Aristotle, On Interpretation

LCL 325: 114-115

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16 a

I. Πρῶτον δεῖ θέσθαι τί ὄνομα καὶ τί ῥῆμα, ἔπειτα τί ἐστιν ἀπόφασις καὶ κατάφασις καὶ ἀπόφανσις καὶ λόγος.

Ἔστι μὲν οὖν τὰ ἐν τῇ φωνῇ τῶν ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ 5παθημάτων σύμβολα, καὶ τὰ γραφόμενα τῶν ἐν τῇ φωνῇ. καὶ ὥσπερ οὐδὲ γράμματα πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά, οὐδὲ φωναὶ αἱ αὐταί· ὧν μέντοι ταῦτα σημεῖα πρώτως, ταὐτὰ πᾶσι παθήματα τῆς ψυχῆς, καὶ ὧν ταῦτα ὁμοιώματα, πράγματα ἤδη ταὐτά. περὶ μὲν οὖν τούτων εἴρηται ἐν τοῖς περὶ ψυχῆς· ἄλλης γὰρ πραγματείας.


Ἔστι δ᾿, ὥσπερ ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ ὁτὲ μὲν νόημα ἄνευ τοῦ ἀληθεύειν ἢ ψεύδεσθαι, ὁτὲ δὲ ἤδη ᾧ ἀνάγκη τούτων ὑπάρχειν θάτερον, οὕτω καὶ ἐν τῇ φωνῇ· περὶ γὰρ σύνθεσιν καὶ διαίρεσίν ἐστι τὸ ψεῦδος


On Interpretation, I

On Interpretation

I. Let us, first of all, define noun and verb, then explain what is meant by denial, affirmation, proposition and sentence.

Words spoken are symbols or signs of affections or impressions of the soul; written words are the signs of words spoken. As writing, so also is speech not the same for all races of men. But the mental affections themselves, of which these words are primarily signs, are the same for the whole of mankind, as are also the objects of which those affections are representations or likenesses, images, copies. With these points, however, I dealt in my-treatise concerning the soula; they belong to a different inquiry from that which we now have in hand.

As at times there are thoughts in our minds unaccompanied by truth or by falsity, while there are others at times that have necessarily one or the other, so also it is in our speech, for combination and division are essential before you can have truth and

  • aIt is hard to say which is the passage, provided this means the De Anima. Dr. W. D. Ross has observed that ‘The De Interpretatione, was suspected by Andronicus, on the ground, apparently, of a reference to the De Anima to which nothing in that work corresponds. There are, however, many such references in undoubtedly genuine works of Aristotle, and more than one way of explaining them. There is strong external evidence for its authenticity; Theophrastus and Eudemus both wrote books which seem to presuppose it, and Ammonius tells us that Andronicus was the only critic who cast doubt on it. Finally, its style and grammar seem to be genuinely Aristotelian. All that can really be said against it is that much of it is somewhat elementary; but Aristotle doubtless gave elementary as well as advanced lectures’ (Aristotle, p. 10). The Provost of Oriel remarks that H. Maier ‘suggests that the reference in l(j a 8 should be transferred to 16 a 13 and relates to De An, iii. 6.’
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-interpretation.1938