Platonic and Aristotelian Influences in the Philosophy of Language: A Case for the Priority of the Cratylus

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Aristotle’s De Interpretatione has been referred to as the most influential text to be written in the history of semantics. I argue, however, that it is Plato who lays the foundation for subsequent reflection on signification. In the Cratylus, Plato confronts the two prevalent views of his time on the nature of the relationship between a name and a thing named: conventionalism, which holds that there is an arbitrary, imposed relationship between names and what they name; and naturalism, which holds that there is a natural relationship between names and what they name. The true originality of Plato’s line of reasoning consists in arguing that whether we begin with naturalism or conventionalism, we are soon forced to introduce a third, mediating term between word and thing into the relation of signification. Plato thus establishes the tertiary nature of the sign-relation, a position that Aristotle takes for granted.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2017-06-21
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

Total views
32 ( #35,739 of 40,656 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #32,977 of 40,656 )

How can I increase my downloads?

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