MEANING AND REFERENCE IN CLASSICAL INDIA 3Naiyfiyikas call the 'consecutive character'
of the word,that ordinary nominals are not radically homonymous expressions.I will not speculate any further about Kfityfiyana's own intentionsbehind his aphorism about names. This is not just because to do sowould be impossible on the basis of what he actually said, butmore importantly because such speculation would miss what ismost significant about the aphorism: that while catching a funda-mental insight about language, it is open to many different andcompeting interpretations. It is, so to speak, an obligation on anytheorist about language, but how this obligation is discharged willdepend on larger issues about the nature and purpose of a theoryof meaning. The interpretation of Kfityfiyana's
became, inthe later classical phase of Indian philosophy (i.e. the fifth toseventh centuries C.E.), a major question, and the answer given byan author or system informed their general philosophical outlookon matters connected with language. One strand of this debate hasbeen studied in great depth by R. Herzberger. The central thesis ofher recent book,
Bhartrhari and the Buddhists,
is that "Bhartrhariargued that names are given to spatio-temporal individuals notdirectly on the basis of a quality, but indirectly on the basis of auniversal which belongs in words
while "Diflnfigaclaimed.., that names convey their bearers directly on the basis ofthat quality which does not 'exceed over' the bearer" (1986: xviii).The large questions here are, not only whether the 'basis' mediatesthe relation between words and objects, as Fregc, according tosome, would have it, but also whether the linguistic rules are objec-tive or subjective, that is, whether our use of terms is 'grounded' inreal properties of objects or merely in mental fabrications. Althoughher reconstruction of the views of both Diflnfiga and Bhartrhari israther controversial, 3 she demonstrates that what underpinned thedebate between him and Bhartrhari are rival interpretations ofKfityfiyana's aphorism.My aim here is to set out the philosophical context in which theanalysis of referential expressions developed, and for that purposeit is not the rival interpretations of Bhartrhari and Difmfiga, but ofthree other parties, which are significant. These parties are, first,those grammarians who defended a modified form of Vyfi.di'stheory; second, the Mimfimsakas gabara and Kumfirila; and third,