Possibility and Necessity in the Time of Peter Abelard


This book offers a major reassessment of Peter Abelard’s modal logic and theory of modalities, presenting them as far more uniform and consistent than was recognized until now. Irene Binini offers new ways of connecting Abelard’s modal views with other parts of his logic, semantics, metaphysics and theology.
Further, the work also provides a comprehensive study of the logical context in which Abelard’s theories originated and developed, by presenting fresh evidence about many 11th- and 12th-century sources that are still unpublished. This analysis sheds new light on the relations between Abelard and ancient authors such as Aristotle, Boethius, and Priscian, as well as between Abelard and his contemporaries, such as Anselm of Canterbury, William of Champeaux, Joscelin of Soissons, and Alberic of Paris.

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Irene Binini, Ph.D. (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, 2017), is Researcher at the University of Parma and Marie Curie fellow, currently coordinating a project on medieval theories of modalities in collaboration with the University of Toronto. She has published articles on 12th-century logic.
"Irene Binini’s book is a comprehensive survey of Abelard’s views on possibility and necessity. It is an important contribution to our understanding of Abelard’s logic and metaphysics, especially because of its use of state-of-the- art research on other twelfth-century sources (many still unedited and available only to those with strong paleographic skills and access to restricted collections), which helps us better to see precisely where Abelard’s philosophy is innovative and distinctive. [...] The compendiousness of this book will make it useful to many scholars, not only of twelfth-century European logic and metaphysics, but also those interested more broadly in medieval logic and medieval metaphysics. [...] I anticipate that Binini’s book will be the standard resource for scholars and students for the foreseeable future. Yet, as Binini herself acknowledges, there is much more work to be done on these texts. Thus, while this book will be a valuable resource to scholars for a long time, one of its best features is the way that it will be the impetus and basis for future discoveries."
Andrew W. Arlig (Brooklyn College) in The Thomist, January 2024, p. 157-9
Specialists of 12th-century logic and philosophy. Researchers interested in the general history of modal logic, reconstructed with an analytic approach. Lecturers teaching intermediate to advanced courses in History of Medieval Philosophy; History of Medieval Logic and History of Logic.
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