Arlig, Andrew W. 2005. A Study in Early Medieval Mereology: Boethius, Abelard, and Pseudo-Joscelin, Ohio State University.
Available at ProQuest Dissertation Express. Order number: 3161106.
Contents: 1. Introduction 1; 2. Introduction to mereology and the metaphysics of mereology 12; 3. Boethius and the early mereological
tradition 62; 4. Abelard’s mereology and its role in metaphysics 141; 5. Pseudo-Joscelin and the Moderate critique of Abelard 243; 6. Conclusion 304; List of
Abstract: "The study of parts and wholes, or mereology, occupies two of the best philosophical minds of twelfth-century Europe, Abelard
and Pseudo-Joscelin. But the contributions of Abelard and Pseudo-Joscelin cannot be adequately assessed until we come to terms with the mereological doctrines
of the sixth century philosopher Boethius. Apart from providing the general mereological background for the period, Boethius influences Abelard and
Pseudo-Joscelin in two crucial respects. First, Boethius all but omits mention of the classical Aristotelian concept of form. Second, Boethius repeatedly
highlights a rule which says that if a part is removed, the whole is removed as well. Abelard makes many improvements upon Boethius. His theory of static
identity accounts for the relations of sameness and difference that hold between a thing and its part. His theory of identity also provides a solution to the
problem of material constitution. With respect to the problem of persistence, Abelard assimilates Boethius' rule and proposes that the loss of any part entails
the annihilation of the whole. More precisely, Abelard thinks that the matter of things suffers annihilation upon the gain or loss of even one part. He also
holds that many structured wholes, namely artifacts, are strictly dependent upon their parts. Yet Abelard insists that human beings survive a variety of
mereological changes. Abelard is silent about objects which are neither artifacts nor persons. I argue that Abelard has the theoretical resources to provide an
account of the persistence of these types of object, so long as some forms are ontologically robust. Pseudo-Joscelin rejects the thesis that the removal of any
part entails the destruction of the whole. The annihilation of a whole follows only from the removal of essential parts. Pseudo-Joscelin employs two basic
principles in his theory of persistence. First, forms and the functions encoded in them play a primary role in identity and persistence. He also makes use of a
genetic criterion. Pseudo-Joscelin expands both principles and employs them when he vigorously defends the thesis that a universal is a concrete whole composed
of particulars from Abelard's criticisms."
———. 2007. "Abelard's Assault on Everyday Objects." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 81:209-227.
Abstract: "Abelard repeatedly claims that no thing can survive the gain or loss of parts. I outline Abelard's reasons for holding this
controversial position. First, a change of parts compromises the matter of the object. Secondly, a change in matter compromises the form of the object. Given
that both elements of an object are compromised by any gain or loss of a part, the object itself is compromised by any such change. An object that appears to
survive change is really a series of related, but non-identical, objects. I argue that, for Abelard, this series of objects is not itself an object. Finally, I
examine an apparent exception to Abelard's claim that no thing can survive a gain or loss of parts, and I show that this specific case does not undermine his
———. 2012. "Peter Abelard on Material Constitution." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie no. 94:119-146.
Abstract: "Some scholars have suggested that Peter Abelard has a solution to Allan Gibbard’s [*] famous puzzle concerning a lump of clay
and the statue that the clay composes.
Although Abelard does not explicitly address an analogue of this puzzle, I claim that an Abelardian solution can be constructed based on
principles drawn from his discussions of sameness and difference in his later theological writings. In this study, I first summarize the
puzzle and several standard solutions to it. I then present and analyze Abelard’s account of sameness and difference, with special emphasis
on his description of the ways in which the matter of a statue is both the same as and different from the statue. I then show how we can reconstruct an
Abelardian solution to the problem from these remarks. Finally, I consider whether this Abelardian solution is coherent and plausible. In doing so, I show how
the Abelardian solution reveals an underlying tension in Abelard’s later ontology."
[*] Gibbard, A. 1975. “Contingent Identity”, Journal of Philosophical Logic 4, 187–221. Reprinted in Material Constitution: A
Reader. Edited by Michael Rea, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997, pp. 93–125.
Astroh, Michael. 2001. "Petrus Abaelardus on Modalities De re and De dicto." In Potentialität und
Possibilität. Modalaussagen in der Geschichte der Metaphysik, edited by Buchheim, Thomas, Henri, Kneepkens Corneille and Lorenz, Kuno, 79-95. Stuttgart:
"The distinction between modalities de re and de dicto Abaelard discusses in his Glossae super Peri
hermeneias (1) presents itself as a topic of traditional predication theory. The two varieties of alethic modality are bound to opposite forms of
predication. In spite of their uniform linguistic appearance their basic structures are different. Modal propositions de dicto are semantically, not just
grammatically, impersonal whereas modal propositions de re are truly personal constructions.(2) Nevertheless Abaelard explains the meaning, scope and
purpose of according modal operators in so uniform a manner that he can set forth rules of inference between modal propositions de re and their
logical correspondents de dicto.
A systematic presentation of Abaelard's theory pertains to all constitutive features of predication. The grammatical, but even more so the
semantical, impersonality or personality of a categorical proposition, its quality and if appropriate its quantity, and finally its temporality and existential
presupposition -- each of these features predetermines the manner in which modalities de re or de dicto contribute to a proposition's meaning
and validity. These basic aspects of Abaelard's account of predication do not obstruct his intuitive conception of alethic modality as determining either
de re or de dicto a predicate's inherence or remotion.(3)" (p. 79)
(1) The text of the relevant treatise will be quoted according to its critical edition by Klaus Jacobi and Christian Strub: Petrus
Abaelardus, Glossae super Peri Hermeneias, Turnhout: Brepols (Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio mediaevalis), forthcoming . As this new edition
presents the text with reference to the edition by L. Minio-Paluello: Twelfth Century Logic. Texts and Studies. Vol. 2: Abaelardiana Inedita, 1.
Glosse Magistri Petri Abaelardi super Periermeneias Rome 1958, quotations will refer to the latter one (abbreviated with: G).
(2) For Abaelard's account of semantical impersonality cf. Klaus Jacobi, "Diskussionen über unpersonliche Aussagen in Peter Abaelards
Kommentar zu Peri Hermeneias", in: E. P. Bos (ed.), Mediaeval Semantics and Metaphysics. Studies dedicated to L. M. De Rijk on the occasion of his
60th Birthday, Nijmegen 1985, 1-63.
(3) The usage of this distinction draws on Abaelard's terminology in Dialectica, cf. for example 191,6. The text of
Dialectica is quoted with reference to the De Rijk edition: Petrus Abaelardus, Dialectica, ed. L. M. de Rijk, Assen 1970 (abbreviated with:
Beonio Brocchieri Fumagalli, Maria Teresa. 1970. The Logic of Abelard. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Translated from: La logica di Abelardo, Firenze: La Nuova Italia, 1964.
Second edition 1969, with a new foreword.
Contents: Premise V; Foreword to the Second Edition VII; Introduction 1; I. What Abelard Means by Logic 13; II. The Problem of Meaning 28;
III. The Meaning of Universal Nouns 42; IV. The Meaning of the Proposition 71; V. The 'Argumentatio' 80; Appendix: Abaelardiana Inedita 90;
Bibliography 100; Index of Names 101.
"The purely 'philosophical' importance of logical Abelardian research has been emphasized by Mario Dal Pra in his introduction to the
edition of the Glosse Letterali. In this volume it seems important in my eyes to illustrate not only the interest of Abelardian dialectic techniques
(which are at times penetrated by positions which are still realistic), but also, and above all, the importance of his total attitude towards the 'scientia
scientiarum', stated in advance by a freer and braver mentality that is later to use this instrument for its rigorous definition of philosophical research.
When studying Abelardian dialectic I have preferred to follow the line of development of his inquiry, from meaning to syllogistic
calculation. This line does not, however, coincide perfectly with the expositive progress of the various commentaries, from the Isagoge to the
Boethian texts; the trail has thus been marked out for me by some of the Palatine Master's statements rather than by the order of the comments.
The perspective of this research is, generally speaking, given from the viewpoint of contemporary formal logic, a viewpoint that is
nevertheless implicit, even, I think, if it is at work in inquiry. In fact, in an attempt to have a clearer picture of the historical importance of the author
and his meaning in a dialogue which is mediaeval, I have tried, as far as possible, to keep the language constantly in the tone of those times, and I have
tried to avoid certain equations - unprecise and sterile in my opinion - between Abelardian logical formulae and contemporary logical formulae. I hope that
what will be of interest from a modern viewpoint is Abelard's total attitude." (Premise, p. V).
Binini, Irene. 2018. "‘My Future Son is Possibly Alive'. Existential Presupposition and Empty Terms in Abelard's Modal Logic."
History and Philosophy of Logic no. 39:341-356.
Abstract: "The aim of this paper is to investigate the problem of existential import in Abelard's modal logic, and to ask whether the
system of logical relationships that he proposes for modal propositions maintains its validity when some of the terms included in these propositions are empty.
In the following, I first argue that, just as in the case of non-modal propositions, Abelard interprets modal propositions as having existential import, so
that it is a necessary condition for the truth of propositions like ‘It is possible for my son to be alive’ or ‘it is necessary that all men are animals’ that
their subjects’ referents exist. Then, I present the schemata of inferences that Abelard proposes to describe the logical behaviour of de rebus modal
propositions. I argue that these systems of relations are valid only as long as all the terms contained in the formulas have an existing referent. I also claim
that Abelard was aware of this difficulty (at least in the Logica Ingredientibus), and, accordingly, he explicitly decided to restrict the validity of
his modal system to propositions that do not contain empty terms."
Bird, Otto. 1960. "The Logical Interest of the Topics as Seen in Abelard." The Modern Schoolman no. 37:53-57.
"Father Ong in his Ramus describes Peter of Spain as giving “short shrift” to the doctrine of places and explains this by
saying: “The notion of the places is not scientific in any precise logical or psychological sense, since the exact application of the local analogy in play
here is very difficult, if not impossible to determine.” (1) Leaving aside the analogy, the question may be raised whether there is any “precise logical”
interest in the doctrine of places, or of “topics,” as I prefer to call them. There may be little in the Renaissance logics which are the main object of Father
Ong’s study. But it is quite a different matter for medieval logic, as is evident from a consideration of perhaps the first great figure in the development of
a specifically medieval logic. I refer to Peter Abelard, whose main work on the topics is now available in the recent, edition of the Dialectica by L.
M. De Rijk, where it takes up 160 of the 548 pages of text. (2)?
What I propose to do here is to show from Abelard’s analysis that there is a precise logical interest in the topics and incidentally to
indicate how at least some of the matters of traditional topical concern fall within the scope of modern logic.
Abelard begins his consideration of the topics (De Loci.s) immediately after that of the syllogism, as does Peter of Spain in his Siunmulae,
which became the classical text in elementary logic from the thirteenth century on. In it he is still concerned with inference, the great object of the
logician's interest. Rut in turning from the syllogism to the topics, he passes from what ho calls perfect to imperfect inference." (p. 53)
(1) Walter J. Ong, Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason, Chicago: The University
of Chicago press 1958, p. 117.
(2) Petrus Abaelardus, Dialectica, First complete edition of the Parisian Manuscript by L. M. De Rijk, Assen: Van Gorcum 1956,
Tractatus tertius - Topica - Liber primus - De locis, pp. 253-413.
Blackwell, Daniel F. 1988. Non-Ontological Constructs. The Effects of Abaelard's Logical and Ethical Theories on His Theology: A study in
Meaning and Verification. Bern: Peter Lang.
Contents: Abbreviations III; Introduction V-XII; I. The Works and their Problems 1; II. The Logic of Affairs and Causes 72; III. Revelation,
Verification, and Meaning in the Continuum 180; Appendix I: The Aristotelian texts available to Abaelard 309; Appendix II: Abelard and contemporary literature
311; Bibliography 317-327.
"In the Ingredientibus and the Dialectica Abaelard sees himself following in the tradition of Aristotle. Throughout
the three Theologies he shows a marked respect for Platonic and neoPlatonic philosophy. While the origin of much of his thought lies in both
traditions, significant is the use which he makes of his sources. For example, the content of much of the grammatical and logical texts is based on Aristotle.
Yet, by rejecting just one fundamental Aristotelian logical principle-- namely, the logical significance of the notion that qualities 'inhere in' subjects qua
substances— his grammatico-logical methodological presuppositions become so at odds with those of the Organon that he can be called an Aristotelian
only in the broadest sense of the term.
The problem in which Abaelard was involving himself was that of sense and reference. Maintaining the position that the subjects of meaningful
statements needn't refer to things, he had to find a verification principle for propositional statements which did not depend on an ontological inherence
theory. Turning his attention to impersonal constructs, he notes that all statements of this type contain dicta, or descriptive assertions of facts
Near the end of the Ingredientibus Abaelard notes that modal propositions (e.g. Possible est...) are also impersonal
grammatical constructions. In fact, all existential statements imply a tacit 'verum est....' It is here that the grammatical origins of the logic
become apparent: All existential statements may be transformed into impersonal constructions which contain dicta. 'That which is true' is the meaning
described by the dictum. Truth is not concerned with the existence or non-existence of some substance, but with meaningful descriptions about some
state of affairs in the world which happens to occur or not occur. Hence, it is the meaning of a statement which is its principle of verification.
Unlike existential statements, general statements of necessary truth cannot be verified by dicta because they do not describe individual
states of affairs. The general or universal terms contained in conditional statements do not refer to things.
While much of Abaelard's theology in the TSB [Theologia Summi Boni] is concerned with definitions, he also stresses the importance
of similies and analogical descriptions of divine Realities. Insofar as analogies are descriptive, they parallel propositional dicta. Although they do not
describe worldly states of affairs, like dicta, the truth of analogical statements is closely associated with their meaning." (pp. V-IX)
"In one of the most sustained recent studies of Abelard’s thought, Non-ontological constructs. The effects of Abaelard's logical and
ethical theories on his theology: a study in meaning and verification (Berne/Frankfurt/New York/Paris, 1988) (Basler und Berner studien zur historischen
und systematischen Theologie 56), Daniel Blackwell gives an account of Abelard’s logic which gives pride of place to his theory of non-things and relates his
approach to theology to it. Interesting though many of his observations are, the investigations of the preceding chapters would suggest that he has distorted
the balance of Abelard’s thought; and his reconstruction of Abelard’s intellectual progress relies on a dating of the works which few scholars would now find
acceptable." (John Marenbon, The Philosophy of Peter Abelard, Cambridge: Cambridge University press 1999, p. 209, n. 15.)
Boler, John F. 1963. "Abailard and the Problem of Universals." Journal of the History of Philosophy no. 1:37-52.
"The effect of Abailard's analysis on the later Middle Ages is considerable.
Nearly all writers after Abailard make use of the distinctions of two-fold signification, first and second imposition, word and term--in one
form or another. But in some of these later writers, one finds what seems to be a return to the pre-Abailardian concern with things rather than terms. It is no
surprise, really, for one wonders, even upon reading Abailard, whether he has been fair in his evaluations of his predecessors.
Coming, as it does, after a criticism of the earlier positions on universals, Abailard's remark that universality pertains to terms and not
to things might lead us to believe that he intends to solve the problem of universals by speaking only of terms. It is true that, from the time of Porphyry,
the problem of universals had been cast in the language of genus and species; but Abailard's proposal to take genus and species as second imposition --
laudable enough in itself--does not seem adequate to the problem which these men had, however imprecisely, suggested. Even through Abailard's presentation of
their positions, one can see that they were concerned with the question of what it is for Peter and Paul to be the same as men; and neither second imposition
nor "significatio de intellectibus" meets this problem head on.
What I have tried to suggest in the present paper is that, behind the "clear idea" that universality pertains to terms and not to
things, there lies a proposal which, if it is not metaphysics, is also not logic: namely, that the understanding achieves a peculiar transformation in the
process of arriving at the "status," where what is known is something different from the individual thing as individual. Abailard may be correct in
holding this, but I do not find either a clear analysis or adequate justification for it in his writings. (34) Without such analysis, the statement that
universality pertains to terms and not to things cannot serve as sufficient evidence of the character of Abailard's position on the problem of
universals." (pp. 50-51)
(34) The lacuna which I find in Abailard's theory is, according to Geyer, more than adequately filled by Abailard's theory of abstraction.
(See the articles cited in note 10, above. ["Die Stellung Abaelards in der Universalienfrage," Beiträge . . . . Suppl. I (1913), pp.
101-127]) I cannot help but feel, however, that Geyer is (at best) reading a thirteenth-century interpretation into Abailard.
And his insistence that the analysis of abstraction shows what a sharp psychologist Abailard was only serves to further disaffect me. A shift
to psychology at this point in the problem would seem to me more unfortunate than laudable.
Brower, Jeffrey E. 1996. Medieval Theories of Relations before Aquinas: 'Categories' Commentaries, A.D. 510--1250 (Aristotle, Boethius,
Peter Abelard, Saint Albertus Magnus), University of Iowa.
Available at ProQuest Dissertation Express. Order number: 9715116.
Table of Contents: Vol. I: List of Abbreviations X; I. Introduction 1; II. Aristotelian Background 49; III. Boethius's Commentary on
Categories 100; IV. Abelard's Two Categories Commentaries 226; V. Albert's Commentary on Categories 7 176; Vol. II: Appendix A.
Preface to translations 221; B. Boethius's Translation of Categories 7 228; C. Composite edition of Categories 7 246; D. Boethius in
Categorias Aristotelis 264; E. Abelard's Logica Ingredientibus 346; F. Abelard's Dialectica 418; G. Albert's Liber de
Praedicamentis 446; Bibliography 533-544.
From the Abstract: "In the dissertation I focus on the texts of three medieval philosophers writing before Aquinas: Boethius (480-524),
Abelard (1079-1142), and Albert the Great (1200-1280).
These texts are all commentaries on Aristotle's short treatise, the Categories. In the Categories Aristotle identifies
relations (or relatives, pros ti) as one of the ten irreducible kinds of beings (onta), and he devotes an entire chapter the seventh chapter
of his treatise to
analyzing their nature and ontological status. I take Categories 1 as a starting point for my dissertation, and devote its first chapter to
outlining Aristotle's discussion and identifying the important philosophical and interpretive questions to which it gives rise. In the remainder of the
dissertation, however, I examine the medieval commentary tradition that grew up around the Categories during the years 510-1250 A.D.
None of the texts I consider in the dissertation has ever been translated into a modern language. As an aid to their recovery, I include (as
appendices) English translations of all the following: (1) Boethius's Latin translation of Categories 7, (2) chapter 7 of the early medieval composite
edition of the Categories (the so-cailed Editio Composita), and (3) all the relevant portions of Boethius's, Abelard's, and Albert's
Categories commentaries." (Abstract, pp. V-VII)
Texts of Abelard translated:
[Latin Text: Logica ingredientibus in Peter Abaelards Philosophische Schriften, Beitrage zur Geschichte der Philosophie des
Mittelalters, Band XXI, 1-3, ed. Bernhard Geyer (Munich, 1919-1927), 200-223.], pp. 346-417.
[Latin Text: Dialectica, ed. L.M. de Rijk, 2nd ed. (Assen, 1956), 83-92.], pp. 418-445.
———. 1998. "Abelard's Theory of Relations: Reductionism and the Aristotelian Tradition." The Review of Metaphysics no.
"In what follows I focus on the work of Peter Abelard (1079-1142), an influential medieval logician who developed his theory of
relations in the course of commenting on Categories 7.(4) Like other Aristotelians, Abelard accepts the view that relations are reducible to the
monadic properties of related things. On his theory, however, the relation between Simmias and Socrates is not to be explained by a set of peculiar monadic
properties--say, being-taller-than-Socrates and being-shorter-than-Simmias. Rather it is to be explained by a pair of ordinary heights--say,
being-six-feet-tall in the case of Simmias and being-five-feet-ten in the case of Socrates. Indeed, according to Abelard, the relation between Simmias and
Socrates is nothing over and above the possession by these individuals of their respective heights.
Although Abelard commits himself to a form of reductionism about relations, we shall see that his theory is perfectly compatible with the
advances made by twentieth-century logicians. Abelard is careful to distinguish questions about ontology from questions about logic, and to commit himself to
reducing relations only at the level of ontology. Thus, he argues that Simmias's being taller than Socrates is nothing but Simmias, Socrates, and their
respective heights. Nonetheless, he denies that relational statements of the form "Simmias is taller than Socrates" can be reduced to complex
non-relational statements of the form "Simmias is six-feet-tall and Socrates is five-feet-ten."
The rest of the paper is divided into three parts. As will emerge, there is an important distinction to be drawn between Abelard's theory of
relations and his account of relatives. hi the first part of the paper (sections I-II), I present and explain the account of relatives. Here I focus on one of
Abelard's most important logical works, his Logica 'ingredientibus,' but since the relevant portion of this work follows the subject matter and arrangement of
Categories 7, I begin with a brief sketch of Aristotle's text. In the second part of the paper (sections III-V), I indicate what Abelard's account of
relatives tells us about his own theory of relations. Although, this requires some reconstruction on my part, it is possible to determine with some accuracy to
what sort of theory he committed himself. In the third and final part of the paper (sections VI-VII), I turn to the defense of Abelard's theory. My purpose in
this last part is to begin the project of rehabilitating a much denigrated tradition in the history of philosophy." (pp. 605-606)
Cameron, Margaret. 2011. "Abelard's Early Glosses: Some Questions." In Arts du langage et théologie aux confins des XIe et XIIe
siècles, edited by Rosier-Catach, Irène, 647-662. Turnhout: Brepols.
Abstract: "Peter Abelard’s first known glosses on Isagoge, Categories, On interpretation and On division – variously
referred to as the « Editiones », the « Introductiones parvulorum », or literal commentaries – were supposedly written very early in his career, probably
around 1102-1104 when he was in his early twenties. Originally discovered by V. Cousin (1836, p. X-XVIII), they are found in the manuscript Paris, BnF, lat.
13368, f. 128r-168r, and are edited by M. Dal Pra (1969, 19541). The title « Introductiones parvulorum » was given on the basis of an alleged
cross-reference in Abelard’s Dialectica to such a work; as we will see, this reference is no longer accepted by scholars. Since, as will be argued
here, there are important reasons to question whether these glosses form a set, and whether the attribution to Abelard is correct, I will use the neutral «
editiones » to refer to them.
The editiones are commonly considered to be Abelard’s « vocalist », or in voce, commentaries, thought to display more than
anything else the influence of his former teacher, Roscelin of Compiègne, who has been long characterized by historians of philosophy as a nominalist, and more
recently as a « vocalist ». These works are supposed to reflect the kind of teaching that Abelard would have received under Roscelin. Despite their important
role in the narrative of Abelard’s career and of early medieval logic more broadly, the early glosses have not been examined in close detail.
Although they have been attributed to Abelard and treated as a set, serious questions need to be raised regarding the evidence used to defend
these claims. The evidence is fivefold. First, the editiones were written in the same, twelfth century hand and are found in one manuscript. Second, the
Isagoge, On interpretation and On division glosses bear titles that attribute the works to Abelard. Third, elsewhere in his corpus Abelard
himself refers to « introductiones parvulorum » that he has written. Fourth, versions of the Isagoge and On interpretation glosses are found in
another manuscript, manuscript Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, clm 14779, where there appear to be self-referential examples using the name « Petrus »
Finally, it has been argued that the Categories gloss, despite being untitled, bears strong similarities (namely, linguistic and
doctrinal parallels) to Abelard’s commentary on Categories found in the Logica « Ingredientibus » collection.
Possibly none of the questions raised in this article on its own is sufficient to overturn the attribution, but taken together they raise
serious difficulties for anyone who wishes to continue to defend that the editiones were written by Abelard. There do, however, seem to be extremely
good reasons to break up the set of the editiones by excluding the gloss on Categories from the rest: unlike the others, it is an anonymous fragment,
different in style and has required a special defence for its inclusion in the set. In what follows, I will examine each of the five pieces of evidence. I will
argue that there are insufficient reasons to continue to attribute these works to Abelard or to consider that they form a set (1)." (pp. 647-648)
(1) In « A note on the Attribution of the Literal Glosses in Paris, BnF, lat. 13368 », Christopher Martin will examine the doctrinal content
of the Isagoge, On interpretation and On division glosses and compare it with views Abelard is known to espouse elsewhere in his
———. 2011. "When does a word signify? Debates from Peter Abelard's milieu and the early thirteenth century." Archives
d'Histoire Doctrinale et Littéraire du Moyen Age no. 78:179-194.
Abstract: "The shift of focus from spoken to mental language in medieval philosophy is well known.
What has not been noticed is the role played by the recognition of various paradoxes and problems of signification due to the physical
character of spoken utterances.
This essay examines these paradoxes and their solutions in the work of Peter Abelard, his contemporaries, and some authors in the early
"As is well-known, Abelard eventually shifted his attention away from consideration of the physicality of utterances towards their
Abelard concedes that the material nature (essentia) of utterances (voces) and significant words (sermones) is
virtually the same, but they differ in origin (34): spoken utterances (voces), like the things signified by words, are due to nature, whereas
significant utterances (sermones) are products of human institution. In his latest works, it is clear that Abelard has shifted altogether away from
the analysis of utterances considered as physical, natural items and towards words considered as significant as a product of human institution, connected most
closely with human understanding." (pp. 18-189)
(34) (34) Abelard, Logica nostrorum petitioni sociorum, ed. P. Geyer, Peter Abaelards philosophische Schriften. II. Die
Logica « Nostrorum Petitioni Sociorum » : Die Glossen zu Porphyrius, Münster 1933, p. 522.17-22: « Quid enim aliud est nativitas sermonum sive nominum quam
hominum institutio ? Hoc enim quod est nomen sive sermo ex hominum institutione contrahit. Vocis vero sive rei nativitas quid aliud est quam naturae creatio,
cum proprium esse rei sive vocis sola operatione naturae consistat ? Itaque nativitatis vocis et sermonis diversitas, etsi penitus in essentia identitas ».
———. 2015. "On What is Said: The Stoics and Peter Abelard." In Linguistic Content: New Essays on the History of Philosophy of
Language, edited by Cameron, Margaret and Stainton, Robert, 55-73. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
"A novel kind of meaning shows up, apparently independently, in the philosophy of the Stoics and of Peter Abelard (1079–1142). For the
Stoics it is the lekton, or ‘sayable’ (or, more precisely, the axioma, or‘assertible’, which is one type of lekton), and for Abelard
it is the dictum. The extent of similarity between their doctrines is surprising, especially because there is no evidence of a historical connection
between them: as far as we know, Abelard did not have access to any Stoic writings, or reports of Stoic views, on the topic of linguistic content. (1) The
similarity is more surprising still, given that Abelard was working within the context of Aristotle’s logic, which contains no comparable doctrine. Historians
of philosophy have noticed this similarity.(2) When the comparison is drawn it is with reference to the fact of their shared recognition of this new type of
content—propositional content. But there are other remarkable points of similarity in their views. First, both seem to have been motivated, at least in part,
by the need to disambiguate the notion of‘predication in the ancient philosophical tradition. Second, both the Stoics (at least beginning with Chrysippus, the
third head of the school) and Abelard were driven by a commitment to anti-realism, and by the need to present an anti-realist, or at least deflationary,
metaphysics. After a brief outline of each of their doctrines, I will compare their views on the points mentioned here." (p. 55)
"Conclusion. In conclusion, what happens to this new type of linguistic content after Abelard? Theories of propositional content emerge,
disappear, and re-emerge throughout the medieval and scholastic periods. The interest is preserved in the continuation of the logical tradition, still rooted
in Aristotelian logic, beginning in the twelfth century. Some theorists seemed to have been entirely unconcerned with the ontological implications and
underpinnings of these sorts of linguistic content. For example, the author(s) of a thirteenth-century logical textbook called the Ars Burana
explain(s) that it is best considered to be an extrapredicamental thing (that is, not countenanced in what exists in an Aristotelian ontology of substances and
accidents): Note that whether it is called a dictum propositionis or the significatum propositionis or the enuntiabile, it is the
same. The enuntiable is that which is signified by the proposition . . . If you inquire what kind of thing it is, whether it is a substance or an accident, it
must be said regarding the enuntiable, just as regarding the predicable, that it is neither a substance nor an accident nor is it of any other category. For it
has its own per se mode of existing. And it is called ‘extrapredicamental’, not for the reason that it does not belong to any category, but because it does not
belong to any of the ten categories that Aristotle distinguished. It is therefore of a certain category which can be called the ‘enuntiable category’. (53)
Later, some philosophers attempted to defend a view that took the opposite tack— that is, to defend a view of propositional realism, only to encounter some of
the same sorts of anti-realist challenges.(54)" (p. 71)
(1) While Augustine’s De dialectica contains some version of the Stoic doctrine, his treatise does not appear to have circulated
until the thirteenth century. Another possible source might have been Cicero, but I know of no evidence to support such a transmission.
(2) Martin (2004), who cites Nuchelmans (1973) and Schenkeveld (1984). See also Jacobi (1983) and Lenz (2005). But see Nuchelmans (1973:
152): it is hardly necessary to add that the Abelardian term dictum has nothing to do with the Stoic term lekton.’
(53) Ars Burana (1967: 208). See De Libera (1981); Martin (2004).
(54) The best study of this topic is Cesalli (2007).
Ars Burana (1967). Anon., Ars Burana, in L. M. de Rijk (ed.), Logica modernorum: A Contribution to the History of Terminist
Logic. Assen: Van Gorcum, 175–213.
Cesalli, L. (2007). Le Réalisme propositionnel: Sémantique et ontologie des propositions chez Jean Duns Scot, Gauthier Burley, Richard
Brinkley, et Jean Wyclif. Paris: J. Vrin.
De Libera, A. (1981) ‘Abélard et le dictisme’, Cahiers de la revue de théologie et de philosophie, 6: 59–92.
Jacobi, K. (1983).‘Abelard and Frege: The Semantics of Words and Propositions’, in Atti del convegno internazionale di storia della
logica, ed. V. M. Abrusci (San Gimignano: CLUEB), 81–96.
Lenz, M. (2005).‘Peculiar Perfection: Peter Abelard on Propositional Attitudes’, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 43/4:
Martin, C. (2004).‘Propositionality and Logic in the Ars Meliduna’, in A. Maierù and L. Valente (eds), Medieval Theories on Assertive and
Non-Assertive Language. Florence: Olschki, 111–28.
Nuchelmans, G. (1973). Theories of the Proposition: Ancient and Medieval Conceptions of the Bearers of Truth and Falsity. Dordrecht:
Schenkeveld, D. M. (1984).‘Stoic and Peripatetic Kinds of Speech Act and the Distinction of Grammatical Moods’, Mnemosyne, 37:
———. 2015. "The Logic of Dead Humans: Abelard and the transformation of the Porphyrian Tree." Oxford Studies in Medieval
Philosophy no. 3:32-63.
"Is a dead human still a human? Is it the same human, or even the same body? What is the correct meaning of the sentence, “Humans die”?
These sorts of problems, which are being actively debated today, were also recognized in the early twelfth century in Paris by Peter Abelard and others who
adhered to the classical definition of man, or human, as ‘rational mortal animal.’ Their concerns were not, as far as I know, ethical, although they were
likely to an extent theological.(1)
Instead, they recognized a problem with the logic of living and dead humans based on the doctrine of substance found in Aristotle’s
Categories and in the division of substance, as outlined by Porphyry to exemplify the logic of genus and species relations in the Isagoge. Abelard
(1079–1142) held the view that there is no such thing as a dead human, and this provoked an intense response from his contemporaries.
I will first outline the reasons for Abelard’s claim that there are no dead humans, as well as his theory of what a human being is. There is
plenty of evidence that Abelard’s view was faced with criticism, and in section 1 I will run through some of those criticisms. This period is best known for
the debates over the status of universals, which were presented to us by Abelard himself in his commentary on Isagoge, and as it turns out, the
debates over the implications of Abelard’s view that there are no dead humans were tightly bound up with the debates over the status of universals. The debates
found in the anonymous commentaries have to do with how to understand the so-called Porphyrian tree, which was regarded as a fixed and inviolable structure of
the category of substance. Specifically, the anonymous commentators try to defend the view known as Material Essence Realism (or MERealism), or at least a
version of realism very similar to it, against Abelard’s criticisms of it. By tracking the problems generated by Abelard’s view that there are no dead humans
we acquire greater insight into these early twelfth-century debates over the status of genera and species, especially those prompted by the difficulty of
trying to make sense of the logic of dead humans." (pp. 33-34)
(1) The theological implications of the substantial status of human beings are, obviously, far reaching. In addition to debates over the
Trinity, there are also implications for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the endurance of Christ’s body in the tomb.
Courtenay, William J. 1991. "Nominales and Nominalism in the Twelfth Century." In Lectionum Varietates. Hommage à Paul
Vignaux, edited by Jolivet, Jean, Kaluza, Zénon and Libera, Alain de, 11-48. Paris: Vrin.
Reprinted as Chapter Four in: W. J. Courtenay, Ockham and Ockhamism. Studies in the Dissemination and Impact of His Thought, Leiden:
Brill, 2008, pp. 39-80.
———. 1993. "Nominales and Rules of Inference." In Argumentationstheorie. Scholastische Forschungen zu den logischen
und semantischen Regeln korrekte Folgerns, edited by Jacobi, Klaus, 153-160. Leiden: Brill.
Reprinted as Chapter Five in: W. J. Courtenay, Ockham and Ockhamism. Studies in the Dissemination and Impact of His Thought, Leiden:
Brill, 2008, pp. 81-87.
Cranz, Edward F. 2006. "Boethius and Abelard." In Reorientations of Western Thought from Antiquity to the Renaissance,
edited by Struever, Nancy, 1-20. Aldershot: Ashgate.
"Let me conclude with two brief general addenda. First, I have tried to outline the main development of Abelard's logic and the one most
dependent upon Boethius. What we have seen may be summarized by saying that, where Boethius closely connects, sometimes even identifies, intellections,
universals and propositions with 'res' or beings, Abelard shifts all these relationships to a new context and then denies them all: intellections,
universals and propositions are not 'res'' as physical things. To repeat a phrase; he desubstantializes them all.
But Abelard never stops thinking. Sometimes his conclusions are more new questions than new answers, and his second treatment of a problem is
sometimes very different from his first. Some scholars have described the last stage of his thought as a 'return to Platonism': but I think he is more creative
and original. He has changed Boethius' res into 'physical things,' and he has denied that intellections or meanings were 'physical things' and turned them into
'nothings.' But there are hints, and there is no time to analyze them here, that at the end he began to move to another new solution in which meanings from
having been nothings turn into the ultimate realities. If I had to suggest parallels to his last stage, Petrarch, Lorenzo Valla and Nicholas of Cusa come to
mind. So if I have tried to describe Abelard's transformation of Boethius, what was left, and I don't believe it was ever completed, might be called Abelard's
transformation of Abelard.
Second, while Abelard's writings had no wide dispersion and while he was not followed by any school or even by very many pupils, I believe
his diffuse influence was greater than one might expect. The reorientations of thought one finds in his logic and elsewhere often spread more widely in his own
time than did his specific ideas; they were not destroyed by the reception of Aristotle and in some ways provided a context within which Aristotle was
received. So in concluding I cannot resist noting that, while I have characterized what happened as a transformation of Boethius, let us not in this group
forget that it was a transformation of Boethius." (p. 20)
Dutilh Novaes, Catarina, and Bosman, Bianca. 2017. "Formal, Material, and Hybrid Grounding for Consequence: Peter Abelard and John
Buridan." In Miroir de l'amitié. Mélanges offerts à Joël Biard à l'occasion de ses 65 ans, edited by Grellard, Christophe, 229-242. Paris:
Eco, Umberto. 1984. "Signification and Denotation from Boethius to Ockham." Franciscan Studies no. 44:1-29.
Section IV. Abelard, pp. 7-9.
Freddoso, Alfred J. 1978. "Abailard on Collective Realism." Journal of Philosophy no. 75:527-538.
Comments by Eileen Serene, pp. 539-540.
Abstract: "In the "Logica ingredientibus" Abailard attacks the theory according to which universals are collections of
individuals. I argue that Abailard's principal objection to this 'collective realism', viz, that it conflates universals with integral wholes, is actually
quite strong, though it is generally overlooked by recent commentators. For implicit in this objection is the claim that the collective realist cannot provide
a satisfactory account of predication. The reason for this is that integral wholes are not uniquely decomposable. In support of my thesis I first explicate the
medieval distinction between integral and subjective parts and then discuss its application to collective realism."
Gill, Harjeet Singh. 1989. "The Abelardian Semiotics." In Abelardian Semiotics and Other Essays, 1-29. New Dehli: Bahri
"The linguistic theory of Abelard is centred around the correlation or correspondence between the "word" and the
"thing" or the signifiant and the signifié as we would have them today. According to Abelard, if a word or a sound signifies, it is
because something is added to its physical being. essentia; this something is the significative function, officium significandi. The sound,
just like the thing that it represents in a give language, remains the same from one community of speakers to another, it belongs to the sphere of things,
which is natural; the significance, on the other hand, changes due to the diversity of languages, it depends upon institution, upon a human convention,
positio hominum, voluntas hominum.(1) We have already the distinction between the sphere of significance and the sphere of things. The sound
or the physically pronounced utterance is of the order of nature while significance is created when "something" is added to its being, and, this
"something" is due to human intervention in a human, social institution. For Abelard, words give birth to or "generate" intellection which
then correspond to things. Thus, argues Abelard, there is a double series of correspondence between words and intellections, and between intellections and
things, and consequently, between words and things. These are three distinct but related spheres.(2)" (pp. 4-5).
(1) Glossae super Peri Ermenias, 320, 12, 27, ed. B. Geyer, Munster i.W. 1919-23.
(2) Glossae super Prophyrium III, 524, 3-10, ed. B. Geyer, Munster, i.W. 1919-23.
———. 1996. The Semiotics of Conceptual Structures. New Delhi: Bahri Publications.
Second edition Jawaharlal Nehru University 2016.
First part: Abelardian Discourse
Pierre Abélard 19; Abélardian Theory of Mental Images 37; Abélardian Discourse 46; Abéelardian Tradition 55-71.
———. 1999. "The Abelardian Tradition of Semiotics." In Signs and Signification. Vol. I, edited by Gill, Harjeet Singh and
Manetti, Giovanni, 35-67. New Delhi: Bahri Publications.
Gracia, Jorge J. E. 1984. Introduction to the Problem of Individuation in the Early Middle Ages. München: Philosophia Verlag.
Chapter IV. The Tradition Based on Boethius' Logical Works: Peter Abailard and John of Salisbury.
I. Peter Abailard 196.
A. The Accidental Theory of Substantial Individuation 196; 1. Abailard's Criticism 198; B. The Essential Theory of Individuation 210; 1.
Abailard's Response 212; C. The Formalist Theory of Individuality and Its Criticism 212; D. Word View of Individuality 215; E. Numerical Diversity in the
Theologia christiana 227; II. John of Salisbury 236; Notes 241-254.
———. 1999. "Metaphysical, epistemological and linguistic approaches to universals: Porphyry, Boethius, and Abailard." In
Medieval Masters: Essays in Memory of Msgr. E. A. Synan, edited by Houser, Rollen Edward, 1-24. Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press.
Greene, Virginie. 2014. "Abelard’s donkey: the nonexistent particular." In Logical Fictions in Medieval Literature and
Philosophy, 13-32. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Guilfoy, Kevin. 1999. Abelard's Theory of the Proposition, University of Washington.
Available at ProQuest Dissertation Express. Order number: 9936410.
———. 2002. "Abelard's Rejection of the Tarski Biconditional." Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy no.
Abstract: "In a fairly opaque passage in his commentary on Aristotle's Categories Peter Abelard denies both directions of a
biconditional sentence very much like a Tarski biconditional: "A man exists" is true iff a man exists. "A man exists" is taken to be a
sentence token and the right hand element is taken to be the existence of a man. Neither Abelard's argument nor his reason for making the argument is clear. It
at first appears that Abelard may be claiming that each of the corresponding conditionals is false. Such a claim could amount to a rejection of the
correspondence theory of truth and would naturally have serious repercussions for the study of Abelard's logic. In this paper I argue that Abelard does not
deny the truth of the biconditional only its necessity. Abelard makes this argument in response to Boethius and certain twelfth-century masters (I suggest
Thierry of Chartres), who argue that there is a logically necessary connection between words and things, and hence between sentence tokens and what is the case
in the world. Abelard is not expressing any serious reservations about the correspondence theory of truth. He is demonstrating the logical importance of the
conventionality of language. Arguing against authorities, and twelfth-century peers, he shows that there is no logically necessary connection between words and
things, hence the Tarski biconditional is not necessarily true."
———. 2004. "Peter Abelard's Two Theories of the Proposition." In Medieval Theories on Assertive and Non-Assertive
Language, edited by Maierù, Alfonso and Valente, Luisa, 35-57. Firenze: Olschki.
Hamelin, Guy, and Maia, Danilo Luiz Silva. 2015. "Nominalism and Semantics in Abelard and Ockham." Logica Universalis no.
Abstract: "Peter Abelard and William of Ockham represent the two main figures of the nominalism of the Middle Ages. Both share the
fundamental thesis of that doctrine, according to which only individual entities exist.
The repercussions of nominalism are quite evident in relation to the question of universals, which constitutes a subject that, until now, won
the attention of the majority of contemporary studies on the two most important logicians of their time. Nevertheless the nominalism of each of these two
protagonists apparently diverges in a significant manner, especially in respect to the role exercised by the mind in the semantic process. Ockham seems to
distance himself definitely from his predecessors, including Abelard, when he transfers grammar and semantic functions of conventional language to the level of
mental language. In the present article, the chief intention is to expound the theory of sign and signification of each of the authors under consideration. The
ultimate objective is to compare their respective semantic positions and indicate the principal points of agreement and disagreement, keeping in mind the
hypothesis according to which these two medieval nominalists should have more theoretical elements in common than not."
Hellemans, Babette. 2010. "The 'Whole Abelard' and the Availability of Language." In How the West Was Won. Essays on Literary
Imagination, the Canon and the Christian Middle Ages for Burcht Pranger, edited by Otten, Willemien, Vanderjagt, Arjo and de Vries, Hent, 349-376. Leiden:
Hennig, Boris. 2015. "Instance Is the Converse of Aspect." Australasian Journal of Philosophy no. 93:3-20.
Abstract: "According to the aspect theory of instantiation, a particular A instantiates a universal B if and only if an aspect of A is
cross-count identical with an aspect of B. This involves the assumption that both particulars and universals have aspects, and that aspects can mediate between
different ways of counting things. I will ask what is new about this account of instantiation and, more importantly, whether it is an improvement on its older
relatives. It will turn out that the part of it that is new is the notion of cross-count identity among
aspects. As I will show, this notion is both dubious and unnecessary. I will end by presenting a simplified aspect theory of instantiation
that does not involve cross-count identity."
Henry, Desmond Paul. 1985. "Abelard's Mereological Terminology." In Mediaeval Semantics and Metaphysics. Studies Dedicated to
L. M. de Rijk, Ph. D. on the Occasion of His 60th Birthday, edited by Bos, Egbert P., 65-92. Nijmegen: Ingenium Publishers.
———. 1990. "Master Peter's Mereology." In De Ortu Grammaticae. Studies in Medieval Grammar and Linguistic Theory in Memory of
Jan Pinborg, edited by Bursill-Hall, Geoffrey L., Ebbesen, Sten and Konrad, Koerner, 99-115. Amsterdam: John Benjamin.
———. 1991. Medieval Mereology. Philadelphia: Grüner.
———. 1991. "Abelard and Medieval Mereology." In Peter Geach: Philosophical Encounters, edited by A., Lewis Harry, 49-64.
"It is a pity that the stock story of early medieval thought tends to concentrate on something called the 'universals controversy' and
does so in a way which inappropriately subsumes the twists and turns of a highly complex situation under somewhat ill-fitting headings. Although a start has
now been made on a saner account of the matter both in general (1) and insofar as it affects Abelard, (2) nevertheless the usual connotations of a term such as
'realism' when applied to the topic of universals render somewhat startling the realisation that one such theory attacked by Abelard was the polar opposite of
any otherworldly Platonic-style theory, namely the 'collectio' theory. It is yet a greater pity that in his attack on this theory (3) Abelard by no
means does justice either to it or to his own wide-ranging account of part/ whole relations. At the time of his attack his maturer thoughts (in the
Dialectica) were still to come, yet some of the essentials of that later work are already to be found in his gloss on Boethius' De Divisione,
a gloss dated as belonging to the end of his first teaching phase. (4)
In II below is presented a brief and inadequate characterisation of some of Abelard's theories and themes; in III these are applied to
contemporary discussions which have a bearing on his own sad fate and on that of a certain cat to whom we have been genially introduced by Professor
(1) E.g. De Rijk, Logica Modernorum (3 volumes), Van Gorcum, Assen, 1962-7; Kretzmann Article on "Semantics, History of",
in Paul Edwards (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, New York, Macmillan, 1967, vol. 7, pp. 358-406, the Cambridge History of Later Medieval
Philosophy and various of the Cahiers de l'Institut du Moyen-age Grec et Latin of the University of Copenhagen.
(2) Tweedale Abailard on Universals, Amsterdam, North-Holland, 1976.
(3) Geyer, Abelard's Logica 'Ingredientibus' Munster, 1919.
(4) Dal Pra, Pietro Abelardo: Scritti di Logica, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 1969, p XXVII: 'fin dal primo periodo del suo
insegnamento' [from the first period of his teaching].
———. 1999. "Signification, Superfluity, and Indeterminacy in Abelard and other Medievals." In Signs and Signification. Vol.
I, edited by Gill, Harjeet Singh and Manetti, Giovanni, 69-83. New Delhi: Bahri Publications.
"1.1. For Boethius and the medievals, signification is primarily linked with definition and understanding
(intellectus). Abelard maintains these links as also does Aquinas, for example.
1.2. Definition canonically so-called is of nominal terms and is effectuated by means of genus, species, and differentia, at least
where substance-names are concerned. Paronyms, or denominative names, involve incompletenesses which both Anselm of Canterbury and Abelard characterise most
competently according to frameworks other than the strictly canonical. Non-canonical characterisations in general were said to be descriptions. The
process of definition stricto sensu would accordingly comprise or entail sentences such as 'Man is a species', 'Animal is a genus',
and so on. It was in his commentary on Aristotle's Categoriae that Boethius noted how such sentences embodied the threat of fallacious arguments such
as the following: 'Man is a species; but Socrates is a man; therefore Socrates is a species'. One solution, he suggested, would be to reconstrue the 'species'
of 'Man is a species' as one of the names of names (nominum nomina), the named name being in his case 'man'. Thus the middle teen of the
inference becomes ambiguous, and the illation fails. At the same time, we witness the foundation of the description 'nominalism' upon this intra-linguistic
analysis of propositions such as the one now in question, which superficially concern the 'universal' man, and so forth. (Ockham and Hobbes are two
thinkers often characterised as nominalists, and who quite consciously and overtly preserve this nominum nomina terminology, in the same sort of
1.3. But although definition in the strict medieval sense thus appears to be of isolated terms, taken out of context, in practice contextual
presuppositions did intervene, and this in various ways. It became common to work on the significatio of whole propositions, thus directing attention
to the sense or significatio of the whole within which the defined terms were embedded. The propositions, in their turn, were taken to occur within at
least three generally specifiable non-exclusive anticipated contexts, namely either that of the theoretical (or 'quidditative'), wherein definitional
propositions are basic, or within that of the syllogistic (largely, the four canonical A, E, I, and O forms) or within that of usus loquendi, the
context of usage, whence the classical grammarians took their starting point, and which was recognised by medieval investigators of significatio as an
area distinguishable (because of its contingent irregularities) from that of special technical usages. This latter distinction is already highly marked in the
work of St. Anselm (1033 - 1109). These possible varieties of presupposed context will be taken account of in my own remarks, and attention called to them when
the occasion arises." pp. 69-70 (notes omitted).
Iwakuma, Yukio. 1992. "Vocales, or Early Nominalists." Traditio no. 47:37-111.
"In Section I of the present essay I present evidence that in the early twelfth-century nominalists were called vocales, a name
that only later was replaced by nominales. In Section 2 I argue that ‘vocalism’ arose about 1080, one generation of scholars before Roscelin. Since
Garlandus’ vocalistic Dialectica could be thought to provide evidence of an even earlier origin of the theory, Section 3 will deal with the date of
this work, which has wrongly been assigned to the mid-eleventh century or earlier. Sections 4-6 will present a number of unpublished texts by vocalist authors,
and the Appendix will supply editions of vocalist texts commenting on or otherwise discussing Porphyry’s Isagoge."
Appendix (pp. 65-133): Edition of Vocalist texts commenting or discussing Porphyry's Isagoge: I. (Petri Abaelardi (?) Positio
Vocum Sententia (pp. 66-73); II. Roscelini Compendiensis (?) Disputata Porphyrii pp. 74-102); III.1 Excerpta Pommersfeldensia I pp.
103-107; III.2 Excerpta Pommersfeldensia II pp. 108-110; III.3 Excerpta Pommersfeldensia III pp. 110-111.
———. 1992. "Twelfth-Century Nominales. The Posthumous School of Peter Abelard." Vivarium no. 30:97-109.
———. 1995. "Nominalia." Didascalia no. 1:47-88.
———. 2004. "Are Argumentations Propositions?" In Medieval Theories on Assertive and Non-Assertive Language, edited by
Maierù, Alfonso and Valente, Luisa, 81-110. Firenze: Olschki.
———. 2009. "Vocales Revisited." In The Word in Medieval Logic, Theology and Psychology. Acts of the XIIIth
International Colloquium of the Société Internationale pour l'Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale, Kyoto, 27 September - 1 October 2005, edited by Shimizu,
Tetsuro and Burnett, Charles, 81-172. Turnhout: Brepols.
———. 2011. "Alberic of Paris on Mont Ste Geneviève against Peter Abelard." In Logic and Language in the Middle Ages: A Volume
in Honour of Sten Ebbesen, edited by Fink, Jakob Leth, Hansen, Heine and Mora-Márquez, Ana María 27-47. Leiden: Brill.
Iwakuma, Yukio, and Ebbesen, Sten. 1992. "Logico-Theological Schools from the Second-Half of the 12th Century: A List of Sources."
Vivarium no. 30:173-210.
Jacobi, Klaus. 1983. "Abelard and Frege: the Semantics of Words and Propositions." In Atti del convegno internazionale di
storia della logica, edited by Abrusci, Michele, Casari, Ettore and Mugnai, Massimo, 81-96. Bologna: CLUEB.
———. 1985. "Peter Abelard's Investigations into the Meaning and Functions of the Speech Sign Est." In The Logic of
Being, edited by Knuuttila, Simo and Hintikka, Jaakko, 1-15. Dordrecht: Reidel.
"Although Peter Abelard was the most distinguished teacher of logic of his time, a logic understood to be the science of argumentative
discourse, he was not destined to found a new philosophical tradition. The historical situation offers at Least a partial explanation -- the pace of
philosophical and theological research was so brisk in the twelfth century that many of the established schools enjoyed life spans of at most two or three
generations of teachers. The restlessness of the times is embodied to a special degree in Abelard.(1) His writings include commentaries, in many cases several
to a work, on the logical works of Aristotle and Porphyry then available, handed down in the form of Boethius' translations, and on Boethius' own logical
works. Abelard has to take a number of positions into consideration here: several commentaries on Aristotle by ancient scholars, by Boethius, and by Abelard's
own predecessors and teachers, and furthermore the grammatical theories of Priscian and those deriving from Abelard's contemporaries. He discovers with
distinctive acumen that the tradition he is examining is disunited and full of tensions on basic questions. It is in the analysis and discussion of these
tensions that he finds the field of his own philosophical research. He expects to reach solutions by intensifying the controversies, not by seeking harmony.
Thus he traces argument and counter-argument in great thoroughness of detail and from a dizzying succession of points of view, abandoning theses and offering
countertheses. What his students could learn from him was not so much a particular theory as his method of formulating and discussing problems.
The situation is much the same for us. If we turn to Abelard in our inquiry into the logic and semantics of the speech sign 'est', we must
discover anew the questions which concerned him. In the first Part of this Paper, I will sketch some of the discussions conducted by Abelard in order to make
clear in what contexts he found himself confronting questions on the variations of meaning, function, or use of the expression 'est'. In the second part, I
will group various theses which Abelard deals with appropriately. It is my intention to plot out the full range of the theories discussed and to mark points of
conflict. In the third and final part, I will make some cautious comments on the deeper current of unity to be observed in Abelard's reflections, a current
perhaps more easily discernible to the modern eye then it was to Abelard himself." (pp. 145-146)
(1) Cf. Jolivet (1969), Chapter IV; de Rijk (1980). Also compare Häring (1975), who explains the meager transmission of Abelard's works as at
least partially attributable to Abelard's style of thinking and writing. His philosophical "works" were not written as books intended to be recopied
and handed down but as records of his own thinking to be used in teaching. A thesis which he adheres to with conviction at one point in his writings may
reappear later or even in a reworking of the first source as being subject lo doubt or in need of revision.
Jacobi, Klaus, King, Peter, and Strub, Christian. 1996. "From intellectus verus / falsus to the dictum propositionis.
The Semantics of Peter Abelard and his Circle." Vivarium no. 34:15-40.
"In his commentary on Aristotle's Peri hermeneias, Abelard distinguishes the form of an expression (oratio) from what
it says, that is, its content. The content of an expression is its understanding (intellectus).
This distinction is surely the most well-known and central idea in Abelard's commentary. It provides him with the opportunity to distinguish
statements (enuntiationes) from other kinds of xpressions without implying a diference in their content, since the ability of a statement to signify
something true or false (verum vel falsum) cannot be found in its content. More precisely, Abelard distinguishes statements both from complete
expressions (orationes perfectae) that are not statements but rather questions, requests, commands, etc. and from incomplete expressions, that is,
mere word strings (orationes imperfectae), such as homo albus. These kinds of expressions, according to Abelard, do not differ in the
understanding they present but in the way they present it." (notes omitted)
Kahn, Charles H. 1972. "On the Terminology for Copula and Existence." In Islamic Philosophy and the Classical
Tradition. Essays Presented by his Friends and Pupils to Richard Walzer on His Seventieth Birthday, edited by Stern, S.M., Hourani, Albert and Brown,
Vivian, 141-158. London: Bruno Cassirer.
Reprinted in C. H. Kahn, Essays on Being, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 41-61.
King, Peter. 1982. Peter Abailard and the Problem of Universals in the Twelfth Century, Princeton University.
Available at ProQuest Dissertation Express. Order number: 8220415.
———. 2007. "Abelard on Mental Language." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 81:169-187.
Abstract: "I argue that Abelard was the author of the first theory of mental language in the Middle Ages, devising a "language of
thought" to provide the semantics for ordinary languages, based on the idea that thoughts have linguistic character. I examine Abelard's semantic
framework with special attention to his principle of compositionality (the meaning of a whole is a function of the meanings of the parts); the results are then
applied to Abelard's distinction between complete and incomplete expressions, as well as the distinction between sentences and the statements which the
sentences are used to make. Abelard's theory of mental language is shown to be subtle and sophisticated, the forerunner of the great theories of the fourteenth
———. 2009. "Abelard's Answers to Porphyry." Documenti e Studi sulla Tradizione Filosofica Medievale no. 18:249-270.
Knuuttila, Simo. 1993. Modalities in Medieval Philosophy. New York: Routledge.
See Chapter 2: Philosophical and Theological Modalities in Early Medieval Thought: Boethius' Modal Conceptions 45, New Theological
Modalities: from Augustine to Anselm of Canterbury 62; Gilbert of Poitiers, Peter Abelard and Thierry of Chartres 75-98.
———. 2010. "Medieval Commentators on Future Contingents in De Interpretatione 9." Vivarium no. 48:79-95.
"This article considers three medieval approaches to the problem of future contingent propositions in chapter 9 of Aristotle's De
Interpretatione. While Boethius assumed that God's atemporal knowledge infallibly pertains to historical events, he was inclined to believe that Aristotle
correctly taught that future contingent propositions are not antecedently true or false, even though they may be characterized as true-or-false. Aquinas also
tried to combine the allegedly Aristotelian view of the disjunctive truth-value of future contingent propositions with the conception of all things being
timelessly present to God's knowledge. The second approach was formulated by Peter Abelard who argued that in Aristotle's view future contingent propositions
are true or false, not merely true-or-false, and that the antecedent truth of future propositions does not necessitate things in the world. After Duns Scotus,
many late medieval thinkers thought like Abelard, particularly because of their new interpretation of contingency, but they did not believe, with the exception
of John Buridan, that this was an Aristotelian view."
Kretzmann, Norman. 1982. "The Culmination of the Old Logic in Peter Abelard." In Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth
Century, edited by Benson, Robert L. and Constable, Giles, 488-511. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Lenz, Martin. 2005. "Peculiar Perfection: Peter Abelard on Propositional Attitudes." Journal of the History of Philosophy
———. 2007. "Are Thoughts and Sentences Compositional? A Controversy between Abelard and a Pupil of Alberic on the Reconciliation of
Ancient Theses on Mind and Language." Vivarium no. 45:169-188.
"This paper reconstructs a controversy between a pupil of Alberic of Paris and Peter Abelard which illustrates two competing ways of
reconciling different ancient traditions. I shall argue that their accounts of the relation between sentences and thoughts are incompatible with one another,
although they rely on the same set of sources. The key to understanding their different views on assertive and non-assertive sentences lies in their disparate
views about the structure of thoughts: whereas Abelard takes thoughts to be compositional, the opponent's arguments seem to rely on the premise that the mental
states which correspond to sentences cannot be compositional in the way that Abelard suggested. Although, at a first glance, Abelard's position appears to be
more coherent, it turns out that his opponent convincingly argues against weaknesses in Abelard's semantic theory by proposing a pragmatic approach."
Lewis, Neil. 1987. "Determinate Truth in Abelard." Vivarium no. 25:81-109.
Luscombe, David. 1996. "Peter Abelard and the Arts of Language." In Media Latinitas: A Collection of Essays to Mark the
Occasion of the Retirement of L. J. Engels, edited by Nip, R. I. A., 101-116. Turnhout: Brepols.
———. 2014. "Peter Abelard and "lingua nostra"." In Philosophie et langage ordinaire : de l'Antiquité à la
Renaissance, edited by Counet, Jean-Michel. Louvain: Peeters.