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Pratibhā, intuition, and practical knowledge

Das, N; (2022) Pratibhā, intuition, and practical knowledge. British Journal for the History of Philosophy pp. 1-27. 10.1080/09608788.2022.2074365. (In press). Green open access

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In Sanskrit philosophy, the closest analogue of intuition is pratibhā. Here, I will focus on the theory of pratibhā offered by the Sanskrit grammarian Bhartṛhari (fifth century CE). On this account, states of pratibhā play two distinct psychological roles. First, they serve as sources of linguistic understanding. They are the states by means of which linguistically competent agents effortlessly understand the meaning of novel sentences. Second, states of pratibhā serve as sources of practical knowledge. On the basis of such states, both human and non-human agents unreflectively know which actions they should perform under which circumstances. Given these two roles of pratibhā, modern commentators have often claimed that states of pratibhā, as understood by Bhartṛhari, are intuitions. In this article, I will reconstruct Bhartṛhari's view and to explore its consequences, I will argue that, if Bhartṛhari’s theory of pratibhā is right, then a form of human exceptionalism–which makes rationality a unique trait of human beings–becomes difficult to maintain.

Type: Article
Title: Pratibhā, intuition, and practical knowledge
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/09608788.2022.2074365
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/09608788.2022.2074365
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Keywords: Intuition, pratibhā, Bhartṛhari, practical knowledge, linguistic understanding
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10153978
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