Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is the Veda's authority a deontic one?

Maṇḍana's, Kumārila's and Prabhākara's theories about the Veda's validity distinguish between what Western logicians call prescriptive sentences and imperatives. The former enjoin something and are valid insofar as they are modally distinct from statements of facts. The latter, on the other hand, are only valid if the impelled people actually perform them. The Veda consists in prescriptions and not in imperatives –all Mīmāṃsakas agree that the actual performance of the sacrifices prescribed has nothing to do with the Veda's validity and do not derive its validity out of the fact that everyone obeys it.
According to the insightful distinction of Joseph M. Bocheńsky (1974), the Veda's authority is, hence, deontic but only insofar as it is epistemic. It regards the sphere of what has to be done/of future events, but it derives its authority out of the fact that it is the only instrument to know about it. On the other hand, the deontic authority of, e.g., an officer on her soldiers directly consists in her being obeyed. There cannot be any deontic authority which is disregarded.

How can imperatives have a truth-value?

Linguistic analysis and epistemology are always closely linked in Mīmāṃsā. In fact, the main concern of Mīmāṃsā is the Veda and the Veda is a linguistic entity and, insofar as it is one, it is a valid instrument of knowledge. Hence, analysis of language is preliminary in order to understand how can the Veda convey knowledge. But, Bhāṭṭas and Prābhākaras agree that the Veda is made of prescriptions. How can prescriptions convey knowledge? Since it has already been observed that the discussion on instruments of knowledge plays in Indian philosophy a role comparable to the debate about truth in the Western one, the problem amounts to the Western question about whether injunctive sentences may have a truth-value (see Copi-Cohen). It is, in fact, difficult to figure out how to understand "truth" in regard to a non-descriptive statement. Some thinkers (the deontic logician Stig Kanger and some Christian theologians, for instance) maintain that the definition of truth as correspondence still holds. One only has to compare the content conveyed by the prescription with what should occur according to an ideal paradigm, be it God's Will or Kant's "kingdom of ends". In this way, the oddity of a prescriptive truth value is solved.

Something similar is attempted by Maṇḍana. His view of prescriptions as assertions conveying the idea that the action to be undertaken is a means to a desired end makes the attribution of truth-claims (in Indian terms: the attribution of prāmāṇya, i.e. the capacity to convey valid knowledge) to them, smooth. It is indeed easy to say that the Veda is an instrument of knowledge insofar as it conveys the idea that the Full- and New-Moon sacrifice leads one to heaven (obviously enough, verifying it is still far from easy, but this has nothing to do with the logical oddity of the Veda being at the same time prescriptive and an instrument of knowledge). Hence, the prescriptive "One ought to sacrifice" is said to be tantamount to "Sacrifice is an instrument to something good", which is much easier to analyse.

In logical terms:


would be the same as

s is p

with O=ought, the deontic modal, s=sacrificing and p=being an instrument to something good.

But in this way the modal specificity of prescriptions is just cleared away. This is also the fundamental objection of Rāmānujācārya against Maṇḍana (see TR IV §3.2): that an action is the instrument to realise something desired is an assertion. But it does not entail that one ought to undertake the action, although Maṇḍana might object that everyone undertakes actions, if only they lead to something desired. Finally, one no longer obeys the Veda because the Veda ordered one to do it, but rather because the action enjoined are conducive to something desired. Hence, I guess, no other harm should derive if one does not undertake them, but the non-attainment of the desired thing. Since, however the desired thing is happiness itself, its non attainment is enough to make everyone strive for the opposite.

On the other hand, the (other) Bhāṭṭas and the Prābhākaras take seriously in account the specificity of exhortations as against statements about actual state of affairs. An exhortation, according to both schools, cannot be reduced to a descriptive statement. This is even more true in the case of the Prābhākaras, which claim that the Veda points at conveying something to be done. In this case, the validity-criterion for the Veda is that it has to convey valid knowledge in its specific field, that is, the sphere of what has to be done. Since this sphere is not attainable through any other instrument of knowledge (as all other instruments of knowledge refer to what is presently available to one's grasp), the Veda is the only possible instrument of knowledge about what has to be done. The Bhāṭṭas are somehow more moderate, insofar as they refer the Veda's validity rather to the sphere of future state of affairs –which are also beyond the grasp of our faculties.

Multiplist Ethics and Scholarly Etiquette

I just read a very interesting essay of Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad. It is the first (out of five) chapter of his newest book, Indian Philosophy and the Consequences of Knowledge: Themes in metaphysics, ethics and soteriology (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007). It is a challenging essay, dealing with the proposal of multiplism in ethics. This is compatible with the Jaina theories of anekāntavāda, nayavāda and syādvāda, although Ram-Prasad is honest enough to admit that it is not sure that this a philologically sound interpretation of the Jaina material. Hence, Ram-Prasad (just like J.N. Mohanty and many others) reinterprets classical Indian philosophy to think further. And he does it in a field which is in bad need of new paradigms, that of the encounters with the other (or the Other? or others?). The Jaina/Ram-Prasadian approach has the benefit of non hypostatising the Other in her Otherness while at the same time not swallowing her. That is, in Ram-Prasad's intention, multiplism allows the other her space and freedom to be as she wishes (even to become closer to oneself). Furthermore, it promotes a friendly encounter with her/him since reality is inherently multiple and hence inter-related.

The only disadvantage of this thought-provoking essay is the lack of the Sanskrit texts Ram-Prasad refers to or translates, if only in the footnotes. I wondered whether I have been irritated by this absence just because this does not conform to the scholarly etiquette I am used to. But there is something more on top of that, that is, the absence of the Sanskrit text makes for the reader impossible to counter-check the arguments. Moreover, due to the semantics of Sanskrit, a translation is (even more than in other languages) no more than an interpretation. Hence, if there is no Sanskrit text available, one cannot prosecute further Ram-Prasad's enterprise of thinking along the lines of the Sanskrit tradition (of course, one could go to the library and check the Sanskrit texts, but often Ram-Prasad refers only to the page number of a certain edition –which is not the only available one– instead of referring to the inner partitions of the text).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blogs and Bloggers

Since a long time (see this post) I am looking for a blog which deals (at least also) with Indian philosophy, that is, not just with texts, but also with contents.
Hence, I started writing a list of the blogs I like more or at least I regularly read. Surprisingly enough, there are hardly blogs written by women among them. I like Birgit Kellner's homepage, but her website is not really a blog (since it is very rarely updated, and the author shows no interest in initiating a relationship with her readers). Evgenija Detsniskaya's one is possibly also interesting, but my Russian is not fluent enough to read it. The situation does not improve in a significant way if I include all blogs I read (which are mainly blogs on Philosophy, Theology, Applied Philosophy, Psychology). Lastly, there is Enrica Garzilli's one, which is quite interesting, but most of all for scholars of Political Sciences and also did not develop into a platform for sharing ideas and getting in touch.
However, outside this sphere, there are plenty of women bloggers. I wonder whether Indian (and Western) philosophy are usually neglected by them because of the lack of systematic efforts to the problem of bridging the gap between theory and life (sorry for the oversimplification). I do not share the idea that women think in a biologically different way, but they historically developed different interests and skills and it would be a pity not to take them into account, since philosophy can only develop through further stimuli –hence, especially external and non-conventional ones.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Prescriptions embedding actions

According to the hermeneutic of Sacred Texts devised by the followers of Kumārila Bhaṭṭa, the linguistic bhāvanā constituting the prescription first requires (through expectation, ākāṅkṣā) an object to be brought about, that is, the purpose[-oriented] bhāvanā (arthabhāvanā). This is also conveyed by the prescriptive verbal suffix (just as it would be by any other finite verbal suffix), more precisely by its finite verbal component (ākhyātatva).

In order to fulfil the role of the result that must be accomplished, this bhāvanā must be somehow desirable (the action noun ākāṅkṣā retaining its desiderative shade of meaning). Since, however, the undertaking of an action is not desirable in itself, one must assume that it is indirectly desirable given that it is the means for achieving something desirable. In this way, although sacrificing is not in itself an agreeable activity, one undertakes it as if it were something desirable because one longs for the sacrifice's result, e.g., heaven.

In fact, the purpose[-oriented] bhāvanā also requires an object to be achieved thereby. The first candidate, because of proximity, is the meaning of the verbal root, since it is part of the same verbal form whose ending conveys the objective bhāvanā. However, the meaning of the verbal root is not by itself desirable and cannot hence fulfil the role of the bhāvya. This is, instead, revealed within the same prescription by an expression such as “one-who-is-desirous-of-heaven” (svargakāma), which indirectly indicates the sacrifice’s result, whereby “heaven” can be replaced by “cattle”, “a son”, “rain”, etc.

Immediately thereafter, the question arises “how can this result be achieved?” To answer this, the verbal root is connected to the bhāvanā as its instrument. Hence, by hearing “one who is desirous of heaven should sacrifice”, one simultaneously understands an urging (the linguistic bhāvanā), the contents of this urging (the undertaking of an action or purpose[-oriented] bhāvanā), its result (heaven) and the instrument for its achievement (the sacrifice). But the expectation is not completely appeased, insofar as the mere knowledge that heaven is to be achieved through a sacrifice is not enough. One also needs to know how this sacrifice will be instrumental for the arising of this result. Consequently, a procedure is also required, which is offered through the other sentences describing the sacrifice.

Summing up,

object to be brought about, e.g., heaven

bhāvanā instrument, e.g., sacrifice

procedure, e.g., rites composing the sacrifice


object to be brought about (heaven)

object to be brought about, e.g.,bhāvanā →instrument (sacrifice)

śabdabhāvanā instrument procedure


Lastly, since the sacrifice would not be a suitable instrument (as it does not last until the arousal of the result, as the Prābhākara point out), a new potency, arisen through the sacrifice and lasting until the result is also necessarily connected as an intermediate element.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Intellectual Perception and Yogic Perception

Until now, I have always assumed that yogipratyakṣa was the same as the ultra-sensorial perception one can reach (according to some schools) at the end of concentrated visualisation (bhāvanā). Now, I find a statement to the contrary. A commentator (Abhinava Deśika Vīrarāghavācārya) on Vedānta Deśika's Seśvaramīmāṃsā (ad 1.1.4) glosses the author's distinction between arguments against the second and against the first because the two are different. As a reader, I rather thought that Vedānta Deśika only distinguished arguments against the possibility of intellectual intuition from argument against the religious assumption that certain people (notably, ṛṣis and yogis) did see dharma etc. On the other hand, the commentator says:
«That perception inherent in ṛṣis and similar people, different from ordinary perception, different from the perception having the form of a distinct memory and based on the topmost level of visualisation reached by them (ṛṣis), having ultra-sensory things as content, produced by the dharma's energy, […]» (ṛṣyādisamavetaṃ laukikapratyakṣavilakṣaṇaṃ tatkṛtabhāvanāprakarṣamūlakaviśadasmṛtirūpapratyakṣavilakṣaṇam atīndriyaviṣayakaṃ dharmavīryaprasūtaṃ yat, tat pratyakṣaṃ tatkartṛkānuṣthānahetur vā, asmatkartṛkānuṣṭhānahetur vā.).
The idea is that through bhāvanā one only 'sees' what one has already known. It is, hence, perception of a memorial content, unlike the alleged perception of ṛṣis, which is able to see something utterly new. In fact, intellectual perception is used in Buddhist milieus only to justify the perception of the Four Noble Truths, which were from the very beginning the content of one's meditation.

Relation between action and duty

Within Rāmānujācārya's Tantrarahasya's discussion about the meaning of exhorative suffixes (liṅādi), an objector proposes that the apūrva implies the action (TR IV §3.12). This means that the apūrva should possibly be denoted according to its own nature (svarūpa), that is, independent of an action. This possibility is withdrawn since:

• implication –like metaphore– presupposes that one already knows about the connection between the implier and the implied entity. But this cannot be the case in regard to apūrva and effort.

• the apūrva cannot be denoted according to its own nature, because its own nature depends, in order to be realised, on the action.

One might wonder why is metaphore possible and implication impossible. In other words, why is it possible that one gets at action through metaphore via apūrva, whereas the same action cannot be implied by the apūrva? I have not yet found a comparative discussion about the two, but I think they work in the following two ways:


liṅ etc. apūrva

(apūrva) action


liṅ etc. apūrva


(with → indicating primary denotation and ⇒ indicating secondary denotation)

The second case seems to be excluded because it is not possible that the apūrva in itself signifies the action, whereas it is possible that the exhortative suffixes secondarily denote it, through its link with apūrva. But why is the apūrva-action link enough for metaphore and not for implication? The only hint one finds in the text (§3.12) is that to the lack of an explicit (Vedic) statement enabling the implication. This might refer to the fact that the link between action and agent (the acceptable instance of implication) is proved through sense-perception. Since, however, sense-perception cannot attain apūrva, one

can only know about its links through a Vedic statement (śabda). Unfortunately, no such Vedic statement exists. On the other hand, metaphore is possible because the action is already within what can be denoted by the exhortative suffixes, though secondarily. As soon as one realises that the apūrva is not at the moment denoted, one immediately turns to the next potential meaning of the exhortative suffixes, i.e., the action.

Summing up, the apūrva cannot by itself imply anything, since there is no instrument of knowledge about it. On the other hand, exhortative suffixes denote primarily the apūrva but, in case this is not the meaning, the action.

Is the theory of karman true?

I just read a very interesting, though relatively old, paper, Robert Goldman's Karma, Guilt and Buried Memories: Public Fantasy and Private Reality in Traditional India (JAOS 105.3, 1985).The author takes it for granted that the theory of karman cannot be "true" (in the same way as it is true that fertilizers increase crop yields, p. 415). In fact, if it were, many evidences would have been found in the many centuries of its fortune in South Asia. Hence, it is interesting and telling in regard to the communities who hold this belief notwithstanding its falsity –just like a dream is false, but tells us a lot about the dreamer.
However, I wonder whether a theory of karman could ever be proved to be true in the same way as a fertilizer is (the author does not mention any other example). One is reminded of the controversy about God's existence and the impossibility –according to the present author– to solve it in terms which have nothing to do with it (in other words: truth criteria for fertilizer are not necessarily the only possible ones). The theory of karman is of philosophical (not just psycho-analytical) interest because it is a defensible explanation of the existence of evil/the non-homogeneity of destinies/etc. A further problem in the paper is its insistence that the theory of karman is a moral one. Hence, since it is utterly immoral (because we have to suffer the consequences of former people), it does not hold. However, in most Indian philosophical texts I am aware of, the theory of karman is rather a mechanical explanation of the uninterrupted chain of actions and consequences, lacking any moral character. Lastly, the author's insistence on a Freudian interpretation of the theory of karman is challenging. However, I don't think it has anything to do with the theory of karman as a philosophical concept –rather, with its narrative and social outputs. In this sense, it does not make sense to accuse the theory of karman of lack of consistence on the strength of narratives such as that of Śakuntalā. The philosophical theory of karman and its upholders are not responsible of its use in epics and narratives… no more than Christian theologians are responsible of the use of heaven and hell in contemporary Holliwood films! That said, the essay is fascinating and thought-provoking.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Scheme of the connection among auxiliaries in a sacrifice

principal prescription ←directly contributing auxiliaries

karaṇa (sacrifice)

indirectly contributing auxiliaries

Directly contributing auxiliaries (ārādupakāraka), i.e., pre- and post-sacrifices, are directly linked to the prescription as its instruments.

Indirectly contributing auxiliaries (sannipātyopakāraka), such as threshing the rice grains, are connected insofar as they constitute the body of the instrument, that is, they produce the ritual substances to be used in it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Expectation and proximity (ākāṅkṣā and sannidhi)

The strict adherence to the text makes Mīmāṃsakas distinguish between the expectation of two seemingly identical terms according to what is available around them. In this sense, their analysis is a posteriori, since it accounts for what one sees, rather than fore-seeing what one will get. This a posteriori procedure is probably guided by the Mīmāṃsā focus on an actual text, the Veda.

For instance (see Rāmānujācārya's Tantrarahasya, IV, §10.5), in the case of sacrifices lacking a specific prompted person (niyojya), one has to necessarily postulate one. And this one has to be necessarily specified by a desire (since a person can only be prompted insofar as s/he desires the result mentioned in the prompting sentence). Hence, one postulates a prompted person desiring heaven. In fact, heaven is (as shown in ŚBh) tantamount to happiness and the human kind naturally strives for happiness.

But how does the relation among the prescription's elements take place in the case of a directly mentioned (śruta) prompted person and in the case of a postulated one? Even in the first case, the expectation of a prompted person by the injunction is mediated by the intermediate steps of responsibility and agent-ness. Nonetheless, since the prompted person is directly mentioned, one does not need to get at it through this mediation and s/he is directly related to the injunction. Hence, the relation occurs immediately, without following the sequence of expectation. This also means that expectation is understood as the fact of requiring something, i.e., as a sequential process. If, instead, through proximity (as in this case) or fitness (yogyatā) one immediately gets a complement, the expectation process is not needed to complete the sentence.

On the other hand, when the prompted person is not explicitly mentioned the order of relation follows that of expectation. In fact, in the latter case all three are not directly mentioned and there is hence no proximity to be followed before the expectation takes place.

The responsible- and the doer-stages are hardly ever directly mentioned together with the prompted person. Yet, their presence can be indirectly detected because of its effects. In fact, some prescriptions do not have any prompted person at all (nor do they need any), because the responsibility for their performance is taken over by someone else. For instance, the prescription about the pre-sacrifices does not need a specific prompted person, since the person prompted to the main sacrifice will anyway perform it with all its auxiliaries (see TR IV, §11.5.1). In such cases, the prescription's expectation is appeased through another prompted person once one has reached the level of the responsibility, since the responsibility for the main ritual includes that for the pre-sacrifices, too. And, in fact, these pre-sacrifices are indeed performed (doer-level). This shows that the responsible person is the same.

Monday, February 8, 2010

But, after all, … reality is multifold (tò ón pollakōs légetai)!

Independent of its original meaning, the syādvāda theory and several other tenets of Jainism challenge today's attitude to Identity and Difference. I will not pause here on the possibility to just tolerate differences (e.g., through relativism) because I am afraid this attitude cannot really make place for the contribution these differences can offer to the world. On the other hand, the idea that there is only a legitimate view, no matter how liberal this is, has as result a significant impoverishment. This is not just a pity for the sake of ideo-diversity (which cannot be argued for as an end in itself), it is a pity because in this way we risk to miss the chance to understand reality, which is often much more complex than we would think (at least: until now it has always been the case that reality was much bigger, wider and more complex than our forefathers would have thought). The last two centuries have witnessed important changes, such as the discovery of the subconscious, that of the double nature of photones, that of the indecidibility of an electrone's position. This makes me think that the challenge of difference has to be taken seriously. It is possible that the quest for non-contradiction just does not hold. I am not saying that we should give up the attempt to think consistently, on the other hand, I think we should explore more possibilities (Jainism? Aristotle?) to think through what appears contradictory, without just pretending to explain it away. Differences may be here to stay.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Necessity of Desire

I have argued here (in Italian) and here (in English) that desire is essential for action in Mīmāṃsā philosophy. In fact, Mīmāṃsā authors cannot even imagine a human being who acts if not because of desire. Hence, human desire has a role even in the Veda. The latter could not make people perform the rituals it entails if it could not prompt them. And in order to prompt them, it needs to single them out of the generic mass of human beings. In order to identify them, the Veda uses, again, desire. All rituals are not prescribed for generic human beings, since in this case no one would feel the prescription as regarding him/her directly and the rituals woudl remain non-performed. On the contrary, the Veda prescribes rituals to specific people, identified through their desires. It prescribes, for instance, a putrakāmeṣti to one who desires a son, a darśapūrṇamāsa sacrifice to one who desires heaven (=happiness) and so on. Hence, desire is not in itself part of the sacrifice, but it is required in order to get to the sacrifice one of its principal elements, the sacrificer.
When the sacrificer is specified in a different way (with formulas like "the one whose son was just born should perform the ritual …"), the desire is no longer needed by the Veda. It is, on the other hand, still needed by the person to engage into the action.
How do these two points harmonise? If desire is needed, why do people engage in sacrifices, who seemingly do not bear any result? Rāmānujācārya (Tantrarahasya IV, §10.5) can explain away most cases since he says that in the viśvajit and in similar sacrifices, where no specific person is prompted, one has to postulate as sacrificer someone who is desirous of haven. In fact, since 'heaven' means happiness according to the Śabarabhāṣya, this specification will suit everyone. In this way, one has satisfied at the same time the need for a specific sacrificer and that for a result to strive for.
But what about the case where a specific sacrificer is supplied, but no hint of a desire is left (see the formula mentioned above)? In order to make sense of these cases, Rāmānujācārya (and other authors?) has to abandon his usual Mīmāṃsā 'down-to-earth' attitude. In §10.11 he answers that the very non-performance of a prescribed duty is, for cultivated people, something one desires to avoid. "In fact, dharma is also one of the human purposes (puruṣārtha)". In saying so, Rāmānujācārya interprets artha as goal and connects it automatically with one's natural desire.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Can one grasp a meaning which is not attained through any other instrument of knowledge?

According to both the Bhāṭṭa and the Prābhākara school of Mīmāṃsā, the relation betweeen a word and the entity it means is perpetual (nitya). Nonetheless,this does not amount to say that everyone, upon hearing for the first time a word, automatically understands its meaning. Rather, one needs first to acquire proficiency in language use through the usage of elder people and through the ensuing activities (both these aspects may be referred to as vyavahāra). E.g., after having heard one's grandfather ordering:“bring [the] cow!”,one sees one's father bringing a cow.

Through many similar instances, one eventually learns the meaning of the words “bring!” and “cow”.

But, according to the Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā, the meaning conveyed by the Veda is a duty (kārya) which is apūrva, that is, “non preceded [by any other instrument of knowledge]”. This means that no worldly instrument of knowledge can enable one to grasp an apūrva kārya. Hence,how could it be possible to learn the relation between a word and a meaning such as theapūrva kārya through the usage of the seniors? And if this is not possible, how could one understand the meaning of the Vedic words referring to it? In fact,though the relation between Vedic words and the apūrva kārya is fixed,a meaning can be grasped only by people who have previously understood,by means of the linguistic usage of senior speakers,its relation with the word signifiying it. Nor can it be said that one can learn the meaning of Vedic words referring to an apūrva kārya through the Veda itself, as in this case there would be a vicious circle (the elders' usage would depend on the Veda,whose understanding depends on the elders' usage). Summing up (the last element is the result of the previous one/s)

  1. 1. senior speakers linguistic usages
  2. 2. ensuing activities
  3. 3. comprehension of worldly meanings (vyutpatti) by younger people


  1. 1. comprehended worldly meanings
  2. 2. comprehension of Vedic meanings

However, if the Vedic meaning to be comprehended has no antecedent in the world, this process cannot occur. Or, a vicious circles takes place, since the practical activity cannot but be based on the Veda, when a meaning that is accessible only through the Veda is at stake:

  1. 1. apūrva-content imparted from the Veda
  2. 2. one looks at practical activity to comprehend it
  3. 3. practical activity cannot but be based on the Veda
  4. 4. one looks at the Veda to understand the apūrva
  5. 5. loop

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Does India think differently?

I have already argued (in Italian) that I cannot detect a fundamental opposition between Indian and Western Philosophy. On the other hand, one can imagine a gradual difformity and Buddhist Philosophy is often on top of the scale.
At the basis of the Western philosophical investigation is, in fact, often a datum. This has long been believed to be the evidence of a subject-independent external world. Thereaftere, one has thought of it as an evidence of the existence of a thinking subject. This Subject was powerful enough (or was thought to be empowered by God himself) to imagine the whole world. In contemporary existentialism the subject has lost its power. It is no more transparent to itself, no more omnipotent. But it is still the foundation of our experience of the world, of the world as Other, of God (for theologians). What if, instead, this subject is conceived of as illusory or, even worse, as neutral (as in the earliest speeches of the Buddha), not bearing any significance for (our) spiritual progress?

(the title of this post is borrowed from a conference held in honour of Prof. Ernst Steinkellner in Vienna and whose proceedings have been published under the title "Denkt Asien anders?")

Monday, February 1, 2010

Empiricism in Mīmāṃsā

I just read a very nice article by Francis X. Clooney which nicely captures, in my view, the down-to-earth attitude of Mīmāṃsā authors towards the sacrifice (and any other matter). Just an excerpt of it:
In general Jaimini describes the sacrifice without mythological and cosmological references. He uses words like prakṛti-vikṛti (archetype-ectype), pradhāna-guṇa (primary element-qualification), nāma-rūpa (name form) and dharma in outlining his structure of the sacrifice, words used elsewhere, in systems such as the Vaiśeṣika or Sāṃkhya, with cosmological reference. But he makes no such reference; he claims the words as his own but uses them with limited, particular and ritual and grammatical senses. In general, the world is merely loka: that neutral place whence elements of the sacrifice come. It is the realm of what merely is, where things are religiously indifferent or only potentially relevant before being introduced into the sacrifice.
(Clooney 1986:203)
I only disagree with Clooney when he refers to Jaimini as if he were ignoring the philosophical implications of these terms. In fact, he was probably justified in ignoring it, since the sacrificial meaning is probably the older one. The same applies even to pramāṇa, which is used until today in Mīmāṃsā in its pristine meaning of "instrument for knowing" a certain thing (such as, the application of a certain sacrificial detail), with no further epistemological implication. Mīmāṃsā authors use a terminology driven out of ritual exegesis (what later crystallised into the Śrautasūtras), which is one of the oldest fields of investigation in India.

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