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Word and Knowledge as Testimony in Indian Philosophy


Shabdapramana or 'Testimony' is a formidable doctrine within Indian philosophy. A thorough investigation of this thesis is below

About This Book


Shabdapramana or 'Testimony' is a formidable doctrine within Indian philosophy. A thorough investigation of this thesis is long overdue. What is shabdapramana (word as knowledge)? What is involved in 'hearing' words? Is the understanding derived through hearing utterances direct or indirect? Does this peculiarly linguistic understanding (shabdabodha) amount to knowledge (prama), or does it depend on certain other conditions for its truth? Further, what sort of theories of meaning, understanding, and knowledge would be required to ground a successful shabdabodha as prama, need careful attention. It is sometimes said that Indian thinkers had no particularly interesting theory of understanding.

The present work sets out to address these issues -- issues that have engaged traditional and modern thinkers alike. Based on the classic text, Advaita Vedanta-paribhasha of Dharmarajadhvarindra (17th century), the analysis and arguments extend to the views of and criticisms from the Nyaya, Purva Mimamsa and the grammarian/linguistic schools within Indian philosophy, with a treatment of similar concerns in Western philosophy. There is a compelling thesis here that should be taken seriously in any philosophy.

Long discarded as a distinct source of knowledge in Western philosophy, Testimony might be fruitfully re-examined. This could lead to mutual dialogue between philosophy and religion, and pave the way for critical metaphysics.

  • Foreword By : J.N. Mohanty
  • Binding: : Hardbound
  • 13 Digit ISBN : 9788124604328
  • 10 Digit ISBN : 8124604320
  • Edition : 1st Reprint
  • Year : 2008
  • Pages : xxx, 383p.
  • Bibliographic Details : Appendices; Bibliography; Indices
  • Size : 23 cm
  • Weight (approx.) : 750 gm

Foreword (J.N. Mohanty)
Pre-word (K.T. Pandurangi)               
Prologue (Stephen H. Phillips)


The problem -- The approach -- Aim and objectives -- The thesis and its background -- Ideality of language -- Sruti -- The 'dogma' of sruti: apauruseya -- The text and its author -- Cit: consciousness in the knowing process -- Dharmaraja and Navya-nyaya 

1. Outline of the Argument for Sabdapramana

2. On Wards

Linguistic karana and the word -- Karana, causal instrument for shabdabodha -- What is a word?

3. On Meaning

Some general remarks on 'meaning' -- Indian theories of 'meaning' -- The linguistic functions of 'meaning'

4. Shabdabodha: Psycholinguistics of Sentence Understanding

Shabdabodha -- Samsargamaryada

5. The Karans

Akanksa -- syntactic expectancy -- Asatti -- linguistic contiguity

6. The Phenomenological Karanas

Yogyata -- semantic competency -- Tatparya -- intentionality

7. Shabdapramanya -- Problem of Truth and Authority of the Word

Truth and falsity of shabdabodha -- 'Authority and Praxis' -- aptabhava

Transliteration of 'AGAMA' text from Vedantaparibhasha
Name index
General index


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