Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor

Loriliai Biernacki

Second Advisor

David Mellins

Third Advisor

Elias Sacks


In the following pages I analyze the language philosophy that the 8th century South Asian philosopher Śaṅkara puts forth in his commentary on the Brahmasūtra. His philosophy is largely framed in relation to two specific streams of South Asian philosophy - Mīmāṃsā (hermeneutics) and Vyākaraṇa (grammar). A common thread between all three streams of thought (Vedānta, Mīmāṃsā, Vyākaraṇa) is the impulse to preserve the legitimacy of the Vedas. This impulse is largely maintained through complex thinking on the nature of language itself.