La semiotica salvata(si) dal Vesuvio: il dibattito tra Epicurei e Stoici (?) sull’inferenza da segni nel “De signis” di Filodemo
The De signis of Philodemus is one of the texts of classical antiquity presenting the broadest semiotic interest. It reports the debate which arose between the Epicureans and an opposing school, usually identified with the Stoics, about the semiotic inference. The Epicureans propose to construct semiotic inferences based on generalizations resting on similarity, configuring their method, ultimately, as induction. Opponents attacked the proposal of the Epicureans in a twofold way: on one hand argued that the Epicurean method intrinsically lacks of cogency, fact that invalidated their inferences from a logical point of view. On the other criticized the notion of similarity, arguing that it is generally a vague notion, and in some cases impossible to implement, as when one is faced with unique cases. The debate is very complex and is divided into replies and rejoinders. The final impression is that the Epicureans have been able, for the first in antiquity, to propose a real method to construct semiotic inferences, even though these latter were subject to fallibility, while opponents have not proposed a method, but a test, the «elimination», able only to check the logical soundness of the semiotic inferences. So doing they placed themself in a line of continuity which goes back to the theory of the sign formulated, although in a way significantly different, from Aristotle.