© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2011 DOI: 10.1163/156853411X590453 Vivarium 49 (2011) 95-126 brill.nl/viv v i va r i um Pragmatics and Semantics in Thomas Aquinas Fabrizio Amerini Università di Parma Abstract Thomas Aquinas’s account of the semantics of names is based on two fundamental distinctions: the distinction between a name’s mode of signifying and the signiﬁed object, and that between the cause and the goal of a name’s signiﬁcation, i.e. that from which a name was instituted to signify and that which a name actually signiﬁes. Thomas endows names with a two-layer signiﬁcation: names are introduced into lan- guage to designate primarily conceptions of extramental things and secondarily the particular extramental things referred to by such conceptions. On such a ‘conceptual- istic’ account of names’ signiﬁcation, Thomas recognizes that a generic acquaintance with external things is a suﬃcient condition for imposing names to signify things. Fol- lowing this intuition, Thomas at times dwells on the role that pragmatic factors such as the common usage of names by a linguistic community ( usus loquendi ) and the speakers’ intention ( intentio loquentium ) play in explaining both the formation and semantic function of conventional language. This paper will focus
Vivarium – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2011
Keywords: Medieval Pragmatics; linguistic usage; speaker’s intention; Medieval Semantics; Names; Thomas Aquinas
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