Philosophy of Language

John Locke: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

John_LockeAn Essay Concerning Human Understanding is a 1689 work by John Locke setting out a new theory of knowledge influenced by contemporary scientific developments. In Book 1 of the essay, Locke strongly attacked Cartesian rationalism and its doctrine that the human mind has access to innate ideas. In Book 2 he posited that the mind was like a white sheet of paper (often paraphrased as a 'blank slate'), with its only source of knowledge being experience.

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Chinese University of Hong Kong: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Framed HTML format.

Early Modern Texts: Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, Volume 1 | Volume 2. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: An Essay concerning Human Understanding, edited by Alexander Campbell Fraser. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, with other works by Locke, Berkeley and Hume. (Great Books of the Western World edition, 1937). Multiple formats.

Liberty Fund: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Volume 1 | Volume 2. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. HTML and other formats.

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Aristotle: On Dreams

On Dreams (Greek: Περὶ ἐνυπνίων, Latin: De insomniis) is a work by Aristotle, one of the short treatises on nature, or Parva Naturalia.

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Free online texts

Internet Archive: The Works of Aristotle, Vol III, translated under the editorship of W.D. Ross (1910). Parva Naturalia translated by J.I. Beare and G.R.T. Ross. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Aristotle's Psychology: A Treatise on the Principle of Life (De Anima and Parva Naturalia), translated by W.A. Hammond (1902). Multiple formats.

Mikrosapoplous.gr: ΠΕΡΙ ΕΝΥΠΝΙΩΝ. Greek text, HTML format.

University of Adelaide: On Dreams, translated by J.I. Beare. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text. English text, translated by J.I. Beare. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

Librivox: Parva Naturalia - public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: On Dreams

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Aristotle: On the Soul (De Anima).

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.


Aristotle: On Interpretation

Aristotle's On Interpretation (Latin: De Interpretatione, Greek: Περὶ Ἑρμηνείας, Peri Hermeneias) is the second text of the Organon, the collection of short logical works that formed the basis of a traditional philosophical education in much of antiquity and the middle ages.

It begins with an analysis of the basic elements of language, before noting that is only when the parts of speech are brought together to form sentences, that we have propositions that can be said to be true or false. The bulk of the treatise considers the nature of propositions in more detail.

The works most famous passage features the famous sea-battle argument, an early statement of the problem of future contingents.

Free online texts

Biblioteca Online de Ciências da Comunicação: On Interpretation, translated by E.M. Edgehill, PDF file.

Internet Archive: L 325 - The Categories and On Interpretation, translated by Harold P. Cook. Prior Analytics, translated by Hugh Tredennick. Greek and English Loeb edition. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: On Interpretation, translated by E.M. Edgehill. HTML and TXT files.

University of Adelaide: On Interpretation, translated by E.M. Edgehill. HTML text.

Wikisource: On Interpretation, translated by O.F. Owen. HTML text.

Other Resources

Historyoflogic.com: Semantics and Philosophy of Language in Aristotle's De Interpretatione.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Aristotle's Logical Works - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Archive: The Sea-Battle Hub - defunct website on Aristotle's sea-battle argument.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle: Logic.

Librivox: On Interpretation - public domain audiobook.

Philosophiques: Le Chapitre IX du De Interpretatione D'Aristotle, by Jules Vuillemin.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle's Logic, by Robin Smith.

Wikipedia: De Interpretatione.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

 Aristotle's Organon: The Categories, On Interpretation, Prior Analytics, Posterior Analytics, Topics, and Sophistical Refutations.

Porphyry: Isagoge - formed part of the medieval Ars Vetus or old logic, along with the Categories and On Interpretation.

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.


Plato: Cratylus

The Cratylus is a Socratic dialogue notable for Plato's foundational contribution to the philosophy of language.

Free Online and Downloadable Texts

Gutenberg: Cratylus by Plato, translated by Benjamin Jowett, multiple formats.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: What's in a Name? Plato's Cratylus - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Leiden University Classics Department: A Bibliography on Plato's Cratylus.

Librivox: Cratylus audiobook

PhilPapers: Plato - Cratylus - bibliography with open access option.

Wikipedia: Cratylus

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Plato's Dialogues are listed.