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Jonardon Ganeri

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198074137

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198074137.001.0001

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Meaning as a Relation

(p.34) 2 Śakti

Jonardon Ganeri

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Indian philosophers of language came to see that the referentialist interpretation is inconsistent with the realist theory of meaning, and explores the consequences of that realization. The meaning relation is that relation which attaches meanings to terms. This is the ‘power’ (śakti) of word. Then, it investigates in detail the ‘infinity’ and ‘discrepancy’ arguments. Vyāḍi's theory is the conjunction of referentialism with the realist theory of meaning. This theory insists that each token of a nominal is a semantic primitive, for which, in the semantic theory for a language containing that token, one must provide a distinct semantic clause. The infinity and discrepancy arguments stress a central problem for any theory of meaning: to show how, if at all, general linguistic competence is related to the possession of a finite body of knowledge.

Keywords:   śakti, Indian philosophers, realist theory of meaning, meaning relation, infinity argument, discrepancy argument, referentialism

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