Regarding marriage, John Wyclif defends the following position: strictly speaking, no words or any kind of sensory signs would be needed, since the consensus of the spouses together with God’s approbation would suffice for the accomplishment of marriage. But if words do have to be pronounced, then the appropriate formula should not be in the present, but in the future. In the following, I shall discuss Wyclif’s arguments by comparing them with some other medieval positions, as well as with some elements of contemporary theories of speech acts. It will appear that in his analysis of the only sacrament which is a “social act” in the literal sense of the expression, Wyclif (i) clearly acknowledges the central role of individual intentions behind (linguistic) conventions, and (ii) carefully distinguishes between the different, chronologically disparate acts involved in marriage and their respective (semantic, psychological and factual) felicity conditions.
This study comments on six notabilia found in the general observations (praemittenda) with which Brinkley begins his treatise on supposition in his Summa logicae: i) the logico-metaphysical explanation of the distinction between significatio and suppositio, ii) the ontic division principle of supposition, iii) the relationship between supposita and truth-makers, iv) what seems to be a late (and English) resurgence of natural supposition, v) a pragmatic suspension of the regula appellationum and vi) Brinkley’s apparently incompatible claims that there are communicable things and that there are only singular things, a position that is a medieval form of immanent realism. Based on the two manuscripts that contain the treatise on supposition, an appendix offers a provisional edition of part of Brinkley’s Summa, a collaboration between the author and Joël Lonfat.
Walter Burley (1275-c.1344) and John Wyclif (1328-1384) follow two clearly stated doctrinal options: on the one hand, they are realists and, on the other, they defend a correspondence theory of truth that involves specific correlates for true propositions, in short: truth-makers. Both characteristics are interdependent: such a conception of truth requires a certain kind of ontology. This study shows that a) in their explanation of what it means for a proposition to be true, Burley and Wyclif both develop what we could call a theory of intentionality in order to explain the relation that must obtain between the human mind and the truth-makers, and b) that their explanations reach back to Augustine, more precisely to his theory of ocular vision as exposed in the De trinitate IX as well as to his conception of ideas found in the Quaestio de ideis.