Is There Something in Common? Forms and the Theory of Word Meaning

European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1675-1694 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Plato's reflections on Forms have generally been overlooked, in contemporary Philosophy of Language, as a serious resource for illuminating the notion of word meaning. In part, this is due to the influence of Wittgenstein's critical reflections on looking for ‘something in common’ as explanatory for use of a general term. I argue that, far from being undermined, appeal to Forms can both help explain, and provide corrective critical insight into, Wittgenstein's observations. Plato's reflections provide insight into word meaning that is relevant for contemporary research. Relevant considerations include an explanation as to why an item is F; looking to ‘what something is’; the compresence of opposites; whether participation in a Form involves approximation to the Form.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,330

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Meaning, signification, and suggestion: Berkeley on general words.Timothy Pritchard - 2012 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 29 (3):301-317.
Wittgenstein on Definition and Family Resemblance.Funing Ding - 1999 - Philosophy and Culture 26 (8):721-729.
Wittgenstein on Meaning and Understanding.Zahia Benzarour - 1988 - Dissertation, The American University
Skinner: From Essentialist to Selectionist Meaning.Roy A. Moxley - 1997 - Behavior and Philosophy 25 (2):95 - 119.
Focus Below the Word Level.Ron Artstein - 2004 - Natural Language Semantics 12 (1):1-22.


Added to PP

17 (#731,412)

6 months
5 (#237,114)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Timothy Pritchard
King's College London

Citations of this work

Analogical Cognition: an Insight into Word Meaning.Timothy Pritchard - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (3):587-607.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.
The Blue and Brown Books.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1958 - Philosophy 34 (131):367-368.
Language as a Natural Object.Noam Chomsky - 2000 - In New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 106--133.
Platonic Causes.David Sedley - 1998 - Phronesis 43 (2):114-132.
Reasons and causes in the phaedo.Gregory Vlastos - 1969 - Philosophical Review 78 (3):291-325.

View all 28 references / Add more references