This volume is devoted to ancient theories of language. The chapters range over more than eight hundred years of philosophical enquiry, and provide critical analyses of all the principal accounts of how it is that language can have meaning and how we can come to acquire linguistic understanding. The discussions move from the naturalism examined in Plato's Cratylus to the sophisticated theories of the Hellenistic schools and the work of St. Augustine. The relations between thought about language and metaphysics, philosophy of mind and the development of grammar are also explored.
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Plato on understanding language
Cratylus theory of names and its refutation
Aristotle on names and their signification
Epicurus on mind and language
The Stoic notion of a lekton
Parrots Pyrrhonists and native speakers
Analogy anomaly and Apollonius Dyscolus
able according affections allow ancient animals answer appears applied argue argument Aristotle Aristotle's Augustine beliefs body called cause claim clear common complete concepts concerned correct course Cratylus definition determined dialogue Dion discussion distinction distinguish Epicurean Epicurus essence evidence example exist explain expression fact false Forms further give given grammar grasp Greek human idea important incomplete indication instance interpretation kind knowledge language later least lekta lekton linguistic logical matter meaning metaphysical mind names natural notion object original Parmenides particular passage perception perhaps philosophical Plato possible predicate principle problem prolēpseis properties proposition psychological question reason reference relation relevant require rules seems semantic sense sentence Sextus signify signs simple Socrates Sophist sort sounds speak speaker speech Stoics suggests theory things thought true truth turn understand utterance verb words