Philosophy of language in the Five Nikayas

by K.T.S. Sarao | 2013 | 141,449 words

This page relates ‘Objective of Study’ of the study of the Philosophy of language in the Five Nikayas, from the perspective of linguistics. The Five Nikayas, in Theravada Buddhism, refers to the five books of the Sutta Pitaka (“Basket of Sutra”), which itself is the second division of the Pali Tipitaka of the Buddhist Canon (literature).

3. Objective of Study

The main objective of this research work was to examine and critically evaluate the principles and references of philosophy of language in the Five Nikāyas. The research entitled Philosophy of Language in the Five Nikāyas on the one hand falls in the domain of Buddhist Studies, and on the other in the broader domain of the philosophy of language on the perspective of linguistics.

A critical evaluation of the principles and references in the Five Nikāyas assumes significance since either they relate to some of the important aspects of language and philosophy or present such concepts themselves. Such an evaluation, thus, needs not just an adequate theoretical philolinguistic perspective, but an evaluation of the Five Nikāyas in such a perspective. A critical study of this nature has to cut across a number of disciplines. Employing linguistic and philolinguistic tools, the present study seeks to examine and evaluate such problems and issues concerning the philosophy of language. The study primarily sets out the concept of philosophy of language founded on the viewpoints of linguistics and modern philosophy. The importance of the notion of philosophy of language in the philosophy of Buddhism is also sought to highlight. On the basis of these, the research work goes to present a detailed account of the references and contexts of philosophy of language in the text. The study then also attempts to examine, describe and analyze such aspects and issues of the philosophy of language as well as the philosophy of mind, perception and consciousness, language and cognition, personal development and enlightenment vis-à-vis the position of the Five Nikāyas. Finally, some comments may be offered on the relationship between many theoretical premises and positions of the modern philolinguistics and psycholinguistics on the one hand, and the Buddhist ideas on the other.

The teachings of the Buddha in the Five Nikāyas cover a wide range of topics and issues concerning thought, cognition, meaning, reference, truth, reality, metaphor, metaphysics, pragmatics, semantics, logic, epistemology, ontology, mind, and so on. Many others topics closely relating to the philosophy of language, the meaning in language, the references, the structures of language, and so on, and such concepts of linguistics are also contained in the Five Nikāyas. Precisely, for this reason, I therefore strongly decide to study and examine the research work entitled “Philosophy of Language in the Five Nikāyas” as an academic challenge.

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