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Volume :18 Issue : 71 2000      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Plato's Theory of Natural Representation and its Reflection in the Writings of Al-Farabi and Ibn-Jinni (in Arabic)

Auther : Azmi T. Al-Sayyed Ahmad

This research presented the theory set forth by Plato to explain the origin of language and appellation. This theory was almost solely presented in a dedicated dialogue, namely Cratylus.

The theory sees that the process of naming things comes from finding names that represent or imitate whatever they are meant to name through the letters and syllables. By that, Plato established a relation between the nature of these letters and their sounds on the one hand, and the nature of things they name on the other. The “right name” of anything, Plato states, is one that is descriptive of the nature of the normal thing itself. He also considered this theory to be the only possible scientific one, since all other possible explanations are not scientific.

The research also elaborates on the difficulties faced by this theory which Plato himself realized. It is shown in the research that Plato also stated that this theory of imitation or representation should be based on a general and broader theory concerning the reality of existence as a whole. From there, the research proceeds to clarify the reflections or effects of this theory upon two eminent scholars in the field of Language: Al-Farabi and Ibn-Jinni. It provides quotations from both of them showing the influence of this theory evident in their own research. This last, indicates the acquaintance of Arab scholars with the dialogue of Cratylus beyond its content.

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