11 Apr 2009

Stoic Logic and Semantics. "Rational Impressions," Ch 5.5.1 of Luhtala, On the Origin of Syntactical Description in Stoic Logic

[This entry was remade at: http://piratesandrevolutionaries.blogspot.com/2017/02/luhtala-551-on-origin-of-syntactical.html.]

by Corry Shores 

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Anneli Luhtala

On the Origin of Syntactical Description in Stoic Logic

Chapter 5: The Stoics

5.5.1 Rational Impressions

Previously we saw that the Stoics divided logic into rhetoric and dialectic. We use dialectic to arrive upon the truth.

So Stoic dialectics was based on epistemology. Hence impressions (φαντασίαί, phantasiai) were of primary importance [note that Mates translates φαντασία as "presentation."]
'Impressions' are what occur in the human mind on the basis of sense-perceptions, which are caused by external objects in the leading part of the human soul, the ηγεμονικόν (egemonikon). An impression is activated by 'existing things' and is stamped and impressed exactly in accordance with 'what is' [Diog. Laert. Lives VII, 46. Sextus Empiricus, Adv. math. VIII, 85-86] In Stoic physics only corporeal entities are said really to exist and have causal efficacy. The 'existing things' can thus be interpreted as perceptible objects affecting the leading part of the soul, ηγεμονικόν. (67c-68, emphasis mine)
We may consider the φαντασίαί (impression) as either as an imprint (τύπωσις, typosis) or alteration (έτεροιωσις, etepoiosis) in the soul that produces a movement in the soul.

A rational impression (λογική φαντασία, logike phantasia) is a presentation that is typical for a rational speaking creature. When rational impressions originate in something unclear, then we call it a cognitive impression (καταληπτική φαντασία, kataleptike phantasia).

For Sextus Empiricus, a rational impression (λογική φαντασία logike phantasia) presents the things before the mind by means of speech (λογω, logo). Diogenes Laertius also called it a thought process (νόησις, noesis). (68bc)

We may associate our rational impressions to thought-processes and speech. Hence the linguistic theory of 'sayables' (λεκτά, lekta). Diogenes Laertius defines the 'sayable' (λεκτόν, lekton) in terms of impressions.
Impression leads the way; then thought, which is able to speak, expresses in discourse what it experiences as a result of the impression. (Diog. Laert. Lives VII, 49) (qt 69a)
Thus, what results from rational impressions take the form of propositions. (69a)

'Sayables' (λεκτά, lekta) are not just isomorphic with language. They are intimately bound-up with language's parts of speech. For, we may analyze the sayables into the words we use to express them. (69bc)

There is further evidence of the relation between parts of speech and the corresponding units of lekta or sayables. The Stoics divide dialectic into two components. One deals with "what signifies" (σημαινοντα, semainonta) and the other component deals with "what is said or signified" (λεκτόν, lekton; σημαινόμενον, semainomenon) [Diog. Laert. VII, 43] (69c)

Thus we describe the parts of speech in a way that aids propositional analysis. (70a)

Luhtala, Anneli. On the Origin of Syntactical Description in Stoic Logic. Münster: Nodus Publikationen, 2000.

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