Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Agenthood and Independence

Following a previous discussion (see here), let me return to the topic of agenthood and how it is conceived by Mīmāṃsakas. I just came across a statement of Prabhākara's commentator, Śālikanātha, who writes that "agenthood is sovereignty" (kartṛtvam īśvaratvam, Ṛjuvimalā ad Bṛhatī 6.1.1.). A few pages before, he and Prabhākara discussed about "sovereignty" over an act as the fact of being the Master of that act (svāmin), just like one can be the Master of a village. Prabhākara further claimed that this amounts to have the right (adhikāra) over that act. This all seems to point to the fact that an agent is someone who is able/free to act. I guess some reader may think that "agent" may well not have its grammatical meaning here, but my point is exactly that Mīmāṃsakas interpreted kārakas according to their kāraka-status (karaṇa is that through which, karman is the object desired, kartṛ is the agent).

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