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

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

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.

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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.

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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.
Literal Meaning.Kent Bach - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):487-492.
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.

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