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

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All words that can be used as subjects in propositions are nouns. Thus, in the sentence “non erat in Christo est et non, sed est in illo erat”, the verb (est) is a noun (V, 12–14). Yet, notes Augustine, we can ask what is the name of something, but not what is the word of something (VII, 20). Thus word and name are not one and the same thing. This digression is capped by a final image that summarizes Augustine’s thesis that the semantic universe consists in a continuous referring of signs to other signs.

For Aristotle, the notion reflects the object, therefore meaning and reference are one and the same. The Stoics, instead, interpose the lekton between the two, which allows them to identify different meanings even when the reference is the same (as when one refers to Cicero as the ‘author of the De finibus’ or ‘Catiline’s adversary’). Closer to the Aristotelian model is Epicurus’s semantic theory, where there is no mediating element between voice and signified thing. On this point, Sextus (Against the Log.

Prolepsis contributes to recognizing through names (as well as to all other recognizing acts, including non-linguistic ones) by fostering the direct reference between the voice and the object or event. In fact, the immediacy of reference contributes to the efficacy of names. Epicurus’s faith in the proleptic (nondefinitional) power of names goes hand in hand with his contempt for dialectics 29 30 A History of Language Philosophies and its paraphernalia of definitions and classifications. In his Letter to Herodotus, he voices an important methodological principle of argumentative procedure: “the primary signification of every term employed must be clearly seen, and ought to need no proving […] if we are to have something to which the point at issue or the problem or the opinion before us can be referred” (Diogenes Laertius X, 37–38).

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