Malcolm KeatingSep 20, 2019
Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy
An Introduction to Mukula's “Fundamentals of the Communicative Function”
Bloomsbury Academic 2019
Philosophy of Language was a central concern in classical Indian Philosophy. Philosophers in the tradition discussed testimony, pragmatics, and the religious implications of language, among other topics. In his new book, Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy: An Introduction to Mukula's 'Fundamentals of the Communicative Function' (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), Malcolm Keating looks at the views of the philosopher Mukula Bhatta, whose innovative position on meaning aimed to capture the differences between meaning in everyday speech and meaning in poetry. As Keating explains, Mukula “sets out a framework for how communication happens, from what words mean to how sentences are constructed to how people use language beyond its ordinary meanings” (p. 2). Keating offers a translation and interpretation of Mukula’s text, and also discusses numerous ways that Mukula’s thought (and classical Indian discussions of language in general) can be helpful for contemporary philosophers.