The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Philosophy of Language
(Bloomsbury Academic, 2020) spans over two thousand years of inquiry into language in the Indian subcontinent. Edited by Alessandro Graheli, project leader in the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia at the Austrian Academy of Science, Vienna, Austria, the volume focuses on speech units, word meanings, sentence meanings, and implicatures and figurative meanings. He chose the anthology’s divisions, inspired by Jayanta Bhaṭṭa’s understanding of the interdisciplinary “trivium” of grammar, hermeneutics, and epistemology, incorporating in addition the discipline of poetics. Each part moves chronologically through the history of philosophical reflection in India, focusing on the ideas of major thinkers such as the Sanskrit grammarian Pāṇini, the Buddhist philosopher Dignāga, the Mīmāṃsā philosopher Śālikanātha, and more. In this interview, we discuss the book’s contributions, tracing out the dialectic within each category by looking at key figures from 500 BCE up to the 16th century CE.
Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit philosophy of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy
(Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras (and stuff)