On Interpretation

Aristotle (translated by E.M. Edghill)

Sections: 1234567891011121314

1

First we must define the terms ‘noun’ and ‘verb’, then the terms ‘denial’ and ‘affirmation’, then ‘proposition’ and ‘sentence.’

Spoken words are the symbols of mental experience and written words are the symbols of spoken words. Just as all men have not the same writing, so all men have not the same speech sounds, but the mental experiences, which these directly symbolize, are the same for all, as also are those things of which our experiences are the images. This matter has, however, been discussed in my treatise about the soul, for it belongs to an investigation distinct from that which lies before us.

As there are in the mind thoughts which do not involve truth or falsity, and also those which must be either true or false, so it is in speech. For truth and falsity imply combination and separation. Nouns and verbs, provided nothing is added, are like thoughts without combination or separation; ‘man’ and ‘white’, as isolated terms, are not yet either true or false. In proof of this, consider the word ‘goat-stag.’ It has significance, but there is no truth or falsity about it, unless ‘is’ or ‘is not’ is added, either in the present or in some other tense.

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The Categories

The Categories

Aristotle (Translated by E. M. Edghill)

CONTENTS

Section 1: Part 1 ~ Part 2 ~ Part 3 ~ Part 4 ~ Part 5 ~ Part 6

Section 2: Part 7 ~ Part 8

Section 3: Part 9 ~ Part 10 ~ Part 11 ~ Part 12 ~ Part 13 ~ Part 14 ~ Part 15

Section 1

Part 1

Things are said to be named ‘equivocally’ when, though they have a common name, the definition corresponding with the name differs for each. Thus, a real man and a figure in a picture can both lay claim to the name ‘animal’; yet these are equivocally so named, for, though they have a common name, the definition corresponding with the name differs for each. For should any one define in what sense each is an animal, his definition in the one case will be appropriate to that case only.

On the other hand, things are said to be named ‘univocally’ which have both the name and the definition answering to the name in common. A man and an ox are both ‘animal’, and these are univocally so named, inasmuch as not only the name, but also the definition, is the same in both cases: for if a man should state in what sense each is an animal, the statement in the one case would be identical with that in the other.

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