Even though Aristotle speaks often about language, his remarks do not fall within the province of any given discipline, let alone belong to the same subject matter or amount to a πραγματεία of their own. Rather, they are somewhat scattered across the Aristotelian corpus and are to be gleaned from a vast array of texts, including ethical and political writings (where language plays a remarkable role in shaping human sociability), treatises on natural history (where Aristotle outlines the physiology of phonation (...) in some animals such as birds and human beings), books on the soul (where Aristotle describes how language is intertwined with perception, imagination and thought) and works on dialectics, poetics and rhetoric (where linguistic expression is described as a powerful means of both persuasion and deception). Accordingly, «Le langage. Lectures d’Aristote» elects to study Aristotle’s understanding of language and its workings by asking relevant Aristotelian texts only those questions these texts answer – either by themselves or in conjunction with one another. -/- Quelque nombreuses et quelque influentes qu'elles soient par ailleurs, les vues d'Aristote sur le langage se caractérisent à la fois par leur hétérogénéité et par leur marginalité. Sans faire nulle part du langage et de la signification l'objet d'une investigation autonome et méthodique, Aristote multiplie les remarques et les digressions à leur sujet, que ce soit dans ses écrits d'éthique et de politique ou dans ses traités d'histoire et de philosophie naturelle, ou encore dans ses manuels de dialectique, de poétique et de rhétorique. Face à l'abondance de ces matériaux et aux difficultés qu'ils présentent du fait de s'offrir au lecteur en ordre quelque peu dispersé, «Le langage. Lectures d'Aristote» fait le choix d'indexer l'étude du langage chez Aristote sur des passages précis du corpus en ne posant aux textes aristotéliciens d'intérêt linguistique que les questions auxquelles ces mêmes textes - tantôt pris isolément, tantôt mis en relation les uns avec les autres - apportent une réponse. (shrink)
Abstract. This study analyses and assesses the notion of « signification » deployed in « De int. » 1 and its role in the whole of « De int. » Four main conclusions are reached: (i) The semantic observations of « De int. » 1 provide linguistic elements and linguistic background to explain contrary pairs, contradictory pairs, statement-making-sentences, and truth and falsehood. (ii) In « De int. » 1, Aristotle restricts his semantic interests to elements and relations necessary for explaining (...) contrary and contradictory pairs of assertions, and he does this at the expense of other linguistic and semantic issues that may be important for us, such as communication and linguistic content. As a consequence, Aristotle’s linguistic terminology in « De int. » 1, and the « De int. » in general, does not explicitly distinguish different senses of « signification » and obscures some aspects of the linguistic distinctions between statement-making-sentences, non-statement-making-sentences, and compound nouns. (iii) « De int. » 1 presupposes a distinction between simple vocalized-sounds and complex vocalized-sounds which implies a very rough notion of compositionality, according to which complex vocalized-sounds consist of simple vocalized-sounds. (iv) « De int. » 1 does not contain a theory of what we call « meaning », for its main concern is neither how we manage to understand or be motivated by expressions, nor what we request when we fail to understand or be motivated by an expression. (shrink)
The appropriationist approach to history of philosophy is often accused of being antihistorical and thus unreliable. The appropriationists are only concerned with their own philosophical problems, and they make discriminating use of the historical data as far as it serves their needs. Its rival, the contextualist approach, claims to be an honest, dedicated and reliable treatment of history. The contextualists are willing to make use of the tedious methodology of Classical studies as long as it promises to uncover the true (...) historical data. In this paper I present a case where the contextualists have failed to surpass their rival appropriationists in their quest for veracity. The case is the debate about Aristotle’s De Interpretatione 9, which took place in 1950-1980s. In this debate the contextualists were unable to offer any other results except for those which have already been suggested by the appropriationists. In addition I demonstrate how the contextualists selectively used the arsenal of Classical methodology not to uncover the truth, but to justify their own preconceived interpretations. (shrink)
The subject of this paper is the issue of human speech in Aristotle, especially in his work Categories. Its primary goal is to elaborate an interpretation of Aristotle’s statements about human speech as a quantity (Cat. 4b20–b39, 5a15–b2) that would allow them to fit reasonably into the whole of Aristotle’s theory of language. The structure of the paper is as follows. In the first part a certain approach to the question of the reconstruction of Aristotle’s theory of language is proposed. (...) The second part, by means of the introduction of the criteria of separability and ontological priority of the first substance, creates a framework for the subsequent analysis of the two basic classifications, which constitute the main theme of Categories. The third part supplies its own interpretation of the ontological status of human speech in the context of the classification schemes in Categories, and this, in the fourth part, is inserted into the greater whole of Aristotle’s theory of language. (shrink)
Aristotle’s De Interpretatione has been referred to as the most influential text to be written in the history of semantics. I argue, however, that it is Plato who lays the foundation for subsequent reflection on signification. In the Cratylus, Plato confronts the two prevalent views of his time on the nature of the relationship between a name and a thing named: conventionalism, which holds that there is an arbitrary, imposed relationship between names and what they name; and naturalism, which holds (...) that there is a natural relationship between names and what they name. The true originality of Plato’s line of reasoning consists in arguing that whether we begin with naturalism or conventionalism, we are soon forced to introduce a third, mediating term between word and thing into the relation of signification. Plato thus establishes the tertiary nature of the sign-relation, a position that Aristotle takes for granted. (shrink)
This book presents an exhaustive study of the three 13-century discussions explicitly dealing with the notion of Significatio. The study aims to show that the three discussions emerge because of apparently opposite claims about the signification of words in the authoritative literature of the period. It also shows that the three discussions develop in the same direction - towards a unified use of the notion of signification, which keeps its explanatory role in semiotics, but loses its role in grammar and (...) logic. (shrink)
My aim is to figure out whether Aristotle’s response to the argument for fatalism in De Interpretatione 9 is successful. By “response” here I mean not simply the reasons he offers to highlight why fatalism does not accord with how we conduct our lives, but also the solution he devises to block the argument he provides for it. Achieving my aim hence demands that I figure out what exactly is the argument for fatalism he voices, what exactly is his solution, (...) whether his solution is coherent, and whether it does indeed succeed. I find that the argument is essentially bivalence plus that the truth of a proposition stating that an event will happen in the future entails that this event will necessarily happen, that Aristotle’s solution is to restrict bivalence when it comes to propositions about contingent future events, that this solution is coherent, and that while it does not rule out the possibility of fatalism, it does succeed in blocking the argument for fatalism offered within chapter 9. (shrink)
In view of Alexander of Aphrodisias’s and Porphyry’s respective positions on the issue, I discuss whether logos apophantikos is to be defined, as DI 4 seems to imply, by its being true or false or rather, as DI 5 seems to imply, by its representing the ontological combination/separation of substrate and attribute through the logical combination/separation of subject and predicate.
Nous proposons de montrer une rupture que la tradition interprétative médiévale du passage 16a3-8 du De interpretations a subie dans la seconde moitié du XIIIe siècle. On met ainsi en évidence que, dans cette même période, s'est façonnée une nouvelle théorie de la signification, qu'on retrouve notamment dans l'œuvre de théologiens franciscains ou proches des idées franciscaines, opposée sur des points fondamentaux à celle qui a été transmise par Boèce dans son deuxième commentaire du De interpretations. The aim of this (...) article is to describe a rupture that occurred in the second half of the 13th century concerning the interpretation of the passage 16a3-8 of the De interpretatione. We also discuss a new theory of signification which arose during the same period, a theory found in the works of Franciscan theologians or of theologians close to the Franciscan tradition. This theory is fundamentally opposed to the one transmitted by Boethius in his second commentary on the De interpretatione. (shrink)
In De int. 9 Aristotle argues that some declarative sentences are neither true nor false. This raises the problem of how we should understand the words of ch. 4, which introduces the declarative sentence as ‘that in which being true or being false holds’. In this paper I remove the contradiction by arguing that in ch. 4 Aristotle does not intend to claim that *all* declarative sentences are either true or false, but rather that *only* they are either true or (...) false, unlike other kinds of sentence; I defend the soundness of this interpretation on the linguistic and textual level; and I show how we can make good philosophical sense of it. (shrink)
We begin with an introductory overview of contributions made by more than twenty scholars associated with the Philosophy Department at the University of Buffalo during the last half-century to our understanding and evaluation of Aristotle's logic. More well-known developments are merely mentioned in..
Este livro é um 'ancestral' em pré-print do meu livro de 2006, Introdução à Teoria da Predicação em Aristóteles (ISBN 978-85-268-0716-1), publicado pela Editora da Unicamp (ver https://www.academia.edu/6912408/Introdu%C3%A7%C3%A3o_%C3%A0_teoria_da_predica%C3%A7%C3%A3o_em_Arist %C3%B3teles). O ancestral foi felizmente muito citado, mesmo depois da aparição do livro definitivo em 2006. -/- This is an ancestor (in pré-print) of my 2006 Book, 'Introdução à Teoria da Predicação em Aristóteles' (ISBN 978-85-268-0716-1), published by Editora da Unicamp (see https://www.academia.edu/6912408/Introdu%C3%A7%C3%A3o_%C3%A0_teoria_da_predica%C3%A7%C3%A3o_em_Arist %C3%B3teles). The ancestor was cited by many, even after the definitive book (...) appeared in 2006. (shrink)
Aristotle’s De Interpretatione opens with some norms designed to guide philosophical discour- se. One of these norms–of greatest importance for the discourse about being–is the distinction between the affirmation and the content of a proposition. No verb, not even the verb to be, will by itself state the existence of its content. – The oppositon to the traditional interpretation of the text in this article is primarily founded on observations of ordinary Greek speech. ”A verb uttered just by itself“ doesn’t (...) mean ”the verb without a subject noun“ as normaly assumed, but it means ”the verb without the intention to affirm what it means.“ – Some glances at Platon and Kant conclude the article. (shrink)