What the Cārvākas Originally Meant: More on the Commentators on the Cārvākasūtra

Journal of Indian Philosophy 38 (6):529-542 (2010)
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This essay proposes to review the problems of reconstructing and interpreting ancient texts, particularly philosophical commentaries, in the context of the Cārvāka/Lokāyata system of India. Following an overview of the Indian philosophical text tradition and the ontological and epistemological positions of the Cārvākas, three cases are discussed: (1) when there is no invariance in the text and the commentary, (2) when commentators differ among themselves in their interpretations, and (3) when contradictory interpretations are offered. The paper further discusses why certain commentaries are to be treated as inconsistent with the base text and concludes that innovations inconsistent with the intention of the author should be treated differently from glosses that seek to explain the author’s original intentions



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