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Extra resources for A History of Language Philosophies (Studies in the History of the Language Sciences)
It is a procedure that, with the help of names (and possibly, but not necessarily, on the basis of past experience) transforms sensations into notions. Prolepsis contributes to recognizing through names (as well as to all other recognizing acts, including non-linguistic ones) by fostering the direct reference between the voice and the object or event. In fact, the immediacy of reference contributes to the eﬃcacy of names. Epicurus’s faith in the proleptic (nondeﬁnitional) power of names goes hand in hand with his contempt for dialectics 29 30 A History of Language Philosophies and its paraphernalia of deﬁnitions and classiﬁcations.
What is the ‘thing’ signiﬁed by the word si (if)? It is at most a state of mind, a doubt. Nihil (nothing) suggests perhaps an aﬀection of the soul when it discovers the absence of a thing; ex (of) is a synonym of de and indicates the separation from something. But in this way we have explained “words by words, that is, signs by signs, and what is familiar by what is equally familiar” (De Mag. II, 3). It is also useless to try to point out objects: this can be done only for names, and only for names of things that are material and in our presence, and even in this case, only in relation to their visible qualities.
As spoken language, compared to internal language, is fragmented into words, so is the language of the soul fragmented when compared to the divine word (I, ii, 3). Language betrays the inadequacy of those who speak it; it is used when intelligence no longer suﬃces. The craftsman starts reﬂecting when he encounters a diﬃculty, being otherwise guided by his art; thus, it is need that makes us use words. As we understand at a glance the feelings of a silent friend, thus in the spiritual domain thought ﬂows without mediations.