[lit-ideas] Re: Help with Aristotle quote

  • From: Phil Enns <phil.enns@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Lit-Ideas@Freelists. Org" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2013 17:06:41 +0600

Robert Paul quotes:

'The notion of “what it is to be” for a thing is so pervasive in Aristotle
that it becomes formulaic: what a definition expresses is “the
what-it-is-to-be” (to ti ên einai). Roman translators, vexed by this odd
Greek phrase, devised a word for it, essentia, from which our “essence”
descends. So, an Aristotelian definition is an account of the essence of

Thank you, Robert, for this. I have found a number of places where
Aristotle discusses definitions in this way. But I have this, possibly
mistaken, memory that somewhere Aristotle adds a reference to how a
definition is necessarily about 'this' and not 'that'. It may be connected
to a discussion of substance, which necessarily identifies a 'this', or I
am just getting it all muddled up.



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