Aristotle: Semantics and Ontology - Vol. 1

Aristotle: Semantics and Ontology - Vol. 1

Aristotle: Semantics and Ontology - Vol. 1

Aristotle: Semantics and Ontology - Vol. 1

Synopsis

This study intends to show that the ascription of many shortcomings or obscurities to Aristotle is due to the persistent misinterpetation of key notions in his works, including anachronistic perceptions of statement making. In the first volume Aristotles semantics is culled from the Organon. The second volume presents Aristotles ontology of the sublunar world, and pays special attention to his strategy of argument in light of his semantic views. The reconstruction of the semantic models that come forward as genuinely Aristotelian can give a new impetus to the study of Aristotelian philosophic and semantic thought.

Excerpt

The present study has had a lengthy gestation. Substantial parts of it found their way into articles which for the greater part were issued in journals or collections not limited to Ancient philosophy. Their relative inaccessibility may justify the inordinate number of my own scripta in the bibliography.

A work like this cannot be written without great indebtedness to the substantial achievements of other scholars. Confining myself to the scholars who were of great help in the final stages of this study, the first volume in particular, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Professors John Ackrill (Oxford) and C.J. Ruijgh (Amsterdam) — who were kind enough to read parts of it — for their criticism and encouragement. Needless to say, any remaining flaws in the book should be imputed to the present author.

My debt to the pioneering works on Aristotelian logic by Sir David Ross, John Ackrill, Jan Lukasiewicz and Günther Patzig, Hermann Weidemann, Jonathan Barnes and Wolfgang Detel is far greater than can be gathered from the references. The same holds true for the works of many other scholars whose interpretations of Aristotelian writings have in one way or another contributed to the present book. I thank Dr. Allan T. Bäck for sending me parts of (an earlier draft of) his book on Aristotle's theory of predication. I am indebted to him also for some pertinent criticism of an earlier draft of Volume I. Dr. Joke Spruyt, too, was kind enough to make useful comments on several drafts of this study.

In this book I intend to show that the ascription of many shortcomings or obscurities to Aristotle resulted from persistent misinterpretation of key notions in his work. The idea underlying this study is that commentators have wrongfully attributed anachronistic perceptions of 'predication', and statement-making in general to Aristotle. In Volume I, what I consider to be the genuine semantics underlying Aristotle's expositions of his philosophy are culled from the Organon. Determining what the basic components of Aristotle's semantics are is extremely important for our understanding of his view of the task of logic — his strategy of argument in particular.

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