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John A. Taber
Regents of the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001)
Dharmakirti on Thought and Language, Part Two: Translation of Pramanavarttika-Svavrtti, the Apoha Section (PVSV 45,20–69,8)

Preparation of an English translation of Pramanavarttika-Svavrtti, a work of Buddhist philosophy dating to the 6th century. (30 months)

An international team of scholars will work on the second part of a three-part translation of an important text of Buddhist philosophy. Its author, Dharmakirti, who lived in India in the sixth century C.E., is one of the founders of “Buddhist logic.” The text in question, the “Apoha Section” of the author’s magnum opus, the Pramanavarttika (Commentary on the Means of Knowledge) with his own commentary (Svavrtti), concerns the meanings of words and, by extension, the objects of thought insofar as language is the vehicle of thought. His theory that words refer to “exclusions” (apohas), not real universals, was definitive for Buddhist epistemology and a focus of debate among Indian philosophers for centuries. Translation of the first part was funded by a previous NEH grant and has now appeared in Studia Philologica Buddhica (Tokyo). It is expected that the three-part translation (completion date 2026) will have a major impact on the fields of Indian philosophy and Buddhist studies.

Project fields:
Non Western Philosophy

Scholarly Editions and Translations

Research Programs

$118,406 (approved)
$118,406 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 6/30/2023