Necessity in Mīmāṃsā philosophy

Anand Vaidya has recently raised a very intriguing discussion on modality in Indian philosophy. His post started with the suggestion that modality is less central in Indian philosophy than it is in Western thought. In the comments, several scholars suggested examples hinting at reflections on modality also in Indian thought but, now that I think again about them, they mostly discussed the modality of possibility in Indian thought. What about necessity?

What do I obtain if I refrain from eating onion (and so on)?

In the case of the Śyena and the Agnīṣomīya rituals, violence is once condemned and once allowed, causing long discussions among Mīmāṃsā authors. Similarly, the prohibition to eat kalañja, onion and garlic is interpreted differently than the prohibition to look at the rising sun. Why this difference?

What is the difference between nouns and verbs (according to Mīmāṃsā authors)? Diaconescu vs. Clooney

What do nouns mean? And what is the difference between nouns and verbs? Pūrva Mīmāṃsā authors are rightly known as having conceived the first textual linguistics in South Asia. In this sense, their theory differs from the Vyākaraṇa one, as it does not start with basic forms having already underwent an analysis (vyākaraṇa), but rather with complex textual units, the sacrificial prescriptions of the Brāhmaṇas.

Who invented the apoha theory? On Kunjunni Raja 1986 SECOND UPDATE

Who invented the apoha theory? If you, like me, are prone to answer “Dignāga” and to add that Dignāga (as shown by Hattori) was inspired by Bhartṛhari’s theory and that Dharmakīrti and Dharmottara later fine-tuned Dignāga’s one, you are ready to have your view challenged by K. Kunjunni Raja’s article in Buddhist Logic and Epistemology (ed. by B.K. Matilal and R.D. Evans, 1986, I am grateful to Sudipta Munsi who sent me a copy of it).

Helmut Krasser, the Rebel Sanskritist —UPDATED


Photo by Birgit Kellner

I met Helmut Krasser during my Erasmus year in Vienna, back in the Nineties. We sat together (meaning that he, Horst Lasic and Ernst Steinkellner prepared and led the meetings whereas I and other people tried to follow and to add minor points from time to time) at the Academy, reading Jinendrabuddhi’s commentary on Dignāga’s Pramāṇasamuccaya.

What is unreal?

The term tuccha means in Classical Sanksrit “worthless”, “insignificant”. In Vedānta, however, it gets a more specific technical meaning, to denote the absolute unreality of chimeral entities, such as the khapuṣpa (flower in the air), which will not and cannot ever exist.