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Desnitskaya E. Language and Extra-linguistic Reality in Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya // Sophia, 2018. Vol. 57 (4). P. 643–659.


Relation between language and extra-linguistic reality is an important problem of Bhartṛhari’s linguistic philosophy. In the ‘Vākyapadīya,’ this problem is discussed several times, but in accordance with the general perspectivist trend of Bhartṛhari’s philosophy each time it is framed through different concepts and different solutions are provided. In this essay, an attempt is undertaken to summarize the variety of different and mutually exclusive views on language and extra-linguistic reality in VP and to formulate the hidden presuppositions on which the actual viewpoints expressed in the kārikās are based. As a result, the following approaches are formulated: (A1) Language is coextensive with external reality. (A2a) Language, designated as kalpanā/ vikalpa, is distinct from reality. (A2b) Language refers to the secondary/ metaphorical reality (upacārasattā/aupacārikī sattā). (A3) Language and reality somehow correlate, because otherwise, practical/linguistic activity (vyavahāra) would be impossible. The origin of these approaches and their affinities with different schools of Indian philosophy (Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika and Buddhist Pramāṇavāda) are examined. Approach (A3), according to which correlation between language and reality is functional and not ontological, seems very close to Dharmakīrti’s concept of arthakriyā. This approach accords with Bhartṛhari’s perspectivist philosophical strategy. It enabled him to explain how effective linguistic activity is possible, capturing language in its dynamic aspect, without limitative static ontological constructions.

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Keywords


Arthakriyā
Bhartṛhari
Indian philosophy
linguistic philosophy
Vākyapadīya

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