Apeiron (forthcoming)

Sosseh Assaturian
University of Texas at Austin
At Varro LL VI.56 and SE M 8.275-276, we find reports of the Stoic view that children and articulate non-rational animals such as parrots cannot genuinely speak. Absent from these testimonia is the peculiar case of the superficiality of the actor’s speech, which appears in one edition of the unstable text of PHerc 307.9 containing fragments of Chrysippus’ Logical Investigations. Commentators who include this edition of the text in their discussions of the Stoic theory of speech do not offer a univocal account of the superficiality of the parrot’s, the child’s, and the actor’s speech. In this paper, I offer a reconstruction of the Stoic account of genuine and superficial speech and show that not only is there an account of superficial speech that univocally explains the superficiality of the speech of parrots, children, and actors, but that this account challenges traditional assumptions about the entities at the heart of the Stoic theory of language—lekta. It will turn out that genuine speech is the expression of a lekton by way of performing a speech act, and that this account of superficial speech can be used to explain other linguistic phenomena that are of interest to the Stoics, such as sentences in insoluble sophisms and sentences containing demonstratives that do not refer to anything in the subject term. Importantly, my reconstruction shows, against the near consensus view of lekta, that lekta do not primarily explain what makes an utterance meaningful. Rather, they primarily explain what makes an utterance an instance of genuine speech.
Keywords stoicism  lekta  speech  rationality  speech acts  sorites
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Stoics on Lekta: All There Is To Say by Ada Bronowski. [REVIEW]Simon Shogry - 2020 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 58 (3):609-610.
Are There Any Subsentential Speech Acts?Joanna Odrowąż-Sypniewska - 2017 - Studia Semiotyczne—English Supplement 29:248-271.
Speech Acts, Criteria and Intentions.Jesús Navarro-Reyes - 2010 - Lodz Papers in Pragmatics 6 (1):145-170.
On Performative in Legal Discourse.L. Fiorito - 2006 - Metalogicon 2:101-112.
On Racist Hate Speech and the Scope of a Free Speech Principle.Mary Kate McGowan & Ishani Maitra - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 23 (2):343-372.
The Rhetorical Relations Approach to Indirect Speech Acts.Lenny Clapp - 2009 - Pragmatics and Cognition 17 (1):43-76.
Extracted Speech.Rachel Ann McKinney - 2016 - Social Theory and Practice 42 (2):258-284.
Oppressive Speech.Mary Kate McGowan - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):389 – 407.
Inner Speech, Imagined Speech, and Auditory Verbal Hallucinations.Daniel Gregory - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (3):653-673.
Inner Speech as the Internalization of Outer Speech.Christopher Gauker - 2018 - In Peter Langland-Hassan & Agustin Vicente (eds.), Inner Speech: New Voices. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 53-77.
Transformations of Illocutionary Acts.Aaron Sloman - 1969 - Analysis 30 (2):56 - 59.


Added to PP index

Total views
21 ( #512,198 of 2,445,954 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #185,081 of 2,445,954 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes