The presentation of the theory of knowledge presents a peculiar difficulty. This difficulty is linguistic. Human language was a not made for speaking about knowledge; linguistic formality is not cognitive formality; there are infra-linguistic and supra-linguistic cognitive levels."
- Leonardo Polo, Curso de teorĂ­a del conocimiento, tomo I

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Translating "fundamento"

A discussion has arisen as to how to properly translate the term "fundamento", as well as "fundar".

Suggested interpretations include,
a) ground
b) foundation
c) fundament

a) ground
The term "ground" has been suggested since this term has had quite common use in philosophical texts (in metaphysics and in logic) and is used in translations, for example of Heidegger's "Grund". Copleston also uses it, for example when discussing Jasper's existentialism.
An objection to the use of "ground" is that it sounds awkward to the ordinary reader. For example, the phrase, "seeking the ground of reality" might seem quite strange if one is not aware of the technical, metaphysical sense of the term.
Another objection is that "ground" is used in a mathematical and logical context.

b) foundation
The term "foundation" has been suggested, especially because it sounds more natural than the term "ground".
An objection to this is that "foundation" has too broad meaning and lacks the metaphysical connotations of terms like "ground" or "fundament".

c) fundament
The term "fundament" has been suggested and has some use in English philosophical works.
An objection to this is that this word is not of common use in translations of more metaphysical, ontological authors.

With this, I open the floor to discussion. I will add my thoughts after some comments have been made.


  1. Please contact Dr. Edward Feser at edwardfeser@hotmail.com (see edwardfeser.blogspot.com)! He may be able to help. He expounds on Aristotelian-Thomist thought in a very accessible way.

  2. Also, you may want to get in touch with Dr. Paul Dumol of the University of Asia and the Pacific (www.uap.asia). He is a Polo scholar in the Philippines, and is a master of the English language.