The problem of universals is one of the main philosophical issues. In this book the author reconstructs the history of the problem considering a selection of medieval representative texts and authors. The source of medieval and post-medieval debate is identified in the Socratic-Platonic survey on the definition of concepts. In the Categories, Aristotle discusses important topics concerning the relationship that exists on the one hand between general terms and, on the other hand, between general and particular terms. The Categories also because of their particular disciplinary status, halfway between logic and metaphysics, leave a number of questions open. Among these questions a particularly intriguing one is Porphyry’s riddle: are there genera and species? And, if there are such things, what are they like?
Beyond metro-, multi-, poly-, pluri- and translanguaging
Drawing on usage-based theory, neurocognition, and complex systems, Languaging Beyond Languages elaborates an elegant model accommodating accumulated insights into human language even as it frees linguistics from its two-thousand-year-old, ideological attachment to reified grammatical systems. Idiolects are redefined as continually emergent collections of context specific, probabilistic memories entrenched as a result of domain-general cognitive processes that create and consolidate linguistic experience. Also continually emergent, conventionalization and vernacularization operate across individuals producing the illusion of shared grammatical systems. Conventionalization results from the emergence of parallel expectations for the use of linguistic elements organized into syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships. In parallel, vernacularization indexes linguistic forms to sociocultural identities and stances. Evidence implying entrenchment and conventionalization is provided in asymmetrical frequency distributions.
Since antiquity, philosophers have investigated how change works. If a thing moves from one state to another, when exactly does it start to be in its new state, and when does it cease to be in its former one? In late Middle Ages, the "problem of the instant of change” was subject to considerable debate and gave rise to sophisticated theories; it became popular and controversial again in the second half of the twentieth century. The studies collected here constitute the first attempt at tackling the different aspects of an issue that, until now have been the object of seminal but isolated forays. They do so in through a historical perspective, offering both the medieval and the contemporary viewpoints. Contributors are Damiano Costa, Graziana Ciola, William O. Duba, Simo Knuuttila, Greg Littmann, Can Laurens Löwe, Graham Priest, Magali Roques, Niko Strobach, Edith Dudley Sylla, Cecilia Trifogli and Gustavo Fernández Walker.
The development of a tradition: Continuity and change
All contributions deal with the reception of theories in the Arabic grammatical tradition from the time of Sībawayhi (d. end of the 8th century C.E.) to the later grammarians in the 14th century C.E.. After Sībawayhi, considerable changes in the linguistic situation took place. The language of the Arab Bedouin described by him died as a native language. Grammars also changed, even if grammarians used for the most part the data given by Sībawayhi. This volume aims to determine continuities and changes in Arabic grammars, providing a new perspective on the impact of cultural and historical developments and on the founding principles of Sībawayhi's Kitāb.
In his ten Beijing lectures, Leonard Talmy represents the range of his work in cognitive semantics. The central concern of this approach is the linguistic representation of conceptual structure, that is, the patterns in which and processes by which conceptual content is organized in language. The lectures examine the semantics of grammar, force dynamics, a typology of how motion events are represented, factive versus fictive motion, a typology of event integration, differences in how spoken and signed language structure space, the attention system of language, introspection as a methodology in linguistics, the relation of language to other cognitive systems, and digitalization in the Evolution of language.
The Rhetoric of Tenses in Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” examines the tenses of the predicates in the famous and typical passages of the monumental work to explore the intricacies of the rhetoric and argument they support, paying particular attention to the question of temporality. Smith’s subtle modulation of language attests to his reluctance to offer a mere theory of economics and to his refusal to ignore the complicated challenges history and actuality offer to his beliefs in the natural system of liberty. The theoretical frame of the book is derived from the grammarians of Smith’s age, in particular James Harris. The supple interdisciplinary approach of this book invites literary and publishing histories to converse with intellectual history.