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The Byzantine Reception of Aristotle’s Theory of Meaning

Katerina Ierodiakonou

Résumés

Les érudits byzantins ont composé, principalement à des fins éducatives, des paraphrases et des commentaires sur la logique aristotélicienne et, en particulier, sur le De interpretatione. Certaines de ces œuvres trahissent clairement leur origine ancienne et d'autres témoignent soit de traditions anciennes perdues, soit des tentatives des Byzantins d'expliquer le texte d'Aristote. Mon but est de présenter les commentaires byzantins sur les premiers chapitres du De interpretatione, dans lesquels nous trouvons des traces de la théorie de la signification d'Aristote. Je commence par rassembler le matériel textuel pertinent du XIe au XVe siècle, ensuite, je discute des points de vue byzantins sur quatre sujets qui ont un intérêt philosophique et historique : les mêmes pensées sont-elles partagées par tous ? En quoi les ressemblances, les symboles et les signes diffèrent-ils ? Les noms sont-ils par nature ou par convention ? Les parties des noms composés signifient-elles ?

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Introduction

1Five lines at the beginning of Aristotle’s De interpretatione are commonly considered as the core of the Aristotelian theory of meaning:

  • 1 « Ἔστι μὲν οὖν τὰ ἐν τῇ φωνῇ τῶν ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ παθημάτων σύμβολα, καὶ τὰ γραφόμενα τῶν ἐν τῇ φωνῇ. καὶ (...)

“Now spoken sounds are symbols of affections in the soul, and written marks symbols of spoken sounds. And just as written marks are not the same for all men, neither are spoken sounds. But what these are in the first place signs of – affections of the soul – are the same for all; and what these affections are likenesses of – actual things – are also the same.” (De int. 1, 16a3-8; trans. J. L. Ackrill)1

  • 2 Ammonius (1897), In Aristotelis De interpretatione commentarius (ed. A. Busse), CAG 4.5, Berlin, Ge (...)
  • 3 Leonardo Tarán (1978), Anonymous Commentary on Aristotle’s De interpretatione, Meisenheim am Glan, (...)
  • 4 Stephanus (1885), In librum De interpretatione commentarium (ed. M. Hayduck), CAG 18.3, Berlin, Geo (...)
  • 5 Leonardo Tarán (1978), Anonymous Commentary on Aristotle’s De interpretatione, Meisenheim am Glan, (...)

2This central passage in ancient philosophy is rather concise and famously difficult to interpret. The commentators of late antiquity studiously tried to unravel its claims and explicate it by producing detailed scholia of which only some have survived. The commentaries on the De interpretatione written by Alexander of Aphrodisias, Porphyry, Iamblichus and Syrianus are unfortunately lost, although we are able to partly reconstruct them on the basis of Ammonius’ and Boethius’ extant commentaries on this treatise2. In addition, the following late-antique commentaries have also survived: very few scholia by Olympiodorus in codex Urbinas graecus 35, edited by Leonardo Tarán3; a commentary by the much disputed seventh century commentator Stephanus, who seems to depend upon Ammonius but also upon an independent source4; finally, an anonymous commentary in codex Parisinus graecus 2064, also edited by Leonardo Tarán who argues, against Adolf Busse, the editor of Ammonius’ commentary, that this is not by Olympiodorus but by some scholar in the Alexandrian school of the late sixth or seventh century who was influenced, too, by Ammonius5.

3But the late-antique commentaries on Aristotle’s De interpretatione are not at the centre of my attention here; rather, I am interested in showing that these are not the only Greek commentaries on this Aristotelian treatise. For the De interpretatione was undoubtedly one of the ancient works that Byzantine scholars customarily included in their philosophical curriculum, which typically started with the study of Porphyry’s Isagoge and continued with Aristotle’s Categories, the De interpretatione and the Prior Analytics 1.1-7. This suggests of course that in Byzantium, too, there was a need for composing commentaries on Aristotelian logic primarily for educational purposes. Indeed, we have Byzantine writings commenting, in particular, on the De interpretatione, of which some clearly betray their ancient provenance whereas others are testimony either to lost ancient traditions or to the Byzantines’ own attempts to make sense of Aristotle’s puzzling text. In what follows, I begin by presenting the relevant textual material from the eleventh to the fifteenth century and, then, I examine four topics relevant to the Aristotelian theory of meaning, which are discussed in these works and seem to be of some philosophical and historical interest.

The Byzantine Commentaries

Michael Psellos (1503), Ammonii Hermei commentaria in librum Peri hermeneias. Magentini archiepiscopi Mitylenensis in eundem enarratio (ed. Aldus Manutius), Venice6

  • 6 Psellos’ paraphrase is not mentioned in the title of Manutius’ edition, but we find it between the (...)
  • 7 On Michael Psellos’ life and works, cf. Katerina Ierodiakonou (2012a), “Michel Psellos”, in R. Goul (...)

4Michael Psellos (1018-1076) was one of the most erudite and prolific thinkers of the Byzantine Middle Ages7. He taught all branches of philosophy and greatly contributed to the revival of philosophical studies in Byzantium. More specifically, he provided philosophical instruction by closely reading and commenting on Aristotle’s logical treatises, which he thought should be given a propaedeutic role before dealing with more philosophical issues, but which he also saw as an intellectual exercise that enables one to dispose of heretical views. Psellos had a close familiarity with most of the ancient Greek commentators and drew extensively, for instance, from Alexander of Aphrodisias, Ammonius, Olympiodorus and John Philoponus. In fact, he seems to have been well acquainted with the whole corpus of Greek philosophy, which at the time was somewhat larger than it is now, so he read and used philosophical works that have since been lost.

  • 8 For the distinction between commentaries and paraphrases, cf. Katerina Ierodiakonou (2012b), “The B (...)
  • 9 Cf. Katerina Ierodiakonou (2002), “Psellos’ paraphrasis of Aristotle's De interpretation”, in K. Ie (...)

5There are at least 37 codices of Psellos’ paraphrase of the De interpretatione, dating from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, and the attribution to Psellos is well attested. Its characteristics, namely that it aims at making Aristotle’s wording clearer, that it is not long – Ammonius’ commentary is 272 pages in its CAG edition, while Psellos’ text is approximately 90 pages –, that it is in a continuous flow and that the author speaks as if he were Aristotle himself, classify it as a paraphrase rather than as a commentary8. Aldus Manutius’ edition of this paraphrase suffers from a great number of misreadings, displacements of passages and unnecessary additions9.

John Italos (1956), Questiones Quodlibetales (ed. P. Joannou), Ettal, Buch-Kunstverlag Ettal

  • 10 On John Italos’ life and works, cf. Katerina Ierodiakonou (2011a), “John Italos”, in H. Lagerlund ( (...)

6John Italos (c.1025-?) was a student of Psellos and occupies a special place in the history of Byzantine thought for having been put on trial and condemned by the Orthodox Church on the charge of having advocated the systematic use of logical reasoning in clarifying central theological issues10. He wrote commentaries on Aristotle’s logical treatises, in particular on the Topics, and two small treatises on dialectic and on the Aristotelian syllogisms. He also composed a collection of ninety-three answers to philosophical questions posed to him by his students, the Quaestiones quodlibetales, among which there are some that concern Aristotle’s De interpretatione. Unfortunately, none of them focuses on the topics raised in the first chapters.

Michael of Ephesus: codex Parisinus graecus 1917

  • 11 On Michael of Ephesus’ life and works, cf. Pantelis Golitsis (2018a), “Michel d’Éphèse”, in R. Goul (...)
  • 12 Michele Trizio (forthcoming), “Michael of Ephesus on De interpretatione”, in S. Coughlin and J. Tru (...)

7We know next to nothing about Michael of Ephesus’ life, except that he most probably belonged, together with Eustratios of Nicaea, in princess Anna Komnena’s circle of Byzantine scholars, who had in the twelfth century the task of producing commentaries on Aristotle’s works11. Michael’s comments on the Sophistici elenchi, the Nicomachean Ethics, part of the Metaphysics, some treatises from the Parva naturalia and from Aristotle’s biological works have survived. There are also unedited scholia on the De interpetatione attributed to him in the margins of codex Parisinus graecus 1917. According to Michele Trizio, who has studied them closely, they seem to reproduce sections of Psellos’ paraphrase12.

Leo Magentenos (1503), Ammonii Hermei commentaria in librum Peri hermeneias. Magentini archiepiscopi Mitylenensis in eundem enarratio (ed. Aldus Manutius), Venice

  • 13 On Leo Magentenos’ life and works, cf. Börje Bydén (2011), “Leo Magentenos”, in H. Lagerlund (ed.), (...)
  • 14 Sten Ebbesen (1981), Commentators and Commentaries on Aristotle’s Sophistici Elenchi. A Study of Po (...)
  • 15 Sofia Kotzabassi (1999), Byzantinische Kommentatoren der aristotelischen Topik. Johannes Italos & L (...)

8Leo Magentenos possibly lived in the late twelfth early thirteenth century and wrote commentaries on Aristotle’s logical works13. Only parts of his commentaries have appeared in critical editions and, consequently, have not been systematically studied. In the case of his commentary on the Sophistici elenchi, Sten Ebbesen has claimed that Magentenos did little more than rework older collections of scholia and compose a brief general introduction14. In the case of his commentary on the Topics15, though, he seems to have added explanatory material that is not known from other sources.

  • 16 A critical edition of Magentenos’ comments on the second book of Aristotle’s Prior Analytics is cur (...)

9There are two works on Aristotle’s De interpretatione attributed to Leo Magentenos: an unedited collection of scholia in codex Vaticanus graecus 244, and a commentary edited by Aldus Manutius that is printed right after Psellos’ paraphrase. The two works exhibit many similarities, but the commentary in the Aldine edition seems superior. Its authenticity has been contested by Adolf Busse in his preface to Ammonius’ commentary, but Börje Bydén has recently suggested that Busse’s grounds are weak and there might be positive reasons for thinking that it is after all authentic. Although this issue cannot be settled until we have access to more logical works by Magentenos, in what comes next, I refer to the commentary in the Aldine edition as Magentenos’ commentary.16 It is of similar size to Psellos’ paraphrase, but not in a continuous flow; it seems to be indebted to Ammonius’ commentary, but also draws on other sources.

Nikephoros Blemmydes (1865), Epitome logica (ed. J. Wegelin), Patrologia Graeca 142, 675-1004

  • 17 On Nicephoros Blemmydes’ life and works, cf. George Zografidis (2011), “Nicephoros Blemmydes”, in H (...)

10The introduction to logic, written by the Byzantine polymath Nikephoros Blemmydes (1197-1269)17, seems to have been the most circulated logical compendium during the whole Byzantine era. It contains chapters relevant to the De interpretatione, but Blemmydes’ discussion of the topics raised at the beginning of the Aristotelian treatise is very brief and rather superficial.

George Pachymeres (1548), Epitome logica, Paris18

  • 18 This is the first edition of the first book of Pachymeres’ Φιλοσοφία, which was reprinted in Oxford (...)
  • 19 On George Pachymeres’ life and works, cf. Pantelis Golitsis (2018b), “Pachymérès Georgios”, in R. G (...)
  • 20 Pantelis Golitsis has undertaken to edit the first book of Pachymeres’ Philosophia for the Corpus P (...)
  • 21 Cf. Pantelis Golitsis (2008), “Georges Pachymère comme didascale : Essai pour une reconstitution de (...)

11George Pachymeres (1242-c.1310) was a learned scholar and one of the most prolific commentators of Byzantine times19. The first book of his Philosophia, in which he presented in twelve books a survey of all of Aristotle’s works, is dedicated to logic and includes sections on the De interpretatione, but there are no relevant comments to its first five lines20. Pachymeres also composed a full-fledged commentary on the De interpretatione, which constitutes part of his extensive commentary on the Organon that is still unedited (e.g. codex Vindobonensis phil. graecus 150)21.

George Scholarios Gennadios (1936), Oeuvres Complètes, tome VII : Commentaires et résumés des ouvrages d’Aristote (eds L. Petit, X. A. Siderides & M. Jugie), Paris, Maison de la Bonne Presse, p. 238-348

  • 22 On George Scholarios Gennadios’ life and works, cf. John Demetracopoulos (forthcoming), “George Sch (...)

12George Scholarios Gennadios was the first patriarch of Constantinople after its capture by the Turks in the fifteenth century22. His principal interests were theological, but he also composed philosophical writings, translated many scholastic works (for instance, by Thomas Aquinas and Peter of Spain) and commented on Aristotle’s physical and logical treatises. What clearly differentiates him from the other Byzantine commentators is the degree to which he was influenced by Western medieval authors, especially in his extensive logical commentaries on Ars Vetus, i.e. his commentaries on Porphyry’s Isagoge, on Aristotle’s Categories and on the De interpretatione.

  • 23 Sten Ebbesen and Jan Pinborg (1981-1982), “Gennadios and Western Scholasticism”, Classica et Mediev (...)
  • 24 Cf. Katerina Ierodiakonou (2011b), “The western influence on late Byzantine Aristotelian commentari (...)

13Sten Ebbesen and Jan Pinborg have convincingly argued that large chunks of Scholarios’ comments on Porphyry’s Isagoge and Aristotle’s Categories are mere translations from Radulphus Brito, the late thirteenthand early fourteenth century scholastic philosopher and theologian who taught Aristotelian logic at the University of Paris23. Moreover, John Demetracopoulos has suggested that in the De interpretatione commentary, which constitutes the longest Byzantine commentary on this Aristotelian treatise, Scholarios closely followed Thomas Aquinas. Nevertheless, it should also be stressed that, in this particular work, Scholarios seems to have taken into serious consideration Ammonius’ commentary as well as Psellos’ paraphrase, even though he disagrees with both of them in certain issues; concerning the authenticity of chapter 14, for instance, Scholarios regarded it as a genuine exercise compiled by Aristotle himself for his students24.

Topics in the Byzantine Commentaries

14But do Byzantine scholars have anything of interest to tell us about the traces of Aristotle’s theory of meaning in the first chapters of De interpretatione? In this section, I focus on four specific topics that are given some attention in Psellos’ paraphrase and Magentenos’ commentary, and I refer only incidentally to Blemmydes’ and Scholarios’ comments. For both Psellos and Magentenos were at a fairly early stage of the Byzantine commentary tradition and had direct access to the ancient commentaries, when they composed their writings on this Aristotelian treatise.

Are the same thoughts shared by all people?

  • 25 « ἐπεὶ δὲ οὐ περὶ ἀσημάντων φωνῶν διαλεγόμεθα νῦν, ἀλλὰ περὶ σημαντικῶν, ἰστέον ὅτι τεσσάρων τούτων (...)

15At the beginning of his De interpretatione paraphrase, Psellos (in De int. 1.9-24)25 covers familiar Aristotelian territory: there are four items, he says, that should be discussed in the present investigation, namely things (pragmata), thoughts (noêmata), spoken sounds (phônai) and letters (grammata). Spoken sounds and letters are by imposition (thesei), whereas things and thoughts, i.e. the soul’s affections (pathêmata), are by nature (phusei). To support this claim, Psellos uses an argument that he finds in Ammonius, according to which things and thoughts are shared by all people, whereas spoken sounds and letters may differ:

  • 26 « τούτων δὲ τῶν τεττάρων τὰ μὲν δύο φύσει εἶναί φησιν ὁ Ἀριστοτέλης, τὰ δὲ δύο θέσει· φύσει μὲν τά (...)

“Of these four items, Aristotle says that two are by nature and two by imposition. He divides those by nature from those by imposition using the following rule: that which is the same for all people, he says, is by nature, and what is not the same for all is not by nature but by imposition. And he is right in this. For, since the nature of the universe is one, it obviously makes the things said to belong to one species everywhere similar; but if some things be different from one people to another, these would not be products of nature. Now, since things and thoughts are the same among all people (for everywhere the species of man or horse or lion is the same, and similarly the thought concerned with man or stone or any other thing is the same), while vocal sounds and letters are not the same among all people (for Greeks use different vocal sounds from Phoenicians, as do Egyptians: ‘different is the tongue of different peoples’ says the poet, and, moreover, each people writes its own vocal sounds with different letters), then it is for this reason that <Aristotle> insists that things and thoughts are by nature, but that vocal sounds and letters are by imposition, not by nature.”(Ammonius, in De int. 19.1-18; trans. D. Blank)26.

  • 27 « εἴ γε παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά εἰσιν. »

16Psellos follows Ammonius’ argument closely. But what is interesting to note is that, when Psellos states that thoughts are by nature, he adds the hypothetical clause ‘if indeed they are the same for all people’ (in De int. 1.12)27. Does this hypothetical clause imply some doubt whether thoughts are always shared by all people? Not necessarily. It could simply mean that thoughts are considered by nature granted that they are the same for all people; since Psellos himself believes that it is true to say that they are the same for all people, it is thereby shown that thoughts are by nature. Besides, nowhere else in his paraphrase does Psellos make any other remark suggesting such a doubt.

  • 28 « ἐπεὶ δὲ τὰ νοήματα παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά, φησίν, ἐνίσταται πρὸς τοῦτο ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος λέγων, ἐπειδὴ πολλ (...)

17On the other hand, we find in Magentenos’ commentary (in De int. 3.53-55)28 the explicit statement that Alexander of Aphrodisias objected to the view that thoughts are the same for all people, because actually people often have different thoughts for the same things. Interestingly enough, Magentenos also gives a reply to this objection, a reply that he even adopts himself, namely that in the case of many different thoughts only the true one (to alêthes) among them should be considered as a thought in the proper sense, or else, as the proper thought (kuriôs noêma). This is not the only passage in which Magentenos refers explicitly in his commentary to Alexander. However, although the other references are mere repetitions of what we already find in the Greek commentary tradition, Magentenos is the only commentator who provides us with information about Alexander’s objection to Aristotle’s claim that thoughts are the same for all people. Is Magentenos, here, a reliable source?

  • 29 Richard Sorabji (2012), “Meaning: Ancient comments on five lines of Aristotle”, in C. Shields (ed.) (...)

18Richard Sorabji has pointed out that in Boethius’ second commentary on the De interpretatione, Alexander is reported to have understood Aristotle as claiming that the thoughts in spoken sounds are symbols, rather than likenesses, of the soul’s affections, just as spoken sounds are symbols of thoughts and letters are symbols of spoken sounds29:

  • 30 « et Alexander hunc locum: … proposuit, inquit, ea quae sunt in voce intellectus animi designare et (...)

“And Alexander tries to explain the passage in this way. He meant, he says, that things that are in spoken sound signify thoughts of the mind and proves this with another example. For what is in spoken sound signifies affections of the soul in the same way as what is written signifies spoken sounds. (35.21-31; trans. A. Smith)30.

  • 31 E.g. Ammonius, in De int. 18.23-26.2; Boethius, in De int. 20.9-45.25. Psellos (in De int. 1.16-18) (...)

19That is to say, according to Alexander, and contrary to the Neoplatonist commentators31, thoughts seem not to be identical to affections of the soul; rather, he takes what is in spoken sounds to be thoughts, or else concepts, which suggests that thoughts or concepts are merely symbols of the soul’s affections. Hence, Alexander’s distinction between thoughts in spoken sounds and the soul’s affections allows him to claim that thoughts are not shared by all people.

  • 32 Cf. Sten Ebbesen (1990), “Porphyry’s legacy to logic”, in Richard Sorabji (ed.), Aristotle Transfor (...)

20Furthermore, Boethius mentions two other Aristotelians who, earlier than Alexander, raised objections to the claim that thoughts are the same for all people. Alexander’s teacher Herminus claimed that thoughts signified by spoken sounds are not the same for all people, since in equivocation it happens that the same spoken sound signifies more than one thought. In reply to this, Porphyry is said to have insisted that Aristotle’s assertion was not false when applied to equivocation: the speaker thinks about and expresses a certain thought, but if the listener thinks about something different, the speaker should simply clarify what he wanted to signify and the listener should accept it, so that they both agree on one thought (39.25-40.28; cf. Ammonius, in De int. 24.12-21)32. In addition, the second century Aristotelian commentator Aspasius raised a more serious objection, by questioning whether it makes sense to claim that thoughts can be the same for all people when there is admittedly such diverse opinion on the just and the good (41.13-42.6).

  • 33 I would like to thank Sten Ebbesen for making available to me the relevant passages from codex Vati (...)
  • 34 « ὅτι δὲ παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά εἰσι νοήματα δῆλον· οἷον γὰρ νόημα περὶ τοῦ πυρὸς τοῦ ὕδατός ἐστιν ἐν (...)

21So, there is no good reason, I think, to reject Magentenos’ testimony, according to which Alexander raised an objection to Aristotle’s claim that thoughts are the same for all people. Besides, Magentenos’ reply that only the true thought among the many different ones should be considered proper reminds us of Porphyry’s defense of the Aristotelian view; the true thought turns out to be the one that both the speaker and the listener are willing to agree on. But before we leave Magentenos’ account of this topic, it is also worth mentioning that among his relevant unedited scholia in codex Vaticanus graecus 24433, we do not find Alexander’s objection or the reply to this objection. In fact, in a scholium on folium 93v, Magentenos stresses that it is obvious that thoughts are the same for all people and gives the following example: the thought, or else, the concept of fire or that of water are the same for all people, namely that fire is combustible and hot while water is cold and liquid34.

  • 35 « Ἐνταῦθα ἀποσκευάζεται δύο ἀπορίας. Ἡ πρώτη ἀπορία ἐστὶν αὕτη. Ἐπειδὴ αἱ φωναί εἰσι σημεῖα τῶν ἐν  (...)

22Finally, let us examine what Scholarios has to say on this topic in his lengthy commentary on the De interpretatione. For it is interesting that Scholarios, too, acknowledges that there is a puzzle when it comes to the soul’s affections. Can they be said to be the same for all people, even though the spoken sounds used as their signs are not the same? Scholarios disregards this concern, by giving the following example (in De int. 1.103-108)35: when the Greeks and the Latins ­look at a stone, although they use different spoken sounds, their souls are affected in the same way and they have the same thoughts. Note, here, how the Latins creep into Scholarios’ example, substituting the Phoenicians and the Egyptians mentioned by the other commentators.

  • 36 « Ἔτι εἰδέναι δεῖ ὅτι, ὅτε λέγει τὰ παθήματα τῆς ψυχῆς εἶναι παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά, νοεῖ τὰ νοήματα τῆς (...)

23Moreover, later on in his commentary, Scholarios returns to this topic and discusses the same objection attributed by Boethius to Aspasius, namely that people may have diverse opinions about the same things. Scholarios replies to this objection, by pointing out that there is no disagreement among people when it comes to simple thoughts; it is only about composite thoughts that people’s opinions may differ, for it is only composite thoughts that are either true or false (in De int. 1.257-268)36. Unfortunately, Scholarios’ reply only shifts the problem, since it leaves unanswered the question whether simple thoughts can actually be said to be the same for all people. Still, his comments, just like those by all the other commentators, bear witness to the growing awareness of the issue that, contrary to Aristotle’s claim, thoughts may not be shared by all people, and hence they should not perhaps be regarded as being by nature.

In what way do likenesses, symbols and signs differ?

24Both Ammonius and Stephanus devote some lines in their commentaries explicating the three terms used by Aristotle in chapter 1 of De interpretatione: likeness (homoiôma), symbol (sumbol) and sign (sêmeion); thoughts are said to be likenesses of things, while spoken sounds and letters are symbols or signs of thoughts, and indirectly of things. Ammonius defends the thesis that there is an important difference between, on the one hand, likenesses, and on the other hand, symbols and signs. He also states that there is no difference between symbols and signs, for these two terms are used by Aristotle interchangeably:

  • 37 « Διαφέρει δὲ τὸ ὁμοίωμα τοῦ συμβόλου, καθόσον τὸ μὲν ὁμοίωμα τὴν φύσιν αὐτὴν τοῦ πράγματος κατὰ τὸ (...)

“Likeness differs from symbol in that it wants to image the very nature of a thing as far as possible and it is not in our power to change it (for if the painted likeness of Socrates in a picture does not have his baldness, snub nose and bulging eyes, it would not be called his likeness), while a symbol or sign (the Philosopher calls it both) is entirely up to us, given that it arises from our invention alone. For example, both the hearing of the trumpet and the hurling of a torch can be symbols of when the opposing troops must join battle.” (Ammonius, in De int. 20.1-9; trans. D. Blank)37.

25And the same view is presented by Stephanus (in De int. 5.38-6.13).

  • 38 « ἐπεὶ δὲ αἱ φωναὶ προσεχῶς μὲν σημαίνουσι τὰ νοήματα, διὰ μέσων δὲ τούτων καὶ τὰ πράγματα ὧν μέν, (...)
  • 39 « Ἰστέον δὲ ὅτι ὁ μὲν Ἀριστοτέλης τὸ αὐτὸ σημεῖον καὶ σύμβολον ἐκάλεσεν ὡς θἐσει· ἔχει δὲ οὐκ ὀλίγη (...)

26There is nothing on this topic in Psellos’ paraphrase, apart from the sharp distinction that he draws, as we have previously noted, between the spoken sounds that are symbols of thoughts and indirectly of things, and the thoughts that are images (apeikonismata), imitations (apomakseis) and likenesses of things (in De int. 1.20-24)38. Magentenos, however, follows closely the two ancient commentators with regard to the difference between likenesses, on the one hand, and signs and symbols, on the other. Most importantly, though, he also adds a crucial difference between signs and symbols. He claims that, although both signs and symbols are by imposition, we talk of signs in cases that hold universally, for instance we say that smoke is a sign of fire, or that shadow is a sign of a body that is lit, whereas we talk of symbols only in specific cases, for instance we say that this particular bird and its particular way of flying are symbols of war or famine (in De int. 3.49-52)39. Is this difference between signs and symbols something Magentenos borrows from a lost ancient commentary? Is it a distinction he himself draws? It is difficult to settle this issue, since the relevant evidence is missing. Also, it is difficult to figure out whether this is a legitimate distinction to draw between symbols and signs, before all the ancient and Byzantine occurrences of these terms are systematically and carefully examined.

Are names by nature or by convention?40

  • 40 Cf. Katerina Ierodiakonou (2002), “Psellos’ paraphrasis of Aristotle's De interpretation”, in K. Ie (...)

27According to Aristotle’s definition of names at the beginning of chapter 2 of De interpretation, names are by convention (kata sunthêkên):

  • 41 « Ὄνομα μὲν οὖν ἐστὶ φωνὴ σημαντικὴ κατὰ συνθήκην ἄνευ χρόνου, ἧς μηδὲν μέρος ἐστὶ σημαντικὸν κεχωρ (...)

“A name is a spoken sound significant by convention, without time, none of whose parts is significant in separation.” (De int. 1, 16a19-21; trans. J.L. Ackrill)41.

28In this definition, the Neoplatonist commentators immediately detect a possible disagreement between Aristotle and Plato, who famously argued in his dialogue Cratylus that names are by nature (phusei). In fact, both Ammonius and Stephanus painstakingly try to reconcile the two philosophers, by distinguishing two senses in which names can be understood to be by nature and two ways in which names can be understood to be by imposition. To say that names are by nature could mean, according to these commentators, either that names are products of nature, that is to say that a fitting name has been given by nature to each thing, just as different senses have been assigned by nature to different sense objects; or, it could mean that names fit the nature of things named by them, just as paintings strive to copy as well as possible the form of their subjects. On the other hand, to say that names are by imposition (thesei) means, again according to these commentators, either that it is possible for anyone to name any single thing with whatever name one likes; or, that names are given by the wise man alone, since he is the only one who has knowledge of the nature of things, and thus in a position to give a name appropriate to their nature. Hence, Ammonius (in De interp. 34.15-37.27) and Stephanus claim that the second sense of ‘by nature’ coincides with the second sense of ‘by imposition’. For the name that has been imposed by the name-giver as being fitting to the nature of the thing for which it stands may be regarded as by nature, since it fits the nature of the thing, but also as by imposition, since it has been imposed by someone:

  • 42 « ζητήσειέ τις πῶς εἶπεν Ἀριστοτέλης ἐνταῦθαφύσει τῶν ὀνομάτων οὐδέν ἐστιν’· Πλάτων φαίνεται ἐν(...)

“Someone might enquire why Aristotle here says that no noun is by nature. For Plato in the Cratylus plainly says that names are by nature. It should be known, then, that ‘by nature’ has two meanings, and so has ‘by imposition’. A thing is said to be ‘by nature’ if it is brought forth by nature, as we say that the eye or nose or ear or foot is an accomplishment of nature. A thing is also said to be ‘by nature’ if it is fittingly named, as when we say for instance ‘horse’ (hippon) because it goes on its hoofs (ienai tois posin), and ‘man’ (anthrôpon) because he has his mien up (anô tên ôpa), that is, eyes able to look upwards, and we give the name ‘Archelaus’ to the man who has the character of a ruler (hexin archikên), and similarly ‘Basil’ or ‘Vassilis’ to the man who is capable of reigning (basileuein). So ‘by nature’ has two meanings, either what comes to be from nature or what is fittingly named in the manner of the examples given. <And what is by imposition is twofold also, either what is fittingly named>, which is no different from the second thing signified by ‘by nature’, or what is named simply and by chance.” (Stephanus, in De int. 9.8-20; trans. W. Charlton, modified)42.

  • 43 « ἔστιν οὖν τὸ ὄνομα φωνὴ σημαίνουσά τι ὑποκείμενον, καὶ σύμβολον ἐκείνου τυγχάνουσα· οὐ κατὰ φύσιν (...)
  • 44 « θ᾽. Θέσει τὸ λοιπὸν εἰσι τὰ ὀνόματα καὶ τὰ ῥήματα. Τέθεινται γὰρ ὑπό τινων· εἰ μή τις λέγοι φύσει (...)

29Psellos (in De int. 2.12-21)43, too, tries to reconcile Plato’s and Aristotle’s positions on this topic. But Psellos seems to be using a different method than the one used by the Neoplatonist commentators, a method that is based on the principle that something is relative now to one thing and now to another (pros allo kai allo). That is to say, Plato and Aristotle are, according to Psellos, in agreement, since a name is by nature relative to the knowledge of the nature of the thing that the wise man, who named it accordingly, has; at the same time, a name is by imposition relative to the conventional notion ordinary people use to name this thing. Although this in not exactly the way Ammonius and Stephanus argue with regard to this topic, Psellos’ method is actually used by the ancient commentators in many other occasions; for instance, Ammonius (in De int. 85.4-19) uses it to discuss the cases in which there may be no contradiction between an affirmation and its negation. Thus, when it comes to the issue of whether names are by nature or by convention, Psellos seems to borrow a Neoplatonist method in order to defend a Neoplatonist thesis. On the other hand, Blemmydes (Epit. log. 888Α)44 seems to follow closely the reconciliatory interpretation of the ancient commentators, but his treatment of this topic is extremely concise.

Do parts of composite names have meaning?

30In chapter 2 of De interpretatione, Aristotle states that a part of a composite or double name has no meaning on its own right.

  • 45 « ἐν γὰρ τῷ Κάλλιππος τὸ ιππος οὐδὲν καθ' αὑτὸ σημαίνει, ὥσπερ ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τῷ καλὸς ἵππος. οὐ μὴν οὐ (...)

“For in ‘Whitfield’ the ‘field’ does not signify anything in its own right, as it does in the phrase ‘white field’. Not that it is the same with complex names as with simple ones: in the latter the part is in no way significant, in the former it has some force but is not significant of anything in separation, for example the ‘boat’ in ‘pirate-boat’.” (De int. 1, 16a21-26; trans. J.L. Ackrill)45.

31And he makes a similar statement in chapter 4 of the same treatise:

  • 46 « λέγω δέ, οἷον ἄνθρωπος σημαίνει τι, ἀλλ' οὐχ ὅτι ἔστιν ἢ οὐκ ἔστιν (ἀλλ' ἔσται κατάφασις ἢ ἀπόφασ (...)

“I mean that ‘animal’, for instance, signifies something, but not that it is or is not (though it will be an affirmation or negation if something is added); the single syllables of ‘animal’, on the other hand, signify nothing. Nor is the ‘ice’ in ‘mice’ significant; here it is simply a spoken sound. In double words, as we said, a part does signify, but not in its own right.” (De int. 1, 16b28-33; trans. J.L. Ackrill)46.

32The idea seems to be that names do not involve combination or separation, and therefore cannot be considered as true or false. A name signifies a simple thought, whereas its parts do not signify anything. But Aristotle’s position is difficult to understand and justify in the case of composite names. In what sense, for instance, ‘boat’ does not signify something in separation, although it does seem to do so, or as Aristotle himself admits, it has some force or tendency (bouletai) to signify something?

33Contemporary scholars have suggested different interpretations of these passages, but what I am particularly interested in, here, is what the ancient and Byzantine commentators have to say about this topic. Let me start with the relevant passage from Stephanus’ commentary, which heavily depends upon Ammonius (in De interp. 33.21-34.9):

  • 47 « αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκ περιουσίας καὶ ἐκ τοῦ μᾶλλον κατεσκεύασεν ὅτι τὸ μέρος τοῦ ὀνόματος κεχωρισμένον οὐδέ (...)

“It is with resource to spare, and a fortiori, that he establishes that a part of a noun has no meaning in separation. For in composite nouns, such as ‘Callippus’ and ‘pirate-boat’ the parts when separated give a suggestion or appearance of signifying something else, for instance in ‘Callippus’ the ‘ippus’ when separated appears to signify the non-rational, whinnying animal, and in ‘pirate-boat’ (epatrokelês) the ‘boat’ (kelês) a solitary steed (for a pirate boat is a kind of robber’s ship: Aeschines refers to it when he says ‘He embarked in the pirate-boat’). So if in the case of these composite nouns a part does not signify anything in separation, much less does it signify anything in the case of simple nouns. For as in the composite the ‘ippus’ does not mean anything, in the same way when torn away like this from the whole to which it belongs, even if it provides an appearance (phantasian) [of signifying something], still it signifies nothing when it is said as a part of that word [‘Callippus’].” (Stephanus, in De int. 8.15-27; trans. W. Charlton, modified)47.

  • 48 « παντὸς δὲ ὀνόματος ἢ ἁπλοῦ ἢ συνθέτου ὄντος, ἐπὶ μὲν τῶν ἁπλῶν οὐδόλως τὰ μέρη κεχωρισμένα δηλοῦσ (...)
  • 49 « καὶ μὴ πλανηθείς, ὅτι ὥσπερ τὰ μέρη τῶν προτάσεων εἰσὶ σημαντικά, οὕτω καὶ τὰ μέρη τῶν ῥημάτων, κ (...)
  • 50 « ἧς τῶν μερῶν οὐδέν ἐστι σημαντικὸν κεχωρισμένον. Τοῦτο διαστέλλει αὐτὸ ἀπὸ τοῦ λόγου∙ τοῦ γὰρ λόγ (...)
  • 51 « ιβ᾽. Τὰ μέρη δὲ τοῦ ὀνόματος καὶ τοῦ ῥήματος ἀπ᾽ἀλλήλων κεχωρισμένα μένει ἀσήμαντα. Συσσημαίνειν (...)

34That is to say, Ammonius and Stephanus argue that, even in the case of composite names, when parts of them seem to signify something on their own, they do not really signify anything; and the same holds for the case of simple names, since they signify nothing in being said as parts of those names. Psellos and Magentenos follow this interpretation in their comments and, I think, they even make it clearer. They claim that parts of composite names, just like parts of simple names, are said not to signify something in the sense that they do not signify something relevant to the thought signified by the composite or, for that matter, by the simple name. For this is what Psellos (in De int. 2.25-33;48 5.11-20)49 expresses when he explicitly states that parts of composite names have no appearance of resemblance (phantasian emphereias) to what the composite name signifies. And this is exactly what Magentenos (in De int. 5.44-50)50 and Blemmydes (Epit. log. 888B-C)51 also say.

35However, the Byzantine commentators do not discuss the more intriguing example in Aristotle’s text, namely ‘goat-stag’ (De int. 1, 16a16). For in this case the two compounds not only seem to signify something in separation, i.e. a goat and a stag, but they signify something that is indeed relevant, i.e. it has some resemblance, to the thought signified by the composite name. In such cases could the parts of the composite name be understood as signifying something? Aristotle and his commentators seem to give a negative reply to this question without specifying the reason why.

Conclusion

36For many years now the established view among scholars has been that there is nothing of interest in the Byzantine commentaries of Aristotle’s works in general, and of his logical treatises in particular. This could be understood in two ways:

37(i) there are no original interpretations of the Aristotelian logical treatises, that is to say no interpretations that help us understand Aristotle’s text better; and

38(ii) there are no intriguing developments of Aristotle’s logical theory, at least nothing similar to the ones we find in Western medieval commentaries.

  • 52 I would like to thank Pantelis Golitsis and Ruth Webb for their constructive criticism that has hel (...)

39Does this imply, however, that there is really nothing of interest in the works of Byzantine scholars? I, on my part, think there is something to be gained from studying them. For even if they do not present original interpretations or intriguing developments of Aristotle’s logic, the Byzantine commentaries may contain information about the historical background and setting in which they were produced, for instance about the philosophical education and the way logic was used in Byzantium. Most importantly, they may contain information about interpretations and developments that the Byzantines borrowed from the ancient commentary tradition and are otherwise lost to us. In other words, it may be the case that Byzantine commentaries contain no revelations on logical theory, but I still consider them valuable, since we learn from them more about the ancient commentary tradition and they reveal to us an as yet unknown side of Byzantine intellectual history. Besides, even if scholars in Byzantium were no great innovators, the composition of their paraphrases and commentaries required independent thinking, on their part, either in the form of slightly different arguments from those found in the ancient texts or interesting additions to already established views. To put it briefly, the contribution of the Byzantine commentators to our understanding of the De interpretatione may be modest but is certainly worth exploring52.

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Bibliographie

Agiotis, Nikos (2014), Τα σχόλια του Λέοντος Μαγεντηνού στο Β’ βιβλίο των Ἀναλυτικῶν προτέρων, PhD dissertation, University of Ioannina.

Ammonius (1897), In Aristotelis De interpretatione commentarius (ed. A. Busse), CAG 4.5, Berlin, Georg Reimer.

Aristotle (1949), Categoriae et liber De interpretatione (ed. L. Minio-Paluello), Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Ackrill, J.L. (1963), Categories and De interpretatione (translation), Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Blank, David (1996), Ammonius on Aristotle: On Interpretation 1–8 (translation), London, Duckworth.

Blemmydes, Nikephoros (1865), Epitome logica (ed. J. Wegelin), Patrologia Graeca 142, 675-1004.

Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus (1880), Commentarium in librum Aristotelis Peri hermeneias (ed. C. Meiser), Leipzig, Teubner.

Bydén, Börje (2011), “Leo Magentenos”, in H. Lagerlund (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy, vol. 1, Dordrecht, Springer, p. 684-685.

Charlton, William (2000), ‘Philoponus’ on Aristotle On the Soul 3.9-13 with Stephanus on Aristotle On Interpretation (translation), London, Dickworth.

Demetracopoulos, John (forthcoming), “George Scholarios (Gennadios II)”, in H. Lagerlund (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy, vol. 1, Dordrecht, Springer, 2nd edition.

Ebbesen, Sten (1981), Commentators and Commentaries on Aristotle’s Sophistici Elenchi. A Study of Post-Aristotelian Ancient and Medieval Writings on Fallacies, Leiden, E.J. Brill, vol. I, p. 302-313.

— (1990), “Porphry’s legacy to logic”, in Richard Sorabji (ed.), Aristotle Transformed. The Ancient Commentators and their Influence, London, Duckworth, p. 162-171.

Ebbesen, Sten & Jan Pinborg (1981-1982), “Gennadios and Western Scholasticism”, Classica et Medievalia 33, p. 263-319.

Golitsis, Pantelis (2008), “Georges Pachymère comme didascale : Essai pour une reconstitution de sa carrière et de son enseignement philosophique”, Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 58, p. 53-68.

— (2018a), “Michel d’Éphèse”, in R. Goulet (éd.), Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques, t. VII, Paris, CNRS Editions, p. 609-616.

— (2018b), “Pachymérès Georgios”, in R. Goulet (éd.), Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques, t. VII, Paris, CNRS Editions, p. 627-632.

Ierodiakonou, Katerina (2002), “Psellos’ paraphrasis of Aristotle's De interpretation”, in K. Ierodiakonou (ed.), Byzantine Philosophy and its Ancient Sources, Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 157-181.

— (2011a), “John Italos”, in H. Lagerlund (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy, vol. 1, Dordrecht, Springer, p. 623-625.

— (2011b), “The western influence on late Byzantine Aristotelian commentaries”, in M. Hinterberger and Ch. Schabel (eds), Greeks, Latins, and Intellectual History 1204-1500, Leuven, Peeters Publishers, p. 373-383.

— (2012a), “Michel Psellos”, in R. Goulet (éd.), Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques, t. Vb, Paris, CNRS Editions, p. 1712-1717.

— (2012b), “The Byzantine commentator’s task: transmitting, transforming or transcending Aristotle’s text”, in A. Speer and P. Steinkrüger (eds), Knotenpunkt Byzanz. Miscellanea Mediaevalia 36, p. 199-209.

Italos, John (1956), Questiones Quodlibetales (ed. P. Joannou), Ettal, Buch-Kunstverlag Ettal.

Kaldellis, Anthony (2011), “The date of Psellos’ death, once again: Psellos was not the Michael of Nicomedeia mentioned by Attaleiates”, Byzantinische Zeitscrift 104, p. 651-664.

Kotzabassi, Sofia (1999), Byzantinische Kommentatoren der aristotelischen Topik. Johannes Italos & Leon Magentinos, Thessaloniki, Vanias, p. 109-152.

Magentenos, Leo (1503), Ammonii Hermei commentaria in librum Peri hermeneias. Magentini archiepiscopi Mitylenensis in eundem enarratio (ed. Aldus Manutius), Venice.

Moore, Paul (2005), Iter Psellianum: A Detailed Listing of Manuscript Sources for All Works Attributed to Michael Psellos, Including a Comprehensive Bibliography, Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

Pachymeres, George (1548), Epitome logica, Paris.

Psellos, Michael (1503), Ammonii Hermei commentaria in librum Peri hermeneias. Magentini archiepiscopi Mitylenensis in eundem enarratio (ed. Aldus Manutius), Venice.

(1992), Philosophica minora, vol. I: Opuscula logica, physica, allegorica, alia (ed. J.M. Duffy), Stuttgart / Leipzig, Teubner.

Roueché, Mossman (2016), “A philosophical portrait of Stephanus the Philosopher”, in Richard Sorabji (ed.), Aristotle Re-Interpreted: New Findings on Seven Hundred Years of the Ancient Commentators, London, Bloomsbury, p. 541-563.

Scholarios Gennadios, George (1936), Oeuvres Complètes, tome VII: Commentaires et résumés des ouvrages d’ Aristote (eds L. Petit, X. A. Siderides & M. Jugie), Paris, Maison de la Bonne Presse, p. 238-348.

Smith, Andrew (2010), Boethius on Aristotle: On interpretation 1–3 (translation), London, Duckworth.

Sorabji, Richard (2012), “Meaning: Ancient comments on five lines of Aristotle”, in C. Shields (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle, Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 629-644.

Stephanus (1885), In librum De interpretatione commentarium (ed. M. Hayduck), CAG 18.3, Berlin, Georg Reimer.

Tarán, Leonardo (1978), Anonymous Commentary on Aristotle’s De interpretatione, Meisenheim am Glan, Verlag Anton Hain.

Trizio, Michele (forthcoming), “Michael of Ephesus on De interpretatione”, in S. Coughlin and J. Trumpeter (eds), Michael of Ephesus: Commentator and Philosopher.

Zografidis, George (2011), “Nicephoros Blemmydes”, in H. Lagerlund (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy, vol. 1, Dordrecht, Springer, p. 892-895.

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Notes

1 « Ἔστι μὲν οὖν τὰ ἐν τῇ φωνῇ τῶν ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ παθημάτων σύμβολα, καὶ τὰ γραφόμενα τῶν ἐν τῇ φωνῇ. καὶ ὥσπερ οὐδὲ γράμματα πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά, οὐδὲ φωναὶ αἱ αὐταί· ὧν μέντοι ταῦτα σημεῖα πρώτων, ταὐτὰ πᾶσι παθήματα τῆς ψυχῆς, καὶ ὧν ταῦτα ὁμοιώματα πράγματα ἤδη ταὐτά. »

2 Ammonius (1897), In Aristotelis De interpretatione commentarius (ed. A. Busse), CAG 4.5, Berlin, Georg Reimer. Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (1880), Commentarium in librum Aristotelis Peri hermeneias (ed. C. Meiser), Leipzig, Teubner.

3 Leonardo Tarán (1978), Anonymous Commentary on Aristotle’s De interpretatione, Meisenheim am Glan, Verlag Anton Hain, p. xxv-xli.

4 Stephanus (1885), In librum De interpretatione commentarium (ed. M. Hayduck), CAG 18.3, Berlin, Georg Reimer. The latest contribution to the discussion concerning the identity of Stephanus is by Mossman Roueché (2016), “A philosophical portrait of Stephanus the Philosopher”, in R. Sorabji (ed.), Aristotle Re-Interpreted: New Findings on Seven Hundred Years of the Ancient Commentators, London, Bloomsbury, p. 541-563.

5 Leonardo Tarán (1978), Anonymous Commentary on Aristotle’s De interpretatione, Meisenheim am Glan, Verlag Anton Hain.

6 Psellos’ paraphrase is not mentioned in the title of Manutius’ edition, but we find it between the works of Ammonius and Magentenos with the title: Μιχαήλου Ψελλοῦ Παράφρασις εἰς τὸ Περὶ ἑρμηνεἰας. There is an anonymous Latin translation of Psellos’ paraphrase that was published in Venice in 1541: Aristotelis peri hermeneias liber Anicio Manlio Severino Boetio interprete; Paraphrasi Michaelis Pselli peripatetici, nunc primum Latinitate donati, illustratus.

7 On Michael Psellos’ life and works, cf. Katerina Ierodiakonou (2012a), “Michel Psellos”, in R. Goulet (éd.), Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques, t. Vb, Paris, CNRS Editions, p. 1712-1717. On the disputed date of his death, cf. Anthony Kaldellis (2011), “The date of Psellos’ death, once again: Psellos was not the Michael of Nicomedeia mentioned by Attaleiates”, Byzantinische Zeitscrift 104, p. 651-664 ; Cf. also, Paul Moore (2005), Iter Psellianum: A Detailed Listing of Manuscript Sources for All Works Attributed to Michael Psellos, Including a Comprehensive Bibliography, Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

8 For the distinction between commentaries and paraphrases, cf. Katerina Ierodiakonou (2012b), “The Byzantine commentator’s task: transmitting, transforming or transcending Aristotle’s text”, in A. Speer and P. Steinkrüger (eds), Knotenpunkt Byzanz. Miscellanea Mediaevalia 36, p. 199-209.

9 Cf. Katerina Ierodiakonou (2002), “Psellos’ paraphrasis of Aristotle's De interpretation”, in K. Ierodiakonou (ed.), Byzantine Philosophy and its Ancient Sources, Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 161-163. Together with John Duffy, who has edited in 1992 Psellos’ Philosophica Minora, vol. I: Opuscula logica, physica, allegorica, alia (Stuttgart / Leipzig, Teubner), we are currently working on the critical edition of Psellos’ paraphrase to be published in the new series Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca et Byzantina of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science.

10 On John Italos’ life and works, cf. Katerina Ierodiakonou (2011a), “John Italos”, in H. Lagerlund (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy, vol. 1, Dordrecht, Springer, p. 623-625.

11 On Michael of Ephesus’ life and works, cf. Pantelis Golitsis (2018a), “Michel d’Éphèse”, in R. Goulet (éd.), Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques, t. VII, Paris, CNRS Editions, p. 609-616.

12 Michele Trizio (forthcoming), “Michael of Ephesus on De interpretatione”, in S. Coughlin and J. Trumpeter (eds), Michael of Ephesus: Commentator and Philosopher.

13 On Leo Magentenos’ life and works, cf. Börje Bydén (2011), “Leo Magentenos”, in H. Lagerlund (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy, vol. 1, Dordrecht, Springer, p. 684-685.

14 Sten Ebbesen (1981), Commentators and Commentaries on Aristotle’s Sophistici Elenchi. A Study of Post-Aristotelian Ancient and Medieval Writings on Fallacies, Leiden, E.J. Brill, vol. I, p. 302-313.

15 Sofia Kotzabassi (1999), Byzantinische Kommentatoren der aristotelischen Topik. Johannes Italos & Leon Magentinos, Thessaloniki, Vanias, p. 109-152.

16 A critical edition of Magentenos’ comments on the second book of Aristotle’s Prior Analytics is currently being prepared by Nikos Agiotis on the basis of his 2014 PhD dissertation Τα σχόλια του Λέοντος Μαγεντηνού στο Ββιβλίο των Ἀναλυτικῶν προτέρων (University of Ioannina).

17 On Nicephoros Blemmydes’ life and works, cf. George Zografidis (2011), “Nicephoros Blemmydes”, in H. Lagerlund (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy, vol. 1, Dordrecht, Springer, p. 892-895.

18 This is the first edition of the first book of Pachymeres’ Φιλοσοφία, which was reprinted in Oxford in 1666 with the title Γεωργίου Διακόνου Πρωτεκδίκου καὶ Δικαιοφύλακος τοῦ Παχυμέρους Ἐπιτομὴ τῆς Ἀριστοτέλους Λογικῆς.

19 On George Pachymeres’ life and works, cf. Pantelis Golitsis (2018b), “Pachymérès Georgios”, in R. Goulet (éd.), Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques, t. VII, Paris, CNRS Editions, p. 627-632.

20 Pantelis Golitsis has undertaken to edit the first book of Pachymeres’ Philosophia for the Corpus Philosophorum Medii Aevi (Commentaria in Aristotelem Byzantina) published by the Academy of Athens.

21 Cf. Pantelis Golitsis (2008), “Georges Pachymère comme didascale : Essai pour une reconstitution de sa carrière et de son enseignement philosophique”, Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 58, p. 53-68.

22 On George Scholarios Gennadios’ life and works, cf. John Demetracopoulos (forthcoming), “George Scholarios (Gennadios II)”, in H. Lagerlund (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy, vol. 1, Dordrecht, Springer, 2nd edition.

23 Sten Ebbesen and Jan Pinborg (1981-1982), “Gennadios and Western Scholasticism”, Classica et Medievalia 33, p. 263-319.

24 Cf. Katerina Ierodiakonou (2011b), “The western influence on late Byzantine Aristotelian commentaries”, in M. Hinterberger and Ch. Schabel (eds), Greeks, Latins, and Intellectual History 1204-1500, Leuven, Peeters Publishers, p. 373-383.

25 « ἐπεὶ δὲ οὐ περὶ ἀσημάντων φωνῶν διαλεγόμεθα νῦν, ἀλλὰ περὶ σημαντικῶν, ἰστέον ὅτι τεσσάρων τούτων ὄντων, πραγμάτων, νοημάτων, φωνῶν, καὶ γραμμάτων, προσληπτέον γὰρ καὶ τὰ γράμματα διὰ τὸ συντελὲς ἡμῖν πρὸς ἀπόδειξιν τοῦ θέσει τὰς φωνὰς εἶναι, τὰ μὲν πράγματα, καὶ τὰ νοήματα, φύσει τυγχάνει, εἴ γε παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά εἰσιν· αἱ δὲ φωναί, ἤτοι τὰ ἐν τῇ φωνῇ, φημὶ δὴ τὰ ὀνόματα καὶ τὰ ῥήματα, ἀμφοτέρως γὰρ λεγέσθω, καὶ τὰ γράμματα θέσει, διὰ τὸ μὴ παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτὰ εἶναι· αἱ δὲ φωναί, ἤτοι τὰ ἐν τῇ φωνῇ, φημὶ δὴ τὰ ὀνόματα καὶ τὰ ῥήματα, ἀμφοτέρως γὰρ λεγέσθω, καὶ τὰ γράμματα θέσει, διὰ τὸ μὴ παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτὰ εἶναι· ἀλλὰ τάς τε φωνάς, ἤτοι τὰ ὀνόματα καὶ τὰ ῥήματα, τὰ ὡς ἐν ὕλῃ κείμενα τῇ φωνῇ, διαφόροις χαρακτῆρσι μερίζεσθαι λεκτικοῖς, καὶ τὰ γράμματα ἑτεροίαις γραφικῶν χαρακτήρων διαιρεῖσθαι διατυπώσεσι· τὰ μὲν οὖν ἐν τῇ φωνῇ τῶν ψυχικῶν παθημάτων, ἤτοι νοημάτων, διὰ τὸν φανταστικὸν νοῦν καὶ τὸ μετὰ διαστάσεως καὶ μερισμοῦ, τὰ πράγματα τοῦτον ἀπομάττεσθαι, τυγχάνουσι σύμβολα· τὰ δὲ γραφόμενα, σημεῖα πάλιν ὑπάρχει τῶν φωνῶν · καὶ ὥσπερ οὐ παρὰ πᾶσίν εἰσι τὰ γράμματα τὰ αὐτά, οὕτως οὐδὲ αἱ φωναὶ ὧν ἐκεῖνα σύμβολα, ἀπαράλλακτοι παρὰ πᾶσι τυγχάνουσιν· ἐπεὶ δὲ αἱ φωναὶ προσεχῶς μὲν σημαίνουσι τὰ νοήματα, διὰ μέσων δὲ τούτων καὶ τὰ πράγματα ὧν μέν, ἤτοι νοημάτων πρώτως εἰσὶ σύμβολα, τὰ ἐν τῇ φωνῇ, ἐκεῖνα τὰ νοήματα, ὅμοιά εἰσι πᾶσι παθήματα· ὧντινων δ’ αὖθις πραγμάτων ἀπεικονίσματά εἰσι τὰ νοήματα, καὶ ἀπομάξεις καθαραὶ καὶ παντελῶς ὁμοιώματα, ἐκεῖνα πράγματά εἰσι πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά.  »

26 « τούτων δὲ τῶν τεττάρων τὰ μὲν δύο φύσει εἶναί φησιν ὁ Ἀριστοτέλης, τὰ δὲ δύο θέσει· φύσει μὲν τά τε πράγματα καὶ τὰ νοήματα, θέσει δὲ τάς τε φωνὰς καὶ τὰ γράμματα. διακρίνει δὲ τὰ φύσει τῶν θέσει κανόνι τοιούτῳ χρώμενος· τὰ παρὰ πᾶσι, φησί, τὰ αὐτὰ ὄντα ταῦτά ἐστι φύσει, τὰ δὲ μὴ παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτὰ ὄντα ταῦτα οὐ φύσει εἰσὶν ἀλλὰ θέσει. καὶ τοῦτο εἰκότως· μία γὰρ οὖσα ἡ τοῦ παντὸς φύσις ὅμοια δηλονότι πανταχοῦ ποιεῖ τὰ κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ εἶδος εἶναι λεγόμενα· εἰ δέ τινα παρ' ἄλλοις καὶ ἄλλοις διάφορα εἴη, ταῦτα οὐκ ἂν εἴη φύσεως δημιουργήματα. ἐπεὶ οὖν τὰ μὲν πράγματα καὶ τὰ νοήματα παρὰ πᾶσίν ἐστι τὰ αὐτά (πανταχοῦ γὰρ τὸ αὐτὸ ἀνθρώπου εἶδος καὶ ἵππου καὶ λέοντος, καὶ νόημα ὡσαύτως τὸ αὐτὸ παρὰ πᾶσι περί τε ἀνθρώπου καὶ λίθου καὶ τῶν ἄλλων πραγμάτων ἑκάστου), φωναὶ δὲ καὶ γράμματα οὐ παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά (φωναῖς τε γὰρ ἄλλαις μὲν Ἕλληνες, ἄλλαις δὲ Φοίνικες, Αἰγύπτιοι δὲ ἄλλαις χρῶνται· “ἄλλη γὰρ ἄλλων γλῶσσα” φησὶν ἡ ποίησις· καὶ γράφουσι πάλιν δι' ἄλλων καὶ ἄλλων γραμμάτων ἕκαστοι τὰς ἑαυτῶν φωνάς), διὰ τοῦτο τὰ μὲν πράγματα καὶ τὰ νοήματα φύσει εἶναι διισχυρίζεται, τὰς δέ γε φωνὰς καὶ τὰ γράμματα θέσει, καὶ οὐ φύσει.  »

27 « εἴ γε παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά εἰσιν. »

28 « ἐπεὶ δὲ τὰ νοήματα παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά, φησίν, ἐνίσταται πρὸς τοῦτο ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος λέγων, ἐπειδὴ πολλάκις περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν πραγμάτων διάφορά εἰσι νοήματα παρ᾽ ἡμῖν, καὶ φαμὲν πρὸς τοῦτο ὅτι ἐκ πάντων τῶν διαφόρων νοημάτων τὸ ἀληθὲς μόνον ἐν αὐτοῖς καλοῦμεν κυρίως νόημα. »

29 Richard Sorabji (2012), “Meaning: Ancient comments on five lines of Aristotle”, in C. Shields (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle, Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 629-644.

30 « et Alexander hunc locum: … proposuit, inquit, ea quae sunt in voce intellectus animi designare et hoc alio probat exemplo. eodem modo enim ea quae sunt in voce passiones animae significant, quemadmodum ea quae scribuntur voces designant. »

31 E.g. Ammonius, in De int. 18.23-26.2; Boethius, in De int. 20.9-45.25. Psellos (in De int. 1.16-18) seems to follow on this point, too, the Neoplatonist commentators: « τὰ μὲν οὖν ἐν τῇ φωνῇ τῶν ψυχικῶν παθημάτων, ἤτοι νοημάτων, διὰ τὸν φανταστικὸν νοῦν καὶ τὸ μετὰ διαστάσεως καὶ μερισμοῦ, τὰ πράγματα τοῦτον ἀπομάττεσθαι, τυγχάνουσι σύμβολα. »

32 Cf. Sten Ebbesen (1990), “Porphyry’s legacy to logic”, in Richard Sorabji (ed.), Aristotle Transformed. The Ancient Commentators and their Influence, London, Duckworth, p. 162-165.

33 I would like to thank Sten Ebbesen for making available to me the relevant passages from codex Vaticanus graecus 244.

34 « ὅτι δὲ παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά εἰσι νοήματα δῆλον· οἷον γὰρ νόημα περὶ τοῦ πυρὸς τοῦ ὕδατός ἐστιν ἐν τῶ νοῒ ἡμῶν, ὅτι τὸ μὲν καυστικόν ἐστι καὶ θερμόν, τὸ δὲ ψυχρὸν καὶ ὑγρόν, τοιοῦτο καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσι περὶ τούτων ἐστί. »

35 « Ἐνταῦθα ἀποσκευάζεται δύο ἀπορίας. Ἡ πρώτη ἀπορία ἐστὶν αὕτη. Ἐπειδὴ αἱ φωναί εἰσι σημεῖα τῶν ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ παθημάτων καὶ αἱ φωναὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ αὐταὶ παρὰ πᾶσιν, τὰ παθήματα τῆς ψυχῆς δόξειεν ἂν μὴ εἶναι τὰ αὐτὰ παρὰ πᾶσι. Τοῦτο ἀποσκευάζεται τὸ ἀπόρημα λέγων, ὅτι τὰ αὐτὰ παθήματά εἰσι παρὰ πᾶσιν·εἰ γὰρ Γραικὸς καὶ Λατῖνος λίθον ὁρῴη, τὴν αὐτὴν ὁμοιότητα τοῦ λίθου ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ ἑκάτερος ἕξουσιν. »

36 « Ἔτι εἰδέναι δεῖ ὅτι, ὅτε λέγει τὰ παθήματα τῆς ψυχῆς εἶναι παρὰ πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά, νοεῖ τὰ νοήματα τῆς ψυχῆς εἶναι ταὐτὰ οὐ κατὰ τὴν ταὐτότητα τῆς συλλήψεως τῆς ψυχῆς ὅσον πρὸς τὴν φωνήν, ὅτι μιᾶς φωνῆς μία ἐστὶ σύλληψις, αἱ δὲ φωναί εἰσι παρὰ διαφόροις διάφοροι· ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὴν ταὐτότητα τῶν συλλήψεων τῆς ψυχῆς ὅσον πρὸς τὰ πράγματα, ἅτινα παρὰ πᾶσιν εἶναι λέγει ὁμοίως τὰ αὐτά. Εἰ δέ τις ἀντιτιθοίη περὶ τῶν διαφόρων δοξῶν, ἃς περὶ τῶν πραγμάτων τῶν αὐτῶν οἱ ἄνθρωποι ἔχουσιν, ἀποκρινόμεθα, ὅτι περὶ τῶν ἁπλῶν νοημάτων φησὶν ἐνταῦθα, οὐ περὶ τῶν συμπεπλεγμένων, ἐν οἷς ἐστι τὸ ἀληθὲς καὶ τὸ ψεῦδος περὶ ταῦτα γὰρ καὶ αἱ διάφοροι δόξαι συνίστανται, οὐ περὶ τὰ ἁπλᾶ·περὶ γὰρ τοῦ λίθου, ὅτι λίθος ἐστίν, τὴν αὐτὴν ἔννοιαν πάντες ἔχομεν, ὥσπερ καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ λίθος ὁ αὐτός ἐστί τε καθ’ αὑτὸν καὶ πᾶσι πρὸς νόησιν πρόκειται.  »

37 « Διαφέρει δὲ τὸ ὁμοίωμα τοῦ συμβόλου, καθόσον τὸ μὲν ὁμοίωμα τὴν φύσιν αὐτὴν τοῦ πράγματος κατὰ τὸ δυνατὸν ἀπεικονίζεσθαι βούλεται, καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐφ' ἡμῖν αὐτὸ μεταπλάσαι (τὸ γὰρ ἐν τῇ εἰκόνι γεγραμμένον τοῦ Σωκράτους ὁμοίωμα εἰ μὴ καὶ τὸ φαλακρὸν καὶ τὸ σιμὸν καὶ τὸ ἐξόφθαλμον ἔχοι τοῦ Σωκράτους, οὐκέτ' ἂν αὐτοῦ λέγοιτο εἶναι ὁμοίωμα), τὸ δέ γε σύμβολον ἤτοι σημεῖον (ἀμφοτέρως γὰρ αὐτὸ ὁ φιλόσοφος ὀνομάζει) τὸ ὅλον ἐφ' ἡμῖν ἔχει, ἅτε καὶ ἐκ μόνης ὑφιστάμενον τῆς ἡμετέρας ἐπινοίας· οἷον τοῦ πότε δεῖ συμβάλλειν ἀλλήλοις τοὺς πολεμοῦντας δύναται σύμβολον εἶναι καὶ σάλπιγγος ἀπήχησις καὶ λαμπάδος ῥῖψις… »

38 « ἐπεὶ δὲ αἱ φωναὶ προσεχῶς μὲν σημαίνουσι τὰ νοήματα, διὰ μέσων δὲ τούτων καὶ τὰ πράγματα ὧν μέν, ἤτοι νοημάτων πρώτως εἰσὶ σύμβολα, τὰ ἐν τῇ φωνῇ, ἐκεῖνα τὰ νοήματα, ὅμοιά εἰσι πᾶσι παθήματα· ὧντινων δ’ αὖθις πραγμάτων ἀπεικονίσματά εἰσι τὰ νοήματα, καὶ ἀπομάξεις καθαραὶ καὶ παντελῶς ὁμοιώματα, ἐκεῖνα πράγματά εἰσι πᾶσι τὰ αὐτά. »

39 « Ἰστέον δὲ ὅτι ὁ μὲν Ἀριστοτέλης τὸ αὐτὸ σημεῖον καὶ σύμβολον ἐκάλεσεν ὡς θἐσει· ἔχει δὲ οὐκ ὀλίγην διαφοράν· τὸ μὲν γὰρ σημεῖον ἐπὶ τῶν πάντως ὄντων παραλαμβάνεται, οἷον ὅτι πάντως καπνὸς σημαίνει πῦρ, καὶ σκιὰ σῶμα ἐν φωτὶ εἶναι· τὸ δὲ σύμβολον ἐπὶ τῶν μὴ πάντως γινομένων, οἷόν φαμεν τόδε τὸ ὄρνεον καὶ τούτου τὴν τοιάνδε πτῆσιν σύμβολα πολέμου ἢ λοιμοῦ. »

40 Cf. Katerina Ierodiakonou (2002), “Psellos’ paraphrasis of Aristotle's De interpretation”, in K. Ierodiakonou (ed.), Byzantine Philosophy and its Ancient Sources, Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 173-174.

41 « Ὄνομα μὲν οὖν ἐστὶ φωνὴ σημαντικὴ κατὰ συνθήκην ἄνευ χρόνου, ἧς μηδὲν μέρος ἐστὶ σημαντικὸν κεχωρισμένον.  »

42 « ζητήσειέ τις πῶς εἶπεν Ἀριστοτέλης ἐνταῦθαφύσει τῶν ὀνομάτων οὐδέν ἐστιν’· Πλάτων φαίνεται ἐν τῷ Κρατύλῳ λέγων φύσει τὰ ὀνόματα. ἰστέον τοίνυν ὅτι διττὸν τὸ φύσει, διττὸν καὶ τὸ θέσει. Λέγεται μὲν γὰρ φύσει καὶ τὸ ἀπὸ τῆς φύσεως προαχθέν, ὡς λέγομεν ἀποτέλεσμα τῆς φύσεως εἶναι τὸν ὀφθαλμὸν ἢ ῥῖνα ἢ οὖς ἢ πόδα· λέγεται δὲ πάλιν φύσει καὶ τὸ ἁρμοδίως κείμενον, οἷον ὅταν λέγωμεν φέρε εἰπεῖν ἵππον παρὰ τὸ ἰέναι τοῖς ποσὶν καὶ ἄνθρωπον παρὰ τὸ ἄνω τὴν ὦπα, τοῦτ' ἔστιν τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἄνω δύνασθαι θεωρεῖν· καὶ Ἀρχέλαον τὸν ἕξιν ἀρχικὴν ἔχοντα, ὁμοίως καὶ Βασιλικὸν ἢ Βασίλειον τὸν δυνάμενον βασιλεύειν. οὕτως μὲν οὖν ἐστιν τὸ φύσει διττόν, ἢ τὸ γενόμενον ἐκ τῆς φύσεως ἢ τὸ ἁρμοδίως κείμενον ἐπὶ τῶν εἰρημένων παραδειγμάτων *** ὅπερ οὐδὲν διαφέρει τοῦ δευτέρου σημαινομένου τοῦ φύσει, ἢ τὸ ἁπλῶς καὶ ὡς ἔτυχεν κείμενον. ». The missing Greek text could be restituted likes this: « <ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὸ θέσει διττὸν ἢ τὸ ἁρμοδίως κείμενον,>  »

43 « ἔστιν οὖν τὸ ὄνομα φωνὴ σημαίνουσά τι ὑποκείμενον, καὶ σύμβολον ἐκείνου τυγχάνουσα· οὐ κατὰ φύσιν δέ, ἀλλὰ κατὰ συνθήκην, ἤτοι θέσιν· καὶ οὐκ ἐναντιοῦται τῷ Πλάτωνι ὁ φιλόσοφος, κατὰ φύσιν τὰ ὀνόματα λέγοντι, κατὰ θέσιν οὗτος διδάσκων αὐτά· ὁ μὲν γὰρ Πλάτων, ἐπεὶ ἐν τῷ Κρατύλῳ ἐπιστήμονα τὸν ὀνοματοθέτην εἰσάγει, ἐπιστημόνως αὐτὸν καταναγκάζει καὶ ταῖς ὀνοματοθεσίαις χρᾶσθαι, ὥστε ἡμμένας εἶναι τῆς φύσεως· καὶ διὰ τοῦτο κατὰ φύσιν τίθησι τὰ ὀνόματα· ὁ δὲ φιλόσοφος, τοῦτο μὲν οὐκ ἀποπέμπεται, εἰ χρὴ διαιτᾶν ἀνδράσι σοφοῖς· διδάσκει δὲ ὡς ὁποῖά ποτ’ ἂν εἴη τὰ ὀνόματα, ἐξ ἐπινοίας συντεθειμένα τυγχάνει· πᾶν δὲ τὸ ἀπὸ ἐπινοίας συντεθὲν καὶ περατωθὲν τῶν κατὰ συνθήκην, οὐ κατὰ φύσιν ἐστίν· οὐδὲν οὖν κωλύει τὸ αὐτὸ, καὶ κατὰ συνθήκην καὶ κατὰ φύσιν λέγειν, πρὸς ἄλλο καὶ ἄλλο ἐκλαμβανομένων ἡμῶν, καὶ τὰ ὀνόματα καὶ τὰ ῥήματα. »

44 « θ᾽. Θέσει τὸ λοιπὸν εἰσι τὰ ὀνόματα καὶ τὰ ῥήματα. Τέθεινται γὰρ ὑπό τινων· εἰ μή τις λέγοι φύσει τρόπον ἄλλον ὑπάρχειν αὐτὰ διὰ τὸ οἰκείως ἔχειν πρὸς τὰ πράγματα οἷς ἐτέθησαν, καὶ τῇ τῶν πραγμάτων φύσει καταλλήλως τεθῆναι καὶ ἁρμοζόντως.  »

45 « ἐν γὰρ τῷ Κάλλιππος τὸ ιππος οὐδὲν καθ' αὑτὸ σημαίνει, ὥσπερ ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τῷ καλὸς ἵππος. οὐ μὴν οὐδ' ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς ἁπλοῖς ὀνόμασιν, οὕτως ἔχει καὶ ἐν τοῖς πεπλεγμένοις· ἐν ἐκείνοις μὲν γὰρ οὐδαμῶς τὸ μέρος σημαντικόν, ἐν δὲ τούτοις βούλεται μέν, ἀλλ' οὐδενὸς κεχωρισμένον, οἷον ἐν τῷ ἐπακτροκέλης τὸ κελης. »

46 « λέγω δέ, οἷον ἄνθρωπος σημαίνει τι, ἀλλ' οὐχ ὅτι ἔστιν ἢ οὐκ ἔστιν (ἀλλ' ἔσται κατάφασις ἢ ἀπόφασις ἐάν τι προστεθῇ)· ἀλλ' οὐχ ἡ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου συλλαβὴ μία· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐν τῷ μῦς τὸ υς σημαντικόν, ἀλλὰ φωνή ἐστι νῦν μόνον. ἐν δὲ τοῖς διπλοῖς σημαίνει μέν, ἀλλ' οὐ καθ' αὑτό, ὥσπερ εἴρηται. »

47 « αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκ περιουσίας καὶ ἐκ τοῦ μᾶλλον κατεσκεύασεν ὅτι τὸ μέρος τοῦ ὀνόματος κεχωρισμένον οὐδέν ἐστι σημαντικόν. εἰ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς συνθέτοις ὀνόμασιν, οἷον φέρε εἰπεῖν ἐν τῷ Κάλλιππος καὶ ἐν τῷ ἐπακτροκέλης, ἔνθα παρέχουσιν ὑπόνοιαν καὶ φαντασίαν τὰ μέρη χωριζόμενα ἄλλο τι οἷον ἐν τῷ Κάλλιππος τὸ ἵππος χωρισθὲν σημαίνειν τὸ ἄλογον καὶ χρεμετιστικὸν ζῷον, καὶ ἐν τῷ ἐπακτροκέλης τὸ κέλης σημαίνειν τὸν μονόζυγα ἵππον (ἐπακτροκέλης δέ ἐστιν εἶδος λῃστρικοῦ πλοίου· μέμνηται Αἰσχίνης λέγων “εἰς τὸν ἐπακτροκέλητα ἐμβιβάζει”), εἰ οὖν τούτοις συνθέτοις ὀνόμασι τὸ μέρος χωρισθὲν οὐδὲν σημαίνει, πολλῷ πρότερον οὐδὲ ἐν τοῖς ἁπλοῖς ὀνόμασιν. ὥσπερ γὰρ ἐν τῇ συνθέσει τὸ ἵππος οὐδὲν ἐσήμανεν, οὕτως ἀποσπασθὲν τῆς οἰκείας ὁλότητος, εἰ καὶ φαντασίαν παρέχει, ὅμως οὐδὲν σημαίνει ὡς μέρος ἐκείνου λεχθέν. »

48 « παντὸς δὲ ὀνόματος ἢ ἁπλοῦ ἢ συνθέτου ὄντος, ἐπὶ μὲν τῶν ἁπλῶν οὐδόλως τὰ μέρη κεχωρισμένα δηλοῦσι τί· τῶν δὲ συνθέτων βούλονται μὲν δηλοῦν, ἀλλ’ ὅταν ἀπὸ μηδενὸς χωρισθῶσι· μετὰ γὰρ τὴν ἀπὸ τοῦ συνθέτου διαίρεσιν ἀσήμαντα τὰ μέρη εἰσίν, ὅσον πρὸς τὸ σύνθετον· τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἵππος, ὅταν μὴ ἀπὸ τοῦ Κάλλιππος χωρισθῇ, βούλεται μὲν σημαίνειν τί, ἤγουν τὸ ὑποκείμενον· ὅταν δὲ χωρισθῇ, ὡς πρὸς τοῦτο τὸ σύνθετον, ἀσήμαντόν ἐστι· τὸ μὲν γὰρ μετὰ τῆς οὐσίας δηλοῖ καὶ ποιότητα ἢ ἴσως ἀνθρώπου κατηγορούμενον ὄνομα· τῷ δὲ οὐδὲν κοινὸν, οὔτε πρὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν ὀνομαζόμενον Κάλλιπον, οὔτε πρὸς τὸν καλὸν ἵππον· πλὴν ὁ τοιοῦτος λογικὸς θόρυβος, ἐπὶ τῶν συνθέτων ὀνομάτων ἐστίν· ἐπὶ γὰρ τῶν ἁπλῶν, πάσης ἀπηλλάγμεθα ταραχῆς. »

49 « καὶ μὴ πλανηθείς, ὅτι ὥσπερ τὰ μέρη τῶν προτάσεων εἰσὶ σημαντικά, οὕτω καὶ τὰ μέρη τῶν ῥημάτων, καὶ τῶν ὀνομάτων∙ τοῦ γὰρ Σωκράτους οὐδεμία τῶν συλλαβῶν σημαίνει τί καθ’ ἑαυτήν∙ ἀλλὰ κἂν τὸν μῦν προχειρίσῃ, κἀντεῦθεν ἀφέλῃς τὸ ‘μ’, τὸ ‘ῦν’ ἀσήμαντόν ἐστιν, ἐπεὶ καὶ εἰ προηγουμένως εἴποις ‘ὗς’, φωνὴν ἂν εἴποις σημαντικήν, μηδὲν κατὰ τοῦ σημαίνειν τοῦ μῦς διαφέρουσαν∙ ἀλλ’ ἐνταῦθα μὲν ἐπὶ τῶν ἁπλῶν ὀνομάτων οὐκ εὐθὺς ἂν ἐφιστάνῃ ὁ ἀκροατής, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἀσήμαντα τὰ μέρη οἴεται∙ ἐπὶ δὲ τῶν συνθέτων, αὐτόθεν τῷ διπλῷ πεπλάνηται τῆς φωνῆς∙ πλὴν εἰ καἱ ταῦτα δοκοῦσι τί σημαίνειν, ἀλλ’ οὐ καθ’ ἑαυτά∙ τί δὲ ἐστι τὸ καθ’ ἑαυτά; ὅτι τὸ Κάλλιππος ὄνομα κύριον ὂν ἀπὸ τοῦ καλὸς καὶ τοῦ ἵππος συντέθειται∙ καὶ καθ’ ἑαυτὸ οὖν τὸ καλὸς καὶ αὖθις τὸ ἵππος καθ’ ἑαυτό, οὐδεμίαν φαντασίαν ἐμφερείας διδόασι πρὸς τὸν Κάλλιππον. »

50 « ἧς τῶν μερῶν οὐδέν ἐστι σημαντικὸν κεχωρισμένον. Τοῦτο διαστέλλει αὐτὸ ἀπὸ τοῦ λόγου∙ τοῦ γὰρ λόγου σημαντικὰ τυγχάνουσιν οἷον Σωκράτης περιπατεῖ καὶ τὸ Σωκράτης καὶ τὸ περιπατεῖ∙ μετὰ γὰρ τὸν ὅρον ἐκ τοῦ μᾶλλον ἐπιχειρεῖ φάσκων∙ εἰ τὰ σύνθετα τῶν ὀνομάτων οὐκ ἔχουσι τὰ ἑαυτῶν μέρη σημαντικά, πολλῷ μᾶλλον οὐ καὶ τὰ ἁπλᾶ∙ἰδοὺ γὰρ τὸ Κάλλιππος ἢ τὸ ἐπακτροκέλης, ὅπερ ἔστι νηὸς ληστρικῆς ὄνομα, οὐκ ἔχουσι τὰ μέρη σημαντικά οὔτε γὰρ τὸ ἵππος οὔτε τὸ κέλης, κἂν δοκῶσί τι σημαίνειν, ἀλλ οὖν ὡς πρὸς ὅλον τὸ ὄνομα τὸ σύνθετον καὶ τὸ ἐξ αὐτοῦ σημαινόμενον οὐδέν τι σημαίνει∙ οὐδὲν γὰρ τὸ ἵππος τὸ Κάλλιππος σημαίνει οὐδὲ τὸ κέλης πλοῖον ληστρικόν. »

51 « ιβ᾽. Τὰ μέρη δὲ τοῦ ὀνόματος καὶ τοῦ ῥήματος ἀπ᾽ἀλλήλων κεχωρισμένα μένει ἀσήμαντα. Συσσημαίνειν μὲν γὰρ ἀλλήλοις λέγεται∙ σημαίνειν δέ τι τῶν μερῶν ἕκαστον καθ᾽ αὑτὸ οὐδαμῶς. Καὶ τὰ μὲν τῶν ἁπλῶν ὀνομάτων ἤ ῥημάτων μέρη οὐδὲ κἄν γοῦν δόκησιν ἔχει τοῦ καθ᾽ αὑτὰ εἶναι σημαντικά. Τὰ δὲ τῶν συνθἐτων φαντασίαν μὲν παρέχει τινὰ τοῦ σημαίνειν, οὐ μέντοι σημαίνει κατά γε τὸ ἀληθές. Τοῦ γὰρ κάλλιπος ὀνόματος μέρος ὃν τὸ ἵππος, οὐδὲν σημαίνει. Μόνον μὲν γὰρ ὡς ὄνομα τὸ ἵππος ῥηθὲν σημαίνει τόδε τὸ ζῶον. Ὁπόταν δ᾽ὡς μέρος ληφθείη τοῦ κάλιππος, ἀποσπασθὲν τῆς οἰκείας ὁλότητος, νεκρόν τι κατὰ τὸ σημαινόμενον γίνεται. Τὸν αὐτὸν δὴ τρόπον καὶ τὰ μέρη τοῦ ῥήματος ἀπ᾽ἀλλήλων διακρινόμενα καὶ τῆς σημασίας χωρίζεται. »

52 I would like to thank Pantelis Golitsis and Ruth Webb for their constructive criticism that has helped me to improve an earlier version of this article.

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Référence électronique

Katerina Ierodiakonou, « The Byzantine Reception of Aristotle’s Theory of Meaning », Methodos [En ligne], 19 | 2019, mis en ligne le 07 février 2019, consulté le 20 mars 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/methodos/5303 ; DOI : 10.4000/methodos.5303

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Auteur

Katerina Ierodiakonou

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens / Université de Genève

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Les contenus de la revue Methodos sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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