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An Advaita Vedanta Perspective on Language
An Advaita Vedanta Perspective on Language
Description
From the Jacket

An Advaita Vedanta Perspective on Language is an attempt to solve the problems inherent in religious assertions. Philosophers in general and linguistic philosophers in particular are concerned with what can and cannot be expressed in language. The problem is: how to talk intelligibly about a divine subject-matter using ordinary, mundane human language? Religious discourse uses ordinary words of day-to day discourse in an extraordinary way what is the justification for this special use of ordinary language? What do the words of religious discourse mean and what function do they have? Are they cognitive, factual and verifiable or are they non-cognitive, non-factual, and unverifiable. This thesis depicts tow paradigmatic approaches to these questions. Either religious discourse refers to an other and the approach to the remote and foreign other must be through perception or mediated concepts; or religious discourse refers to the very constitutive being of anything whatsoever and as such is self-evident, immediate, and certain. The former approach postulates a gap between the Reality and the individual while the latter approach emphasizes identity. Advaita's solution declares that religious discourse primarily concerns individuals, here and now, and not a God, above and beyond. Methodologically its analysis commences with existence and culminates in essence-declaring that in fact the two are not different. It refers to that which is immediately evident and immanently present unlike the general approach to an other which in one degree or another searches elsewhere.

About the Author

John A. Grimes earned his B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara and his Master's and PhD degrees from the Radhakrishnan Institute for Advanced Study in Philosophy, University of Madras. His major area of specialization is Advaita Vedanta. His publications include: A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy, Sapta Vidha Anupaptti: The Seven Great Untenables and Quest for Certainty: a Comparative Study of Heidegger and Sankara. At present Grimes is an Assistant Professor at the University of Lethbridge, Lethbrodge, Alberta, Canada.

CONTENTS
Preface xiii
Introduction 1
Chapter One ADVAITA VEDANTA PROSPECTUS
1 Religious Discourse-The Problem 35
2 Indirect Approaches 38
3 The Gap 39
4 Religious Discourse- Its use 41
5 Peculiarities of Religious Discourse 42
6 The Theme of Advaita Vedanta 46
7 Sankara's Solution 46
8 Advaita and Language 50
Chapter Two APPROACHES AND PERSPECTIVES
1 Introduction 51
2 Method 53
3 Methodology 61
4 Relation to Epistemology 63
5 Language and Knowledge 65
6 Brahman- Atman 68
7 Brahman- The Objective Vision 73
8 Is the Absolute Known or Not? 76
9 Atman- The Subjective Vision 79
10 Atman is Brahman 81
Chapter Three THE INDIAN MILLIEU
1 Introduction to Indian Solutions 83
PART ONE
1 Carvakas 88
2 Buddhism 89
3 Nagarjuna 92
4 Nyaya Definition of Words as Knowledge 93
5 Nyaya Theory of Truth 95
6 Rational Proofs for Religious Discourse 97
7 Vaisesika 98
8 Sankhya 99
9 Yoga 100
10 Mimamsa- Words as Knowledge Defined 101
11 Ritualistic Pragmaticism 102
12 Authority of Veda 103
13 Grammarians 105
PART TWO SABDA PRAMANA VIS A VIS ADVAITA
1 Words as Knowledge Defined 108
2 Distinctive Character of words as Knowledge 109
3 Twofold Capacity of words as Knowledge 111
4 Words as Knowledge as the Only Means of Supersensuous Knowledge 112
5 Self-Validity of Knowledge 113
6 Perception of Words as Verbal Symbols 114
7 Relation between a Word and its Meaning 117
8 Words Refer to Universals 120
9 Secondary Meanings 122
10 Anivitabhidhanavada 124
11 Conditions of Significant Combination 130
12 Akanksa 130
13 Yogyata 132
14 Asatti 133
15 Tatparya 134
Chapter Four WESTERN APPROACHES
1 Introduction 139
2 Introduction to Quasi Cognitive Aproach 142
3 Analogy 143
4 Comment 144
5 Symbolic Language 148
6 Comment 151
7 Analysis 155
8 The Problem of verification 156
9 Fence sitting 158
10 Comment 160
11 Ontological Atheism 163
12 Comment 164
13 Flew's Challenge 165
14 Comment 167
15 Analysis 169
16 Introduction to Non-Cognitive Solution 170
17 Cognitive Cum Non Cognitive 171
18 Comment 172
19 An Empiricist's View 174
20 Comment 176
21 Bliks 177
22 Comment 179
23 Telling the Theistic Parable 180
24 Comment 181
25 Factuality without Verification 182
26 Comment 183
27 Eschatology 184
28 Comment 186
29 Appropriate Practices Produce Appropriate Results 188
30 Comment 189
31 Convictionalism 190
32 Comment 192
33 Language Games 193
34 Comment 194
35 Linguacentricism 197
36 Comment 199
37 Oddity 200
38 Comment 201
39 Analysis 203
40 Authority 204
41 Comment 207
42 Analysis 209
Chapter Five ADVAITA'S SOLUTION
1 Introduction 211
2 Two Approaches to Religious Discourse 213
3 Consequences of the Two Approaches 214
4 Two Levels of Language 224
5 A Two Level Theory of Religious Discourse 227
6 Can the Absolute Be Signified Directly? 232
7 Second Level problems 240
8 Satkaryavada and Astkaryavada 244
9 One Level Language- Absolute Language 251
10 Language about the Absolute 257
RETROSPECT OF RESULTS 264
1. Comment 268
Bibliography 271
Index 285

An Advaita Vedanta Perspective on Language

Item Code:
IDH565
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
1991
Publisher:
Sri Sat Guru Publications
ISBN:
8170302501
Size:
8.8" X 5.8"
Pages:
288
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$30.00
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From the Jacket

An Advaita Vedanta Perspective on Language is an attempt to solve the problems inherent in religious assertions. Philosophers in general and linguistic philosophers in particular are concerned with what can and cannot be expressed in language. The problem is: how to talk intelligibly about a divine subject-matter using ordinary, mundane human language? Religious discourse uses ordinary words of day-to day discourse in an extraordinary way what is the justification for this special use of ordinary language? What do the words of religious discourse mean and what function do they have? Are they cognitive, factual and verifiable or are they non-cognitive, non-factual, and unverifiable. This thesis depicts tow paradigmatic approaches to these questions. Either religious discourse refers to an other and the approach to the remote and foreign other must be through perception or mediated concepts; or religious discourse refers to the very constitutive being of anything whatsoever and as such is self-evident, immediate, and certain. The former approach postulates a gap between the Reality and the individual while the latter approach emphasizes identity. Advaita's solution declares that religious discourse primarily concerns individuals, here and now, and not a God, above and beyond. Methodologically its analysis commences with existence and culminates in essence-declaring that in fact the two are not different. It refers to that which is immediately evident and immanently present unlike the general approach to an other which in one degree or another searches elsewhere.

About the Author

John A. Grimes earned his B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara and his Master's and PhD degrees from the Radhakrishnan Institute for Advanced Study in Philosophy, University of Madras. His major area of specialization is Advaita Vedanta. His publications include: A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy, Sapta Vidha Anupaptti: The Seven Great Untenables and Quest for Certainty: a Comparative Study of Heidegger and Sankara. At present Grimes is an Assistant Professor at the University of Lethbridge, Lethbrodge, Alberta, Canada.

CONTENTS
Preface xiii
Introduction 1
Chapter One ADVAITA VEDANTA PROSPECTUS
1 Religious Discourse-The Problem 35
2 Indirect Approaches 38
3 The Gap 39
4 Religious Discourse- Its use 41
5 Peculiarities of Religious Discourse 42
6 The Theme of Advaita Vedanta 46
7 Sankara's Solution 46
8 Advaita and Language 50
Chapter Two APPROACHES AND PERSPECTIVES
1 Introduction 51
2 Method 53
3 Methodology 61
4 Relation to Epistemology 63
5 Language and Knowledge 65
6 Brahman- Atman 68
7 Brahman- The Objective Vision 73
8 Is the Absolute Known or Not? 76
9 Atman- The Subjective Vision 79
10 Atman is Brahman 81
Chapter Three THE INDIAN MILLIEU
1 Introduction to Indian Solutions 83
PART ONE
1 Carvakas 88
2 Buddhism 89
3 Nagarjuna 92
4 Nyaya Definition of Words as Knowledge 93
5 Nyaya Theory of Truth 95
6 Rational Proofs for Religious Discourse 97
7 Vaisesika 98
8 Sankhya 99
9 Yoga 100
10 Mimamsa- Words as Knowledge Defined 101
11 Ritualistic Pragmaticism 102
12 Authority of Veda 103
13 Grammarians 105
PART TWO SABDA PRAMANA VIS A VIS ADVAITA
1 Words as Knowledge Defined 108
2 Distinctive Character of words as Knowledge 109
3 Twofold Capacity of words as Knowledge 111
4 Words as Knowledge as the Only Means of Supersensuous Knowledge 112
5 Self-Validity of Knowledge 113
6 Perception of Words as Verbal Symbols 114
7 Relation between a Word and its Meaning 117
8 Words Refer to Universals 120
9 Secondary Meanings 122
10 Anivitabhidhanavada 124
11 Conditions of Significant Combination 130
12 Akanksa 130
13 Yogyata 132
14 Asatti 133
15 Tatparya 134
Chapter Four WESTERN APPROACHES
1 Introduction 139
2 Introduction to Quasi Cognitive Aproach 142
3 Analogy 143
4 Comment 144
5 Symbolic Language 148
6 Comment 151
7 Analysis 155
8 The Problem of verification 156
9 Fence sitting 158
10 Comment 160
11 Ontological Atheism 163
12 Comment 164
13 Flew's Challenge 165
14 Comment 167
15 Analysis 169
16 Introduction to Non-Cognitive Solution 170
17 Cognitive Cum Non Cognitive 171
18 Comment 172
19 An Empiricist's View 174
20 Comment 176
21 Bliks 177
22 Comment 179
23 Telling the Theistic Parable 180
24 Comment 181
25 Factuality without Verification 182
26 Comment 183
27 Eschatology 184
28 Comment 186
29 Appropriate Practices Produce Appropriate Results 188
30 Comment 189
31 Convictionalism 190
32 Comment 192
33 Language Games 193
34 Comment 194
35 Linguacentricism 197
36 Comment 199
37 Oddity 200
38 Comment 201
39 Analysis 203
40 Authority 204
41 Comment 207
42 Analysis 209
Chapter Five ADVAITA'S SOLUTION
1 Introduction 211
2 Two Approaches to Religious Discourse 213
3 Consequences of the Two Approaches 214
4 Two Levels of Language 224
5 A Two Level Theory of Religious Discourse 227
6 Can the Absolute Be Signified Directly? 232
7 Second Level problems 240
8 Satkaryavada and Astkaryavada 244
9 One Level Language- Absolute Language 251
10 Language about the Absolute 257
RETROSPECT OF RESULTS 264
1. Comment 268
Bibliography 271
Index 285
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