Theory and History of Ontology

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  • "History Logic" and "Bibliographia" are my other websites. "Table of Contents" gives the list of the pages, for other indexes see the "Sitemap". "Modern Ontologists" contains a table with links to the pages on the most important philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries who have written on ontology. The "Search" function can be used to find a particular author or subject.


Selected Bibliography on Ancient Indian Logicians

BIBLIOGRAPHY (under construction)

  1. Alackapally, Sebastian. 2002. Being and Meaning. Reality and Language in Bhartrhari and Heidegger. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

    Contents: Foreword. General introduction. Philosophical background of Bhartrhari and Heidegger: Bhartrhari: the grammarian philosopher. Heidegger: the philosopher of being and language. 1. Sabdatattva: the ultimate reality; 2. Sabdatattva: the Sphota of language; 3. Heidegger's concept of reality; 4. Language: the saying of being; General conclusion; Being and language in Bhartrhari and Heidegger: a synthesis; Glossary; Appendix; Bibliography. Index.

    "Being and Meaning is a comparative study of the concepts of being and language in Bhartrhari and Martin Heidegger, emphasising the universality of their thinking. Language in Bhartrhari's vision is the medium of the self-expression for the ultimate reality ( Sabdatattva). In Heidegger's thinking language is the original utterance ( sage) which being speaks to man. Being expresses itself in language, and phenomena in the world occur simultaneously with the occurrence of language. Bhartrhari and Heidegger lead one to the belonging togetherness of being and being beyond all conceptualizing, transcending the bounds of orient and occident."

  2. Bandyopadhyay, Nandita. 1989. Definition of Valid Knowledge. Pramalaksana in Gangesa's Tattvacintamani. Calcutta: Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar.

    Vol. I: Opponents position ( Purvapaksa)

  3. Bapat, Lata S. 1989. Buddhist Logic. A Fresh Study of Dharmakirti's Philosophy. Delhi: Bharatiya Vidya Prakashan.

  4. Bharadwaj, Krishna Datta. 1958. The Philosophy of Ramanuja. New Delhi: Sir Shankar Lall Charitable Trust Society.

  5. Bhartrhari. 1964. Vakyapadiya Brahmakanda Avec La Vrtti De Harivrsabha. Paris: Éditions E. de Boccard.

    Traduction, introduction et notes par Madelein Biardeau

  6. Bhattacharya, Bhaswati. 1979. "The Concept of Existence and Nagarjuna's Doctrine of Sunyata." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 7:337-344.

  7. Bhattacharyya, Sibajiban. 1993. Gangesa's Theory of Indeterminate Perception. Nirvikalpakavada, Part 1. New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research.

  8. ———. 1996. Gangesa's Theory of Indeterminate Perception. Nirvikalpakavada, Part 2. New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research.

  9. ———. 1997. "Gadadhara's Theory of Meaning of Pronouns." In Relativism, Suffering and Beyond. Essays in Memory of Bimal K. Matilal, edited by Bilimoria, Purusottama and Mohanty, Jitendra Nath, 16-31. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

    "In order to explain Gadadhara's theory of meaning of pronouns, it is necessary first to briefly state his theory of word meaning. In Indian philosophy in general and in Navya-nyaya in particular, theories of meaning of sentences are regarded as a part of theories of origin of true cognition. Hence in discussing theories of meaning, Indian philosophical systems almost exclusively consider how a hearer acquires information second-hand from what a speaker tells him. Indian theories of meaning refer to the speaker's intention only in so far as it is necessary for the hearer to cognize truly what the speaker says.

    According to Navya-nyaya, a word means an object only under a mode of presentation. Anyone who knows the meaning of the word knows the object under this mode on hearing, remembering, or otherwise cognizing, the word. The problem of meaning of words is the problem of explaining how the hearer knows the object under the particular mode.

    The mode of presentation of an object, according to Navya-nyaya, must be a property of the object. A property is anything which may be said to be in the object. According to Navya-nyaya, this is the case if and only if what is to be regarded as a property of an object is related to the object by an occurrence-exacting relation. Anything related to an object by such a relation will be its property."

  10. Bronkhorst, Johannes. 1983. "On the History of Paninian Grammar in the Early Centuries Following Patanjali." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 11:357-412.

    "Virtually no literature of the Paninian School of grammar has survived belonging to the period after Patanjali (2nd century b.C.?) and before Bhartrhari (5th century a. D). Some verses in Bhartrhari's Vakyapadiya deal with this time, but they allow of different interpretations. A close study of certain indications pertaining to this period reveals that Panini's grammar and its appendixes were modified to an unknown extent and that Patanjali's Mahabhasya was studied but not taken as the final authority, as it was later."

  11. Cardona, George. 1970. "Some Principles of Panini's Grammar." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 1:40-74.

  12. Chakrabarti, Kisor Kumar. 1977. The Logic of Gotama. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii.

  13. Chakrabarty, Debasish. 2000. "Kanada's Vaisesika Sutra: A Translation." In Signs and Signification. Vol. Ii, edited by Gill, Harjeet Singh and Manetti, Giovanni, 311-336. New Delhi: Bahri Publications.

  14. Coward, Harold. 1982. "Time (Kala) in Bhartrhari's "Vakyapadiya"." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 10:277-287.

    "Behind the discussion of the levels of language in the Vakyapadiya is Bhartrhari's notion of the dynamic limiting function of time (Kalasakti). After setting forth the absolute nature of Brahman as the one eternal essence of word and consciousness Bhartrhari then introduces the notion of time as the power or means by which this one unchanging Absolute (Sabdatattva--Brahman) manifests itself as the dynamic diversity mankind experiences as creation. Time is the creative power of Brahman."

  15. ———. 1990. "Derrida and Bhartrhari' Vakyapadiya on the Origin of Language." Philosophy East and West no. 40:3-16.

  16. ———. 1991. ""Speech Versus Writing" in Derrida and Bhartrhari." Philosophy East and West no. 41 (2):141-162.

    "This study identifies points of formal and substantive contact between Derrida and traditional Indian thought. Reading Bhartrhari with Derrida highlights the error of previous interpretations that have read the Vakyapadiya through Advaitic eyes. it also highlights Bhartrhari's accommodation of Buddhist stress on individual experience while retaining an orthodox grounding in Vedic dharma, now reinterpreted as sabdatattva. Derrida, however, challenges Bhartrhari's notion of pratibha or "pure" mystical perception. The study calls into question current suggestions that Derrida can be understood as a Madhyamikan Buddhist -- for this analysis shows him to agree with Bhartrhari on exactly those points which separate Bhartrhari and Nagarjuna."

  17. Dreyfus, Georges B.J. 1997. Recognizing Reality. Dharmakirti's Philosophy and Its Tibetan Interpretations. Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications.

  18. Dunne, John D. 2004. Foundations of Dharmakirti's Philosophy. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

  19. Gangopadhyay, Mrinalkanti. 1975. "Gangesa on the Means for the Ascertainment of Invariable Concomitance." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 3:167-208.

    "The article is an exposition of the Vyaptigrahopaya (means for the ascertainment of invariable concomitance) section of the Tattvacintamani, the famous NavyaNyaya work of Gangesa. The Sanskrit original, given in transliteration, is divided into nineteen short texts. Texts 1-15 give the Prabhakara position: invariable concomitance is not ascertained through 'repeated observation', but through 'single observation'. texts 16-18 give Gangesa's refutation of the Prabhakara. Text 19 gives Gangesa's own position: the cause for the ascertainment of invariable concomitance is the perception of the coexistence of the probans with the probandum along with the absence of cognition concerning the irregularity of the probans."

  20. Goekoop, Cornelis. 1967. The Logic of Invariable Concomitance in the Tattvacintamani. Dordrecht: Reidel.

    Gangesa's Anumitinirupana and Vyaptivada, with Introduction, translation, and commentary.

  21. Hayes, Richard Philip. 1980. "Dignaga's Views on Reasoning (Svarthanumana)." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 8:219-277.

    "This paper presents the views of the Sixth century Indian Buddhist epistemologist Dignaga on the reliability of reasoning in the acquisition of knowledge. In stating the necessary conditions for reliability in inference, Dignaga outlined an elementary logic of classes that served as the foundation for all later extensional logics in India. The first part of the paper presents an overview of Dignaga's epistemology, followed by a more detailed discussion of his presentation of the test of validity in reasoning. The second part comprises an annotated translation of a previously untranslated passage from Dignaga's principal work."

  22. ———. 1988. Dignaga on the Interpretation of Signs. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  23. Herzberger, Hans Georg. 1981. "Bhartrhari's Paradox." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 9:1-17.

    "The thesis that some things cannot be named was characteristic of certain Schools of traditional Indian philosophy. The problem we call 'Bhartrhari's paradox' arises from efforts to verify this thesis by positive instances. We examine Bhartrhari's position on the unnameability thesis in general and on the more particular thesis that the naming relation itself is unnameable. We then show how this more particular thesis is entailed by the set-theoretical proposition that no relation can be one of its own relata. Finally we generalize the set-theoretical argument and embed it within the paradox with which we began."

  24. Houben, Jan E.M. 1995. "Bhartrhari's Solution to the Liar and Some Other Paradoxes." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 23:381-401.

    "In a passage in the Vakyapadiya which should be of special interest to logicians and semanticists, the grammarian-philosopher Bhartrhari (India, 5th century c.e.) deals with paradoxes of negation, self-reference and truth (including the so-called 'Liar paradox'). The strategy of Russell and others attempting to establish a perfect formal language was to try to preclude their occurrence. The more recent trend to accept them as paradoxes has stimulated interesting developments in semantics, formal logic and related areas. Bhartrhari, however, presents the key to a solution based on the way intention, reference, and negation work in everyday language and communication."

  25. Iwata, Takashi. 2003. "An Interpretation of Dharmakrti's Svabhava-Hetu." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 31:61-87.

  26. Jha, V.N. 1986. The Logic of the Intermediate Causal Link. Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications.

    Containing the sanskrit text of the Apurvavada of the Sabdakhanda of the Tattvacintamani of Gangesa with English translation and introduction.

  27. Kalupahana, D.J. 1970. "Dinnaga's Theory of Immaterialism." Philosophy East and West no. 20:121-128.

  28. Kapoor, Kapil. 2000. "Reality and Its Representation: The Verbal Image in Idian Thought and Bhartrhari." In Signs and Signification. Vol. Ii, edited by Gill, Harjeet Singh and Manetti, Giovanni, 9-28. New Delhi: Bahri Publications.

  29. Kiparsky, Paul. 1991. "On Paninian Studies: A Reply to Cardona." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 19:331-367.

  30. Matilal, Bimal Krishna. 1968. "Gangesa on the Concept of Universal Property ( Kevalanvoyin)." Philosophy East and West no. 18 (3):151-161.

  31. McDermott, Charlene Senape A. 1972. "Mr. Ruegg on Ratnakirti." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 2:16-19.

    "This point-for-point response to Mr. D. S. Ruegg's criticisms of my "An Eleventh century Buddhist logic of 'exists'" is at the same time an argument for a true interdisciplinary dialogue between philosophers and indologists."

  32. Mohanty, Jitendra Nath. 1966. Gangesa's Theory of Truth. Containing the Text of Gangesa's Pramanya Jnapti Vada with an English Translation, Explanatory Notes, and an Introductory Essay. Santiniketan.

    Second revised edition: Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1989

  33. Murti, Srimannarayana. 1997. Bhartrhari. The Grammarian: Sahitya Akademi.

    Contents: Date and Works of Bhartrhari; Language, Grammar and Culture; Scope and Scheme of the Vakyapadiya; Communicative and Analytic Language; Sentence; Indivisibility of Sentence; Theory of Sphota; Sentence Sense Pratibha Word; Intention of the Speaker; Referent of the Word; Substance and Universal; The Qualifier and the Qualificant; Basal and Contextual Referents; Negative Particle; Yugapadadhikaranavacana; Abhedaikatvasamkhya; Time Sabdadvaita Philosophy; Epilogue; Bibliography.

    "Bhartrhari, the celebrated grammarian philosopher, is believed to have lived in the 5th century. This monograph presents the linguistic and philosophical theories connecting the analysis of the sentence with the ultimate reality-Sabdabrahman. The linguistic principles dealt with here are applicable not only to Sanskrit but to any language. His magnum opus the Vakyapadiya, even though partly incomplete, is the only extant work comprehensively dealing with the linguistic features of the Sanskrit language and the philosophy of grammar. It contains three kandas-Brahma-kanda or Agama-kanda, Vakya-Kanda and Prakirna-Kanda. The first two kandas together consist of 635 slokas, and deal with the Sabdabrahman, the creation of the world, jiva, world and language. The Prakirna-kanda running into 1300 slokas, divided into 14 sections called samuddesas, deals with the linguistic categories and semantic speculations prevalent in the Indian grammatical tradition. The other extant works of Bhartrhari are his fragmentary commentary of the Mahabhasya of Patanjali and auto-commentary on the kandas I and II of the Vakyapadiya."

  34. Ogawa, Hideyo. 2001. "Bhartrhari on A.1.1.68." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 29:531-543.

  35. Paksilasvamin, Aksapada, and Aksapada, Gautama. 2009. L'art De Conduire La Pensée En Inde Ancienne. Nyaya-Sutra De Gautama Aksapada Et Nyaya-Bhasya D'aksapada Paksilasvamin. Paris: Belles Lettres.

    Édition, traduction et présentation de Michel Angot.

  36. Parsons, Terence. 2001. "Bhartrhari on What Cannot Be Said." Philosophy East and West no. 51 (4):525-534.

    " Bhartrhari claims that certain things cannot be signified - -for example, the signification relation itself. Hans and Radhika Herzberger assert that Bhartrhari's claim about signification can be validated by an appeal to twentieth-century results in set theory. This appeal is unpersuasive in establishing this view, but arguments akin to the semantic paradoxes (such as the "liar" paradox) come much closer. Unfortunately, these arguments are equally telling against another of his views: that the thatness of the signification relation can be signified. Bhartrhari also claims that the relation of inherence cannot be signified -- a quite different view that is not borne out by twentieth-century results. Finally, further research is needed to investigate what Bhartrhari's own reasons might have been for these views."

  37. Patnaik, Tandra. 1994. Sabda. A Study of Bhartrhari's Philosophy of Language. New delhi: D. K. Prrintworld.

  38. Phillips, Stephen H. 1993. "Gangesa on Characterizing Veridical Awareness." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 21:107-168.

    "Within the context of a causal theory of knowledge, Gangesa, the revolutionary 14th-century Indian logician and epistemologists, considers and reflects about twenty-five definitions of knowledge (in his view, "veridical awareness," "Prama"), and accepts about eight, with one in particular acquiring the status of Plato's "justified true belief" for all later epistemologists (writing in Sanskrit) to the present. This article is an annotated translation, introducing technical notions of Gangesa's system (in particular for an audience of non-Sanskritist philosophers). The notes provide some historical context but are devoted chiefly to the question of the success of the project."

  39. ———. 2000. "From Gangesa's Tattvacintamani: Discourse on Perceptual Presentation of Something as Other Than What It Is." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 28:567-650.

    "Classical Indian theory of perceptual illusion is refined by Gangesa (c. 1325) in this translation (with explanation) of an important section of his masterwork, "Jewel of reflection on the truth (about epistemology)". Illusion is a single cognition of an entity as qualified by a qualifier that is fused by memory into current perception. This view is challenged by various adversaries (mainly Mimansaka but also Buddhist and Vedantic). Examples agreed to are of people making false statements on the basis of perceptual evidence, e.g., "this is silver," when an object in front is really mother-of-pearl. One rival camp sees the unsuccessful effort to pick up silver as flowing from a failure to cognize of a certain sort, not from a perceptual misrepresentation. Gangesa devotes (successful) effort to refuting this and other views, his overall strategy being that though his view faces difficulties they are much less severe than those faced by the alternatives."

  40. Prasad, Rajendra. 2002. Dharmakirti's Theory of Inference. Revaluation and Reconstruction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  41. Ruegg, Seyfort. 1971. "On Ratnakirti." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 1:300-309.

  42. Subramania, Iyer K.A. 2007. Bhartrhari. A Study of the Vakyapadiya in the Light of the Ancient Commentaries. Poona: Deccan College.

  43. Sudhakar, Jatavallabhula. 1999. Bhartrhari's Ontology.

  44. Tillemans, Tom J.F. 1999. Scripture, Logic, Language. Essays on Dharmakirti and His Tibetan Successors. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

  45. Wolf, George. 2000. "The Importance of Panini for the Development of the Science of Meaning." In Signs and Signification. Vol. Ii, edited by Gill, Harjeet Singh and Manetti, Giovanni, 29-40. New Delhi: Bahri Publications.


On the website "Theory and History of Ontology" (

Ancient Indian Logic and Ontology. A Survey of Modern Research

Selected Bibliography on Indian Logic and Ontology:

First Part: A - L

Second Part: M - Z