Antiquity - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Antiquity

The Cosmologists

Since the earliest Greek philosophers were primarily cosmologists, their views on language are not the most fully developed (or best preserved) of their doctrines. Sources very late in antiquity attributed to Pythagoras (fl. 530 BCE) the view that although the soul assigned names to things, it did so not arbitrarily but on the basis of a natural connection between them, somehow like that between mental images and their originals. Modern historians sometimes credit Heraclitus (fl. 500 BCE) with having thought a great deal about language, but most of the fragments offered in evidence have to do with the logos, which surely is to be interpreted as the guiding principle of nature rather than as word or language. While we have nothing of his explicitly on language, it seems likely that Heraclitus did attach philosophical significance to the puns or contradictions in terms on which some of his paradoxical...

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This section contains 7,414 words
(approx. 25 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Antiquity Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan
Antiquity from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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