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Recovering understanding

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
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The history of theoretical progress is also a history of increases in the skill with which innovations are linguistically proposed. One dimension of this refinement is the difficulty of the task of recovering past understandings theoretical terms. A study of ancient philosophy reveals vivid examples. Standard approaches to ancient texts provide evidence of, but do not sufficiently illuminate, the difficulty. My biology of language, and essentially diachronic, approach focuses neither on understanding the ancients, nor on overcoming the difficulty in understanding them, but rather on understanding those features of the difficulty which my approach makes apparent. George Steiner provides the starting point for a discussion of ways of understanding the difficulty. Leonard Palmer’s paper on Greek justice is represented as the minimal standard of methodological care required of any attempt to overcome it. The terms, logos and cause, are examined as examples of our difficulty in understanding inherited theoretical language.
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