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Title: The Semantics of Substantial Names
Subtitle: The Tradition of the Commentaries on Aristotle's Metaphysics
Author(s): AMERINI, Fabrizio
Journal: Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie Médiévales
Volume: 75    Issue: 2   Date: 2008   
Pages: 395-440
DOI: 10.2143/RTPM.75.2.2033409

Abstract :
Aristotle begins the third chapter of book VIII of the Metaphysics by claiming that sometimes it is not clear whether a name refers to the composite substance or to the actuality and the form, for instance whether «animal» refers to the soul in a body or simply to the soul. In solving this problem, Aristotle states that the name «animal» can refer to both, not, however, in one and the same sense (i.e. in a univocal way) but rather by expressing two different senses which are nonetheless related to each other (viz. in an analogical way). Nevertheless, Aristotle does not say anything concerning which of these two senses the name «animal» primarily expresses. This text of the Metaphysics gives to the medieval Latin commentators the occasion to deal with the topic of the signification of substantial names and, more particularly, to assess Averroes’s interpretation of Aristotle’s semantics. In the paper I attempt to reconstruct some important patterns of argument elaborated by thirteenth- and fourteenth-century commentators on the Metaphysics in their endeavor to solve the problem and to explain Averroes’s interpretation.

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