- quotations as text (texts made only of quotations)
- hidden quotations (large passages which migrate, so to say, from one text to another, without mention of their author. Torella mentioned in this regard the case of the Vaiṣṇava Advaitin Vāmanadatta. Large quotes of him have been reused in Vaiṣṇava Tantras.
- manipulated quotations (e.g., a dualist text may be forced by a non-dualist to justify her school's stances).
- quotations as empty containers (e.g., the no-more-productive Sāṅkhya is reinterpreted by the late Advaitin Vijñānabhikṣu who interprets it as an Advaita school, thus filling quotations of Sāṅkhya texts with Advaita contents.
- made-up quotations (such as, maintains Torella, many of Madhva's ones. I am still perplex about this case since I cannot understand why Madhva should not have, instead, forced a text to support his opinion, manipulating a text (or using it as an empty container) instead of faking one).
- exemplificatory quotations (laukikanyāya, functioning like our proverbs, where the authors is hardly recognisable and has no role at all).
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
- the need to create a taxonomy of what is a quotation (in a certain sense, every linguistic usage is a quotation of someone else) –as proposed by Alessandro Grilli
- the tendency of quotations to degenerate, loose their semantic power and become just antonomastic usages (as with, again, Alessandro Grilli): I strongly disagree with that since Indian cultural history is an evidence (also) of the opposite. Basic texts are quoted and semantically enriched every time they are quoted and reused.
- Japanese has several words for "quotation", and this proves that this was a basic tenet in Japanese culture (so Matilde Mastrangelo). This is an interesting hint, insofar as there is nothing like the word "quotation" neither in Classical Latin nor in Sanskrit. Does this mean that quotation were not important? No, I believe. It rather means that quotations (and, most of all, re-usage of previous textual material) were so much part of the normal intellectual praxis that they were not felt as a "device" in need to be thematized.
- in the West, there is a recurring metaphor of poets as bees, taking honey out of flowers. Authors disagree as far as the work of bees is concerned: do they just collect something which is already honey or do they elaborate it? Whatever the case, to be bees implies that one uses someone else's material and that one selects it (a history of this metaphor has been sketched by Stefano Jossa).
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Karman (or karma, as the nominative sounds) is a chief theme in the development of Indian culture; it has played a key role since ancient times and until today. Karman means ﬁrst of all ”action”, and hence the action par excellence, that is, ”ritual action”. In this connection, two questions arise:
• the nature of ”action”
• the connection of action and result
One may note, in passing, that even on the Western notion of ”action” strong disagreements are crowded, and that from common-sense to physics through the philosophy of action there is no consensus about what an action is.
A further problem in the identiﬁcation of what karman is, lies in where its core should lie: is an action primarily externally identiﬁed through its eﬀects, or internally, through the attitude leading to it?
In the ﬁrst case, a karman would be the production of an eﬀect (be it a concrete product or a generic consequence in the outer world).
In the second case, a karman would amount to the initiation of a certain action, an individual’s eﬀort and tension towards it.
From left to right, one can imagine a gradual shift from the stress laid on the result to that on the incoation of the action as follows:
(On the first line, what happens on the level of the subject, on the last line, what happens on the level of the obejct)
Vaiśeṣika (1st BC) Kumārila (8th c.) Someśvara (12th c.)
agent of the production eﬀort
movement produced result
Thursday, May 13, 2010
In this way, since it is impossible for people like us to directly observe (adhyakṣ-) dharma in the form of an instrument to realise [one's] benefit, it is established that even inference, which requires [the observation] of mutual concomitance and exclusion [and, hence, depends on direct perception], is not an instrument of knowledge in regard to dharma.
As for [the argument] “Even in case of an equal study and service [to God], one [inferentially] postulates a difference in the extra-sensory conditions because one sees a difference in result” –that also does not [hold], because it does not require a further condition, since it is possible that a subtle difference in study, service [to God], etc., is indeed visible. And, once a difference in condition has been postulated in general, would it be established through direct perception, etc. or through [Vedic] injunction and other [Sacred Texts]? Since the correct distinction (viveka) is not established, [the argument] is not useful for the [correct] practice. (Since through inference one only postulates a difference in study, service, etc., but cannot ascertain its nature, there is no way to know what one should do in order to achieve it. Hence, either one relies on the Veda, or one is stuck to impotence.)
Therefore, only the Sacred Texts (śruti) are a [proper] shelter for the performance of dharma, together with [its] procedure.