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Basil's Notionalist Theory Of Names

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Chapter Summary

This chapter first argues that Basil recognizes two kinds of basic notions: those immediately present to the human mind and those notions achieved through the purification of notions as they are commonly used. Secondly it discusses that Basil views a conceptualization (epinoia) as a derived notion and that his well-known doctrine of conceptualization is but part of a larger understanding of notions. The chapter contends that Basil develops a consistent theory of names in which all names reveal notions, but some notions are basic and others derived. The third part of the chapter seeks to uncover upon what resources Basil may have drawn in formulating his notionalist theory of names against Eunomius's theory. It suggests both a remote and a proximate background. The chapter also argues that Basil may have been remotely influenced by fourth-century Neoplatonist commentators upon Aristotle who taught that names signify primarily thoughts and secondarily things.

Keywords: Aristotelian commentators; Basil's defense of conceptualization; Basil's notionalist theory of names; Eunomius's theory of names; fourth-century Neoplatonist commentators



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