Buddhist Theory of Meaning and Literary Analysis
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Short DescriptionsThis book offers a fresh exposition of the Buddhist theory of meaning (apohavada) against the backdrop of Indian linguistic thought and shows how this theory is positioned vis-a-vis current issues and assumptions in language. Consists a very useful glossary.
For over two millennia, language has been one of the prime concerns in nearly all philosophical systems of India: Grammar, Mimamsa, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Jaina and Bauddha which, in turn, not only have shaped the Indian perception of vak, but also constitute the essential background to study the major concerns of language that have been taken up in the subsequent phases of philosophical-linguistic developments. Rajnish Mishra’s book offers a fresh, in-depth exposition of the Buddhist theory of meaning (apohavada) against this stupendous backdrop of Indian linguistic thought and also tries to show how this time-honoured theory is positioned vis-a-vis the current issues and assumptions in language. Surveying the evolution of apoha across the ages — specially in its four kindred perspectives, viz, the Abhidharmika, the Sautrantika, the Yogacara and the Madhyamika schools of Buddhist philosophy, the author sets out, on its basis, a cognitive-epistemological model for literary analysis and illustrates as well the applicational aspects of this model with meticulous analysis of Wordsworth’s poetic masterpiece, ‘Tintern Abbey’. Based, as it is, on wide-ranging primary sources, including the Buddhist philosophical-epistemological texts in Sanskrit, the book sheds altogether new light on the Buddhist theory of meaning and, simultaneously, argues against the fallacies that have cropped up around its latter-day interpretations. A work of specific contemporary relevance to the ongoing post-structuralist debates, the book also carries a comprehensive, highly valuable cross-referential glossary of ‘conceptual’ Sanskrit terms.