Monday, March 17, 2014

On Interpretation - Aristotle

This is one of the shortest pieces in the whole list.  The entirety of these first ten chapters is only six pages.  But, typically of Aristotle, it packs quite a bit into those pages.
In chapter one, Aristotle states that spoken words are symbols of thought.  He also says that nouns and verbs cannot be true or false on their own.  In the next chapter, he goes on to define a noun as 'a sound . . . which has no reference to time, and of which no part is significant apart from the rest'.  By this, he means that what we think of as a compound word like 'pirate-boat', the word 'boat' has no meaning if it were split out.  (And no, I don't quite follow that either.)
Anyway, I'm not going to summarize each chapter here.  The ninth and tenth chapters are the most interesting as he starts to get into ways of characterizing arguments.  This leads to the following chart, which is my very favorite one so far in the entire reading list:

I showed this to my wife (who helped recreate the chart), and she was baffled.  Why in the world would you start an example with something like 'not-man'?  And why would you get to a place where you'd use 'Not-man is not not-just'?  Ridiculous!
I kind of want to get this printed on a t-shirt.

1 comment:

  1. Haha. On Interpretation definitely wasn't one of my favourites. I imagine some of the parts that seem odd to us have been lost in translation.