MacFarlane, John. 2016. "Abelard’s Argument for Formality." In Formal Approaches and Natural Languages in the Middle Ages,
edited by Cesalli, Laurent, Goubier, Frédéric and Libera, Alain de, 41-57. Turnhout: Brepols.
Malcolm, John. 1979. "A Reconsideration of the Identity and Inherence Theories of the Copula." Journal of the History of
Philosophy no. 17:383-400.
Maloney, Christopher J. 1982. "Abailard's Theory of Universals." Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic no. 23:27-38.
Marenbon, John. 1991. "Abelard's Concept of Possibility." In Historia Philosophiae Medii Aevi. Studien zur Geschichte der
Philosophie des Mittelalters. Festschrift für Kurt Flasch zu seinem 60. Geburtstag. (vol. II), edited by Mojsisch, Burkhard and Pluta, Olaf, 595-609.
Amsterdam: B. R. Grüner.
Reprinted as Essay X in: John Marenbon, Aristotelian Logic, Platonism, and the Context of Early Medieval Philosophy in the West.
———. 1992. "Vocalism, Nominalism and the Commentaries on the Categories from the Earlier Twelfth Century."
Vivarium no. 30:51-61.
Reprinted as Essay XIII in: John Marenbon, Aristotelian Logic, Platonism, and the Context of Early Medieval Philosophy in the
———. 1992. "Abelard, Ens and Unity." Topoi no. 11:149-158.
Abstract: "Although Abelard arrived at a view of "ens" nearer to Aristotle's than his sources would suggest, unlike
Thirteenth-century thinkers he did not work out a view of transcendentals in terms of "ens", its attributes and their convertibility. He did,
however, regard unity (though not goodness or truth) as an attribute of everything. At first, Abelard suggested that unity, being inseparable, could not be an
accident according to Porphyry's definition (' that which can come and leave a subject without the subject being corrupted') either it is some type of form not
classified by Porphyry, or not a form at all. In his later logical work, Abelard argued differently. Unity, he said, is an accidental form, but Porphyry's
definition of an accident must be understood negatively, not as asserting something about what could happen in reality (since the form of unity could never
leave its subject) but rather something about an absence of connection: were it, per impossible, to occur, the loss by a subject of its form of unity would not
lead to the loss of its specific or generic status."
———. 1993. "Medieval Latin Commentaries and Glosses on Aristotelian Logical Texts, Before c. 1150 A.D." In Glosses and
Commentaries on Aristotelian Logical Texts: The Syriac, Arabic and Medieval Latin Traditions, edited by Burnett, Charles, 77-127. London: Warburg
Institute, University of London.
Reprinted as Essay II in: John Marenbon, Aristotelian Logic, Platonism, and the Context of Early Medieval Philosophy in the
———. 1997. "Glosses and Commentaries on the Categories and De interpretatione before Abelard." In Dialektik
und Rhetorik im früheren und hohen Mittelalter. Rezeption, Überlieferung und gesellschaftliche Wirkung antiker Gelehrsamkeit vornehmlich im 9. und 12.
Jahrhundert, edited by Fried, Johannes, 21-49. München: Oldenbourg.
Reprinted as Essay X in: John Marenbon, Aristotelian Logic, Platonism, and the Context of Early Medieval Philosophy in the West.
———. 2000. Aristotelian Logic, Platonism, and the Context of Early Medieval Philosophy in the West. Aldershot: Ashgate.
———. 2004. ""Dicta", Assertion and Speech Acts: Abelard and Some Modern Interpreters." In Medieval Theories on
Assertive and Non-Assertive Language, edited by Maierù, Alfonso and Valente, Luisa, 59-80. Firenze: Olschki.
———. 2007. "Abelard's Changing Thoughts on Sameness and Difference in Logic and Theology." American Catholic Philosophical
Quarterly no. 81:229-250.
Abstract: "The discussion of sameness and difference in the three versions of the Theologia has been analyzed by a number of recent
writers (for example, Ian Wilks, Jeff Brower, and Peter King). Despite some disagreements, they concur that Abelard's views are best expressed in the
Theologia christiana and that he is putting forward a theory that-perhaps adapted-can help philosophers now in considering the material constitution
of objects. By contrast, I argue that his views, which should be seen as developing and reaching their final form in the Theologia
"scholarium," are much more closely linked than these scholars have thought to the particular theological problems involved in discussing the
———. 2008. "Was Abelard a Trope Theorist?" In Compléments de Substance. Études sur les propriétés accidentelles offertes à
Alain de Libera, edited by Erismann, Christophe and Schniewind, Alexandrine, 85-101. Paris: Vrin.
"It was Christopher Martin who, in 1992, first made the link between Abelard's views on accidents and differentiae and what are
usually called, in contemporary analytical ontology, `tropes'. Myself apart, Alain de Libera is the only writer I know who has taken serious notice of this
idea, discussing it both on its own, and in the wider context of truth-makers and empty reference.(1) De Libera does not think that Abelard can illuminatingly
be described as a trope-theorist. I still disagree, and although our disagreement is based on matters of detail, it may illustrate, as I suggest in the
conclusion, a wider difference in approach."
I. C. Martin, 'The Logic of the Nominales, or, The Rise and Fall of Impossible Positio', Vivarium 30 (1992), 110-26; J.
Marenbon, The Philosophy of Peter Abelard, Cambridge; CUP, 1997, 119-30; A. de Libera, 'Des accidents aux tropes. Pierre Abélard', Revue de
métaphysique et de morale 4 (2002) 509-30; La Référence vide. Théories de la proposition, Paris; PUF, 2002, 122-6, 269-97.
———. 2008. "Abelard on «Differentiae»: How Consistent is His Nominalism?" Documenti e Studi sulla Tradizione Filosofica
Medievale no. 19:179-190.
———. 2015. "Abelard’s Theory of Universals." In Nominalism about Properties. New Essays, edited by Guigon, Ghislain and
Rodriguez-Pereyra, 39-62. New York: Routledge.
———. 2018. "Relations in Earlier Medieval Latin Philosophy: Against the Standard Account." Enrahonar. An International Journal
of Theoretical and Practical Reason no. 61:41-58.
Martin, Christopher John. 1986. "William's Machine." Journal of Philosophy no. 83:564-572.
William of Soissons and Abelard's theories of Entailment.
———. 1987. "Something Amazing about the Peripatetic of Pallet: Abelard's Development of Boethius' Account of Conditional
Propositions." Argumentation no. 1:419-436.
Abstract: "Mediaeval logicians inherited from Boethius an account of conditional propositions and the syllogisms which may be
constructed using them. In the following paper it is shown that there are considerable difficulties with Boethius' account which arise from his failure to
understand the nature of compound propositions and in particular to provide for their negation. Boethius suggests that there are two different conditions which
may be imposed for the truth of a conditional proposition but he really gives no adequate account of how such propositions may be obtained. The true greatness
of Peter Abaelard as a philosophical logician is revealed in what he is able to do with the material which he found in Boethius. It is shown that he developed
a precise theory of conditionals giving an account of how true conditionals may be obtained and principles which may be used to reject others as false. Unlike
Boethius Abaelard properly appreciates that conjunctions must be treated as logical units. Even he, however, falls victim to difficulties which arise when this
connective is brought into contact with negation and the conditions which he lays down for the truth of a conditional."
———. 1987. "Embarrassing Arguments and Surprising Conclusions in the Development of Theories of the Conditional in the Twelfth
Century." In Gilbert de Poitiers et ses contemporains: aux origines de la Logica Modernorum, edited by Jolivet, Jean and Libera, Alain de,
377-400. Napoli: Bibliopolis.
———. 1992. "The Logic of the "Nominales", or the Rise and Fall of Impossible Positio." Vivarium no.
———. 1999. Theories of Inference and Entailment in the Middle Ages (Boethius, Philoponus, Peter Abelard, John Duns Scotus, William of
Ockham), Princeton University.
Available at ProQuest Dissertation Express. Order number: 9948627.
———. 2001. "Abaelard on Modality: Some Possibilities and Some Puzzles." In Potentialität und Possibilität. Modalaussagen in der
Geschichte der Metaphysik, edited by Buchheim, Thomas, Henri, Kneepkens Corneille and Lorenz, Kuno, 97-125. Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog.
"In his monumental study of William of Sherwood's modal theory Klaus Jacobi (2) surveys the treatment of modality by philosophers in the
preceding century and shows that their concern was for the most part to calculate the logical relations between the various forms of modal proposition which
they recognised. Although theology demanded that they take an interest in the nature of divine power, without the Physics and Metaphysics, to
prompt them, twelfth century philosophers generally had little to say on the relationship of modal propositions and their structures to the various sources of
modal claims, to claims, for example, about the nature of potentiality, physical causation, or action.(3) Some progress was made, however, and in the present
paper I will consider the contribution of Peter Abaelard to the development of theories of modality and the curious attitude of one of his followers to his
work on modal logic.
Although Abaelard had no access to the Physics or Metaphysics and precious little, if any, to the Prior
Analytics,(4) he did find in the Categories and De Interpretatione texts which posed interpretive problems whose solution demanded that
he discuss the nature of possibility and necessity. What follows is for the most part an examination of certain points made by Abaelard in his discussion of
these problems. It is divided into two parts.
In the first part of the paper I propose an account of Abaelard's theory of possibility and its application both to creatures and to God.(5)
Abaelard's claims about divine power are rather well known and I mention them only very briefly at the end. His treatment of creaturely potentiality in
commenting on various claims made by Aristotle in the Categories has, on the other hand, barely been noticed and my concern in the first part of the
paper is to thus set them out in some detail.
The failure to take into account the full range of Abaelard's thinking about potentiality has led to some very misleading claims about his
views on possibility. What my investigation shows is that Abaelard employs three different but related notions of potentiality. The first is the potentiality
that an individual has for future action and it is constrained by its species nature, its particular constitution, and its present circumstances. The second
and third are both introduced to explain how we may legitimately say, as authority requires, that an amputee is bipedal. They are different but both reduce all
unqualified possibility to potentiality and all potentiality to compatibility with species nature. The unqualified possibilities open for an individual
creature of a given natural kind are thus for anything which is not incompatible with its species nature.
In the second part of the paper I first examine the account of modal propositions that Abaelard insists upon in discussing chapter 12 of
De Interpretatione. I show that this account of the semantics of such propositions is completely in agreement with his treatment of the source of
modal properties in natures. In his treatment of modal propositions Abaelard famously distinguishes between two different interpretations of propositions such
as 'S is possibly P'. A personal, or 'de re' reading, in which S is said to possess a power to be P, and an
impersonal, or 'de sensu' reading in which 'S's being P' is claimed to be possible where the nominal phrase is held to refer to a
proposition, propositional content, or some other kind of entity. Abaelard argues that only the de re reading yields a modal claim and that nominal
modes are to be resolved into the corresponding adverbial modes. The truth conditions of modal propositions are thus always, according to Abaelard, ultimately
to be given in terms of what is compatible and what is not with the specific nature of the subject of the de re reading of them.
Information about the fate of Abaelard's theories and the views of his followers is unfortunately very limited and it is pleasant to be able
to add here to our knowledge. The texts that we have on divine and creaturely power agree with Abaelard's teaching in reducing unqualified potentiality to
compatibility with species nature. In the concluding part of my paper, however, I show that the author of the Summa Dialectice Artis attributed to
William of Lucca, otherwise an extremely devoted follower of Abaelard in logic, explicitly rejects his master's de re account of modality in favour of
the alternative de sensu reading which Abaelard had gone to great lengths to refute. The Summa thus leaves us with a considerable puzzle
about the commitment of Abaelard's followers in logic to his theory of modality. As compensation for this, we will see that the Summa also provides us
with a solution to a small puzzle raised by Jacobi and Knuuttila concerning Abaelard's views on the logical relations between quantified modal
propositions." (pp. 97-99)
(2) Klaus Jacobi, Die Modalbegriffe in den logischen Schriften des Wilhelm von Shyreswood, Leiden 1980.
(3) The outstanding exception is St. Anselm's discussion of the logic of action sentences in the Lambeth Fragments printed in R. W. Southern
and F. S. Schmitt, Memorials of St. Anselm, London 1969, 333-354.
(4) Cf. Dialectica, Introduction,XIII-XIX. The evidence that Abaelard had direct access to the Prior Analytics is extremely
slight. The Dialectica contains what appear to be two quotations from the Prior Analytics, the definition of the syllogism from An.
Pr. I 1, 24b 18-22 at Dialectica, 232.5-8 and the distinction between perfect and imperfect syllogisms from An. Pr. I 1, 24b 22-25 at
Dialectica, 233.36-234.3. In the discussion following the definition of the syllogism, however, Abaelard refers not to the definition which he
apparently quotes from Aristotle but rather to the definition given by Boethius in De Syllogismo Categorico II (PL 64, 821A 7 - 822C 12).
(5) Hermann Weidemann, 'Zur Semantik der Modalbegriffe bei Peter Abaelard', in: Medioevo 7 (1981), 1-40, argues that Abaelard thinks
of possibility in this way but he does so very much the hard way by attempting to show that Abaelard's remarks on temporally determined modal sentences commit
him to it. Here I take the very much easier course of pointing out Abaelard's explicit statement of the theory of synchronous possibility in terms of
alternative world histories.
———. 2003. "The Role of Categories in the Development of Abelard's Theory of Possibility." In La tradition médiévale des
Catégories (XII-XV siècles), edited by Biard, Joël and Rosier-Catach, Irène, 225-242. Louvain-la-Neuve: Peeters.
———. 2003. "An Amputee is Bipedal! The Categories and the Development of Abaelard's Theory of Possibility." In La tradition
médiévale des catégories, XIIe - XVe siècles: Actes de XIII Symposium européen de logique et de sémantique médiévales, Avignon, 6 - 10 juin 2000, edited
by Biard, Joël and Rosier-Catach, Irène, 225-242. Louvain: Peeters.
"The task of explicating scriptural authority required twelfth century philosophers to take an interest in the nature of divine power
and the task of explicating the De interpretatione required them to discuss the the logic of modal claims. Without Aristotle to prompt them, however,
these philosophers generally had little to say on the relationship of modal propositions and their structures to the various sources of modal claims, to
claims, for example, about the nature of potentiality, physical causation, or action. Nevertheless, some progress was made and in the present paper I will
consider the contribution of Peter Abaelard to the development of theories of possibility. Abaelard had no access to the Physics or
Metaphysics and precious little, if any, to the Prior Analytics, but he did find in the Categories and Porphyry's lsagoge
texts posing interpretative problems whose solution demanded that he discuss the nature of possibility and necessity.
Abaelard's claims about divine power are rather well known and I will mention them only very briefly at the end of my paper. His treatment of
creaturely potentiality in commenting on various claims made by Aristotle in the Categories has, on the other hand, barely been noticed and my task
here will be to examine it in some detail.
The failure to take into account the full range of Abaelard's thinking about potentiality has led to some very misleading claims about his
views on possibility. What my investigation shows is that Abaelard employs three different but related notions of potentiality. The first is the potentiality
that an individual has for future action and it is constrained by its species nature, its particular constitution, and its present circumstances.
The second and third are both introduced to explain how we may legitimately say, as authority requires, that an amputee is bipedal.
They are different but both reduce all unqualified possibility to potentiality and all potentiality to compatibility with species nature. The
unqualified possibilities open for an individual creature of a given natural kind are thus for anything which is not incompatible with its species
nature." (pp. 225-226, notes omitted)
———. 2004. "Logic." In The Cambridge Companion to Abelard, edited by Brower, Jeffrey E. and Guilfoy, Kevin, 158-199.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
"A great deal of Peter Abelard's writing is concerned with what he regarded as logic, but which we would now classify as ontology or
philosophical semantics. Following Cicero and Boethius, Abelard holds that properly speaking the study of logic has to do with the discovery and evaluation of
arguments (LI Isag. 3.10). A necessary preliminary for this is an examination of the issues dealt with by Porphyry in the Isagoge and by
Aristotle in the Categories, and De interpretatione (LI Cat. 113.26-114.30). In the present chapter, however, I will ignore most of
this material and concentrate on the central issue of logical theory both for Abelard and for us, that is, on the nature of the relation of consequence, or
following. Even with this limitation there is a great deal of ground to cover. Abelard sets out his theory of entailment and argument in two very extended and
dense discussions both of which have suffered considerable textual corruption. The treatment of topics and hypothetical syllogisms in the Dialectica,
is apparently the earlier. The other is the surviving fragment of Abelard's commentary on Boethius's De topicis differentiis, Glossae super De
topicis differentiis, which seems to belong with his other commentaries on the works of the logica vetus published as the Logica
"ingredientibus." The two expositions disagree on some crucial questions, but here I will restrict myself almost entirely to the discussion in
———. 2007. "Denying Conditionals: Abaelard and the Failure of Boethius' Account of the Hypothetical Syllogism." Vivarium
———. 2009. "Imposition and Essence: What's New in Abaelard' Theory of Meaning?" 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, 173-212. Turnhout: Brepols.
———. 2009. "The Development of Abaelard’s Theory of Topical Inference." In Les lieux de l'argumentation. Histoire du syllogisme
topique d'Aristotle à Leibniz, edited by Biard, Joël and Mariani Zini, Fosca, 249-270. Turnhout: Brepols.
"What I will try to do here is to locate the relevant differences between Abaelard’s two works on the topics and show how the theory of
the maximal proposition which he presents in his Glosses marks a significant development in his thinking about logic in comparison with that which he
proposes in the Dialectica.
There is no doubt at all that both of the works are by Abaelard and no doubt either that the Glosses on De differentiis topicis are
later than the Treatise on Topics in the Dialectica. What I think there should be considerable doubt about is just how much later they are. Mew’s
proposed dating ol Abaelard’s works has the Dialectica, Glosses, and indeed the great bulk ol Abaelard’s logical writings, all produced
within the four or five year, immediately following his castration in about 1117 (1). This seems to me rather difficult to accept, not least because of the
significant theoretical development that we find in these works. My own view is that the Dialectica could and probably does, date from the beginning
of the second decade ol the eleventh century and might well contain the novelties which we are told Abaelard propounded on Mont-Ste-Genevieve around 1110, or
perhaps even earlier, and which led to the confrontation with Goswin recorded in the life of the Saint (2). Such a dating would then allow ten years for
Abaelard to develop the new theory of propositionality which seems to account for the major differences between the Dialectica and the
Glosses." (pp. 249-250)
In the Glosses Abaelard offers an account of topical inference which, it seems to me, marks a very considerable advance over that
presented in the Dialectica. It is rather odd that he does not acknowledge that the theory he is rejecting is one which he himself once held since he is not in
general shy of saying « meminimus ». What is clear, however, is that in Abaelard’s work reflection on the nature of topical inference achieved a degree of
sophistication which is not found at any other time in the history of the subject. We can only hope that it will not be another fifty years before this is
fully recognised." (p. 270)
———. 2011. "“What An Ugly Child”: Abelard on Translation, Figurative Language, and Logic." Vivarium no. 49:26-49.
Abstract: "An examination the development of Peter Abaelard’s views on translation and figurative meaning. Mediaeval philosophers
curiously do not connect the theory of translation implied by Aristotelian semantics with the multiplicity of tongues consequent upon the fall of Babel and do
not seem to have much to offer to help in solving the problems of scriptural interpretation noted by Augustine. Indeed, on the Aristotelian account of meaning
such problems do not arise. This paper shows that Abaelard is like others in this respect in not in general finding translation problematic. Two particular
cases, oppositio in adiecto and accidental predication, however, present problems for him and the paper examines and tries to explain the differences between
the account given in the Dialectica and that given in the Logica 'Ingredientibus'."
———. 2011. "A Note on the Attribution of the Literal Glosses in Paris, BnF, lat. 13368 to Peter Abaelard." In Arts du langage
et théologie aux confins des XIe et XIIe siècles: textes, maîtres, débats, edited by Rosier-Catach, Irène. Tornhout: Brepols.
———. 2011. "De Interpretatione 5-8: Aristotle, Boethius, and Abelard on Propositionality." In Methods and
Methodologies. Aristotelian Logic East and West, 500-1500, edited by Cameron, Margaret and Marenbon, John, 207-228. Leiden: Brill.
"Boethius’ commentaries on de Interpretatione provided the Middle Ages with their introduction to the theory of meaning.
Boethian semantics is developed on the basis of the distinction made by Aristotle in De Interpretatione 1, between the signification of terms and that
of affirmations and negations – defined, remember, as the species of simple assertions. On this account of them affirmations signify mental states in which the
mental items signified by their component significant terms are combined and negations signify mental states in which they are separated. Missing in the theory
is an account of compound propositions showing how their meanings are obtained from the meanings of their components. Such an account requires a notion of
unasserted propositional content. With it we may also locate what is common to different speech acts and explain how it is that they differ. The relevant
differences are the differences in what we now call their force." (p. 211)
———. 2016. "Abaelard on Logical Truth." In Formal Approaches and Natural Languages in the Middle Ages, edited by Cesalli,
Laurent, Goubier, Frédéric and Libera, Alain de, 59-76. Turnhout: Brepols.
———. 2016. "Modality without the Prior Analytics: Early Twelfth Century Accounts of Modal Propositions." In Logical Modalities
from Aristotle to Carnap, edited by Cresswell, Max, Mares, Edwin and Rini, Adriane, 113-132. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Abstract: "Peter Abaelard’s birth around 1079 coincided with the promulgation by Pope Gregory VII of a decree instructing his bishops to
ensure that all clerics were trained in the liberal arts, and Abaelard’s life was shaped by the consequent increase in the number and importance of teaching
masters. These early twelfth century teachers commented on the works of what would later be called the logica vetus , including from Aristotle only the
Categories and De Interpretatione . Abaelard also had some access to the Sophistical Refutations and, indeed, seems to have known a little about the
Prior Analytics. The latter work, however, played no role in the development of thinking about modal propositions in the period to be considered here.
Rather it was Aristotle’s remarks on the proper placing of the negative particle in forming the contradictory of a given modal proposition in de
Interpretatione 12, and 13, and a distinction made by Boethius between different forms of modality in his De Syllogismis Hypotheticis that
prompted early twelfth century philosophers to investigate the nature of modal propositions."
———. 2016. "The Invention of Relations: Early Twelfth-Century Discussions of Aristotle's Account of Relatives." British Journal
for the History of Philosophy no. 24:447-467.
Abstract: "Aristotle's discussion of relatives in the Categories presented its eleventh- and twelfth-century readers with many puzzles.
Their attempt to solve these puzzles and to develop a coherent account of the category led around the beginning of the twelfth century to the invention of
relations as items which stand to relatives as qualities stand to qualified substances. In this paper, I first discuss the details of Aristotle's accounts of
relatives and the related category of ‘situation’ and Boethius' commentary on them. I then examine some of the earliest mediaeval commentaries on the
Categories showing how the notion of relation, and in particular of individual relations, was developed. I conclude by showing how Peter Abaelard's treatment
of relations in his Dialectica was part of an ongoing and sophisticated debate over the nature of relations."
Mesaroş, Claudiu. 2006. "From Porphyry to Abelard. How Many Questions on Universals?" Chôra no. 3/4:253-262.
Abstract: "From the panoply of authors that tried to offer their solutions on the well known problem of the universals in the present
paper there are selected three of them: Porphyry, Boethius and Abelard. The first, Porphyry is the one that can be considered the parent of the problem and in
his Isagoge we can find its first formulation and for this we can have two alternative readings: a dialectical and a neo-platonic one. In the case of the
second, Boethius, we also find two ways of interpreting the problem: a dialectical one and the latter from a theological point of view. The last of these
authors, Abelard, we can observe an account of the problem from the perspective of his status theory which can be said to resemble the theological reading from
Mews, Constant J. 1984. "A Neglected Gloss on the Isagoge by Peter Abelard." Freiburger Zeitschrift fur Philosophie
und Theologie no. 31:35-55.
Reprinted as Essay II in: Constant J. Mews, Abelard and his Legacy.
"The authorship is examined of the anonymous "Glossae secundum vocales" on the "Isagoge" of Porphyry in ms Milan,
Bibl. Ambrosiana m63 sup. ff. 73-81v along side known glosses of Abelard ("Logica ingredientibus"). Geyer's attribution of the work of a pupil is
questioned. It is shown to contain a recension of Abelard's glosses on Porphyry transitional between "Ingredientibus" and "Nostrorum
petitioni". Its discussion of identity and difference influences that of the "Theologia summi boni". "
———. 1987. "Aspects of the Evolution of Peter Abaelard's Thought on Signification and Predication." In Gilbert de Poitiers et
ses Contemporains. Aux Origines de la 'Logica Modernorum', edited by Jolivet, Jean and Libera, Alain de, 15-41. Napoli: Biblioplis.
Reprinted as Essay VIII in: Constant J. Mews, Abelard and his Legacy,
———. 1992. "Nominalism and Theology before Abaelard: New Light on Roscelin of Compiègne." Vivarium no. 30:4-33.
Reprinted as Essay VII in: C. J. Mews, Reason and Belief in the Age of Roscelin and Abelard.
———. 2003. "Peter Abelard on Dialectic, Rhetoric, and the Principles of Argument." In Rhetoric and Renewal in the Latin West
1100-1540. Essays in Honour of John O. Ward, edited by Mews, Constant J., Nederman, Cary J. and Thomson, Rodney M., 37-53. Turnhout: Brepols.
———. 2004. "Logic, Rhetoric and the Topics in the Middle Ages. Peter Abelard and Aristotelian Tradition." In Die Lektüre der
Welt: zur Theorie, Geschichte und Soziologie kultureller Praxis. Festschrift für Walter Veit = Worlds of Reading: on the Theory, History, and Sociology of
Cultural Practice, edited by Heinze, Helmut and Wlller, Christiane, 25-35. Bern: Peter Lang.
Normore, Calvin G. 1992. "Abelard and the School of the Nominales." Vivarium no. 30:80-96.
Novikoff, Alex J. 2014. "Peter Abelard and Disputation: A Reexamination." Rhetorica:323-347.
Abstract: "This paper examines Abelard’s engagement with disputation (disputatio) from the vantage point of twelfth-century
Eschewing the well-worn details of Abelard’s personal life and philosophical positions, analysis is instead focused on two parallel
dimensions of his career: the manner in which he attempted to face-off with his adversaries through public debate and his underlying theory of disputation. It
is argued that Abelard’s theory is to be found not in his theological or logical works, but in his polemical letters and his ethical dialogue, the
Collationes, which together offer a coherent hermeneutical strategy for discerning truth.
Abelard’s contribution to the art of disputation needs to be assessed in light of his broader involvement in the scholastic method and
contemporary Jewish-Christian relations."
Nuchelmans, Gabriel. 1973. Theories of the Proposition. Ancient and Medieval Conceptions of the Bearers of Truth and Falsity.
Abelard: pp. 139-163.
Omelyantchyk, Valentin. 1999. "Abelard, a follower of Ammonius? Early medieval commentaries on Peri hermeneias 23 a 7 - 23 a
18." In Entwicklungslinien mittelalterlicher Philosophie: Vorträge des 5. Kongresses der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Philosophie (Innsbruck,
1.-4. Februar 1998), edited by Leibold, Gerhard and Löffler, Winfried, 64-72. Wien: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky.
Otten, Willemien. 2009. "Broken Mirrors: Abelard's Theory of Language in Relation to the Augustinian Tradition of Redeemed Speech."
In Mind Matters: Studies of Medieval and Early Modern Intellectual History in Honour of Marcia Colish, edited by Nederman, Cary J. , van Deusen, Nancy
and Matter, E. Ann 69-88. Turnhout: Brepols.
Pinzani, Roberto. 2003. The Logical Grammar of Abelard. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
———. 2018. The Problem of Universals from Boethius to John of Salisbury. Leiden: Brill.
Potter, Joel M. 2009. "The Status of Status: Boethian Realism in Abelard." Carmina Philosophiae no. 18:127-135.
Abstract: "Peter Abelard's claim that universals are only words is well known, yet its metaphysical bearing for Abelard's philosophy is
much disputed. Peter King has recently suggested that Abelard's nominalism is only an element of his larger irrealist metaphysic. Against this interpretation,
I argue that Abelard's view is better understood as a form of moderate realism and a development of the solution attempted by Boethius in his Second Commentary
on Porphyry's Isagoge. Both Abelard and Boethius clearly deny the independent existence of universals, yet they should not be called irrealists, since they
agree that universal words or concepts have a firm basis in real, individual things."
Rijk, Lambertus Marie de. 1980. "The Semantical Impact of Abailard's Solution of the Problem of Universals." In Petrus
Abaelardus (1079-1142). Person, Werk und Wirkung, edited by Thomas, Rudolf, 139-151. Trier: Paulinus-Verlag.
Reprinted as chapter III in: L. M. de Rijk, Through Language to Reality. Studies in Medieval Semantics and Metaphysics, Edited by
Bos Egbert, Northampton: Variorum Reprints, 1989.
———. 1981. "Abailard's Semantic Views in the Light of Later Developments." In English Logic and Semantics from the End of the
12th Century to the Time of Ockham and Burleigh, edited by Braakhuis, Henk A.G., Henri, Kneepkens Corneille and Rijk, Lambertus Marie de, 1-58. Nijmegen:
Reprinted as chapter VI in: L. M. de Rijk, Through Language to Reality. Studies in Medieval Semantics and Metaphysics, Edited by Bos
Egbert, Northampton: Variorum Reprints 1989.
———. 1985. "Martin M. Tweedale on Abailard: Some Criticisms of a Fascinating Venture." Vivarium no. 23:81-97.
"Mr. Tweedale's study is bound to give any of his readers the firm impression that, as logician, Peter Abailard has accomplished a
tremendous achievement. Unfortunately, however, Tweedale, (...) is on the wrong track in claiming-throughout his study that the modern interpreter has to
'ferret' Abailard's answers out of 'rather obscure passages' (p. 7), and that he is inconsistent (p. X and passim). Tweedale has failed to appreciate
Abailard's lucidity and clear language. He has missed the point several times and more than once this is due to his defective knowledge of Latin. However, let
me not move too hurriedly to my conclusion.
In writing this book, the author had two main objectives in mind, as we learn from the Preface. First, 'to present in a form easily
accessible to professional philosophers, theologians and historians those scattered portions of Abailard's logical writings which seem to record a very
original scrutiny of the foundations of logic and in particular the problem of unversals'. Secondly, 'to interpret the texts in a way that would connect them
with the ancient tradition and also make them intelligible to contemporary philosophers.' So chapters I and II try to give an insight into the classical and
post-classical background. The core of the essay is to be found in Chapters III-V; Chapter VI contains a comparison between Abailard and Frege.
Without doubt, the author has succeeded in enlarging the modern scholar's acquaintance with, and admiration of, Abailard as a logician and
early Medieval philosopher and theologian. Even someone who has had only a glimpse of the contents of this rich essay, cannot help experiencing a kind of
thrill on realising that he is meeting in Peter Abailard a remarkable and original thinker.
However, to write a successful book something more is needed. To my mind the author was heavily hampered in realising the two objectives he
had set himself, as a result of his poor knowledge of (both classical and Medieval) Latin grammar and syntax. Sometimes his judgment of Abailard's achievements
is incorrect, for no other reason than his inability to correctly read Abailard's concise language." (pp. 81-82)
———. 1986. "Peter Abelard's Semantics and His Doctrine of Being." Vivarium no. 24:85-127.
"6. Conclusion. Upon surveying Abelard's investigations about sentencehood it may be stated that it certainly developed
gradually and, as a result, so to speak, of our author's continuously scrutinizing the recalcitrant problems concerning the ways in which, in our linguistic
behaviour, we deal with the vital problem of being.
First, Abelard makes us recognize the peculiar nature of the substantive verb 'to be' ('esse'), peculiar indeed, since it is the only verb
that is capable of conjoining but, at the same time, when serving, thus, as a device for predication, conveys, due to its proper invention, the notion of
'substantialness' ('essentia'). As was said before (above, p. 109), Abelard's entire discussion of the problem is ostensibly concerned with mastering the
antagonism between coupling and predication. First, he considers the vicissitudes the predicate noun cannot escape undergoing as the very result of this
antagonism and finds a remedy in splitting up the different strata present in nouns such as 'album' ('the or a white thing'). In this endeavour, the
chimaera and the like (the 'non-existents') turn out to be a real spoil-sports.
In the Dialectica, then, Abelard maintains, a a whole, his previous position (which is found in two parts of the Logica
Ingredientibus, viz. the Perihermeneias commentary and the one on Boethius De topicis differentiis), but sets on to refine it in that he
gives the coupling of 'substantialness' a predominant position over and against the predication of a (substantial or accidental) form.
However, he aptly combines this move (quite unavoidably, it may seem) with a subtle emptying of the notion of 'essentia' ('substantialness'), with the result
that, from now on, 'est' ('is') has developed into a mere container (meaning 'undetermined substantialness') for a 're-al' ('thing-like') content (or sememe)
conveyed by a predicate noun (which also may be a participle of an ordinary verb). An additional result is that, on this interpretation, the existential import
seems to come from the predicate noun, so that our chimaera is no longer a spoil-sport. Finally, the empty-container view of the copula is completed by
Abelard's suggestion to take the 'is' plus the predicate noun as merely one linguistic construct.
However this may be, Abelard's achievements in semantics are astonishingly great and even remain unparalleled for centuries." pp.
123-124 and 125.
1. Preliminary: Significatio in Abelard; 2. Nomen, verbum, oratio; 3. On the predicative-copulative function of the verb;
4. The noun and verb in Abelard. A survey; 5. Sentencehood: connection and predication; 5.1. Some preliminary remarks on naming and predication; 5.2.
Predication as a semantic problem: linguistics vs semantics 5.3. On dating the logical works of Abelard; 5.4. Abelard's tackling of the problem of Predication
in Glossae super Periermeneias; 5.5. The present interpretation confirmed by Super Topica Glossae; 5.5. The discussion of predication in the
Dialectica; 6. Conclusion.
Note: This paper is meant as a continuation to the series 'On Ancient and Mediaeval Semantics and Metaphysics' published in
this Journal [Vivarium] from 1977-82. For bibliographical reasons the original title has been dropped and the studies will be continued under separate
———. 2003. "The Logic of Indefinite Names in Boethius, Abelard, Duns Scotus, and Radulphus Brito." In Aristotle's Peri
hermeneias in the Latin Middle Ages. Essays on the Commentary Tradition, edited by Braakhuis, Henk A.G. and Henri, Kneepkens Corneille, 207-233.
Groningen: Ingenium Publishers.
Rosier-Catach, Irène. 2002. "Abelard and the Meaning of the Propositions." In Signification in Language and Culture,
edited by Gill, Harjeet Singh, 23-49. Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study.
———. 2007. "Priscian on Divine Ideas and Mental Conceptions: the Discussions in the Glosulae in Priscianum, the Notae
Dunelmenses, William of Champeaux and Abelard." Vivarium no. 45:219-237.
Abstract: "Priscian's Institutiones Grammaticae, which rely on Stoic and Neoplatonic sources, constituted an important,
although quite neglected, link in the chain of transmission of ancient philosophy in the Middle Ages. There is, in particular, a passage where Priscian
discusses the vexed claim that common names can be proper names of the universal species and where he talks about the ideas existing in the divine mind. At the
beginning of the 12th century, the anonymous Glosulae super Priscianum and the Notae Dunelmenses, which heavily quote William of Champeaux
(as master G.), interpret the passage in the context of a growing interest in the problem of universals, raising semantic as well as ontological questions, and
introducing a Platonic view on universals in the discussions on the signification of the noun. Moreover, this same passage will be used by Abelard to elaborate
one of his opinions about the signification of universal or common names-that they signify "mental conceptions".
———. 2017. "Understanding as Attending. Semantics, Psychology and Ontology in Peter Abelard." In The Language of Thought in
Late Medieval Philosophy. Essays in Honor of Claude Panaccio, edited by Pelletier, Jenny and Roques, Magali, 249-274. Dordrecht: Springer.
Seuren, Pieter Albertus Maria. 2009. Language in Cognition. New York: Oxford University Press.
Volume I of Language from Within.
Summary of the two volumes: "Volume I begins by setting up certain central principles of the natural ontology according to which humans
develop a theory of the actual world with the help of nonactual, thought-up 'worlds' or, better, situations. It then presents a view of how language expresses
thoughts developed in terms of this natural ontology, with an emphasis on the mechanism of reference not only to extensional, actually existing objects but
also to intensional, thought-up objects. An important aspect, elaborated in Chapter 4, is the fact that human communication does not, as is usually thought,
consist in the transfer of propositionally structured information, but, rather, in a socially binding form of position-taking with respect to such
We then go on to a discussion of the general semantic aspects of language in the context of the total ecological 'architecture' of language,
mind, and world.
This leads to a cursory tour of lexical meaning and of the ways lexical meanings are structured so as to make linguistic utterances fit into
given contexts or discourses.
Concentrating again on propositional content, basic principles of logic are introduced in Volume II, although not in the traditional fashion.
A new and unconventional view of logic is developed there, in which the logical constants are treated as lexical items, in fact as lexical predicates, with the
special property that their meanings allow for the computation of entailments. It is argued that this reduction of logic to lexical meaning shows better than
anything else the relevance of logic and logical analysis for the study of linguistic meaning. This point of view is reinforced in Chapter 10 of Volume II,
where it is shown that presuppositions are a general semantic property of lexical predicates and where it is argued that a proper theory of presuppositions
requires a trivalent presuppositional logic. We then concentrate, in Chapter 3 of Volume II, on a reconstruction of the natural logic which nature may be taken
to have instilled into human cognition.
This reconstructed logic is then placed in a historical perspective, which shows that basic natural predicate logic is, in fact, largely but
not entirely identical with the logic proposed and defended by the Edinburgh philosopherWilliam Hamilton in the nineteenth century. Aristotelian predicate
logic is dissected in Chapter 5 of Volume II and reconstructed on the basis of Aristotle's own texts, whereby it is found that Aristotle was not guilty of the
logical error of undue existential import but left his logic incomplete. It is also found that the twelfth-century French philosopher Abelard completed
Aristotelian predicate calculus in Aristotle's spirit, avoiding undue existential import in a way that leads to a logically sound system that is more powerful
than standard modern predicate logic. Chapter 4 of Volume II shows that traditional predicate logic, with its undue existential import, has maximal logical
power, in stark contrast to standard modern predicate logic, which has hardly any logical power left. It also shows that the logically sound Abelardian system
of predicate logic has much greater logical power than standard modern predicate calculus, while still staying within the bounds of a strictly extensional
ontology - a fact which raises questions regarding the status of standard modern predicate calculus in mathematics and mathematical logic.
In Chapter 6 of Volume II it is shown that traditional predicate logic is also much more functional from the point of view of transmitting
information than its standard modern counterpart. The fact that, as a matter of principle, linguistic utterances need anchoring in context before they can be
keyed to a given situation and the objects in it, is first discussed in Chapter 3, in the context of Aristotle's concept of proposition.
Chapters 7 to 9 of Volume II are devoted to a further theoretical elaboration of the context-sensitivity of natural-language sentences and
utterances. The notion of presupposition is central in this respect. Chapter 10 of Volume II is devoted to the logical aspects of the context-sensitivity of
language. A presuppositional logic is developed for both the propositional operators and the universal and existential quantifiers. In this logic, a
distinction is made between, on the one hand, a default, discourse-restricted area of metalogical relations, which is taken to have some degree of
psychological reality, and a purely theoretical area which has no psychological reality but is presented merely to show the character and properties of the
logic involved." (pp. 7-8).
———. 2010. The Logic of Language. New York: Oxford University Press.
Volume II of Language from Within.
Shimizu, Tetsuro. 1995. "From Vocalism to Nominalism: Progression in Abaelard's Theory of Signification." Didascalia no.
———. 1999. "Words and Concepts in Anselm et Abelard." In Langage, sciences, philosophie au XIIe siècle, edited by Biard,
Joël, 177-197. Paris: Vrin.
———. 2006. "Word and Esse in Anselm and Abelard." In Anselm and Abelard. Investigations and iuxtapositions,
edited by Gasper, Giles E.M. and Helmut, Kohlenberger, 179-195. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.
"The medieval controversy about the nature of universals was about nothing other than the relationship between word and thing. In order
to understand the history and essence of the controversy, it is most important to examine the thoughts of the two key figures: Anselm and Abelard, respectively
the revered authority among the realists (reales), and the founder of the nominalists (nominales). Though there certainly lies a crucial
divergence in their views, nevertheless Abelard, as well as contemporary realists, owes many of his ideas, conceptions and terms to Anselm. Having examined
elsewhere their views on the relationship between word and concept, I would like to examine here those on the relationship between word and the world. Through
this examination I shall show how Anselm's metaphysical investigation about God's locution was transformed into Abelard's logical one about human words.
In the following, I shall first examine Anselm's theory of God's locution, showing how he explains it in terms of human language and in its
relationship with created things, by examining some passages from his Monologion and De grammatico.
Secondly, I shall focus my attention on Abelard's corresponding theories in his two commentaries on Porphyry, Glosse
'ingredientibus' and Glossule 'nostrorum petitioni sociorum'." (p. 179)
"Conclusion. The terms and concepts that Anselm proposed in his meditation on God's locution as the origin of created things constitute
a common vocabulary for the controversy about universals. Even Abelard, the founder of nominalism, when refuting the realists, uses these terms and concepts to
differentiate himself from them. Such terms, among others, are essentia, esse hominem, and status hominis, which is Abelard's substitute for
Anselm's esse hominis. Again, Anselm's idea of significatio as an act of producing understanding in the hearer becomes the main idea in
Abelard's semantics. We can, however, recognize elements of discrepancy between them as well as these examples of agreement. Abelard excludes essentia
from his theory of universals, separating it from esse hominem, and shifts the idea of esse hominis to the one of status hominis.
Again, Anselm's intellectus produced by a word is the understanding by which an essentia, or something's esse, is understood, and
the latter is based on the principalis essentia in God, while Abelard's is separated from essentia and even from the facts in reality
(status), in his later theory, though connected in his earlier one. It seems that Abelard cultivates a new realm of conceptions independent of things'
essentia; this realm is properly for human beings, not for God, the creator. In this sense, 'Deus homo' happened between Anselm and Abelard." (p.
———. 2006. "The Place of Intellectus in the Theory of Signification by Abelard and Ars Meliduna." In
Intellect et imagination dans la philosophie médiévale / Intellect and imagination in medieval philosophy / Intelecto e imaginação na filosofia medieval /
Actes du XIe Congrès international de philosophie médiévale de la Société internationale pour l'Étude de la philosophie médiévale (S.I.E.P.M.): Porto, du 26 au
31 août 2002, edited by Pacheco, Maria Cândida and Meirinhos, José F., 927-939. Turnhout: Brepols.
"The main concern of the present paper is with some theories of significatio in the 12th century, and how intellectus
and imaginatio play a role in them, but not in others. In the present paper, I shall restrict my attention to Abelard and Ars meliduna,
hoping to contrast them.
ABELARD'S THEORY OF SIGNIFICATION
As for Abelard's theory, I will make some comments concerning the present subject, with a summary of the conclusions that I have described
elsewhere (1). In Glosse super Porphyrium ("Ingredientibus"), Abelard's theory of signification bound up with his explanation and revision
of the vocalist theory of a universal. He starts with the definition of the universal, which involves the idea of impositio and nominatio,
and so far the theory contains the name-things relationship only. Abelard, however, also shows its difficulties, by raising the two cardinal aspects of
signification: the first concerns nominatio, or significatio in the broader sense, while the second, the intellectus that a name
produces in the hearer, and this act of a name is significatio in the strict sense.
Then he tries to solve the difficulties and presents his revision of the theory regarding each of the two aspects (2)." (p. 927)
In sum, we can contrast Abelard and the Ars meliduna as for how intellectus are treated with reference to signification.
For both of them, a status is some thing or some fact in the world, independent of intellectus, though it might be an object of
but by no means a mental entity. This is the only point on which both will agree. To begin with, they oppose each other as for what is the
status. For Abelard, status is causa impositionis, while for the Ars meliduna, it is the object of signification. On the contrary,
intellectus is the object of signification for Abelard, while it is the causa impositionis for the Ars meliduna. Abelard thinks of
intellectus from the hearer's point of view basing himself on Aristotle's De interpretatione, so that he attends to the act of producing
intellectus in the hearer, while the Ars meliduna thinks of intellectus from the speaker's
point of view, basing itself on Priscian's grammar, so that it attends to the vocal words as revealing the speaker's intellectus.
Thus the Ars meliduna insists on the reverse of what Abelard insisted on." (p. 939).
(1) Shimizu, T., From Vocalism to Nominalism: Progression in Abaelard's Theory of Signification, Didascalia, 1,15-46.
(2) Abaelardus, Glossae super Porphyrium, hrsg. von Geyer, B., Peter Abaelards philosophische Schriften I,1933: 16, 25-30;
Spencer, Mark K. 2011. "Abelard on Status and their Relation to Universals. A Husserlian Interpretation."
International Philosophical Quarterly no. 51:223-240.
"The discussion of universals in Peter Abelard's Logica 'Ingredientibus' has been interpreted in many ways. Of particular controversy
has been the proper way to interpret his use of the term status. In this paper I offer an interpretation of status by comparing Abelard's account of knowledge
of universals to Edmund Husserl's presentations of categorial and eidetic intuition. I argue that status is meant to be understood as something like an ideal
object, in Husserl's sense of the term. First, I present Abelard's discussion of status and distinguish this term from universals, things, acts of
understanding, and forms. Next, I consider Husserl's account of categorial and eidetic intuition. Finally, I draw parallels between the two while showing how
an interpretation of status as ideal object overcomes the interpretive problems encountered by other commentators on Abelard."
Spruyt, Joke. 2003. "The Semantics of Complex Espressions in John Duns Scotus, Peter Abelard and John Buridan." In Aristotle's
Peri hermeneias in the Latin Middle Ages. Essays on the Commentary Tradition, edited by Braakhuis, Henk A.G. and Henri, Kneepkens Corneille, 275-303.
Strub, Christian. 2003. "Propositio una / multiplex in Abelard: A Note on the Relationship of Dialectic and Grammar." In
Aristotle's Peri hermeneias in the Latin Middle Ages. Essays on the Commentary Tradition, edited by Braakhuis, Henk A.G. and Henri, Kneepkens
Corneille, 257-273. Turnhout: Brepols.
Stump, Eleonore. 1988. "Logic in the Early Twelfth Century." In Meaning and Inference in Medieval Philosophy, edited by
Norman, Kretzmann, 31-55. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
———. 1989. Dialectic and Its Place in the Development of Medieval Logic. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Chapter 5: Abelard on the Topics (pp. 89-109) and Chapter 6: Logic in the Early Twelfth Century (pp. 111-133).
Tarlazzi, Caterina. 2014. "‘Iam Corpus’ or ‘Non Corpus’? On Abelard’s First Argument Against Material Essence Realism in the Logica
‘Ingredientibus’." Vivarium no. 52:1-22.
Abstract: "This paper investigates Abelard’s first argument against the ‘material essence’ realist view on universals in the Logica
‘Ingredientibus’. It analyses three different interpretations of the argument, those of Alain de Libera, Peter King and Martin Tweedale. Much depends on the
(for this section, single) manuscript reading ‘iam corpus’ in a crucial passage. The paper argues against the manuscript reading (endorsed by some scholars)
and in favour of the emendation ‘non corpus’ suggested by the editor, Bernhard Geyer. The emended reading is supported by comparison with similar arguments of
Abelard and his school found in published and unpublished sources."
Thom, Paul. 2006. Medieval Modal Systems. Problems and Concepts. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Chapter 3: Abélard, pp. 43-64.
Thompson, Augustine. 1995. "The Debate on Universals before Peter Abelard." Journal of the History of Philosophy no.
Tweedale, Martin. 1967. "Abailard and Non-Things." Journal of the History of Philosophy no. 5:329-342.
———. 1976. Abailard on Universals. Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Contents: Preface IX-X; Introduction 1; I. Plato and Aristotle 17; II. Boethius and Porphyry 53; III. Abailard's Critique of Realist
Solutions 89; IV. Abailard's Theory of Abstract Entities 133; V. Abailard's Theory of Dicta and Status 133; Vi. Abailard and Frege: A
Comparison 305; Bibliography 329; Index of Names and Subjects 331; Index of Textual Extracts 335-337.
"In writing this book I have had two main objectives in mind. The first was to present in a form easily accessible to professional
philosophers, theologians and historians certain scattered portions of Abailard’s logical writings which seem to me to record a very original scrutiny of the
foundations of logic and in particular of the problem of universals. I am of the opinion that if and when a complete history of logic in the West is written
Abailard’s ideas will appear as one of the ablest and most penetrating efforts to establish a philosophical foundation for the subject. To accomplish this
objective I have arranged, translated and commented on relevant passages from Abailard’s works in such a way that the reader, even if he knows no Latin, can
follow Abailard’s train of thought and see the relationships between texts whose bearing on each other is far from immediately apparent. The translations are
very literal, sometimes to the point of awkwardness. But one must remember that the original is rarely any sort of paragon of literary style. Scholastic
writing in logic generally sacrifices beauty to economy and accuracy. Sometimes, Abailard is too economical, and then I have inserted in the translation what
is required to give an intelligible rendering. (Such insertions are bracketed.) For those who know Latin the original text is also provided from the most
recent modern editions of Abailard’s works.
The second objective was to interpret the texts in a way that would connect them with the ancient tradition and also make them intelligible
to contemporary philosophers. I have tried to be both critical and sympathetic in this interpretive work. Indeed, criticism of Abailard without sympathy is
almost bound to be superficial since he so frequently contradicts himself and talks in ways he himself knew to be misleading. Besides, Abailard is writing at a
time when the conceptual tools of scholastic logic were being created; consequently it is not to be expected that his works would display the rigor of those,
say, of Ockham or Tarski.
Chapters I and II give the classical background to the problem of universals, allowing the reader a glimpse of some of its ramifications. The
real work of presenting and analysing texts takes place in chapters III through V. If the reader already has a good idea of the history of the subject, he
could well limit himself to just this core part of the essay. Chapter VI tries to give a sense of the continuing relevance of Abailard’s discussions by a
comparison with Frege’s philosophy of logic. I thought it was better to concentrate on one central figure in modern logic than attempt a general comparison
with all the various strands of thinking on the subject since the nineteenth century. Only this last chapter supposes a bit of familiarity with modern
philosophy. Elsewhere I have tried to write in a way historians and theologians, as well as philosophers, could understand. Certainly the range of interests a
book on this topic appeals to should not be narrowed any more than necessary." (from the Preface)
"This work shows how Abailard elaborated and defended the view that universals are words, avoided the pitfalls of an image theory of
thinking, and propounded a theory of "status" and "dicta" as objects of thought without treating them as subjects of predication. His
defense of these views is shown to depend on certain fundamental departures from the Aristotelian term logic of his day, including a proposal for subjectless
propositions, the treatment of copula plus predicate noun as equivalent to a simple verb, and a transformation of the 'is' of existence into the 'is' of
Review by P. S. Spade, Noûs, 14, 1980, pp. 479-483.
———. 1980. "Abailard and Ockham: Contrasting Defences of Nominalism." Theoria no. 46:106-122.
Abstract: "The Scholastics inherited from the Greeks a certain ideal of scientific knowledge, an ideal which both the nominalists and
the realists of the middle ages accepted. In this paper I want first to show briefly how that ideal seems most naturally to lead to some form of
realism as regards universals. I then review the attempts by Abailard in the 12th century and Ockham in the 14th to escape the realistic
conclusions that apparently follow from that ideal, and in the course of this discussion I try to make clear just where their approaches
differ. Finally, I point out that Ockham’s approach suffers from certain basic difficulties which do not beset Abailard’s and hope that this
will motivate among the nominalistically minded a certain sympathy for the Abailardian view despite its admittedly enigmatic and nearly self-contradictory
———. 1982. "Abelard and the Culmination of the Old Logic." In The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy. From the
Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Disintegration of Scholasticism, 1100-1600, edited by Norman, Kretzmann, Kenny, Anthony and Pinborg, Jan, 143-157.
Cambrdige: Cambridge University Press.
———. 1987. "Reply to Professor de Rijk's "Martin M. Tweedale on Abailard: some criticisms of a fascinating venture"."
Vivarium no. 25:3-22.
"I reply to professor de Rijk's criticisms of my book "Abailard on Universals". First I admit serious errors in some of my
translations and offering some revisions of those. Second, I defend some of my other translations as well as my interpretation of what Abailard intends by
'"essentia"' and my contention that Abailard's doctrine on universals is not a form of conceptualism."
———. 1992. "Logic (I): from the Late Eleventh Century to the Time of Abelard." In A History of Twelfth-Century Western
Philosophy, edited by Dronke, Peter, 196-226. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Valente, Luisa. 2013. "Philosophers and Other Kinds of Human Beings according to Peter Abelard and John of Salisbury." In Logic
and Language in the Middle Ages: a volume in honour of Sten Ebbesen, edited by Fink, Jacob Leth, Hansen, Heine and Mora-Marquez, Ana María 105-124.
———. 2015. "Aliquid amplius audire desiderat: Desire in Abelard's Theory of Incomplete and Non-Assertive Complete
Sentences." Vivarium no. 53:221-248.
Abstract: 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)."
Wciórka, Wojciech. 2008. "Abelard on Porphyry's Definition of Accident." Mediaevalia philosophica Polonorum.Bulletin
d'information concernant les recherches sur la philosophie médiévale en Pologne no. 37:168-181.
Wilks, Ian. 1993. The Logic of Abelard's "Dialectica", University of Toronto.
Available at ProQuest Dissertation Express. Order number: NN82768.
Abstract: "In this work I provide a fairly discursive treatment of Abelard's logical theory, discussing his views on a considerable
number of syntactic and semantic issues at the levels of argument, statement and word: the formulation of syllogistic rules, the oratio, assertion, tense,
grammatical voice and number, the copula and the copula verb phrase, the quantifier, and the negative particle; the nature and varieties of inference, the
nature of the statement, the co-referential theory of truth, identity conditions for names, signification, reference, the intellectus, imposition, abstraction
and the status. My contention is that there is a unifying theme in Abelard's treatment of all of these issues: his concern to develop a logic with no
theoretical reliance on what, for the purpose of this study, I call 'the standard ambiguity'. This ambiguity is present in Aristotelian formulations of
syllogistic logic, where a statement such as 'Every man is mortal' will be described by a formula such as this: mortal is in the whole of man. This formula
treats 'mortal' and 'man' as names referring, in each case, to a single item of some sort, and suggests that the statement 'Every man is mortal' simply
expresses a relation holding between two such items. The general effect of the standard ambiguity is to suggest that logic has these kinds of items, and their
relations, as its subject matter. For Abelard the subject matter of logic is language. A statement is to be considered syntactically as a group of words, not
as a pair of standardly ambiguous items; but this view presupposes that the structural requirements of syllogistic inference (and in particular, conversion)
can actually be met by statements considered in this light. I interpret Abelard's theory of syntax as an attempt to prove the truth of this presupposition;
this is the essential business of Part 1 of my study. In Part 2 I show that Abelard likewise provides theories of inference, truth and meaning which avoid
theoretical reliance on the standard ambiguity, and treat these issues instead in terms (respectively) of the formal properties of syntax, coreferentiality in
subject and predicate names, and the abstracted intellectus."
———. 1998. "Peter Abelard and the Metaphysics of Essential Predication." Journal of the History of Philosophy no.
———. 1998. "Abelard on Figurative Language and Transferred Meaning." In The Future of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance:
problems, trends and opportunities of research, edited by Dahood, Roger, 171-186. Turnhout: Brepols.
———. 2007. "Abelard on Context and Signification." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 81:189-208.
Abstract: "Abelard maintains that individual words in a sentence represent distinct semantic units of its overall meaning. He employs
two strategies to defend this position in the face of troublesome counterexamples. One strategy-the earlier of the two-sacrifices normal intuitions about what
a word is, often labeling what seem to be words as non-signifying syllables. The later strategy invokes a rather fluid conception of what the signification of
a word is, allowing this signification considerable latitude to alter under the contextual influence of other words. This evolution of strategy is linked to a
new willingness on Abelard's part to adopt the principle of charity in interpreting sentences; this approach presumes the truth of the statement, and tries to
find an interpretation which bears that presumption out. This new willingness to adopt the principle is in turn linked to Abelard's developing vocation as an
interpreter of biblical texts."
———. 2008. "Peter Abelard and His Contemporaries." In Mediaeval and Renaissance Logic, edited by Gabbay, Dov and Woods,
John, 83-156. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Handbook of the History of Logic, Vol. 2.
"It is standard practice to develop an account of categorical logic which starts with a discussion of words, and moves through
categorical propositions to the categorical syllogisms themselves. Abelard consciously adopts a parallel course for the logic of hypotheticals by beginning
with a treatment of topics and hypothetical propositions. In general we can think of Abelard's development of material as falling along these two axes:
discussion of words and categorical propositions leading to categorical syllogisms; and then discussion of topics and hypothetical propositions leading to
hypothetical syllogisms. This way of organizing material is overtly embraced by Abelard in the Dialectica, in his attempt to depart from the
commentary format. So it can be taken as representing his most basic intuitions on how the subject matter of logic should be organized.
I will structure my discussion below accordingly. Part 1 deals with words, categorical propositions and categorical syllogisms. Part 2 deals
with topics, hypothetical propositions and hypothetical syllogisms. These two parts complete the treatment of Abelard, and Part 3 turns to his contemporaries
and their schools." (pp. 84-85).