Prabhākara


Prabhākara

Prabhākara (ca. 7th c. AD) was an Indian philosopher grammarian in the Mimamsa tradition. His views and his debate with IAST|Kumārila Bhaṭṭa led to the Prābhāhara school within Mimamsa.

Commentaries on Prabhakara have been written by Shalikanatha in the 8th c.Fact|date=May 2007

entence vs Word meaning

One of the views of the prābhākaras is that words do not directly designate meaning; any meaning that arises is because it is connected withother words ("anvitābhidhāna", anvita = connected; abhidhā = denotation). We know or learn the meaning of a word only by considering the sentential context n which it appears; we learn such word meanings together with their possible) semantic connections with other words. Sentence meanings are grasped directly, from perceptual and contextual cues, skipping the stage of grasping singly the individual word meanings (Matilal 1990:108).

This is very similar to the modern view of linguistic underspecification, and relates to the Dynamic Turn in Semantics, which opposes the purely compositional view of arriving at sentence meaning.

The prābhākaras were opposed by the IAST|Bhāṭṭas, who argued for a compositional view of semantics (called "abhihitānvaya"). In this view, the meaning of a sentence was understood only after understanding first the meanings of individual words. Words were independent, complete objects, a view that is close to the Fodorian view of language.

References

*cite book
author = Bimal Krishna Matilal
title = The word and the world: India's contribution to the study of language
publisher = Oxford
year = 1990


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