Show Less
Restricted access

Logoi and Pathêmata

Aristotle and the modal/amodal distinction in modern theories of concepts


Lars Inderelst

«Concept» is a central notion in modern philosophy that also influences other disciplines like psychology and linguistics. The author compares modern theories to the work of Aristotle as the first philosopher with an extensive corpus and one of the predecessors both of classical theory and of modal theories of «concepts». It is surprising that there is no equivalent term for «concept» in his work. Both pathêma and logos are central to his theory of language and thought. Therefore, this book describes which notion in Aristotle’s writing comes closest to «concept» and whether or not it generates a precise theory.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

III. ‘Concept’ in the history of philosophy


The title of this book includes two possible Greek equivalents for the modern term “concept”: logos and pathêma. Whether those two are adequate translations and to which aspects in the modern discussion they respond will be discussed in the remaining chapters. For now, the primary focus will be on how the concept of concept evolved in the history of philosophy before and after Aristotle from a conceptual and a terminological perspective. Both of them have advantages and disadvantages in isolation and can benefit from being combined. Using terms, historical developments can be researched without too many assumptions with the help of text corpora. For example, the first philosopher who introduced a technical term might be identified, while whoever first made use of a certain concept is a matter of interpretation to a higher degree.

Weitz (1988) provides a comprehensive historical account of theories of concepts in philosophy. His assumption is that an author’s theory of concepts can be deduced from the concepts an author discusses and the way he makes use of them where it is not explicitly stated.1 This is based on the belief that philosophy is always concerned with concepts by its tasks and topics and all philosophers need to have some implicit understanding of how to use and develop philosophical concepts. I will refrain from such tendencies to deduce implicit theories of concepts and restrict myself to explicitly stated theories that can be seen as predecessors to what is discussed under the...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.