Thursday, June 4, 2009
Bhāvanā and Speech Acts
Several Mīmāṃsā texts focus on the definition of what is exactly the specific force (bhāvanā) characteristic of exhortative verbal endings. Some discussants (noticeably Maṇḍana Miśra) propose that exhortation is just a meaning expressed by exhortative expressions, more in detail, the meaning is that the action to be undertaken is the means to something desired. According to this account, exhortative expressions would not differ from affirmative ones in so far as all would just express an (external) meaning. Kumārila talks of a "linguistic force" (śabdabhāvanā) in regard to the exhortative verbal endings, but he does not specify the link between this force and the endings connected to it (in TV ad 2.1.1 he claims that they "say" [āhuḥ] it). Other Bhāṭṭas maintain that the linguistic force is a function (vyāpāra) of exhortative verbal endings. Their account of this function is not fully clear, but it seems to imply that exhortative expressions are identified through the function they perform. Finally, Pārthasārathi Miśra proposes a synthesis by saying that exhortative verbal endings express an incitement, which is further defined, in the case of Vedic sentences, as the cognition that the action to be undertaken is a means to something desired. Is this a sort of perlocutionary speech act?