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Aristotle's De InterpretationeContradiction and Dialectic$
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C. W. A. Whitaker

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199254194

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199254192.001.0001

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(p.209) Appendix III Signification and Definition

(p.209) Appendix III Signification and Definition

Aristotle's De Interpretatione

C. W. A. Whitaker

Oxford University Press

A special case of the practice, seen in Appendix II, is the discovery of definitions, as seen in Posterior Analytics II. Here Aristotle questions whether it is possible to find definitions by examining the significations of words. His subtle analysis distinguishes between geometry, where we know before we begin what a triangle is, but must demonstrate that such a thing as a triangle is possible, and the case of physical phenomena, where we must achieve understanding before knowing what a word like ’thunder’ really signifies. In both cases, it will be seen that the traditional distinction between ’real’ and ’nominal’ definitions is alien to Aristotle.

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