Elaborating on the identifications frequent in the Brāhmaṇas, Lars Göhler (Reflexion und Ritual in der Pūrvamīmāṃsā, 2011) writes:
Mylius (1976:146) writes that the [identifications in the Brāhmaṇas, E.F.] are based on the desire to systematise reality. The style and formulation of these identifications hint, however, also at a further purpose: The Brahmans did not just ascertain such identities, they conjured up them: in the identifications there is not only an ''is'', but also an ''ought''.
(Mylius (1976:146) schreibt, dass ihnen der Wunsch, die objektive Realität zu systematisieren, zugrunde lag. Stil und Formulierung dieser Identifikationen deuten aber noch auf eine weitere Absicht hin: die Brahmanen haben diese Identitäten nicht nur festgestellt, sie haben sie geschworen: In den Identifikationen findet sich nicht nur ein ''Sein'', sondern auch ein ''Sollen'', Göhler 2011: 20).
This harmonises with the caution against a default ontological interpretation pronounced by Göhler at the beginning of his book. Moreover, it throws some light on the prescriptive approach to the Veda which is typical of Mīmāṃsā. If one focuses on how the Brāhmaṇas and then the speculation on them do not merely describe reality, but rather prescribe how this should be, some of the striking peculiarities of Mīmāṃsā (and of Indian philosophy), such as the complex semantics of artha, meaning at the same time 'object' and 'purpose', become clearer. A little bit later, Göhler convincingly argues that also pramāṇa has in Mīmāṃsā a rather normative meaning (''Damit gehört Pramāṇa eher in die Nähe von Gültigkeitsbegriffen im Sinne von 'normativ gültig' oder 'handlungsverbindlich' '' (Göhler 2011: 36). Even MS 1.1.4, with its rejection of sense perception as instrument to know dharma is audaciously re-interpreted by Göhler from a non-descriptive perspective. The sūtra states that sense perception is animitta. This is usually understood as meaning that it is not the cause of the knowledge of dharma. By contrast, Göhler stresses the ritual background of nimitta and translates as follows: ''it does not promote (a ritual action creating something new)'' ("[…] sie veranlasst nicht (eine rituelle Tätigkeit, die etwas Neues schafft)'', Göhler 2011: 38).
In my opinion, the opposition between a descriptive and a prescriptive approach is a fundamental one when looking at Mīmāṃsā and possibly at Indian philosophy in general. A prescriptive meaning, further, cannot be interpreted through a direct-realist lens, insofar as it cannot directly correspond to an external state of affairs already existing at the moment the sentence referring to it is uttered. In other words, this is a further case of a non-ontological approach current in Indian philosophical texts (the topic has been recently discussed in this very interesting post by Jayarava).
What do readers think? Further evidences of non-ontological approaches?