Language and Logos: Studies in Ancient Greek Philosophy Presented to G. E. L. Owen

Language and Logos: Studies in Ancient Greek Philosophy Presented to G. E. L. Owen

Language: English

Pages: 376

ISBN: 0521027942

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The essays in this volume were written to celebrate the sixtieth birthday of G. E. L. Owen, who by his essays and seminars on ancient Greek philosophy has made a contribution to its study that is second to none. The authors, from both sides of the Atlantic, include not only scholars whose main research interests lie in Greek philosophy, but others best known for their work in general philosophy. All are pupils or younger colleagues of Professor Owen who are indebted to his practice of philosophical scholarship as a first-order philosophical activity. At the heart of G. E. L. Owen's work has been a preoccupation with the role of philosophical reflection on language in the metaphysics and epistemology of Plato, Aristotle and other ancient Greek thinkers. This is accordingly the general topic of the present volume, which includes five papers on Plato's critical dialogues and seven on Aristotle, prefaced by two on Heraclitus and followed by a study of the debate in Hellenistic philosophy on the sorites. This is a book for specialists in Greek philosophy and philosophers of language which will also be of interest to some linguists.

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itself of a kind to be the object of sense-experience; just as the meaning of a sentence does not consist (even partly) of extra words, nor does understanding the sentence involve the introduction of extra words. 4 The treatments of HeracHtus by later ancient philosophers, particularly Plato, Aristotle, Theophrastus and the Stoics, are difficult topics which have not been adequately treated in detail. For the early Stoic view, see the useful summary in A. A. Long, Hellenistic Philosophy (London

requires logos is joined by the conviction that the logos in question will proceed by analysing compounds into basic elements. Pressing these two requirements brings home the fact that logos is needed all the way down; we haven't given an account of language and its functioning if our account of the elements of language is essentially arbitrary. Nothing is explained, and so known, if anything is left unexplained, and so unknowable. This result is strikingly similar to the result of Socrates'

something, but that an indefinite number of attributes are not in relation to every form. Of course the indefinite number, in any case, will be all the attributes other than the topic form itself, including the pervasive ones. But we have no reason to suppose Plato wants to be able to say 'an indefinite number' because he anyway wants to be able to say 'all' (to include the pervasive forms), and consequently has to understand 'is not' in terms of non-identity; rather than that he finds himself

much more a first-order philosophical activity than it was in the first half of the century. Such changes require moving causes. This volume salutes the work of a scholar and philosopher whose influence on the development of study of Greek philosophy in the last 30 years is second to none. There have been three major channels through which G. E. L. Owen has made his influence felt. Pride of place must go to the series of masterly essays which he has given us since the early fifties, transforming

'Homonymy in Aristotle', Review ofMetaphysics, 34 (1981), 523—44. Owen, in 'Proof and in 'Logic and Metaphysics in Some Earlier Works of Aristotle', in Aristotle and Plato in the Mid-Fourth Century, ed. I. During and G. E. L. Owen (Goteborg i960), 163—90, believes that focal meaning is not a case of homonymy, but a tertium quid between homonymy and synonymy; 'Logic and Metaphysics', p. 179 (or, sometimes, that it is an extension of synonymy; see 'Logic', p. 188). In the later 'Aristotle on the

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