Thomas Manlevelt - Questiones libri Porphirii


The Questiones libri Porphirii is a commentary on Porphyry's Isagoge by the fourteenth-century logician Thomas Manlevelt. It is edited here in full. Not much is known of Thomas Manlevelt, but his work is remarkable enough. Following in the footsteps of William of Ockham, Manlevelt stresses the individual nature of all things existing in the outside world. He radically challenges our conceptional framework. He applies Ockham's razor in a ruthless manner to do away with all entities not deemed necessary for preservation. In the end, Manlevelt even maintains that substance does not exist. In this text early Ockhamism is being pushed to its extremes.

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Biographical Note

Alfred van der Helm received his Ph.D. from Leiden University in 2012. From 1993 until 1996 he was a teacher in Philosophy at Parahyangan Catholic University in Bandung, Indonesia. He is currently preparing an edition of Thomas Manlevelt’s commentary on the Categories.

Review Quotes

"This whole treatise (...) will repay further study, and it will be good to see Manlevelt’s Categories commentary given similar careful treatment."
Stephen Read (University of St. Andrews), Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 69, 2, December 2015

Table of contents

1.About this text
1.1.Thomas Manlevelt: on first acquaintance
1.2.Denial of substance
1.3.Primacy of individuality

2.Thomas Manlevelt, life and works
2.2.1.Biographical framework
2.2.2.Career in Paris
2.2.3.Bibliographical data from works and manuscripts
2.2.5.The spelling of the name ‘Manlevelt’
2.2.6.Thomas’s English background and the dating of his works
2.2.7.Thomas Manlevelt and Albert of Saxony

3.Why this text is to be ascribed to Thomas Manlevelt
3.1.The manuscript
3.2.Comparison with other texts
3.3.Geographical circumstances
3.4.The dating of the Questiones libri Porphirii
3.5.The Franciscan context
3.6.The theologian background

4.Historical background
4.1.Porphyry’s book, and what it is about
4.1.1.The Organon
4.1.2.The Categories
4.1.3.The Isagoge
4.1.4.The three questions
4.1.5.Commentaries on the Isagoge
4.2.Thomas Manlevelt’s Ockhamism
4.3.Ockhamism in Oxford and in Paris
4.4.Parisian denials of substance
4.5.The University of Paris
4.6.The University of Oxford
4.6.1.Manlevelt and Bradwardine: De incipit et desinit
4.6.2.Manlevelt and Bradwardine: Opus artis logicae

5.Form and contents of this text
5.1.1.The structuring of the Questiones
5.1.2.References given
5.2.Why a commentary?
5.3.The originality ofThomas Manlevelt’s approach
5.4.Thomas Manlevelt’s theory of signs
5.5.A brief summary of the contents of the questiones
5.5.1.The individuum
5.5.2.The accident
5.5.3.The general structure of the text
5.5.4.A comparison to other questiones-commentaries on the Isagoge
5.5.5.Thomas Manlevelt’s commentary, questio by questio 122

6.Description of the manuscript used

7.The editorial principles


(Questio 1) Utrum necesse sit aliquem scire quid genus sit et quid species etcetera ad cognitionem predicamentorum habendam
(Questio 2) Utrum scire quid sit genus etcetera sit necesse ad divisionem faciendam
(Questio 3) Utrum noscere quid sit genus sit necessarium ad assignationem diffinitionum
(Questio 4) Utrum universale sit hini intellectu
(Questio 5) Utrum genus sit equivocum
(Questio 6) Utrum genus sit cui supponitur species, et hoc est querere utrum illa diffinitio generis sit bene data
(Questio 7) Utrum genus sit principium suarum specierum
(Questio 8) Utrum genus predicetur de pluribus differentibus specie
(Questio 9) Utrum omne genus predicatur in quid
(Questio 10) Utrum genus differat ab individuo
(Questio 11) Utrum individuum predicetur de uno solo
(Questio 12) Utrum aliquod individuum sit terminus communis
(Questio 13) Utrum proprietas unius individui inveniatur in altero
(Questio 14) Utrum species sit res distincta a termino sive a signo 231
(Questio 15) Utrum homo sit species animalis
(Questio 16) Utrum genus et species sint sibi invicem relativa
(Questio 17) Utrum in diffinitione speciei sit necesse poni genus
(Questio 18) Utrum ista diffinitio speciei ‘Species est que predicatur de pluribus numero differentibus in eo quod quid sit’, sit bona
(Questio 19) Utrum omne quod est ante individua, sit species specialissima
(Questio 20) Utrum individuum sit nomen appellativum
(Questio 21) Utrum unum sit genus omnium; hoc est querere, utrum talia transcendentia aliquid, res, ens, sint genera
(Questio 22) Utrum tantum sint decem genera et non plura, neque pauciora
(Questio 23) Utrum genera generalissima sint principia rerum
(Questio 24) Utrum infinita relinquenda sint ab arte
(Questio 25) Utrum participatione speciei plures homines sunt unus homo
(Questio 26) Utrum inferiora predicentur de superioribus
(Questio 27) Utrum species sit pars generis
(Questio 28) Utrum aliquid differat a seipso
(Questio 29) Utrum aliqua substantia differat ab alia separabili accidente
(Questio 30) Utrum aliquid ab alio differat inseparabili accidente
(Questio 31) Utrum differentia specifica semper faceat aliquid ab alio differre specie
(Questio 32) Utrum omne faciens per se differre sit differentia specifica
(Questio 33) Utrum differentia per se suscipit magis et minus
(Questio 34) Utrum hec differentia animatum sensibile sit constitutiva substantie animalis
(Questio 35) Utrum hec differentia immortale sit constitutiva Dei
(Questio 36) Utrum eadem differentia sit discretiva generis et constitutiva speciei
(Questio 37) Utrum differentia specifica sit necessaria ad divisionem generis
(Questio 38) Utrum differentia specifica sit necessaria ad diffinitionem faciendam
(Questio 39) Utrum ista diffinitio differentie sit bene data:‘differentia est qua abundat species a genere’
(Questio 40) Utrum aliqua alia diffinitio differentie convertitur cum differentia
(Questio 41) Utrum proprium dicatur quadrupliciter
(Questio 42) Utrum aliquod accidens absit et assit preter subiecti corruptionem
(Questio 43) Utrum ex subiecto et accidente componatur aliquod per se unum
(Questio 44) Utrum corvus possit subintelligi albus
(Questio 45) Utrum aliquod accidens sit genus substantiale

Index nominum
Index verborum notabilium
Index exemplorum

(Questio 2) Utrum aliquis conceptus sit equivocus


All interested in the history of logic, later medieval logic, semantics and philosophy and in particular the tradition of commentaries on Porphry, and anyone concerned with fourteenth-century Ockhamism.