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Publications in print (or forthcoming)

Titles in blue are links to final papers or pre-publication drafts.

In this paper, I examine Kumārila Bhaṭṭa's account of figurative language in Tantravārttika 1.4.11-17, arguing that ,for him, both metonymy (lakṣaṇā) and metaphor (gauṇa-vṛtti) crucially involve verbal postulation (śrutârthāpatti), a knowledge-conducive cognitive process which draws connections between concepts without appeal to speaker intention, but through compositional and contextual elements. It is with the help of this cognitive process that we can come to have knowledge of what is meant by a sentence in context. In addition, the paper explores the relationship between metonymy and metaphor, the extent to which putatively literal language involves metonymy, and the objective constraints for metaphorical interpretation.

We seem to be able to report the content of metaphors by saying things like, "Romeo said that Juliet is the sun", where, for the sentence to be true, the content of the that-clause cannot simply be the (false) literal meaning of "Juliet is the sun." Recently, Ernie Lepore and Matt Stone have given an account of reporting metaphorical thinking which claims that the truth conditions of such a sentence are captured by what similarities Romeo endorses on entertaining the metaphor embedded in the that-clause. I argue that this account fails to capture the context-sensitivity and constrainedness of embedded reports of metaphors.

I undertake textual exegesis and rational reconstruction of Mukula Bhaṭṭa’s Abhidhā-vṛtta-mātṛkā, or “The Fundamentals of the Communicative Function," written to refute Ānandavardhana’s claim in the Dhvanyāloka that there is a third “power” of words, vyañjanā (“suggestion”), beyond the two already accepted by traditional Indian philosophy.

We frequently use single words or expressions to mean multiple things, depending upon context. I argue that a plausible model of this phenomenon, known as lakṣaṇā by Indian philosophers, emerges in the work of ninth-century Kashmiri Mukula Bhaṭṭa.

Review of Amber Carpenter's Indian Buddhist Philosophy. Philosophy East and West, 65:4, October 2015.

Review of Christopher G. Framarin's Desire and Motivation in Indian Philosophy. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 133:1 (2013).