Ideational Theories of Meaning

Discipline: Philosophy

Theories which say that words have meaning by standing for ideas, thoughts or concepts, and so on.

Such theories are found in Aristotle's (4th century BC) early work De Interpretatione (On Interpretation), especially chapters 1-4; and in the writing of English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704).

They have the advantage over naming theories of meaning in that they provide a single kind of thing for diverse kinds of word to stand for, but share with such theories problems over what 'standing for' amounts to.

J Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), book 3


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