Monday, January 14, 2013

A Definition of Medieval Logic

From a forthcoming book advertised on, entitled Later Medieval Metaphysics: Ontology, Language, and Logic. Chapter 8 is called "The Power of Medieval Logic" and is written by Terence Parsons.  Here is his definition of medieval logic:

The first task is to decide what to count as medieval logic. Medieval logic consists of centuries of work by some very smart people working in a difficult area. I will be libertine about what is included in medieval logic. If any medieval logician ever said it, and if it is worthwhile, it is part of medieval logic.


Michael Sullivan said...

"My horse can't decide between two piles of hay, and I can't decide between Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger. Guess I'll go hungry!"

- John Buridan

"I spent all day thinking about the purity of the art of logic, and the housekeeper can't spend one hour thinking about the purity of my habit? How hard could it be to get these spots out?"

- Walter Burleigh

"There are only two principles, Nature and Mind. I'll get back to the work of the mind in a second, but right now, nature calls."

- William of Sherwood

"All logical writers teach that arguments are composed of propositions, propositions are composed of terms, and the pain in my neck is composed of realists and the Pope."

- William of Ockham.

"Dialectic ought to be prior in the acquisition of sciences, and coffee ought to be prior in the acquisition of breakfast."

- Peter of Spain

I guess the validity of the definition turns upon what counts as "worthwhile".

Ryan Haecker said...

It also turns on what counts as medieval. Are the Byzantine Neo-Platonists included? What about the logicians from the 15th Century onward, such as Nicolas of Cusa?