Aristotle on Predication

European Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):793-813 (2015)

Authors
Phil Corkum
University of Alberta
Abstract
A predicate logic typically has a heterogeneous semantic theory. Subjects and predicates have distinct semantic roles: subjects refer; predicates characterize. A sentence expresses a truth if the object to which the subject refers is correctly characterized by the predicate. Traditional term logic, by contrast, has a homogeneous theory: both subjects and predicates refer; and a sentence is true if the subject and predicate name one and the same thing. In this paper, I will examine evidence for ascribing to Aristotle the view that subjects and predicates refer. If this is correct, then it seems that Aristotle, like the traditional term logician, problematically conflates predication and identity claims. I will argue that we can ascribe to Aristotle the view that both subjects and predicates refer, while holding that he would deny that a sentence is true just in case the subject and predicate name one and the same thing. In particular, I will argue that Aristotle's core semantic notion is not identity but the weaker relation of constitution. For example, the predication ‘All men are mortal’ expresses a true thought, in Aristotle's view, just in case the mereological sum of humans is a part of the mereological sum of mortals
Keywords aristotle  predication  reference
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Reprint years 2015
DOI 10.1111/ejop.12054
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References found in this work BETA

Studies in the Way of Words.H. Paul Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Parts: A Study in Ontology.Peter Simons - 1987 - Oxford University Press.
Parts of Classes.David LEWIS - 1991 - Blackwell.

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Citations of this work BETA

Mereology in Aristotle's Assertoric Syllogistic.Justin Vlasits - 2018 - History and Philosophy of Logic 40 (1):1-11.
The Formal Cause in the Posterior Analytics.Petter Sandstad - 2016 - Filozofski Vestnik 37 (3):7-26.

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