Saturday, 16 July 2011

Is Paninian Sanskrit occassionalist?

I guess most people have a sort of vague notion that Classical Skt derives all words from verbs and thus has a default, real time, efficient cause, Mimamsa. But is this really the case?
Prof. Matilal emphasized the quite separate tradition of Shatkatayana who has a pretty early date when, presumably, the ritualist aspect would have been more prominent rather than Skt as an ars dictaminis.
However, Paninian Skt was particularly valuable to savants expounding non-common sense ontologies.
Occassionalism, Nihilsm, reverse Mereology- the list is endless.
How does this affect its principle of compositionality?
For occassionalim, nothing acts upon anything else- verbs refer not to actions to be described but illusions to be denied. What sort of poetic aetiology and canons of taste would this give rise to? Passive constructions informed by nirukta eymology tend to highlight not actions but menus of choice and by so doing shift the focus of attention to higher order intentions which can't be embodied or anthropomorphized except by doing nothing else and, that too,  only doing it to point to its own project as failure.
In this sense, Paninian Skt- itself the fruit of the Nirukta tradition- becomes the ideal language for occassionalism as anti derivative of any non common sense Ontology. An ironic outcome, surely,  for a 'totalitarianism of the verb', though I suppose, its practice may have been viewed as the dual of something else which really did address  the realm where blizzarding verbs are the ineffable Noun's cloud of unknowing.


Anonymous said...

Good article here on Indology & Contextualism-

windwheel said...

@anon- thanks for the link!