace of a thing, derives from the epistemic powers of understanders, their capacity to acquire knowledge simply by understanding what is said. Ganeri finds this account in the work of certain Indian philosophers of language, those belonging to the late classical school of Navya-Ny(ya. He presents a detailed analysis of their theories, paying particular attention to the influential seventeenth-century philosopher Gad(dhara. Ganeriexamines the Indian account of the meaning relation and its relata, the role of modes of thought as meaning constituents, and the application of the theory to theoretical names and anaphora. The aim of Semantic Powers is to give epistemology a central place in the study of language. It also shows how classical Indian theory of language can inform and be informed by contemporary philosophy.

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Jonardon Ganeri defends a conception of language as essentially a means for the reception of knowledge through testimony. He argues that the possibility of testimony constrains the form of a theory of meaning. In particular, the semantic power of a word, its ability to stand for or take theplace of a thing, derives from the epistemic ...

Jonardon Ganeri is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Nottingham. He held positions previously at the Universities of London and Stirling.

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Format:HardcoverPublished:February 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019823788X

ISBN - 13:9780198237884

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Nature of Language2. Instruments of Knowledge3. Meaning Relata4. The Meaning Relation5. Meaning and Modes of Thought6. Stipulation7. IndexicalityBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`Ganeri has succeeded remarkably well in "translating" Navya-Nyaya thought into contemporary idiom and debate in areas where it presents a real contribution to modern concerns in linguistics and philosophy of language ... a penetrating and impressive analysis of a difficult area of classicalIndian philosophy presented in a contemporary light. It should provide stimulating reading for philosophers, linguists and Indologists alike.'Eivind Kahrs, THES 17/3/00