By Hans Arens

This quantity incorporates a fragment from Aristotle’s Peri Hermeneias [16a1–17a7], with a translation into English and a remark. This fragment is important to the certainty of Aristotle’s pondering language. it truly is through (translations of) commentaries on Aristotle’s textual content by way of students among 500 and 1750, displaying how his textual content was once perceived through the years. The commentaries are by way of Ammonius, Boethius, Abelaerd, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Acquinas, Martinus de Dacia, Johannes a S. Thoma, and James Harris. each one remark is in flip commented upon by way of the compiler of this quantity.

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Additional resources for Aristotle's Theory of Language and its Tradition: Texts from 500 to 1750 (Studies in the History of the Language Sciences, Volume 29)

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As it signifies nothing finite he proposes to call it an infinite noun (aóriston ônoma). 'Non-man' will constantly be used as a negatived noun in the affirmations and negations of the following chapters. Waitz and Minio-Paluello here omit a subordinate clause which several MSS contain and which is repeated in the par­ allel passage in 20:"because it can likewise be said of any­ thing, whether existent or inexistent". I think that it is impossible that Aristotle should have given the reason for his name-giving only in the second place and omitted it in the first.

So Aristotle's famous theory omits the specific human process of abstrac­ tion and analogy, the precondition of language. That is the cause of its inconsistency: the notion tree, the signifi­ cate of the words dóry, arbor, tree, Baum, cannot be an im­ age of the real trees. The gap will be filled by the com­ mentators. " Which I doubt. From this fundamental doctrine of only one way of appre­ hending the world it followed 'that the same notions or forms of intellection found their expression in all languages, only in different ways, and as the notions, by their special properties, demanded certain logical combinations, the 'parts of speech' and their construction had to be the same, too; in other words: the grammar was essential and universal, 32 COMMENTARY TO ARISTOTLE the vocal forms were accidental and individual: the former was permanent, the latter was changing.

Unfortunately he does not say how a compo­ nent of a compound signifies. If he is aware that he re­ peats himself why does he do it, and in this place? (27-30) There are all sorts of sentences, Aristotle says, and they all express or say something, but not all of them state something; and in between he quite unnecessarily re­ peats ("as I have said") that the sentence signifies con- 56 COMMENTARY TO ARISTOTLE ventionally, not - he changes the expression - organically. It seems a matter of course that every sentence has conven­ tional meaning because of its parts, but the meaning of the sentence results from the semantic units + their interrela­ tions determined by the syntactical rules.

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