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Aristotle on Meaning and Essence - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Aristotle on Meaning and Essence

David Charles


Focuses on two themes in Aristotle's philosophy and their interconnection. The first is his account of the meaning (or signification) of terms such as ‘man’, ‘fish’, and ‘eclipse’, which refer to kinds of objects or processes. The second is his theory of the essences of these kinds, what we refer to in defining them, and what makes them what they are. For Aristotle, the meaning of such terms is determined by a distinctive type of efficient causal connection between the kind and thoughts with which the terms are associated. However, although these terms signify existing kinds with essences, one ... More

Keywords: ancient philosophy, Aristotle, biological classification, causal explanation, David Charles, essence, essentialism, explanation, kind term, meaning, natural kinds, philosophy, scientific enquiry, signification

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2002 Print ISBN-13: 9780199256730
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003 DOI:10.1093/019925673X.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David Charles, author
Oriel College, University of Oxford
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