About the Book
Based on the infusion thesis of language and cognition, the book taken on an analysis of cognition as it flashes when presented by language. Taking philosophy as cognitive activity par excellence, it investigates into the intelligible beings as the object –proper of philosophy and provides with a holistic philosophy based on authonomy of language. It serves as hors ‘d oeuvre of a new trend of analyzing and philosophizing language. Scholarly works written on the history of Indian philosophy chiefly undertake the study of metaphysics, epistemology and axiology of the different systems and ignore their reflections on language, being and verbal-cognition. The present work observes that the basic logic of the heterodox and orthodox systems can not be analyzed and estimated properly if their philosophies about language, being and cognition are not properly analyzed and discussed. The constructionists’/wordists’ and the holists’ controversy on the issues of language, being and cognition is well pointed out, appropriately analyzed and discussed conclusively in a contemporary perspective to root the autonomy of language to a philosophical reflection workable future of philosophy.
‘The Central Problems of Bhartrhari’s Philosophy’ by the same author published, 2008 from Indian Council of Philosophical Research ‘New Delhi is very popular among the scholars of philosophy and linguistics. The present book is an outcome of author’s constant learning .teaching and reflecting on the problems of philosophy of language for more than twenty five years. It analyzes language by taking it not only as a linguistic property but also as concept, a cognitive unit that infuses thought. It undertakes the analysis and interpretation of cognition as it flashed by language witheout any intermingling with any metaphysical, psychological and religious allegiances. Discussion in the entire book is based on the basic logic of autonomy of language for which language, being and cognition is not only based on but is confined to the intelligible beings the language expresses.
Some of the problems like Autonomy thesis of language, ontic non-being VS. Intelligible being of negation language and possibility of disinterested knowledge, Language and logic of translation and Analysis, Language and Grammar, Language and communication, Language and Culture, Meaning of Moral Expression, much less explored from contemporary perspective are discussed conclusively in this book that merit the book pioneer in proper understanding of these concepts in a comparison with the views of Western language philosophers. The novelty of rest of the chapters lies in analyzing the concepts as they flash, interpreting them in comparison with Indian and western counter parts and concluding them in a way that makes the presentation useful for students, scholars and teachers in their proper understanding of the contents and giving incentive for further researches in the field.
About the Author
Devendra Nath Tiwari a professor of philosophy (1996) and presently a Professor of Philosophy & religion(2007), Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, did his graduation (1975), post-graduation (1977) and Ph.D. (1979) from the same University and started his carer as a lecturer (1981) from there. He served L.N. Mithila University, Darbhanga, Bihar as Reader (1988) and as Professor of Philosophy (1996-2007). He was a general fellow (1993-1996) of Indian Council of Philosophy Research, new Delhi and chaired the Department of philosophy & Religion, Banaras Hindu University from 2010-2013. He is widely known as an outstanding scholar having deep study of the original texts of Indian philosophical Systems in General and Philosophy of Language, Indian and Western in Particular.
His book ‘The Central Problems of Bhartrhari’s Philosophy’ published in 2008 by Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, is a milestone in the field and is widely read by National and International scholars of philosophy. The Upanisadic view of life (1986) authored by him is highly appreciated by scholars of Philosophy. He has more than 126 papers published in International and national journals of Philosophy of International repute. He has delivered more than 160 Lectures in different national and International Seminars /conference/work –shops/refresher and oriental courses organized by Universities of India. He is a Research fellow and member of the several academic bodies of the National and foreign project. He is an Adjunct professor at International Center of Studies in Spiritually, Islamic University of Science and Technology, Kashmir,India. He is member of the editorial board of several Indian Journals of Philosophy and Journal of East –West Philosophies, California and one of the Advisors of ‘Culture :An International Journal of philosophy of Culture and Axiology’.
Some of scholarly books on history of Indian philosophy have not included valuable contributions of Agamic tradition specifically Vyakarana Darsana in their presentations owing to which the readers fail to have a proper and comparative and comprehensive estimate of Indian philosophy in the light of advancement made by recent philosophers of the East and the west.
There are chiefly two views on the nature of language. The theorists who take language as tool, reference and representation conceive ‘powers in language’ because of which language conveys meaning. Indian rhetoric, Naiyayikas and Jainas accept at last three powers- literal, figurative or implicative and suggestive in language. Advaita Vedantins, Mimamsakas, accept Literal and figurative power while Buddhists accept language figurative only. The tradition of Vyakarana occupies with a view of ‘language itself is power’; it is expresser; it expresses itself its own nature first from which its meaning is expressed non-differently. The Author has gathered influences from the Vyakarana tradition. The presentation in the book is highly philosophical in the sense that it analyses knowledge that is not only confined to but also is based on the being the language expresses that is only to intelligible beings. Proper estimation of the power of language that is ‘language is power’ has been impetus and ground for understanding and analyzing the reflections on the autonomy thesis of language in the book.
Contemporary western referentialists and representationists have made several attempts for solving the problem of knowledge of Reality, expressibility of reality and relation between Language, thought and Reality by taking all of them as independent existences. These attempts raise some controversy among theorists and misguide their conclusion to the extent that furthering the current of philosophy of language is recently facing stagnation. The perspective of expressive nature of language on which the whole discussion in the book is put up with, philosophizes a thought level language that is concept-language or language as concept which when flashes expresses meaning non-differently and the garb-level language that is tool helping manifestation of the concept- language. The word ‘language’ comprises both of them- the garbs- comprising of verbal noises/written marks /gestures/ sing, symbols and data acquired by senses which help manifestation of the concept-language and the concept language which when manifested by garbs expresses non-differently itself and its meaning. For the exposition in the present work, garbs are potencies that manifest the concept and the concept-language is the potency that expresses or flashes first from which meaning is expressed non-differently. Isolated from language no thought and so is no language isolated from thought is possible. The theory of fusion of thought and language or language is thought, makes a genuine ground for philosophizing language as power; we can know the reality as the language flashes it or as the reality figures in by language. A philosophical reflection to reality is confined to it as intelligible being flashed by language and thus the language and thought, the language and meaning are thought-objects/ intelligible beings and so are reality known to us.
Some of the problems getting high importance in the philosophy of language like Autonomy thesis of language, ontic non-being VS. Intelligible being of negation, Language and possibility of disinterested knowledge, Language and logic of translation and Analysis, Language and Grammar, Language and Communication, Language and Culture, Meaning of Moral Expression, much less explored from contemporary perspective are discussed conclusively that makes the book pioneer in proper understanding of these concepts in a comparison with Western philosophers of language. The novelty of rest of the chapters lies in analyzing the concepts, interpreting them in comparison with Indian and western counter parts and concluding them in a way that makes the presentation useful for understanding of students and teachers. The idea of giving incentive to further researches in the field has been taken well care of in the discussion.
The Central problems of Bharthrhari’s philosophy authored earlier by Devendra Nath Tiwari, published, 2008, by Indian Council of philosophical Research, New Delhi, is by far the most complete and comprehensive work on philosophy of Bhartrhari in one single volume. I found Ajay Verma, Summerhill, IIAS Review, Vol.1-2,pp.55- 57,2008,accurately right in his comment that ‘the book is not only rich on lucidity of the exposition of main concepts in Bhartrhari’s Vakyapadiya but is equally rich on an account of the polemic among different school. Professor Tiwari has given the western perspective to the problem whenever it seems necessary and possible. His experiment with reverse chronology namely, from sentence to the word-meaning, I think facilitates the readers towards a better understanding of the issues at hand. The book is replete with references giving clues to the readers for further reading. Overall, I think this book is a milestone as far as studies of Bhartrhari’s philosophies are concerned’.
In fact, the tradition of Vyakarana occupies with analyzing and interpreting the world of language and meaning not only syntactically and semantically but cognitively also. Patanjali, the commentator and following him Bhartrhari and his commentators Punyaraja, Helaraja, Nagesa, Kaundabhatta and other pundits contributed a lot to Indian philosophy by way of their great works on philosophy of language and Grammar. They provided with the basic insight to analyze language on the basis of cognition as it is accomplished by language. It has influenced almost all the systems of Indian philosophy. If Indian philosophy is practical, attempt must be there to understand the practicability of the philosophical concepts taken up for discussion by different systems of Indian philosophy and to evaluate the extent of their successfulness in interpreting the world of conduct. In any such attempt one cannot overlook Mahabhasyakara and Bhartrhari who are treated as authority in almost all the issues discussed here in the book. Great texts like Mimamsasutra of Jaimini with commentary of Sabara, Slokavarttika of Kumarila Bhatta, Nyayasutra of Gautama with commentary by Vatsyayana, Vaisesikasutra with Upaskara , Nyayamanjari of Jayanta Bhatta, Brahmautra with commentary of Sankaracarya, Vedantaparibhasa of Dharmarajadhvarindra, Madhyamakasastra of Nagarjuna, Pramanasamuccaya of Dingnaga, Yogasutra of Patanjali, Samkyakarika of Isvarakrsna with Tattvakaumudi of Vacaspati Mishra have helped in maturing the thought about the issues discussed in this book.
One can find the utterly philosophical contribution of rich legacy of India discussed here in this book in the contemporary perspective. It is intensively engaged in analyzing the cognition as flashed by language and even so without any intermingling with any physiological, metaphysical, psychological, and religious and other allegiances that misguide our approach in reaching a philosophical conclusion. It undertakes cognition that flashes by language as the object of analysis and interpretation. It does not view language as a linguistic property only but as the cognitive unit that is concept as well. The flashing of the concept through tools like articulations, written marks, gestures, sensory data, etc., is cognition infused by language.
I am quite impressed by outstanding erudition, brilliant analysis and exposition of the issues and I must congratulate Professor Devendra Nath Tiwari for his valuable contribution to the philosophy of language and analysis made by way of writing out the book ‘Language, being and cognition’. The book, as I find is fit to serve as a beginner/initiator of a new trend of philosophizing based on analysis of cognition as it flashes by language. The exposition of the problems, faced by students and teachers of the universities where the courses are running, in the light of new advancement of knowledge in the field of Indian and Western philosophy of language and analysis, is simple, critical and comparative. I am sure the book will be welcomed by the academic world.
The function of a philosopher of Language and analysis is to dig out the problems and to open the possibilities of language for a proper estimation of its nature and functions. Subordinating language to some ontic or psychic entity, taking it for granted as confined to material product of human speaking organs and a system of written marks/signs or a logical system, is a escaping from the serious thinking on the cognitive nature of the problem that may lead to underestimation or improper estimation of it.
Contemporary Western philosophy of language makes a distinction of natural and artificial language out of which the former is taken as the language we use in everyday life; it is a tool for conveying thought and communicating with each other. Thoughts and information are accumulated, preserved and passed on to generations through the language. We cannot abstract and generalize without language. This book views language not only confined to it as tools only but it as a cognitive being also. The divisibility or tools are means for the manifestation of the indivisible after which the later is flashed. Analytic scheme helps in understanding the indivisible which is not actually divided by these artificial divisions; it is useful for a whole- part understanding of the indivisible. Through the analysis of tokens/garbs, we in fact analyze the cognition flashed by uses and for which we use the term intelligible being or thought. We have viewed that the law of language and the law of knowledge for our analysis are not different. Taking the law of cognition operative in language and communication in view an attempt is made here to provide with a philosophy through which one can not only understand comprehensively and explain consistently the language and meaning, life and culture with all their diversities but also get an awareness of a cognitive ground embedded in sporting the logical skill also. A philosopher while reflecting is concerned not only with artificial but with natural, not only but with imposed but with real also. He distinguished the real and imposed and philosophizes the problems which are concerned not with what is imposed on real only but with the real that is imposed on also. The real is concerned with direct knowledge and is imposed on others by some similarity that causes philosophical problems. All problems that is confusions, conflicts, puzzles, are problems at thought level and that is the reason they can be solved by philosophical reflections and investigations which are utterly effective in removing them for clarity and wisdom.
The later is a system of symbols and signs constructed for certain purpose, for example, mathematical symbols and logical language created as representation to understand logical semantics as we find in Wittgensteinians. Western language philosophers are mostly interested in promoting the artificial skill based on their analysis of the artificial language. In general language for their consideration is an organized system of signs with its own peculiar structure outside of which the nature and the meaning of these signs cannot be understood. Contemporary Interest in the artificial, formalized language as the object of studies of linguistics, logic and semiotic and leads inconsistently to reduce the philosophical studies to a logical analysis.
Philosophy of language is not confined to a study of its logical from or a system of tools for study of logical semantics which as I think can be constructed only on the ground of cognition on which a philosopher reflects on. Language in terms of Indian Grammarian is sabda, the expresser; it is not only reference or representation but the expresser of them also. The expresser, is a complete unit that expresses itself from which its meaning is revealed non-differently. The term ‘sabda’ comprises of both the material garb that is instruments manifestation of the sphota and the sphota or flash of consciousness that reveals meaning. Meaning is awareness revealed non-differently by sphota. Garbs are not confined only to verbal articulations/utterances (dhvaniyan) and written signs/marks (scripts=lipiyan) but comprise of all those tools by which the intelligible language that is sphota flashes such as gestures, data acquired by senses, etc., which vary community to community and are put collectively under the category of Vaikhari sabda. Sphota –sabda ubiquitously given as concepts flashes itself when instrumented or manifested through the former. The meaning independently of and isolated from it is unthinkable. A meaning is called so because it is expressed non-differently by language and that is why is called Pratibha, the expressed. There is no question of length and breadth of utterance or written marks either for being called language or for meaning; flashing of sphota is necessary for verbal cognition and it can flash only by a single letter, word or any piece of utterance and cannot be flashed even by a number of subordinate sentences. But in all the cases, cognition is accomplished only by flashing of sphota, a complete unit that extincts expectancy involved in the satiation of expectancy of a unit sense. Sphota is not impression of the past but a flash and the flashings are always new in each event of cognition. It is the signifier; the signifier unlike Derrida’s view is not an outcome of difference of trace but is expressed or revealed directly. The signified is not separate from the signifier; it is non-different from the signified which expresses it. The same flash from the point of view of expresser is language and that of expresses is meaning; both of the two are of the awareness in nature. The relation between the two is not reference-referent or representation-represented but the natural fitness of the expresser because of which it is called ‘sabda, the potency that flashes meaning, the intelligible being. The flash causes incentive to produce verbal noises in a speaker when he intends to speak and his utterance when heard, expresses sphota from which its meaning (pratibha) is expressed in the audience. Communication for us is not confined to dispatch and file, speaking and listening of garbs but accomplishment of knowledge of the intelligible beings (language and meaning) that makes responding and sharing of thoughts possible through garbs.
There is controversy on the relation between language and thought. Contemporary western philosophers work with general opinion that the two are not identical. The two are guided by different laws and the laws of language differ from the laws of thought. Unlike this view, the thesis discussed herein views that the signifier is neither opposed to nor separate from its signified and vice versa. No theory of language is steady if it does not accept the infusion of thought and language and the infusion of the two can be explained only be concentrating on awareness aspect of language for which ‘language is thought, the flashing of the concept’. This is the reason that the laws of language for us are the laws of thought as well. However, it is difficult for theories for which language is Reference or Representation to concentrate on infusion thesis because thought, for them, is separate from language and reality. Language only refers to or represents them in its own or referential form different from thought and reality and hence there will be no case of autonomy of language. Autonomy of language is a theory that properly comes out of the theory of language as expresser. The expresser infuses thought; the fusion is the cause of flashings of concepts which are intelligible beings. No concept is possible isolated from language. An expression for us is the flashing of concept through the garbs.
Knowledge is always determinate because the language infuses it. For a philosopher of Language, reality is that the language reveals; it is intelligible being. The philosopher does a self-conscious activity in which his reflecting consciousness acts on the problems that flash, that is the object of cognition on which he reflects on his reflective cannot work if he lacks the determinate cognition of the object and his reflections there on as well. To be precise, he performs the cognitive activity par excellence; his world is confined to the intelligible beings, that is, the world of thought infused by language. Language not only expresses but infuses the thought also that is what we understand by the creativity of language.
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