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Headword: Axiôma
Adler number: alpha,2827
Translated headword: proposition
Vetting Status: high
This is what comes into being from a direct or an oblique predicate.[1]
A proposition is that which is[2] true or false or a self-contained matter deniable or affirmable in itself;[3] for instance, "it is day", "Dion is walking". Among philosophers the term "proposition" (axioma) has taken its name from "being accepted" (axiousthai) or "being rejected". For the one who says "it is day" seems to be accepting that it is day. Thus when it is day, the proposed proposition becomes true; but when it is not day, it becomes false. Proposition, question and enquiry are different; certainly imperatives, oaths, deprecations, hypotheses, addresses are also [things similar to propositions]. For a proposition is that which, when we say it, we are declaring something, which is either true or false. But a question is a complete matter, as a proposition also is, but one which asks for an answer. For instance, "Is it day?": this is neither true nor false. Thus "it is day" is a proposition but "is it day?" is a question. An enquiry is a matter to which it is impossible to give an answer with a single word. For example, you can say "yes" in the case of a question, but [in the case of an enquiry] you have to say "He lives in this place". The rest of these things [are] evident.
Greek Original:
Axiôma: touto ek katêgorêmatos orthou ê plagiou echei tên genesin. axiôma de estin toutestin alêthes ê pseudes ê pragma autoteles apophanton hoson eph' heautôi ê kataphanton: hoion, hêmera esti: Diôn peripatei. ônomastai de axiôma para philosophois apo tou axiousthai ê atheteisthai. ho gar legôn, hêmera estin, axioun dokei to hêmeran einai. ousês men oun hêmeras, alêthes ginetai to prokeimenon axiôma: mê ousês de, pseudos. diapherei de axiôma kai erôtêma kai pusma. esti gar prostaktikon, horkikon, aratikon, hupothetikon, prosagoreutikon. axiôma men gar estin, ho legontes apophainometha, ê alêthes ê pseudes. erôtêma de esti pragma autoteles men, hôs kai to axiôma, aitêtikon de apokriseôs, hoion, ara ge hêmera esti; touto de oute alêthes esti, oute pseudes: hôste to men, hêmera estin, axiôma: to de, ara ge hêmera; erôtêma. pusma de esti pragma, pros ho sumbolikôs ouk estin apokrinesthai, hôs epi tou erôtêmatos, nai: alla eipein, oikei en tôide tôi topôi. ta de loipa dêla.
cf. alpha 2825, alpha 2826, kappa 1039. The present entry reproduces (with some variations) Diogenes Laertius 7.65-66. Copied to alpha 3628; and cf. also epsilon 3074, pi 3254.
[1] This sentence is not intelligible without a brief explanation. According to Diog.Laert. 7.64 (one of our reliable sources for the study of Stoic logic), a predicate (kategorema) is what is said of something, or a thing constructed with (syntakton) some thing or things. Technically, a predicate is an incomplete "sayable" (lekton, on which see Long & Sedley, [1987], vol. 1, 195-202) constructed with a nominative case (orthe ptosis) to yield a proposition (see kappa 1039). Now of predicates some are (i) direct or active (ortha) and others (ii) are reversed or passive (hyptia). This is a way of making reference to the distinction between predicates expressing active and passive verbal forms, respectively. Examples of "direct or "active" predicates" are (someone) "hears", "sees", "speaks"; examples of "reversed" or "passive" predicates are the ones constructed with the passive voice: "I am heard", "I am seen".
[2] Instead of toute/stin, D.L. has o(/ e)stin, as translated here.
[3] (cf. kappa 844.) A proposition is "a complete thing" or rather "state of affairs" (pragma autoteles) insofar as it is a complete sayable, i.e. a sayable having a complete enunciation (see Mates [1961] 16). By contrast, a predicate (such as "writes", "walks", "speaks") is an incomplete sayable, because we need to know "who"? (cf. Sextus Empiricus, Adversus Mathematicos 8.70; Diogenes Laertius 7.63). As indicated by Mates (1961) 28, in this context the term pragma has the same denotation as lekton, i.e. it is what is signified when one says something. In other words, the term pragma ("thing", "object", or rather "state of affairs") should not be understood as meaning a physical thing. As a matter of fact, for the Stoics it is an incorporeal (cf. Sextus Empiricus, Adv.Math. 10.218). For a comprehensive discussion of the Stoic axioma see the still useful remarks by Kneale & Kneale (1962) 144-15, and more recently Frede (1994).
M. Frede, "The Stoic Notion of a lekton", in S. Everson (ed.) Language. Companions to Ancient Thought 3 (Cambrisge: Cambridge University Press 1994), 109-128.
W. Kneale & M. Kneale, The Development of Logic (Oxford 1962).
B. Mates, Stoic Logic (Berkeley 1961).
A.A. Long, D.N. Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers (Cambridge 1987), 2. vols.
B. Mates, Stoic Logic (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1961).
Keywords: definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; philosophy
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 18 January 2000@11:45:50.
Vetted by:
Scott Carson (Note [4] is unclear. The phrase "A way to understand it can be..." seems to imply either that what follows may be a way to understand the meaning of the text itself, or that what follows may be a way to understand the real point at issue.) on 11 February 2000@16:17:22.
Scott Carson on 21 February 2000@16:14:36.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 16 August 2002@01:49:11.
David Whitehead (added note; cosmetics) on 16 August 2002@03:26:49.
David Whitehead (added note) on 16 August 2002@03:31:56.
Marcelo Boeri (Modified translation; corrected and augmented note; added bibliography) on 29 August 2002@01:08:11.
Catharine Roth (italics, typo) on 30 December 2006@12:14:02.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics; another x-ref) on 31 December 2006@05:59:14.
David Whitehead (more x-refs) on 24 January 2014@04:22:43.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 25 January 2014@14:30:48.
David Whitehead on 2 August 2015@05:28:14.
Catharine Roth (added a note) on 3 September 2015@12:25:12.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 3 September 2015@23:17:06.


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