The Signification of Names

David Charles

in Aristotle on Meaning and Essence

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780199256730
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597183 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies

 The Signification of Names

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In De Interpretatione, Aristotle offers an account of the conditions under which a term like ‘man’ signifies the kind man. This involves, in the case of simple names, the name being correlated with a thought, whose content is determined by efficient causal contact with the kind in question. Aristotle offers a separate account of how the signification of empty names, such as ‘goatstag’, is determined. His account, however, generates a problem: he wishes to hold that (1) the signification of ‘man’ is determined by causal contact with an existing kind and also that (2) we do not know in grasping the signification of this term that the kind exists. Can he hold on to both these claims?

Keywords: Aristotle; De Interpretatione; empty names; existence signification; simple names

Chapter.  15902 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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