Basil Lourié. Philosophy of Dionysius the Areopagite. Theory of meaning. Vol. 3. No. 2. 2018

Publication Details

Philosophy of Dionysius the Areopagite. Theory of meaning
Title in the language of publication: Философия Дионисия Ареопагита: Теория значения
Basil Lourié
Doctor of Philosophy, Professor at the Institute of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Campus in Perm.
Address: 38 Studencheskaya Ulitsa, Perm 614070, Russia.
P. 387–440.
Language: Russian
Document type: Research Article


The paper presents an outline of the treatment of semantic issues in Patristics, especially in Dionysius the Areopagite and Basil of Caesarea. The main problem, namely, that of naming God who remains unnameable, is approached from a non-theological formal semantic viewpoint and against the background of different twentieth-century-semantic theories as well as author’s own understanding of the indirect meanings. Moreover, are taken into account those quantum logics whose purpose is a formalisation of the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum theory (given that some of them were developed under an impact of 1960s theories in semantics of natural language). As one could expect, the formal semantic implied in the theology of Dionysius the Areopagite and Basil of Caesarea does not coincide with any of the semantic theories available in modern scholarship, even though has something in common with some of them. Generally speaking, the formal semantic implied in theology of our patristic authors presupposes an intesionality which is not reducible to extensionality. In this respect, theology is similar to poetry. However, unlike poetry, the formal semantic of patristic theology is undetachable from a kind of “existential export”, that is, some ontology. Non-reducibility of intensionality results from inconsistency — quite explicit as it as — of the main notions applied to God (which implies all kinds of contradictions, that is, subcontrary, contradictory, and contrary — whereas the latter are almost not dealt with in the article). The article focuses on posing questions and looking for general directions where the answers are to be found, but the answers themselves are to be discussed elsewhere.


Dionysius the Areopagite, semantics, intensionality, paraconsistent logic, dialethism, divine names, designation.


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