Chapter

Homonymy and Signification

Christopher Shields

in Order in Multiplicity

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780199253074
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598401 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199253072.003.0004

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies

Homonymy and Signification

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Considers Aristotle's suggestion that difference in signification is sufficient for establishing homonymy. Shields examines Aristotle's notion of signification, and argues that difference in signification is not just sufficient, but necessary, for homonymy. He first explains Aristotle's account of signification in the context of Aristotle's general semantic theory; then considers questions about signification and word meaning, arguing that signification is a meaning relation. While Shields thus believes that Aristotle is justified in assuming that difference in signification is sufficient for homonymy, difference in signification alone cannot establish association or core dependence. Shields also defends Aristotle from the possible objection that he conflates concepts and properties, by arguing that an identification of properties and concepts is possible as the properties are essences specified by signification.

Keywords: Aristotle's notion of signification; Aristotle's semantic theory; association; concepts; core dependence; essences; meaning; properties

Chapter.  12855 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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