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Extra info for A History of Language Philosophies (Studies in the History of the Language Sciences)

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Let us now return to the initial passage of De intepretatione where Aristotle deals with the affections or impressions (pathemata) of the soul, of which the articulated voice is the symbol, and with their objects (pragmata). Pragmata evidently include not only objects in the proper sense but any event that can make an impression on the soul. , of objective equivalents of mental representations, or even as ‘state of affairs’, as Nuchelmans (1973: 33–36) and de Rijk (1987: 31–39) do. A no less broad interpretation is necessary for the term pathemata, which designates representations in general, mental contents of all sorts: images, concepts but also propositional attitudes such as understanding, thinking, believing, supposing (following an acceptation of pathemata found also in Plato; cf.

Quintilian described grammar as a practical discipline aimed at speaking correctly and interpreting literary texts. Sextus Empiricus also refers to the dual nature of grammar — practical and descriptive as well as theoretical and systematical — in his treatise Against the Grammarians (or: Against the Professors). What is at stake here is the relationship between grammar and philosophy, the ambition to transform a purely instrumental art — the art of reading and writing — into a general theory of language.

2) and the verb (“a sound which not only conveys a particular meaning but has a time-reference also”) are the minimum necessary verbal categories required for a judgment. “They indicate nothing themselves but imply a copulation or synthesis, which we can hardly conceive of apart from the things thus combined” (Chap. 3). They are the only two parts of speech that Aristotle deals with in this work. De interpretatione opens with a formula that for centuries was to remain the incipit of all theories of meaning: Words spoken are the symbols or signs of affections or impressions of the soul; written words are the signs of words spoken.

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