Article ID: CBB001211196

The Arbitrariness of the Linguistic Sign: Variations on an Enlightenment Theme (2012)


The article discusses the perspectives on linguistic signs during the Enlightenment, from the late 17th century view of them as arbitrary to the mid 18th century emphasis on linguistic signs' natural aspects. An overview of the the philosophy on semantics from the philosophers John Locke, Samuel Pufendorf, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Etienne Bonnot de Condillac, Anne Robert Jacques Turgot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau is provided. The role that human reason and what is referred to as the natural essence of things play in their naming is discussed.

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Authors & Contributors
Lloyd, Henry Martyn
Sonia N. Das
Clementina Gily Reda
Malara, Ivan
LeBuffe, Michael
Marc Champagne
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Studi dellaportiani
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Science in Context
Perspectives on Science
Intellectual History Review
Pennsylvania State University Press
Oxford University Press
Cornell University Press
Cambridge University Press
Signs and symbols
Linguistics; philology
Natural philosophy
Stewart, Dugald
Reid, Thomas
Hume, David
Descartes, René
Vossius, Isaac
Spinoza, Baruch
Time Periods
17th century
18th century
16th century
19th century
French Guiana
Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) (Study group: U.S.)
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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