Une petite histoire de la notion d’autoteleia (complétude) dans la tradition grecque

  • Frédéric Lambert
Keywords: Autoteleia, Completeness, History of syntax, Stoics, Apollonius Dyscolus


This paper deals with a Greek item which played an important role
in at least three domains: philosophy, rhetoric, and grammar: autoteleia, which
is traditionally translated by completeness and which is regularly present in the
various and traditional definitions of sentence, always supposed to be ‘complete
in itself’. The paper browses through a lot of occurrences of the Greek terms
belonging to the lexical family of autoteleia, mainly the adjective autotele:s,
which were conceptualised first in philosophy by the Stoics to characterize the
logical proposition. It appears that more than completeness, autoteleia means
autonomy and self-sufficiency of a proposition. It is exactly what is at stake in
the grammatical use of these terms, particularly in Apollonius Dyscolus’ works,
where it appears that, far from being a fuzzy idea, the notion of self-sufficiency
plays a precise and essential role in the syntactic description of the sentence.