An examination the development of Peter Abaelard’s views on translation and figurative meaning. Mediaeval philosophers curiously do not connect the theory of translation implied by Aristotelian semantics with the multiplicity of tongues consequent upon the fall of Babel and do not seem to have much to offer to help in solving the problems of scriptural interpretation noted by Augustine. Indeed, on the Aristotelian account of meaning such problems do not arise. This paper shows that Abaelard is like others in this respect in not in general finding translation problematic. Two particular cases, oppositio in adiecto and accidental predication, however, present problems for him and the paper examines and tries to explain the differences between the account given in the Dialectica and that given in the Logica ‘Ingredientibus’.
A study of the reception of Aristotle’s Prior Analytics in the first half of the twelfth century. It is shown that Peter Abaelard was perhaps acquainted with as much as the first seven chapters of Book I of the Prior Analytics but with no more. The appearance at the beginning of the twelfth century of a short list of dialectical loci which has puzzled earlier commentators is explained by noting that this list formalises the classification of extensional relations between general terms and that this classification had already be put forward by Boethius in his de Syllogismo Categorico and Introductio ad Syllogismos Categoricas. It is pointed out the kind of text referred to as an ‘Introductio’ at the beginning of the twelfth-century follows very closely the structure of Boethius own Introductio and adds to it material drawn from his accounts of loci and the conditional propositions. It is argued that the reception of the Prior Analytics has to be understood against the background of this well developed tradition of treating together syllogisms, loci, and conditional propostions. Referring to a challenge to the formal validity of Darapti in the Ars Meliduna the paper concludes by illustrating that the theory of the syllogism presented in Prior Analytics was still controversial in the middle of the twelfth-century.
The history of thinking about consequences in the Middle Ages divides into three periods. During the first of these, from the eleventh to the middle of the twelfth century, and the second, from then until the beginning of the fourteenth century, the notion of natural consequence played a crucial role in logic, metaphysics, and theology. The first part of this paper traces the development of the theory of natural consequence in Abaelard’s work as the conditional of a connexive logic with an equivalent connexive disjunction and the crisis precipitated by the discovery of inconsistency in this system. The second part considers the accounts of natural consequence given in the thirteenth century as a special case of the standard modal definition of consequence, one for which the principle ex impossibili quidlibet does not hold, in logics in which disjunction is understood extensionally.
The study of the interdependence of grammar and logic at the beginning of the twelfth century is a difficult subject and progress here has been slow. With the recent publication of the Notae Dunelmenses, however, we are now able to see rather more clearly how closely the two disciplines were bound to one another. The following article draws upon this newly published material and on unpublished material from contemporary commentaries on Aristotle’s Categories to investigate how the grammarians’ account of number was reconciled with that given by Aristotle. It considers in particular the problem of the meaning of numerical terms such as ‘pair’ (binarius) and of collective names such as ‘people’ (populus) and how attempting to solve it shaped thinking about the metaphysics of number.