What Words Signify

  • Roger D. Gallie
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 45)


We have already encountered Reid’s ringing pronouncement of Inquiry II,VI, H p. 109a, that if impressions and ideas are the only objects of thought then heaven and earth, body and spirit and everything else you please must signify ideas or they must be words without any meaning. Accordingly it is surely at least desirable to examine what Reid’s considered views are on the subject of what words signify. Reid’s pronouncement is, admittedly, enthymematic. The dreaded consequent only holds if it is true that words merely signify objects of thought and if it is true that objects of thought are ideas. And perhaps it needs to be added that heaven and earth, body and spirit and such will end up signifying particular ideas if all ideas are particular and none are abstract and general.


General Conception Distinct Conception Ontological Status Conceivable Individual Plural Form 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger D. Gallie
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeicesterUK

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