Lakṣaṇā as Inference

Abstract

This paper questions a few assumptions of Gaṅgeśa Upādhyāya’s theory of ordinary verbal cognition (laukika-śābdabodha). The meaning relation (vṛtti) is of two kinds: śakti (which gives us the primary referent of a word) and lakṣaṇā (which yields the secondary referent). For Gaṅgeśa, the ground (bīja) of lakṣaṇā is a sort of inexplicability (anupapatti) pertaining to the composition (anvaya) of word-meanings. In this connection, one notices that the case of lakṣaṇā is quite similar to that of one variety of postulation, namely, śrutārtāthāpatti, where the subject hears only a part of a sentence and immediately grasps the words that are needed to render the sentential meaning complete. Unless he does that, sentential meaning, i.e., the composition (anvaya) of word-meanings shall suffer from the same inexplicability that characterizes instances of lakṣaṇā. In fact, in the ‘Śaktivāda’ section of Tattvacintāmaṇi, Gaṅgeśa himself draws a parallel between the cognition of sentential meaning in a śrutārthāpatti-like case and the cognition of sentential meaning in an instance of lakṣaṇā. However, Gaṇgesa himself treats Śrutārthāpatti as a piece of inferential cognition. If there is no fundamental difference between cases of śrutārthāpatti and cases of lakṣaṇā, then the cognition of sentential meaning in instances of lakṣaṇā must also be inferential in essence. In that case, we must admit, against Gaṅgeśa’s view, that such cognition of sentential meaning cannot be accommodated within the framework of verbal cognition (śābdabodha). Therefore, I conclude that some revision is needed in Gaṅgeśa’s theory of verbal cognition with respect to lakṣaṇā.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Mackie J.L. (1977) Ethics: Inventing right and wrong. Hammondsworth, Pelican

    Google Scholar 

  2. MS: Pandit Rāma Śastrī. (1898). The Mīmāṃsāślokavārttika of Kumārila Bhaṭṭa, with the commentary ‘Nyāyaratnākara’ of Pārthasārathi Miśra. Benares: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series.

  3. NSM: Pt. Harirāma Śuklā Śāstrī (Ed.). (1997). Nyāyasiddhāntamuktāvali of Viśvanātha Pañcānana Bhaṭṭācārya, with the commentaries ‘Dinakarī’ of Mahādeva Bhaṭṭācārya and Dīnakara Bhaṭṭācārya and ‘Rāmarudrī’ of Rāmarudra Bhaṭṭācārya and Rājeśvara Śāstri. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthan.

  4. SSP: Pandit Dhundirāj Śāstrī (Ed.). (2002). The Śabdaśaktiprakāśikā by Śrī Jagadīśa Tarkālaṇkāra (2002), with two commentaries the ‘Kṛṣṇakānti’ of Kṛṣṇakānta Vidyāvāgīśa and the ‘Prabodhinī’ of Rāmabhadra Siddhāntavāgīśa. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Sanskrit Series.

  5. TC II 1: Kāmākhyānātha Tarkavāgīśa (Ed.). (1990). The Tattvacintāmaṇi of Gaṅgeśa Upādhyāya; Anumityādi-bādhānta Anumitikhaṇḍā, with the commentary ‘Rahasya’ by Mathurānātha Tarkavāgīśa (Vol. II, Part I, Reprint edition). New Delhi: Oriental Book Centre.

  6. TC IV 1: Pandit Kāmākhyānātha Tarkavāgīśa (Ed.). (1897). The Tattvacintāmaṇi of Gaṅgeśa Upādhyaya (1897). Part IV Volume 1. From ‘Śabdāprāmāṇyavāda’ to ‘Ucchannapracchannavāda’. From the Commentaries of Mathurānātha Tarkavāgīśa. Calcutta: Bibliotheca Indica, Asiatic Society of Bengal.

  7. TC IV 2: Kāmākhyānātha Tarkavāgīśa (Ed.). (1990). The Tattvacintāmaṇi of Gaṅgeśa Upādhyāya;Vidhivādādicatuṣṭaya-prāmāṇyavādānta Śabdakhaṇḍa (1990), with commentaries ‘Rahasya’ and ‘Ā loka’ respectively by Mathurānātha Tarkavāgīśa and Jayadeva Miśra and explanatory notes on ‘Akhyāta’ and ‘Nañ-samāsa’ by Raghunātha Śiromaṇi (Vol. IV, Part 2, Reprint edition). New Delhi: Oriental Book Centre.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nilanjan Das.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Das, N. Lakṣaṇā as Inference. J Indian Philos 39, 353–366 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10781-011-9132-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Gaṅgeśa
  • Lakṣaṇā
  • Śrutārthāpatti
  • Yogyatā
  • Inference