Aliquid amplius audire desiderat: Desire in Abelard’s Theory of Incomplete and Non-Assertive Complete Sentences

In: Vivarium
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  • 1 Sapienza Università di Roma

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One of the peculiarities of Peter Abelard’s analysis of incomplete and non-assertive sentences is his use of the notion of desire: in both Dialectica and Glosses on Peri hermeneias the terms desiderium and desidero move to the foreground side by side with optatio, expectatio, suspensio and the related verbs. Desire plays a structural role in Abelard’s descriptions of the compositional way in which the linguistic message is received, changing step by step from incomplete to complete: the person who receives the incomplete message (e.g., ‘Socrates’ or ‘Socrates legens’) desires to get further information through other words since he knows that the purpose of such words or sequences of words (their causa inventionis) is to combine with other words in order to form a complete sentence. On the other hand, the expression of the speaker’s attention to his inner affections renders the same semantic content a different complete sentence (injunction, prayer, or desiderativa oratio).

  • 5

    Irène Rosier-Catach, ‘Abélard et les grammairiens, sur la définition du verbe et la notion d’inhérence’, in La tradition vive, sur la définition des textes en l’honneur de Louis Holtz, ed. P. Larded (Turnhout, 2003), 143-59; eadem, ‘Priscien, Boèce, les Glosulae in Priscianum, Abélard: les enjeux des discussions autour de la notion de consignification’, Histoire, Épistémologie, Langage 25 (2003), 55-84; eadem, ‘Abélard et les grammairiens, sur le verbe substantif et la prédication’, Vivarium 41 (2003), 175-248; eadem, ‘Les discussions sur le signifié des propositions chez Abélard et ses contemporains’; Grondeux – Rosier-Catach, ‘Les Glosulae super Prisicanum et leur tradition’.

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  • 15

    See Rosier-Catach, ‘Les discussions sur le signifié des propositions’, 5-9.

  • 23

    See Rosier-Catach, ‘Les discussions sur le signifié des propositions’, 23-5.

  • 50

    See Nuchelmans, Theories of the Proposition, 148-9. This idea is similar to the later difference between signifying per modum affectus or per modum conceptus, about which see above, n. 47.

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