meanings of hypothesis

Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 20 (2):348-9 (2014)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
The primary sense of the word ‘hypothesis’ in modern colloquial English includes “proposition not yet settled” or “open question”. Its opposite is ‘fact’ in the sense of “proposition widely known to be true”. People are amazed that Plato [1, p. 1684] and Aristotle [Post. An. I.2 72a14–24, quoted below] used the Greek form of the word for indemonstrable first principles [sc. axioms] in general or for certain kinds of axioms. These two facts create the paradoxical situation that in many cases it is impossible to translate the Greek form of the word using the English form: the primary sense of the word ‘hypothesis’ in modern colloquial English is diametrically opposed to one sense used by Plato and by his most accomplished student Given current colloquial English usage it is impossible to get the word hypothesis to carry the connotation of “settled truth” much less “axiomatic truth”. The ‘hypo-’ [under] in the Plato-Aristotle use of ‘hypothesis’ might carry the sense of “basis” or “foundational” as opposed to “less than usual or normal”. This paradox parallels the one pointed out by Robin Smith: it is impossible for the English word ‘syllogism’ to carry the meaning of its Greek form Aristotle intended. There are other cases as well: it is impossible for the English biological term ‘genus’ to carry the meaning of its Greek form the Greek genos refers to family as in our ‘genealogy’, not to “higher species” as in our ‘generic’.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
CORMOH
Revision history
Archival date: 2015-03-31
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2015-03-31

Total views
210 ( #18,343 of 45,690 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
18 ( #35,760 of 45,690 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.