Al-Ghazali on the signification of names

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Al-Ghazali's most detailed explanation of how signification works occurs in his treatise on The Beautiful Names of God. Al-Ghazali builds squarely on the commentary tradition on Aristotle's Peri hermeneias: words signify things by means of concepts and correspondingly, existence is laid out on three levels, linguistic, conceptual, and particular (i.e. extramental). This framework allows al-Ghazālī to put forward what is essentially an Aristotelian reading of what happens when a name successfully picks out a being: when a quiddity is named by some kind term, its referent in the mind is formally identical to the quiddity of an individual existent which belongs to that natural kind. Al-Ghazali then proceeds to tease out the implications of this scheme for the special problem of signifying God. It turns out that the Peripatetic theory, which al-Ghazālī appropriates from Ibn Sīnā, is ill equipped for the task as al-Ghazālī envisions it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-74
Number of pages20
JournalVivarium
Volume48
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010

Fingerprint

Signification
Al-Ghazali
Names
Aristotle
Referent
Aristotelian
Peripatetic
Natural Kinds
Treatise
Name of God
Signifying
Deity

Keywords

  • Al-Ghazali
  • Arabic philosophy
  • Avicenna
  • Philosophy of language
  • Semantics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Philosophy

Cite this

Al-Ghazali on the signification of names. / Kukkonen, Kalle Taneli.

In: Vivarium, Vol. 48, No. 1-2, 01.03.2010, p. 55-74.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kukkonen, Kalle Taneli. / Al-Ghazali on the signification of names. In: Vivarium. 2010 ; Vol. 48, No. 1-2. pp. 55-74.
@article{015b5689504944f5a3f2d31b03f32e39,
title = "Al-Ghazali on the signification of names",
abstract = "Al-Ghazali's most detailed explanation of how signification works occurs in his treatise on The Beautiful Names of God. Al-Ghazali builds squarely on the commentary tradition on Aristotle's Peri hermeneias: words signify things by means of concepts and correspondingly, existence is laid out on three levels, linguistic, conceptual, and particular (i.e. extramental). This framework allows al-Ghazālī to put forward what is essentially an Aristotelian reading of what happens when a name successfully picks out a being: when a quiddity is named by some kind term, its referent in the mind is formally identical to the quiddity of an individual existent which belongs to that natural kind. Al-Ghazali then proceeds to tease out the implications of this scheme for the special problem of signifying God. It turns out that the Peripatetic theory, which al-Ghazālī appropriates from Ibn Sīnā, is ill equipped for the task as al-Ghazālī envisions it.",
keywords = "Al-Ghazali, Arabic philosophy, Avicenna, Philosophy of language, Semantics",
author = "Kukkonen, {Kalle Taneli}",
year = "2010",
month = "3",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1163/156853410X489718",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "48",
pages = "55--74",
journal = "Vivarium",
issn = "0042-7543",
publisher = "Brill",
number = "1-2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Al-Ghazali on the signification of names

AU - Kukkonen, Kalle Taneli

PY - 2010/3/1

Y1 - 2010/3/1

N2 - Al-Ghazali's most detailed explanation of how signification works occurs in his treatise on The Beautiful Names of God. Al-Ghazali builds squarely on the commentary tradition on Aristotle's Peri hermeneias: words signify things by means of concepts and correspondingly, existence is laid out on three levels, linguistic, conceptual, and particular (i.e. extramental). This framework allows al-Ghazālī to put forward what is essentially an Aristotelian reading of what happens when a name successfully picks out a being: when a quiddity is named by some kind term, its referent in the mind is formally identical to the quiddity of an individual existent which belongs to that natural kind. Al-Ghazali then proceeds to tease out the implications of this scheme for the special problem of signifying God. It turns out that the Peripatetic theory, which al-Ghazālī appropriates from Ibn Sīnā, is ill equipped for the task as al-Ghazālī envisions it.

AB - Al-Ghazali's most detailed explanation of how signification works occurs in his treatise on The Beautiful Names of God. Al-Ghazali builds squarely on the commentary tradition on Aristotle's Peri hermeneias: words signify things by means of concepts and correspondingly, existence is laid out on three levels, linguistic, conceptual, and particular (i.e. extramental). This framework allows al-Ghazālī to put forward what is essentially an Aristotelian reading of what happens when a name successfully picks out a being: when a quiddity is named by some kind term, its referent in the mind is formally identical to the quiddity of an individual existent which belongs to that natural kind. Al-Ghazali then proceeds to tease out the implications of this scheme for the special problem of signifying God. It turns out that the Peripatetic theory, which al-Ghazālī appropriates from Ibn Sīnā, is ill equipped for the task as al-Ghazālī envisions it.

KW - Al-Ghazali

KW - Arabic philosophy

KW - Avicenna

KW - Philosophy of language

KW - Semantics

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77950678283&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77950678283&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1163/156853410X489718

DO - 10.1163/156853410X489718

M3 - Article

VL - 48

SP - 55

EP - 74

JO - Vivarium

JF - Vivarium

SN - 0042-7543

IS - 1-2

ER -