Śālikanātha is the main philosopher of the Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā school after Prabhākara himself.
In some sense, one could even say that he is more important than Prabhākara himself, since he is way more systematic than Prabhākara, and explores through his various thematic essays almost all topics commonly dealt with in Sanskrit philosophy. Moreover, he is certainly more influential than Prabhākara, since his works are regularly read and cited instead of the terse words of Prabhākara’s only extant work, the Bṛhatī.
Like in the case of the relation between Kumārila and Prabhākara, Śālikanātha’s position in the history of Sanskrit philosophy needs further investigation. His systematisation of Prābhākara philosophy, answering (or trying to answer) all challenges coming from the Bhāṭṭa field is so thorough that no philosopher after him went back to Prabhākara alone without taking into account his explanations. For instance, no one went back to Prabhākara’s account of arthāpatti, independently of Śālikanātha’s reinterpretaion. All of Kumārila’s interpreters and commentators have been influenced by Śālikanātha and at times mutuated their siddhānta from Śālikanātha’s objections.
However, there is one author referring to Prābhākara ideas and not taking into account Śālikanātha’s points. This is Jayanta, who is also among the few authors whose dates are relatively settled (870–950 ca.). Thus, Śālikanātha either lived after Jayanta, or was not yet known at the time of Jayanta in Kaśmīr.
As hinted at above, Śālikanātha tried to systematise Prabhākara by making an all-encompassing Prābhākara philosophy. In other words, he tried to stretch Prabhākara’s views way beyond what was more important to Prabhākara (such as deontic and hermeneutic issues) and to cover also ontology etc. He also tried to raise to the challenge produced by Kumārila by reinterpreting Prabhākara’s theory in a way apt to answer to Kumārila’s objection (for instance, by reconsidering the role of apūrva, by admitting smārita padārtha within the process of signification and by discussing the cognitive aspect of abhāva).
These are just some of the reasons that make it relevant and necessary to read and study Śālikanātha. Other reasons include his being a) philosophically intriguing (as certified even by his opponents, see above concerning Kumārila’s commentators reusing them); b) an enjoyable and elegant author.