Prime Matter, Predication, and the Semantics of Feature-Placing
The structure of this paper is as follows. First (Sections 1—12) there is a description and critical examination of P. F. Strawson’s notion of feature-placing. A distinction between semantic1 and semantic2 factors is introduced, a distinction having to do with the character of the truth- conditions of factual utterances of feature-placing sentences. Then (Sections 13–16) these results are applied to the solution of a puzzling problem in Aristotelian philosophy, the compatibility of the definition of predication with reference to primary substances as subjects of the predicative linkage, with the claim that primary substances are (themselves) predicated of (prime) matter. Although the first part of the discussion rarely alludes to the second, the presentation of the material at the outset is informed by the goal of solving the puzzle. Finally, after some amplification on the semantics of feature-placing (Section 17), there is a brief and impressionistic criticism of an obscure doctrine of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, the doctrine of ‘semantic solipsism’ (Section 18).
KeywordsFactual Claim Semantic1 Resource Sortal Concept Factual Discourse Definite Designation
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