Aristotle's Correspondence Theory of Truth and What Does Not Exist

Charlene Elsby



While nowhere does he use the term to refer to his own theory, Aristotle is often thought to exemplify an early correspondence theory of truth. In the paper, I examine the textual evidence used to support the idea that Aristotle holds a correspondence theory of truth, and to infer the nuances of this theory. I hold that Aristotle’s theory of truth can account for terms that signify non-existent things, i.e., that on Aristotle’s account, an assertion is not automatically false given its subject term’s “failure to refer”. Terms do not refer for Aristotle, they signify (and his use of the concept of signification extends far beyond linguistic reference).


Aristotle; correspondence; non-existence; reference; signification; isomorphism

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ISSN: 1425-3305 (print version)

ISSN: 2300-9802 (electronic version)

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