By C. W. A. Whitaker

De Interpretatione is between Aristotle's so much influential and largely learn writings; C. W. A. Whitaker offers the 1st systematic learn of this paintings, and provides an intensive new view of its goals, its constitution, and its position in Arisotle's procedure. He indicates that De Interpretatione isn't a disjointed essay on unwell- hooked up matters, as typically idea, yet a hugely geared up and systematic treatise on good judgment, argument, and dialectic.

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Extra info for Aristotle's De Interpretatione: Contradiction and Dialectic

Example text

44 The copulative sense of the verb 'to be' is, however, related to the being of the categories. See APr. 49*6-10 and Meta. , 101:7*22-30, Chapter i: Significant Utterances 33 call the second one evidence for the first. Furthermore, the Greek does not bear this interpretation happily. ' This would correspond to the comment that the goat-stag signifies something, and the two illustrations would follow each other smoothly, the second supporting the same point as the first, but with an even stronger example.

This final point states that no part of a name signifies separately. Names and verbs are the smallest significant units of speech: Chapters 2-3: The Name 7 they are the elements of significant utterances, into which larger utterances are to be analysed. While, considered as sounds, they are divisible into letters and syllables, considered as units of meaning they are indivisible. This part of the definition is explained later in the chapter (16*21-6). The definition of the verb contains three points: the verb signifies time in addition, no part of it signifies separately, and it is a sign of things said of something else,2 The first and third points are explained in chapter 3 (i6b8-io); the second point is shared with the definition of the name, and is explained in chapter 2, Thus, the two chapters fit neatly together, and, with the exception of signification, which is dealt with in chapter r, what is left unexplained by one chapter is covered by the other.

Since no goat-stags exist, we would expect Aristotle to mean that 'goat-stag is* is false, while 'goat-stag is not* is true. Since truth and falsehood are to do with combination and separation, one explanation would be to say that the error in 'goat-stag is' lies in claiming that goats and stags cohere as a single entity. This would be to take goat-stag to be itself complex: it would be like the y! For a general study of the goat-stag, see G. SiUitti, Tragelaphos, Elenchos, 2 (Naples, 1980), Chapter i: Significant Utterances 31 fact that grass is pink, a non-existent compound of elements which never come together.

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