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The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 3, 1998

Ancient Philosophy

Manuel A. Correia
Pages 93-99

The Doctrine of the Indefinite Terms in the Ancient Commentators of Aristotle

The ancient commentaries on Aristotle's Peri Hermeneias (= De Interpretatione) give us important elements to understand more clearly some difficult passages of this treatise. In the case of the indefinite names and verbs (i.e. 'not-man', and 'does not recover', respectively), these commentaries reveal a doctrine which explains not only the nature of the indefinites, but also why Aristotle introduces these kinds of term in Peri Hermeneias. The coherence and explanatory capacity of this doctrine is entirely absent in modern exegesis of Peri Hermeneias. This fact has important implications: it can make us to think whether there will be another topics in which the ancient commentators are still indispensable to understand Aristotle. It can also make us to think to what extent a profounder reflection of the ancient commentators can modify our idea of Aristotle and the ancient world.

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