definition of sAmAnAdhikara.nya

John Dunne jdunne at
Thu Dec 5 17:52:02 UTC 1996

Thanks to Birgit for the reference from Vaacaspati. I must confess that I
 have already been over this passage, and although his basic point on
 saamaanaadhikara.nya is clear, he does not quite offer the type of
 glosses that were included in my last message. In any case, it seems that
  he is operating with a similar gloss, since in the continuation of the
 section that Birgit kindly provided, he says:

 'sabdaanaa.m tv ekasmin prav.rrttes tadvaacyaanaam aikaatmyabhrama.h /
 This in many ways summarizes the basic point of his comments; that is,
 although saamaanaadhikara.nya might appear to require that the vaacya of
 the expressions in question be identical, it would be mistake to assume
 any such identity. In making this point, Vaacaspati re-affirms the
 realist ontology to which he is committed.
 For the purposes of this discussion, what is interesting about the above
 quoted statement is simply that Vaacaspati appears to presume the same
 type of gloss given by Kar.nakagomin, Raamaanuja, and so forth.
 Birgit also suggests that "co-referentiality" is the best translation,
 but I am not particularly satisfied with it. The problem is that this
 translation raises the entire issue of "reference," which, given its uses
 in Euro-american philosophy, can be quite misleading in the Indian
 context. On Vaacaspati's Naiyaayika ontology, for example, what would be
 the "referents" of the two terms in the expression *'sukladadhi*? On
 Vaacaspati's view, one should argue that the "referents" of the terms
 must be distinct. Hence, it would be a mistake to say that both of these
 terms "refer" to the dravya, but on the most straightforward
 interpretation of "reference" as it is used these days, this is what the
 translation "co-referentiality" would suggest.
  The advantage of "co-instantiation" is that it points to the manner in
 which the vast majority of Indian philosophers conceived of
 saamaanaadhikara.nya; that is, it is a state of affairs in which two
 entities are somehow instantiated in the same locus such that the 'sabda
 for those entities are applicable to (or "refer to") that same locus. A
 further advantage is that it also serves as a translation for
 saamaanadhikara.nya in the context of inference.
 Perhaps I am being a bit too picky here, but it seems to me that if we
 can avoid misleading technical terms from the Euro-American philosophical
 tradition, we should do so.
 John Dunne
 Study of Religion
 Harvard University

John Dunne
Study of Religion
Harvard University

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