The Promises and Problems of Homonymy

Christopher Shields

in Order in Multiplicity

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780199253074
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598401 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies

The Promises and Problems of Homonymy

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Shields reviews Aristotle's methods for establishing homonymy, association, and core dependence, without yet evaluating their success or failure. Shields begins by considering Aristotle's critical and constructive uses of homonymy, before turning to the sorts of tests upon which Aristotle relies for establishing non‐univocity; after that, he considers the sorts of tests needed to establish association and core dependence. Shields distinguishes focal meaning from focal connection, on linguistic or semantic grounds, before raising some of the problems or objections that homonymy faces. At the end of the chapter, Shields considers the promise of homonymy to be methodological; core‐dependent homonymy is something that allows Aristotle to offer a way of philosophizing that is sensitive to metaphysical multiplicity, and yet alive to the prospects of multiplicity's order. Aristotle's reliance on homonymy can be compelling, however, only if he offers a plausible method of establishing non‐univocity and clarifies the notion of association.

Keywords: association; core dependence; focal connection; focal meaning; methodology; multiplicity; signification; unity in science

Chapter.  13871 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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