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Aristotle and the Problem of Concepts

Salmieri, Gregory (2008) Aristotle and the Problem of Concepts. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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By a "concept" , I mean a unitary thought (of the sort normally represented by a word) that applies to a plurality of differing objects, and by "The Problem of Concepts" I mean the pervasive philosophical questions of how such thoughts are to be explained and by what standards they are to be evaluated. Aristotle is generally held to have been a Moderate Realist, who held that a concept is a putative grasp of a mind-independent universal object that exist somehow in or derivatively on the many particular objects to which the concept applies. I argue that Aristotle rejected the posit of such universal objects and instead understood universality as a feature of thought, which has a basis in reality and a function in cognition. With some notable exceptions, concepts are based on relations of difference in "the more and the less" between their instances and on the causal relations between the various parts and characteristics of each instance. A concept's function is to serve as a term in deductions which enable us to represent the necessity of causal connections. I go on, then, to explore the manner in which, on Aristotle's view, concepts compose propositions and bodies of knowledge and the way in which they are formed.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Salmieri, Gregorygcs10@pitt.eduGCS10
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLennox, Jamesjglennox@pitt.eduJGLENNOX
Committee MemberGotthelf, Allangotthelf@pitt.eduGOTTHELF
Committee MemberAllen, Jamesjvallen@pitt.eduJVALLEN
Committee MemberMoss, Jessicajdm39@pitt.eduJDM39
Date: 3 November 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 3 June 2008
Approval Date: 3 November 2008
Submission Date: 16 June 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Philosophy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aristotle; concepts; universals
Other ID:, etd-06162008-111828
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:47
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:44


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