Logico-Linguistic Error as the Genesis of the Paradigm Case

John Malcolm

in Plato on the Self-Predication of Forms

Published in print June 1991 | ISBN: 9780198239062
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679827 | DOI:
Logico-Linguistic Error as the Genesis of the Paradigm Case

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Having offered an affirmative answer to the question as to whether the Form is, for Plato, an F thing, this chapter examines the doctrine that Plato became committed to the existence of such entities because of logico-linguistic error, for example, by confusing identifying, denoting, or properly naming with describing, or predicating, such as when one assumes that such expressions as ‘to F’ (‘the F’) or ‘ho esti F’ (‘that which is F’), used to denote universals, must, because of their linguistic form, also be indicating that these universals are F things. It argues that such a confusion is not to be invoked for the postulation of the paradigm case, but may prove relevant to the issue as to why Plato did not distinguish the paradigm case, independently arrived at, from the universal. It also challenges the suggestion that the Form being an F thing is due to regarding as components of proper names what are in fact quantifiers. The chapter then examines the hypothesis that, since Plato thought that e.g., the term ‘wise’ in ‘Socrates is wise’ not only described Socrates, but also properly named wisdom, he confounded proper naming and predicating to such an extent that he considered a Form when properly named ‘F’ to be also described as F and, hence, to be classified as an F thing. This approach is discounted primarily because there is no convincing evidence that Plato, in principle, took predicate adjectives to be proper names.

Keywords: predicate adjectives; quantifiers; F thing; linguistic form

Chapter.  6886 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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