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Basil On Names As Revelatory Of Properties

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Chapter Summary

There are two main features of Basil's theory of names: (1) a name primarily signifies a notion, and (2) the content of this notion is a single property, or a set of properties, that enable identification. In the Contra Eunomium, Basil discusses four kinds of names in order to refute Eunomius's theory of names: (1) proper names, (2) absolute names, (3) relative names, and (4) "derived" names because they name conceptualizations. Main goal in this chapter is to argue that in each case Basil advances a consistent notionalist theory in which a name gives rise to a mental notion whose content is properties of the substance. The second goal in the chapter is to contextualize Basil's discussions of the first three kinds of names within previous philosophical, grammatical, and Christian traditions, not only to make source-claims about Basil but also to highlight the novelty of his approach.

Keywords: "derived" names; absolute names; Basil's theory of names; proper names; relative names



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