Richard Billingham and the Oxford Obligationes Texts: Restrictions on positio

In: Vivarium

This paper investigates a series of Oxford Obligationes texts, all of which can be associated with Richard Billingham. My study is based on eleven of the surviving manuscripts and two early printed texts. I focus on one aspect of their discussion, namely the rule for granting the initial positum of an obligational disputation of the type called positio, and the six restrictions that could be placed on that rule. I explain these restrictions with reference to several sophismata that were meant to illustrate the problems that the restrictions were intended to solve, and in particular, I discuss the fifth restriction ‘not inconsistent with the positum’. I also shed light on the final restriction, which has not always been well understood, namely the restriction ‘wherever there is no obligatio relevant to the positum’.

  • 9

    L.M. de Rijk, ‘Richard Billingham’s Works on Logic’, Vivarium 14 (1976), 121-38: 132 notes that the Obligationes are preceded by the colophon: “Expliciunt supposiciones et consequencie barlingam. Incipiunt obligaciones.”

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  • 35

    Albertus de Saxonia, Perutilis Logica (Venice, 1522: reprint Hildesheim-New York, 1974), f. 49rb; Albert von Sachsen, Logik, ed. and trans. H. Berger (Hamburg, 2010), 1242-6.

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