Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 T - Term


Term: Meaningful part of a statement.

What are the terms in a natural language is often a bit vague. One reason is that many natural languages have terms of which the meaning may be changed by affixing or prefixing some letters to it, as indeed also is possible to some extent in English, as witnessed by "'s" as in "John's book".

Another is that no speaker of any well-developed widely spoken natural language knows all its terms or uses all terms in the senses most speakers of the language do.

Also, terms may be categorematic or syncategorematic, and may occur in a statement possibly separated by other terms, as is the case with "if .. then" in English.

Sometimes it is claimed that terms have no meaning outside statements, but that seems a mistake: Whoever knows English well knows what is meant by "elephant", and doesn't need any statement within which it figures to know the standard meaning of it.

If one takes "part of" in the above definition in the wide sense in which something may be a part of itself, it follows meaningful statements are terms, which is a usage that has advantages.



See also: Term - Theoretical, Term - Empirical


Bochenski, Leonard, Ockham

 Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top