Essays on Being
This volume presents a series of essays published by Charles Kahn over a period of forty years, in which he seeks to explicate the ancient Greek concept of Being. He addresses two distinct but intimately related problems, one linguistic and one historical and philosophical. The linguistic problem concerns the theory of the Greek verb einai, 'to be': how to replace the conventional but misleading distinction between copula and existential verb with a more adequate theoretical account. The philosophical problem is in principle quite distinct: to understand how the concept of Being became the central topic in Greek philosophy from Parmenides to Aristotle. But these two problems converge on what Kahn calls the veridical use of einai. In the earlier papers he takes that connection between the verb and the concept of truth to be the key to the central role of Being in Greek philosophy. In the later papers he interprets the veridical in terms of a more general semantic function of the verb, which comprises the notions of existence and instantiation as well as truth.
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2On the Terminology for Copula and Existence
3Why Existence Does Not Emerge as a Distinct Concept in Greek Philosophy
4Some Philosophical Uses of To Be in Plato
5A Return to the Theory of the Verb Be and the Concept of Being
6The Thesis of Parmenides
7Being in Parmenides and Plato
8Parmenides and Plato Once More
Postscript on Parmenides
Index of Names
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Abelard absolute construction ambiguity analysis ancient argument Aristotle Aristotle’s assertion being-so Boethius Cambridge clause cognition coming-to-be concept of existence construed context contrast copula copula construction corresponding cosmology dichotomy discussion distinction doctrine einai Eleatic Essay esti example expression extralinguistic fact formula fundamental G. E. L. Owen grammatical Greek ontology Greek philosophy Greek verb Hence Heraclitus Homer imply interpretation katabasis language linguistic locative logical meaning metaphysical Mill’s modern monism natural nominal nonexistent not-being notion of existence notion of truth noun ontology ousia Parmenidean Parmenides participle passage Phaedo philosophical phrase Phronesis Plato Plotinus poem predicative construction predicative function Priscian problem proem propositional Protagoras Pythagorean question reality reference repr role seems semantic sense Socrates statement structure suggest syntactic syntax term terminology Theaetetus theory theory of Forms thesis things thought translation true truth claim Type University Press usage veridical veridical construction veridical value what-is what-is-not