Dr. Paolo Visigalli
Focus Area: Constructions of Norms
Postdoctoral Fellow: Dezember 2013 - Oktober 2015
Thinking etymologically: Ancient insights about language from early Hindu and Buddhist texts
During my fellowship, I worked mainly on a book project with the provisional title Thinking etymologically: Ancient insights about language from early Hindu and Buddhist texts. Early versions of some chapters have appeared in “Journal of Indian Philosophy” and “Philosophy East and West”.
Countering many current interpretations that reductively regard premodern forms of etymology as “folk” or “fictitious etymologies”, Thinking etymologically argues that ancient Hindu and Buddhist thinkers conceived of and practiced etymology as a versatile tool for thinking about and through language.
Through the exploration of selected early Hindu and Buddhist texts, Thinking etymologically describes the richness and variety of the practice and theory of ancient etymology. In doing so, it not only shows that forms of etymology were deployed as a pliable discursive device for a wide variety of purposes. But it also contends that an exploration into such forms will offer us unique insights about the ways in which Hindus and Buddhists conceived of their sacred scriptures, their tradition, and their own roles as interpreters and members of such traditions.
Dr. Paolo Visigalli ist inzwischen als Adjunct Lecturer in Sanskrit and Indian Studies an der Fudan University Shanghai tätig.