Understanding, Thought, and Meaning

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

 Understanding, Thought, and Meaning

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Aristotle's solution to the problem raised in Ch. 4 depends on his account of how we arrive at thoughts on the basis of experience. In his view, we standardly acquire a term for a kind on the basis of contact with members of a kind, without thereby knowing that the kind in question exists. Further, we can grasp such terms without knowing that the kind (if it exists) has a unifying basic feature that explains its necessary properties. Our understanding of the kind is to be compared with that of a craftsman and not that of a proto‐scientist. Aristotle's view is distinguished from several twentieth‐century accounts of these issues (e.g. modern essentialists such as Putnam, neo‐Fregeans, dual‐component theorists).

Keywords: Aristotle; dual‐component theories; essentialism; experience; Frege; master craftsman; Putnam; thought; understanding

Chapter.  15043 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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