Ratnakirti on Apoha

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Item Code: NAV798
Author: Madhumita Chattopadhyay
Publisher: Maha Bodhi Book Agency
Language: Sanskrit, Bengali and English
Edition: 2002
ISBN: 8187032391
Pages: 200
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 370 gm
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Book Description

About the Book

Ratnakirti on Apoha is a book on the Buddhist theory of meaning or semantics. The Buddhists do not admit any universal in their metaphysical framework. So they try to account for the I meaning of words, common nouns specially, in terms of the notion of apoha. This book upholds the latest position of the Buddhists regarding the notion of apoha. It is based on the Sanskrit text Apohasiddhi written by Ratnakirti. It contains an introduction on the development of the notion of apoha, a Bengali translation and an English translation of the text Apohasiddhi, a detailed note on the text and a bibliography. It will be useful for anyone interested in pursuing research on Buddhist semantics.

About the Author

Dr. Madhumita Chattopadhyay is a Reader in the Department of Philosophy, Jadavpur University, Calcutta. She did her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the same University and the thesis was on Liar Paradox. Though she had been trained in Western philosophical logic, she is interested in Indian philosophy, specially Buddhist logic and semantics. She had been awarded a Fellowship at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla to work on Buddhist theory of meaning. She is the author of the book What to Do with the Liar? (Allied Publishers, Calcutta, 1998) and has co-edited the book Ethics: an Anthology (Allied Publishers, Calcutta 2002). Many of her articles have been published in reputed research journals.


From the dawn of civilization, language is considered to be the best media for communication. Philosophers have also felt the need for the use of language to solve various philosophical riddles. As a result of this attempt, a new branch of philosophy has emerged that is known as the Philosophy of Language. The major task of this branch to investigate how an expression, be it a word or a sentence, can be meaningful, i. e.,convey its proper sense to the audience. This problem raised interest not only among the Western thinkers, but even among the Indians also. Indian Philosophers from the very beginning have devoted long treatise on this issue. In the present monograph an attempt is made to throw some light on a particular system of Indian Philosophy, viz. Buddhism on this promulgation. The Buddhist with their emphasis on the doctrine of momentariness and transitoriness of the world in their metaphysical outlook cannot believe in the reality of any permanent universal. This metaphysical outlook is reflected ‘n their semantics also. Instead of admitting a universal entity as the meaning of the word, the Buddhist has attempted to explain the meaning in terms of differentiation. Regarding the nature of this differentiation, we notice a difference of opinion among the Buddhist thinkers. It is not possible to. trace the whole development of Buddhist semantics within the short span of a monograph. So I have selected a particular philosopher, Ratnakirti as a representative of the Buddhist thought.

A general Fellowship at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla in 1999 supported my early research, which helped me to start the work for writing this monograph. I eratefully acknowledge this support. I also acknowledge my debt to Jadavpur University for granting me leave from my normal teaching duties during the period of the Fellowship. I am indebted to many, more than I am able to acknowledge. I became interested in this topic a few years back when I started reading the Indian texts with Professor Ananta Lal Thakur and Pt. Sri Srimohan Tarkavedantatirtha. Professor Thakur and our respected PanditmaSdi aroused interest for Indian Philosophy and helped me to go through the difficult texts of the Nyaya and Buddhist systems. Words seem inadequate to express my appreciation to them.

During his short stay at Calcutta, Professor Shoryu Katsura, Hiroshima University, Japan, spent long sessions with me discussing the different aspects of the Apoha theory. Himself being an authority in this area, he in his own unique way pointed out the differences among the Buddhist logicians themselves and inspired me to pursue the study on Buddhist semantics. Even when he went back to Japan, he helped me by answering my queries and also by sending various articles and reading materials on this subject. I am really indebted to him.

Professor Mark Siderits, linois University, USA came as a visiting fellow to our Department. We spent some times together discussing the basic issues of the Buddhist semantics. I gratefully acknowledge his kind help. Dr. Jonardan Ganeri of the University of Nottingham, UK helped me also by his suggestions and sending me many reading materials, which are not easily available in Kolkata. I am thankful to him and remember his help with gratitude. take this opportunity to show my respect to my teacher Professor Arindam Chakraborty of the University of Hawaii, Manoa who gave a primary glance at my work and suggested some change for its betterment. I am thankful to Professor Rita Gupta, Viswabharati University and Professor Biswanath Bannerjee, Asiatic Society for kindly going through the whole manuscript and giving me their comments, suggestions and encouragement.

I am grateful and indebted to all my colleagues at the Department of Philosophy, Jadavpur University for their kind advice and suggestions. They incessantly rendered all sorts of help whenever I approached to them. I also thank my M. Phil students of the session 2001 — 02 who attended the course on Ratnakirti and raised many interesting and relevant questions. I am also thankful to Ms. Aseema Naskar for completing the whole publication within a very short period. I express my thanks to my friend Dr. Rakesh Batabyal, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi for rendering me all kinds of mental and moral support during my days of Fellowship at Shimla. My debt to my elders is more than words can express. With heavy heart, I remember the contributions of my parents and my father-in-law who had always been the source of my inspiration through out my academic career. It is very unfortunate that they could not see the monograph in its final form. As homage to them I am dedicating this book in their memory.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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