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Title: Johannes de Raey and the Cartesian Philosophy of Language
Author(s): STRAZZONI, Andrea
Volume: 42 Issue: 2 Date: 2015
This article offers an account of the philosophy of language expounded in the Cogitata de interpretatione (1692) of the Dutch philosopher Johannes De Raey (1620-1702). In this work, De Raey provided a theory of the formation and meaning language based on the metaphysics of René Descartes. De Raey distinguished between words signifying passions and sensations, ideas of the intellect, or external things. The aim of this article is to shift away the discussion of De Raey’s critique on the application of the language of practical matters by Lodewijk Meijer and Spinoza, and to redirect modern interpretations to the originality of De Raey’s own reflections on the uses of language. In his linguistic thought, De Raey criticized philosophers such as Hobbes, who supposedly deprived Aristotelian terminology of any reference and meaningful use. The analysis of De Raey testifies to the emergence of the philosophy of language out of the double traditions of logic and metaphysics. It is to be interpreted as an effect of the emergence of an alternative worldview to Aristotelianism. This called for an update of the semantic catalogue of philosophy and practical disciplines.