History of Logic from Aristotle to Gödel (www.historyoflogic.com)

by Raul Corazzon | e-mail: rc@ontology.co

Bibliography on Boethius' logical works and Commentaries (Eco-Ree)

Contents of this Section

Studies in English

  1. Eco, Umberto. 1984. "Signification and Denotation from Boethius to Ockham." Franciscan Studies no. 44:1-29.

    "Boethius translates "semaînein" with "significare" but he follows the Augustinian line of thought according to which "significatio" is the power that a word has to arouse in the mind of the hearer a thought, through the mediation of which one can implement an act of reference to things. He says that single terms signify the corresponding concept or the universal idea and takes "significare"— as well as, less frequently, "designare"— in an intensional sense. Words are conventional instruments used to make known one's thoughts (sensa or sententias) (In Per. Herm. I).

    Words do not designate res subiectas but passiones animae. The designated thing is at most called "underlying the concept of it (significationi supposita or suppositum)", see de Rijk 1967:180-181. (3)

    As for "denotatio," Boethius uses extensively "nota," but we know how vague was the meaning of this term in the Latin Lexicon — at least as vague as the meaning of the equivalent Greek "symbolon." It must be remembered that Boethius, in the translation of De lnterpretatione used "nota" for both "symbolon" and "semeîon," thus creating a first "sad tale of confusion"." (pp. 5-6)

    (3) in Peri herm. II, pp. 26-27, ed. Meiser, debating the question whether words refer immediately to concepts or to things, Boethius uses in both cases the expression 'designare.' In II, p. 20 he says in the same context, "vox vero conceptiones animi intellectusque significat" and "voces vero quae intellectus désignant." In II, pp. 23-24, speaking of "litterae, voces, intellectus, res," he says that "litterae verba nominaque significant" and that "haec vero (nomina) principaliter quidem intellectus secundo vero loco res quoque designant. Intellectus vero ipsi nihil aliud nisi rerum significativi sunt." In Arist. Categ. col. 159 B4-C8, says that "prima igitur ilia fuit nominum positio per quam vel intellectui subiecta vel sensibus designaret." It seems to me that "designare" and "significare" are taken as more or less equivalent. The real point is that first words signify concepts and, because of that, and mediately, can be referred to things. Cf. on the whole question de Rijk (1967, II, I, p. 178 ff.) Nuchelmans (1973:134) remarks that even though Boethius also uses "significare," along with "designare, denuntiare, demonstrare, enuntiare, dicere" with an object-expression to indicate what is true or false, however when he uses the same terms with a person as a subject he means that someone makes known his opinion that something is or is not the case: "the definition of the enuntiatio or propositio as an utterance which signifies something true or false reflects the fact that in Aristotle's view it is the thought or belief that something is the case which is true or false in the primary sense. As Boethius puts it, truth and falsity are not in things but in thoughts and opinions and secondarily (post haec) in words and utterances— in Cat. 181b. Cf. also such a passage as in In Per. I, p. 42, 1" (Nuchelmans 1973:134).


    De Rijk, L. M., ed., 1967. Logica modemorum, II, 1. Assen: Van Gorcum.

    Nuchelmans, G., 1973. Theories of the Proposition. [Vol. I: Ancient and Medieval Conceptions of the Bearers of Truth and Falsity]. Amsterdam: North-Holland.

  2. Gambra, José Miguel. 2015. "To Be in a Subject and Accident." Vivarium no. 53:170-193.

    Abstract: "Boethius identifies beings that are in a subject with what the Scholastics called predicamental accident, and predication by accident with the predication of what is in a subject. The first of these questionable assimilations went on to become terminology commonly accepted by Scholastics of all eras. On the other hand, the second, which seems quite consistent with the thinking of Aristotle, was only admitted with many reservations, probably because of the bewildering claims of Aristotle in Cat. 5, 2a27-34 about the predication of what is in the subject. In what follows I will try to show how these phrases, properly understood, are consistent with the idea that what is in the subject is said by accident of the substance, although they implicate a difficulty poorly resolved by Boethius himself and those who followed him on this point, of whom I will only mention by way of example some Scholastics from the 16th century."

  3. Gersh, Stephen. 1997. "Dialectical and Rhetorical Space. The Boethian Theory of Topics and its Influence during the Early Middle Ages." In Raum und Raumvorstellungen im Mittelalter, edited by Aertsen, Jan A. and Speer, Andreas, 391-401. Berlin: de Gruyter.

    "According to L. Obertello's chronology, Boethius' writings on topics: the commentary on Cicero's 'Topica' and the 'De Topicis Differentiis' date from the last few years of his life (ca. 518 — 524)'. They do indeed reveal the maturity of reflection characteristic of a thinker who has translated and commented upon Aristotle's Organon and is perhaps on the threshold of elaborating the Platonic synthesis of which 'De Consolatione Philosophiae' stands as a poignant reminder. In this paper I hope to show how the notion of 'place' {locus) developed in Boethius' topical writings lies at the heart of important issues not only in rhetoric and dialectic but also in metaphysics." (p. 391)

    (1) 1 See L. Obertello, Severino Boezio I, Genova 1974, 342. Cf. L. M. de Rijk, On the Chronology of Boethius' Works on Logic II, in: Vivarium 2 (1964), 159 — 161.

  4. Gili, Luca. 2015. "A neglected source of Boethius's De syllogismo categorico." Mnemosyne no. 68:304-307.

    Abstract: "This paper shows that Boethius's De syllogismo categorico had among its sources Alexander of Aphrodisias's commentaries on the Topics and on the Prior Analytics. The first of these sources has been neglected by scholars until now. Boethius's usage of these sources shows the originality of his logical treatise."

  5. Green-Pedersen, Niels Jørgen. 1984. The Tradition of the Topics in the Middle Ages. The Commentaries on Aristotle's and Boethius' 'Topics'. Münich: Philosophia Verlag.

    Contents: Preface 9; Part I. The Sources of the Medieval Doctrine of the Topics 11; A. Aristotle's Works on the Topics 11; B. Boethius' Works on the Topics 39; Part II. The Medieval Approach to the Sources 83; A. Aristotle's Topics 85; B. Boethius' De Differentiis Topicis 123; C. The University Teaching 127; Part II. The Doctrine of the Topics in the Middle Ages 135; A. Introductory 135; B. The earliest Texts 139; C. The 12th Century 163; D. The 13th Century 223; E. The Topics and the Theory of Consequences 265; F. The 14th Century 301; G. The 15th Century 321; Part IV. General Conclusion 345; Appendix 1: Selection of Unprinted Texts 347; Appendix 2. List of Commentaries 381; A. Commentaries on Aristotle's Topics 383; B. Commentaries on Boethius' De Differentiis Topicis 418; References 433; Index 449; Summary in Danish 455-459.

    "B. Boethius’ Works on the Topics

    1. Introductory

    In chronological order the next work to discuss would be Cicero’s Topica, which is the first work on the topics after Aristotle that has come down to us. I shall, however, proceed directly to Boethius’s works, partly because an acquaintance with Boethius’ doctrines contributes to a better understanding of Cicero. Partly also because there are no medieval commentaries on Cicero’s Topica. Apparently this work was only influential on the teaching in the very early period, probably not much after c. A. D. 1050. The teachers of those days did not write commentaries, as far as we know, but only compendia or summaries of the texts they based their teaching on; or they added glosses to these texts. Ina later chapter we shall see how Cicero’s Topica - directly or indirectly - is the basis of the earliest medieval teaching about the topics which we know of. Yet even in these early years the medievale use not only Cicero’s book, but also Boethius’ commentary on it. All these facts suggest that at least in a medieval context it is better to consider Boethius before Cicero. The things which we need to know about Cicero can be set out in connection with Boethius or with the discussion of the works which base their teaching upon Cicero.

    Boethius wrote about the topics primarily in two works, the Commentary on Cicero’s Topica (In Ciceronis Topica, ICT) and the monograph De differentiis topicis (DDT). The commentary on Cicero is the earlier of the two, as we can infer from references in the DDT back to the ICT and from remarks in the ICT about plans for the DDT. But the distance in time between the two is small, both were written in the last years of Boethius’ life, i. e. after c. 520. (1) Boethius also refers to a commentary which he claims to have written on Aristotle’s Topics, (2) but such a work has not come down to us. As the references to it are found in the DDT and no references are found in the ICT, we may conjecture that the commentary on Aristotle’s Topics was written in the period between the ICT and the DDT. On the other hand Boethius refers to his translation of Aristotle’s Topics in the ICT, 3 and it is natural to assume that he wrote the commentary while working on the translation.

    Boethius’ commentary on Cicero’s Topica (ICT) follows the text in Cicero’s work continuously, but it is either preserved incompletely or it was never finished by Boethius, since it ends in the comments on Cicero’s § 76. Cicero’s work contains a prologue (§§ 1-5), an introduction (§§ 6-8), a summary statement of his list of loci (§§ 9-24), a detailed exposition of the same list (§§ 25-78), and finally a section of a more rhetorical character (§§ 79-100). The most interesting parts of the ICT are the rather long discussions about the nature and the division of the loci which Boethius has inserted before both Cicero’s first and second enumeration of the loci. Further Boethius utilizes Cicero’s second exposition of the locus ‘from antecedents’ etc. for a long discussion of conditionals and hypothetical syllogisms. We shall have occasion to look at these discussions more closely.

    We need not know more about the contents of the ICT, but we shall instead turn to the DDT with which we must be well-acquainted in order to understand the medieval doctrine of the topics." (pp. 39-40)

    (1) De Rijk (1964) pp. 151-154.

    (2) Boethius, DDT II.1191 A; IV, 1216 D. - Cf. De Rijk 1964, p. 156.

    (3) Boethius, ICT I, p. 280,40-41 (1052 A-B).


    L. M. De Rijk 'On the Chronology of Boethius' Works on Logic. I-II", Vivarium, 2, 1964, pp. 1-49 and 125-162.

  6. Huby, Pamela M. 1988. "Boethius vindicates Cicero as a logician." Liverpool Classical Monthly no. 13:60-61.

    "Boethius' reading of Cicero's Topics 54 shows that he had a better text than we do, and thus makes more sense of Cicero's argument."

  7. Kretzmann, Norman. 1985. "Nos Ipsi Principia Sumus: Boethius and the Basis of Contingency." In Divine Omniscience and Omnipotence in Medieval Philosophy, edited by Rudavsky, Tamar, 23-50.

    "Boethius's two commentaries on Aristotle's De interpretatione contain an account of the metaphysical foundations of contingency in their discussions of Chapter 9. (1) For the countless medieval discussions of future contingents only De interpretatione 9 itself is of greater historical importance than Boethius's discussions of it. In this chapter, however, my concern is with the content of Boethius's theory of contingency and not with its historical sources or influences. In order to give his theory the kind of consideration I think it deserves, I need to extract it from the other material in the commentaries and expound it in its own right; I also want to examine some of its consequences. Because those tasks are the only ones I can undertake in this paper, I am not now concerned with what the later medievals thought about Boethius or with what Boethius thought about Aristotle or with what Aristotle thought about contingency, but only (or as nearly as possible only) with what Boethius thought about contingency in his two commentaries on De interpretatione.(2)"

    (1) The Latin texts of the commentaries are published in Migne's Patrologia Latina, Vol. 64, cols. 329-342 and 487-518; and in the critical edition by C. Meiser, Boetii Commentarii in Librum Aristotelis Il EPI EPMHNIA Ε Ε, Leipzig: Teubner, 1877-1880 (2 vols.), Vol. I, pp. 103-126, and Vol. 11, pp. 185-250. All my references to and quotations from Boethius's commentaries in the notes will be taken from Meiser's edition. For the definitive edition of Boethius's translation of Aristotle see 1. Minio-Paluello (ed.), Aristoteles Latinus II 1-2: De Interpretatione vel Periermenias, Desclée de Brouwer, Bruges 1965.

    (2) See also Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy in Boethius. The Theological Tractates and the Consolation of Philosophy, H. F. Stewart and E. K. Rand (eds), Harvard University Press, Cambridge Mass 1968, Bk V, esp. Prose 1 and 2; and In Ciceronis Topica in Ciceronis Opera, J . C. Orelli and G. Baiterus (eds), Zurich 1833, Bk V, chs, 15.60-17.64. l owe the latter reference to Eleonore Stump.

  8. ———. 1987. "Boethius and the truth about tomorrow’s sea battle." In Logos and Pragma: Essays on the Philosophy of Language in Honour of Professor Gabriel Nuchelmans, edited by Rijk, Lambertus Marie de and Braakhuis, Henk Antonius. Nijmegen: Ingenium Publishers.

    Reprinted in D. Blank, N. Kretzmann (eds.), Ammonius on Aristotle On Interpretation 9 with Boethius on Aristotle On Interpretation 9, London: Duckworth, 1998, pp. 24-52.

    "My concern here is with the principal ancient rival to the so-called traditional interpretation, a rival whose subsequent medieval career was so long and so eminent that it provides another reason for feeling uneasy about calling the simple denial of universal bivalence ‘the traditional interpretation’.

    Since the one I am focusing on is the second-oldest on record, I will refer to it simply as the second-oldest interpretation and continue referring to the denial of universal bivalence as the oldest. I will also continue to refer to both of them as interpretations even when I am primarily interested in them as responses to logical determinism, regardless of their accuracy as interpretations of Aristotle. The second-oldest interpretation’s claim to preserve bivalence while rejecting determinism is what essentially distinguishes it from the oldest interpretation. Its details will emerge gradually." (p. 25 of the reprint)


    "Having said all I have to say about sources of the second-oldest interpretation, I want now to try to say what it comes to. My ulterior motive for undertaking this critical exposition is my interest in the development of the response to logical determinism (and the interpretation of Aristotle’s response) among medieval philosophers, for whom the second-oldest interpretation had the stamp of Boethius’ authority. For that reason I have examined the interpretation in Boethius’ rather than in Ammonius’ version of it.(26) Ammonius’ commentary remained inaccessible to the Latins until William of Moerbeke translated it in 1268, and so it is irrelevant to at least the earlier stages of the medieval development.(27)" (p. 29 of the reprint)

    (26) I have noticed the following passages in Ammonius’ discussion of Int. 9 where he makes use of at least the distinctive terminology of the second-oldest interpretation. On definitely (or indefinitely) true (or false): 130,23-6; 131,2-4; 138,11-139,20; 141,18-25; 143,17-22; 144,9-14; 145,29-31; 147,20-2; 148,9-10; 149,16-18; 154,10-12; on definite or indefinite cognition: 133,15-16; 134,25; 135,2; 136,3; 136,14-15; 36,30-137,4; 137,13-14; on definite or indefinite nature: 134,28; 136,2; on nature bringing about all things ‘definitely and necessarily’; 148,21-2.

    (27) See G. Verbeke (ed.), Commentaire sur le Peri Hermeneias d’Aristote: Traduction de Guillaume de Moerbeke, Louvain 1961. The indispensable guide to the earlier medieval development is J. Isaac, Le Peri Hermeneias en occident de Boèce à Saint Thomas: Histoire littéraire d’un traité d’ Aristote, Paris 1953

  9. Leff, Michael C. 1974. "Boethius and the history of medieval rhetoric." no. 25:135-141.

    Near the end of his life, Boethius wrote a treatise entitled De differentiis topicis.

    This work was an analysis of topical logic in four books. Its purpose was to rationalize the field of topical logic; the first three books attempted to explicate and synthesize the dialectical theories of Aristotle and Cicero,(3) while the fourth sought to place rhetorical topics within the ambit of this synthesis. Consistent with his purpose, Boethius dealt with rhetoric only insofar as it was relevant to the study of topical logic.

    He certainly did not intend to compose an introductory textbook on rhetoric.(4) Nevertheless, a number of later medieval scholars detached the fourth book of De differentiis topicis from its context and approached it as though it was a primer on the art of speaking. This article proposes to explain how and why this development occured.

    As the problem is now stated, it appears to be rather narrow, but, as we shall soon observe, its solution hints at some major conclusions about the history of medieval rhetoric." (pp. 135-136)

  10. Lenzen, Wolfgang. 2019. "A Critical Examination of the Historical Origins of Connexive Logic." History and Philosophy of Logic no. 41:16-35.

    Absract: "It is often assumed that Aristotle, Boethius, Chrysippus, and other ancient logicians advocated a connexive conception of implication according to which no proposition entails, or is entailed by, its own negation. Thus Aristotle claimed that the proposition ‘if B is not great, B itself is great [ . . . ] is impossible’. Similarly, Boethius maintained that two implications of the type ‘If p then r’ and ‘If p then not-r’ are incompatible. Furthermore, Chrysippus proclaimed a conditional to be ‘sound when the contradictory of its consequent is incompatible with its antecedent’, a view which, in the opinion of S. McCall, entails the aforementioned theses of Aristotle and Boethius. Now a critical examination of the historical sources shows that the ancient logicians most likely meant their theses as applicable only to ‘normal’ conditionals with antecedents which are not self-contradictory. The corresponding restrictions of Aristotle’s and Boethius’ theses to such self-consistent antecedents, however, turn out to be theorems of ordinary modal logic and thus don’t give rise to any non-classical system of genuinely connexive logic."

  11. Lewry, Osmond. 1981. "Boethian Logic in the Medieval West." In Boethius: His Life, Thought and Influence, edited by Gibson, Margaret, 90-134. Oxford: Blackwell.

    "Almost three centuries after his death, Boethius entered the school-room. With Alcuin of York as master and Charlemagne as pupil, a halting dialogue ensued. This Dialectica is a tenuous link between the learning of a member of the old Roman nobility, from the early sixth century, and the studious aspirations of the Frankish kingdom, at the end of the eighth. But the title is an ambitious one for these exiguous remains of classical culture, and even the presence of Boethius here is faint. In sixteen chapters, Alcuin rehearses the rudiments of the old logic. (1) He begins with Porphyry’s Isagoge, for his account of the five universals, and ends with Aristotle’s Perihermeneias, for the statement and its parts but, as his dedicatory verses to Charlemagne show, the categories are the core of his work, and for these, lacking the Praedicamenta of Aristotle himself, he had to turn to the Themistian paraphrase, the De Decem Categoriis, which he ascribes to Augustine. The Pseudo-Augustine only omits matters of minor importance, but Alcuin received an account of the categories affected by transpositions and mixed with many non-Aristotelian elements. (2) The solid contribution of Boethius himself is in his translations of the Isagoge and Perihermeneias if there are borrowings from his commentaries and treatises, they are meagre. (3) Of the nineteen valid moods of the categorical syllogism, only four appear in the treatment of argumentation, and these, the moods of the first figure with their premisses interchanged, in a form derived from the Perihermeneias of Apuleius and not from the De Syllogismis Catégoricis of Boethius. (4) The fifteen kinds of definition derive from a treatise which the Middle Ages attributed to Boethius, but this Liber de Definìtionibus was in fact by Marius Victorinus, (5) as Boethius recognised in summarising its teaching. (6) They came to Alcuin through the Institutiones of Cassiodorus, (7) and it was sixth-century interpolations in the same source that gave Alcuin some second-hand knowledge of Boethius’ De Differentiis Topicis. (8)" (pp. 90-91)


    "In the first half of the fifteenth century, however, a reaction against the influence of Boethius can be seen in Lorenzo Valla’s preface to his Dialecticae Disputationes. His reference to ‘eruditorum ultimus Boetius’ and his question, ‘How many were there after Boethius whom one would consider worthy to be called a Latin and not a Barbarian?’, (150) may suggest more than a grudging recognition for his authority, but elsewhere Boethius is sharply criticised for his doctrine. (151) Valla also thinks that he was overrated by Albertus Magnus among the scholastics and Poggio among the humanists. (152) Despising Aristotle as a man who contributed nothing to civic life and lacked practical skills, Valla’s endeavour was to bring logic back from a realm of abstractions to what he regarded as its proper concern, natural expression : in effect dialectic was to be reduced to rhetoric. (153) This enterprise of reduction could not be carried through without a reform of terminology, and this led him, at the beginning of his work, to attack the teaching of the categories as it had been mediated by Boethius (154) and the Porphyrian hierarchy of substance. (155) His second book extended the reduction to propositional logic; his third to reasoning. Here he poured scorn on Boethius and those who praise him, for their failure to see that the fourth figure syllogisms are but indirect forms of the first. (...) In this humanist reaction the authority of Cicero and Quintilian is preferred to that of Boethius." (pp. 120-121)


    "The preface to the Basel edition of 1570 [of the works of Boethius] tempers the criticism of Valla, but passes quickly over the logic to celebrate the achievements of Boethius in mathematics and music. The dedicatory letter recalls the aims of Boethius himself as a translator and commentator and praises him for opening to the Latin world what Aristotle had hidden from many, and judiciously weighing the opinions of antiquity. Regret is voiced that nothing survives of his commentaries on the Analytica and Topica of Aristotle. Of the logical works, it is the double commentary on the Perihermeneias which is particularly valued, and the 'four beautiful books De Differentiis Topicis, by which he distinguished dialectical from rhetorical topics’. Mention is still made, though, of the works on the syllogistic and division, (159) so that even if rhetoric had made its inroads here too, the legacy of the Boethian logic was still prized for its own sake." (p. 122)

    (1) PL CI. 949B-80B.

    (2) See L. Minio-Paluello, ‘Note sull’Aristotele Latino Medievale: XV. Dalle Categoriae Decem pseudo-Agostiniane (Temistiane) al Testo Vulgato Aristotelico Boeziano’, in Opuscula: The Latin Aristotle (Amsterdam, 1972), pp. 448-58, and the same author’s edition of the text, Pseudo-Augustini Paraphrasis Themistiana (AL i. 1-5, pp. lxxvii-xcvi, 129-75)·

    (3) See A. van de Vyver, ‘Les Etapes du Développement Philosophique du Haut Moyen-Age’, Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire VIII (1929), 425-52, and the account of Alcuin’s work there, pp. 430-2.

    (4) See M. W. Sullivan, Apuleian Logic (Amsterdam, 1967), pp. 178-82.

    (5) Ed. T. Stangl (Munich, 1882); reprinted in P. Hadot, Marius Victorinus (Paris, 1971), pp. 329-65.

    (6) In Cic Top III (PL LXIV, 1098A).

    (7) Cassiodori Senatoris Institutiones II. 14, ed. R. A. B. Mynors (Oxford, 1937), pp. 119-24.

    (8) PL LXX. 1175D12 1190C4.

    (150) Quotus enim quisque post Boëtium fuit qui Latinus dici mereatur et non Barbarus: Laurentius Valla, Opera Omnia (Basel, 1540), reprinted Turin, 1962, i. 644.

    (151) See Elegantiae VI, xxxiv (ed. cit., i. 215-16); De Voluptate III. xi (ed. cit., I. 973); Ep. ad Ioannem Aretinum (Venice, 1503, reprinted Turin, 1962, II. 122).

    (152) See In Pogium Antidoti II (ed. cit., I. 292-3).

    (153) See G. di Napoli, Lorenzo Valla: Filosofia e Religione nell'Umanesimo Italiano (Rome, 1971 Uomini e Dottrine XVII), pp. 57-99.

    (154) Dialectica I. i (ed. cit., i. 645-6).

    (155) Ibid., I. vii (i. 646-7).

  12. Lopez-Astorga, Miguel. 2021. "Aristotle and Boethius: Two Theses and their Possibilities." Praxis Filosófica no. 53:69-84.

    Abstract: "There is a kind of logical theses that can be a cognitive problem. They are theses that are not tautologies and people tend to accept as absolutely correct.

    This is the case of theses such as those of Aristotle and Boethius. This paper tries to give an explanation of the reasons why this happens. The explanation is based on the theory of mental models. However, it also resorts to modal logic and the account of the ideas presented by Lenzen. Thus, relating the general framework of the theory of mental models to basic aspects of modal logic and this last account, a possible solution of the problem is proposed."

  13. Magee, John. 1989. Boethius on Signification and Mind. Leiden: Brill.

    Contents: Acknowledgements IX; Sigla X; Abbreviations and Editions XI; Introduction 1; I. Aristotle: Peri Hermeneias I, 16a3-9; 7; II. Boethius’ Translation 49; III. Orandi Ordo 64; IV. Cogitabilis Oratio 93; Afterword 142; Bibliography 150; Index Locorum 155; Index Nominum et Rerum 162-165.

    "The following is a study of Boethius' thought on signification which attempts to situate that thought historically and to evaluate it philosophically. Its justification is found in the present lack of any systematic examination of the subject, (1) and in the intrinsic importance of that subject for the history of later ancient and especially of medieval thought. It is frequently the case that medievalists will have read Boethius' philosophical works with an eye only to subsequent developments; those classicists who bother with him at all will probably have done so out of an interest (one which shows signs of increasing) in investigating the very last stages in the history of ancient learning. That Boethius has sometimes run afoul of misunderstandings originating on both sides of the academic fence can, I believe, be explained in part by the fact that his work as both commentator and translator sets him somewhat apart in the history of ancient commentary on Aristotle. As a commentator, he has tended to be ignored by those classical scholars who are accustomed to the massive and weighty Greek commentaries from the likes of Alexander (late 2nd-early 3rd c. AD) and Simplicius (6th c. AD). As a translator, he has sometimes obscured, for the medievalists not working in the Greek tradition of commentary (as indeed for the many medieval writers who depended upon his translations), the prehistory of certain ideas expressed during the course of his commentaries on the texts of what in the Middle Ages came to be known as the logica vetus."


    "The present work is divided into four chapters, taking as its starting point the lines of Aristotle’s Peri Hermeneias around which Boethius’ theory of signification turns. The first chapter of the study plunges in medias res, and for that the reader’s patience is requested. The Greek text is both difficult and compressed, and necessarily brings into consideration questions of the history of transmission and commentary, as well as numerous aspects of Aristotle’s thought both in this and in other works. But since Boethius translated either all or part of the Peri Hermeneias before commenting upon it, and then revised the translation for the second commentary; and since in his translation, as in all translations, there is an element of “commentary” upon the meaning of the original, it has been thought necessary to come to a clear understanding of what Aristotle wrote before proceeding to the translation and commentaries. After careful examination of the Greek passage and of the questions it poses, there follows in the second chapter an analysis of Boethius’ Latin translation of the same, and of the interpretation implicitly contained therein. The third and fourth chapters treat of Boethius’ commentaries on the passage, as seen from two points of view: (a) from the way in which Boethius thinks Aristotle to have disposed or ordered the four things (res, intellects, vox, litterae) laid down in the context of the doctrine of Peri Hermeneias 16a3-9; (b) from the point of view of the theory of cognition Boethius develops in support of the above. The question Boethius ultimately poses for our consideration is: How are the operations of the passive mind converted into words and statements that can be spoken aloud? If his commentaries allow no certain answer to this question, important ground will nevertheless have been gained in studying carefully the way in which Boethius introduces the problem, and then in suggesting the solution which seems most consistent with what is said in his commentaries." (pp. 1-2)

    (1) There are two valuable studies by L.M. De Rijk, as well as a short article by K. Berka. Beyond this, however, very little has come to my attention. [De Rijk 1981 and 1988, Berka 1968]

  14. ———. 1994. "The text of Boethius' De divisione." Vivarium no. 32:1-50.

    "The De divisione of Boethius ( = B.) has come down to us in nearly 200 MSS dating from the 10th c. onward. The treatise maintained a position of some importance in the medieval schools and as a result the textual tradition is highly complex, although it remains unstudied for the most part. L. Minio-Paluello investigated and compared some of the early MSS in the course of editing a fragment of B. ’s revised Topics translation that sometimes circulated as part of De divisione, and he put forward tentative conclusions as to the bearing of his findings on the history of the transmission of De divisione itself. In what follows I undertake to examine the earliest extant MSS of De divisione known to me, and to reconsider Minio-Paluello’s hypothesis concerning the early period of transmission. The study is in three parts: (a) analysis of the evidence indicating a lost ancient “edition” of De divisione, (b) the text of the treatise as transmitted to us by the oldest MSS; (c) a handlist of MSS containing De divisione." (p. 1)

  15. ———. 1997. "Boethius, De divisione 875–76, 891–92, and Andronicus Rhodius." In A Distinct Voice: Medieval Studies in honor of Leonard E. Boyle, O.P., edited by Brown, Jacqueline and Stoneman, William P., 525-560. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

    "Thus Boethius begins and ends his treatise on Diaeresis. To ascertain the precise meaning of these two passages is crucial not only for determining the sources from which Boethius worked but for the light they shed on Andronicus of Rhodes, the Peripatetic scholarch (first century B.C.) who is thought to have initiated a revival of Aristotelian studies following the decline that set in after the deaths of Theophrastus and Eudemus. Boethius furnishes specific information concerning Andronicus in only two other places, in which he reports Andronicus’s athetizations of the Postpraedicamenta and Peri hermeneias.

    In the case of the first, what he says is attested also by Simplicius, so that we are not dependent upon Boethius alone in ascertaining Andronicus’s view of the final chapters of the Categories. In the case of the second, the importance of Boethius’s testimony is elevated by the fact that the only parallel for it, in Ammonius, is really no parallel at all: both sources agree that Andronicus condemned the Peri hermeneias as spurious, but they disagree in giving the reasons why." (p. 526, note omitted)

  16. ———. 2010. "On the Composition and Sources of Boethius' Second Peri hermeneias Commentary." Vivarium no. 48:7-54.

    Abstract: "The paper is in three parts, prefaced by general remarks concerning Boethius’ logical translations and commentaries: the text of the Peri Hermeneias as known to and commented on by Boethius (and Ammonius); the organizational principles behind Boethius’ second commentary on the Peri Hermeneias; its source(s). One of the main purposes of the last section is to demonstrate that the Peri Hermeneias commentaries of Boethius and Ammonius are, although part of a common tradition, quite independent of one another, and special consideration is given to the question of how Boethius interpreted and shaped the doxographical material concerning Aspasius, Herminus, and Alexander that had been handed down to him by Porphyry."

    "Sifting through the interpretations of earlier commentators was painstaking and laborious, Porphyry’s interpretation of 19b22-24 alone requiring, as we have seen, seventeen pages of commentary. By about the year 515 Boethius’ attention must have been turning toward other projects, to new translations and commentaries, the theological tractates, logico-rhetorical monographs, and so on. If the Peri Hermeneias were allowed to consume so much time and energy, what would become of the rest of the Organon and Aristotle, not to mention Plato? Even for a treatise as rich and complex as the Peri Hermeneias Boethius may have had finally to calculate his “point of diminishing returns.” He may have grown impatient with the project, his copy of Porphyry may have failed, or both. Had he known of the premature end that awaited him, he might have thought differently about how to weight the commentary, might have sought compensation in other projects for problems left unsolved in connection with the Peri Hermeneias; but as it is, he left a work which, despite its imperfections, has proved to be one of his most fascinating and influential." (p. 54)

  17. ———. 2011. "Preliminary Observations on the Textual Tradition of Boethius' First Peri Hermeneias Commentary." 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 13-26. Leiden: Brill.

    "In editing the first of Boethius’ two commentaries on Aristotle’s Peri Hermeneias Carl Meiser essentially worked from a single witness, F (below), which he ranked both antiquissimus and optimus. (1) Readings from three other munich manuscripts, e (MS Bayer. Staatsbibl. clm 14401, s. XI), M (below), and T (MS Bayer. Staatsbibl. clm 18479, s.XI), he reported perpetuo more but with varying degrees of accuracy. (2) He further consulted two st. Gall manuscripts, G (below) and S (MS Stiftsbibl. 817, s. XI-XII) omnibus locis paulo difficilioribus — citing them only infrequently, however, in his critical apparatus. from Peri Hermeneias 17b20 on, F preserves excerpted lemmata, and Meiser correctly recognized that the supplemented versions found in other witnesses violate Boethius’ intention. (3)

    But F is in fact neither antiquissimus nor optimus, and Meiser’s edition suffers from a particular failure to distinguish between the three versions of Boethius’ Peri Hermeneias translation, two of which form his commentary lemmata. Hence a full assessment of the evidence seems called for. In what follows, I hope to shed some light on certain salient characteristics of the textual tradition." (p. 13)

    (1) Boethius, Commentarii in librum aristotelis περι ερμηνειασ, pars prior versionem continuam et primam editionem continens, ed. C. Meiser (Leipzig: Teubner, 1877), pp. VIII-X.

    (2) Cf. J. Magee, ‘On the Composition and sources of Boethius’ second Peri Hermeneias Commentary’, Vivarium 48 (2010), 15, n. 32.

    (3) Above, n. 1; cf. Aristotle, De interpretatione vel Periermenias: Translatio Boethii, ed. L. Minio-Paluello, AL 2.1 (Bruges: Desclée de Brouwer, 1965), pp. XI; LIII.

    [MS F = Munich Bayer. Staatsbibl. clm 6374, s. IX

    MS M = Munich Bayer. Staatsbibl. clm 14377, s. X-XI]

  18. Magnano, Fiorella. 2013. "Boethius: the Division of Logic between Greek and Latin Traditions." In Ad notitiam ignoti. L'Organon dans la translatio studiorum à l'époque d'Albert le Grand, edited by Brumberg-Chaumont, Julie, 141-171. Turnhout: Brepols.

    "Basically Boethius’s division of logic is the foundation of a large number divisions of logic belonging to other medieval philosophers as Peter Abaelard and Albert the Great; for this reason it is extremely important to understand first of all how Boethius developed and understood his own division, and in this paper I will explore just these aspects of Boethius’s logical works. Thus, first I will describe Boethius’s two divisions of logic presented in his Isagoge commentaries. I will then look at his mature attempt to merge the Greek heritage of Aristotle with the Latin heritage of Cicero. Finally, I will focus on Boethius’s own division of logic, in order to observe where the art of the topics is exactly placed. To better achieve my goals, it will be necessary to use several diagrams through which the reader can better visualize these complex aspects of Boethius’s logical thought." (pp. 142-143, note omitted)



    In short, in Boethius’s view the Topics is the foundational discipline for the dialectician, the rhetorician, and the philosopher, precisely because it is the only way to discover the starting points of all types of argumentation. Boethius arrives at this view through combining in a particularly ingenious and 0riginal way the division of logic and the sciences more generally descended from the Aristotelian and Ciceronian, the Greek and the Latin traditions. It is necessary to think of this endeavor as a mosaic composed of many pieces, because combination of the two divisions of logic is only one stage of a much large project, and the instruments used to carry out this plan are numerous. In his second commentary on the Isagoge, Boethius began to stress that this book is also indispensable in order to understand Cicero’s ratio disserendi. As regards the art of the topics, he translated and commented on Aristotle's Topics and, after having commented also on Cicero’s Topics he stressed the original axiomatic nature of Ciceronian loci, in order to bring out their dialectical value — a process completed in the third book of the De topicis differentiis where the Ciceronian loci are presented as dialectical loci. Finally, after having shown the substantial agreement of Cicero’s division of logic (ratio disserendi) lwith that directly attributed to Aristotle and called λογική, he also tried to show the agreement between Themistius’s and Cicero’s divisions of the topics, i.e. the Greek and the Latin traditions on the topics.

    All these considerations allow us to conclude that in the fundamental reorganization of the entire logical material of antiquity made by Boethius, it is possible to discern his intention not only to rehabilitate the dialectical value of the topics, but also to return them to the centrality that they had in the authentic Aristotelian system. In this respect, Boethius does not simply repeat a neo-platonic thesis, because no neo-platonic philosopher gave, as far as know, real attention to Aristotle’s Topics. On the contrary, Boethius re-established their use, and this is one of the most important aspects of Boethius's own contribution to the development of logic. The importance of this cultural phenomenon was really enormous, since this division of logic, like this role of the topics, were the specific ways in which philosophers received and used them in the Middle Ages." (pp. 170-171, note omitted)

  19. ———. 2017. Boethius on Topical Differences: A Commentary. Barcelona - Roma: Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales.

    "A few years after writing his commentary on Cicero’s Topica (finished before AD 522), Severinus Boethius (ca. AD 480 to 524) composed his last monograph on logic, the aim of which was to present a defi nitive work on the discipline of topica. The De topicis differentiis (completed before 523) is divided into four books, and the text is remarkable for the systematic nature in which the subject is put forth, a clear sign of Boethius’s desire to achieve completeness and of the didactic motivations for his writing the text." (Introduction, pp. IX-X, notes omitted)


    "3. The partition of the De topicis differentiis

    The first book presents a compendium of basic knowledge on logic that a student must possess in order to embark on the study of this discipline.

    Boethius explains the meaning of the terms propositio, quaestio, conclusio, maxima propositio, and argumentum – it is to be noted that these last concepts recall the elements of which a syllogism is composed. In the second book, the concept of argumentatio is introduced, along with two species of loci that can be linked directly to Themistius, the maxima propositio and maximarum propositionum differentiae, while the following portion of the second book is dedicated to a presentation of the list of Themistius’s maximae propositiones and their differentiae. In the third book, Cicero’s division of the loci is introduced, so that the first objective announced in the intentio operis is achieved, namely to show the ways in which the divisions of the Themistian and Ciceronian loci are different and similar, and in what way each can in turn contain the other. The fourth and last book is entirely dedicated to rhetoric and the exhibition of the loci rhetorici, so that the second objective announced in the intentio operis is accomplished, namely to show how the

    loci rhetorici are distinguished from each other and from the loci dialectici." (Introduction, p. XV, a note omitted)

  20. Maloney, Thomas S. 2003. "Boethius on Aristotle on the Division of Statements into Single/Multiple and Simple/Composed." Carmina Philosophiae no. 12:49-74.

    "The goal of this paper, then, is to set forth and clarify the second and third divisions of statements proposed by Aristotle in Chapter 5 of On Interpretation and to see what, if any, additions or corrections are made by Boethius. The quest proceeds by responding to six questions, and these will be followed by comments on a few statements that can be taken as statement types that present special problems for Aristotelian and/or Boethian analysis." (pp. 50-51)


    "But, on balance, Boethius is to be much commended for his labor to make Aristotle's comments on the division of statements into single/multiple and simple/composed more comprehensive and comprehendible. His clarifications lead us considerably beyond the Aristotelian text. His is surely a successful effort, and we are left to wonder just what use the Medievals will make of this valuable assistance.(51)" (p. 69)

    (51) For a response, see my "Roger Bacon on the Division of Statements into Single/Multiple and Simple/Composed," The Review of Metaphysics, forthcoming. [Vol. 56, No. 2 (Dec., 2002), pp. 297-321]

  21. Marenbon, John. 2003. Boethius. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Contents: Abbreviations of Boethius’s Works XV; 1 Introduction 3; 2 Life, Intellectual Milieu, and Works 7; 3 Boethius’s Project: The Logical Translations and Commentaries 17; 4 The Logical Textbooks and Topical Reasoning: Types of Argument 43; 5 The Opuscula Sacra: Metaphysics, Theology, and Logical Method 66; 6 The Consolation: The Argument of Books I-V.2 96; 7 The Consolation, V.3-6: Divine Prescience, Contingency, Eternity 125; 8 Interpreting the Consolation 146; 9 Boethius’s Influence in the Middle Ages 164; Notes 183; Bibliography 219; Index Locorum 237; General Index 243-252.

    "As a translator, Boethius was extremely literal, sacrificing Latin style, of which the Consolation shows his mastery, to precision. So far as possible, he follows the word order of the Greek and tries to render each word, even the particles. The result, though grammatical, is often awkward and heavy, but it is accurate — although there are some cases where his choice of word and phrasing does betray his own, particular interpretation of the text. (6) He seems to have revised each of his translations, and there is evidence of two forms for all of them except the Sophistical Refutations. (7)

    As a commentator, again Boethius concentrated on logic, although he did apparently write some sort of glosses or commentary to Aristotle’s Physics. (8)

    His work as an exegete stretched less widely over Aristotelian logic than his translations: he provided, as already mentioned, two commentaries each for the Isagoge and On Interpretation, one (or perhaps two) for the Categories, a commentary on Cicero’s Topics, 9) very probably a commentary on (Aristotle’s) Topics and some glosses, at least, for the Prior Analytics. (10) He also wrote a set of logical monographs, mainly on different sorts of argument (see chapter 4).

    Since Boethius’s working life was unexpectedly and violently curtailed, his failure to complete his original plan cannot be taken as proof that he did not propose it in earnest. Still, he seems to have given logic the priority and was willing in this area to go beyond the project he had set out, writing double commentaries and logical monographs, rather than hurrying on to Aristotle’s nonlogical works and to Plato."

    (7) In the case of the Categories, the two versions that survive are Boethius’s final version and a ‘composite’ version, which is probably an earlier draft by Boethius, improved by using the lemmata of his commentary (close to his final version of the translation); see Asztalos (1993) 371-72. There is a very clear summary of scholarship on Boethius’s translations in Chadwick (1981) 131–41; the fundamental work was done by Minio-Paluello — see Minio-Paluello (1972) and the introductions to the Aristoteles Latinus editions (Aristoteles Latinus, 1961–).

    (8) See Chadwick (1981) 139, who cites 2InDI 190:13, 458:27 and TC 1152B.

    (9) I discuss this commentary in chapter 4 below, because it is closely related to Boethius’s treatise on topical reasoning.

    (10) As Obertello (1974) 229 has noted, Boethius refers to a commentary by him on Aristotle’s Topics in his On Topical Differentiae, 1191A, 1216D. But none has survived. He also clearly refers to having expounded ‘the Analytics’ (cf. Obertello (1974) 229–30); Minio-Paluello has discovered marginal annotations in a medieval manuscript of the Prior Analytics which, he argues, are Boethius’s: see Aristoteles Latinus (1961–) III.1–4, lxxix–lxxxviii and (for edition of the scholia) 295–372.


    Asztalos, M. (1993) ‘Boethius as a Transmitter of Greek Logic to the Latin West: The Categories’, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 95, 367–407.

    Chadwick, H. (1981) Boethius. The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy (Oxford; Oxford University Press).

    Minio-Paluello, L. (1972) Opuscula: the Latin Aristotle (Amsterdam; Hakkert).

    Obertello, L. (1974) Severino Boezio (Genoa; Accademia Ligure di Scienze e Lettere).

  22. ———. 2008. "Logic before 1100: The Latin Tradition." In Mediaeval and Renaissance Logic, edited by Gabbay, Dov and Woods, John, 1-63. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    See pp. 6-21: 2.2 Boethius 6; Boethius the Translator 7; The Neoplatonic Aristotelian Tradition 8; Boethius and the Commentary Tradition 9; Boethius’s Logical Treatises 14; Boethius and Topical Argument 18; Boethian Logic and its Survival 20-21.

    "Boethius is by far the most important figure in the ancient tradition of Latin logic, but it is important to realize that the Boethian Tradition was not the only ancient Latin one. The logic of the earlier Latin authors, along with, or transmitted by, later encyclopaedic accounts, provided a separate tradition, which would be the one on which, more than Boethius, medieval logic depended in the period up to the late tenth century. It is in the eleventh century that the Boethian Tradition begins to dominate (See §4 below). The twelfth century was the Golden Age of Boethian Logic: the six works that formed the core of the logical curriculum were Boethius’s monographs and his translations of the Isagoge, Categories and On Interpretation, which were taught making extensive use of his commentaries. And the Prior Analytics and Sophistical Refutations, also in his translation, began to be known.

    As a result of the introduction of the whole range of Aristotle’s writing and its adoption, by the mid-thirteenth century, as the Arts course in the universities, and with the development of the logica modernorum, branches of logic newly devised by the medieval logicians themselves, Boethian Logic became less important in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, although his translations continued to be used by all students of logic, and some outstanding theologians, such as Albert the Great, Aquinas and William of Ockham, made some use of his commentaries.

    Moreover, On Division and TD [De Topicis differentiis] remained part of the standard university logical collections — and commentaries were even written on TD in the thirteenth century.

    The monographs on categorical syllogisms were no longer useful now that the Prior Analytics itself was known, and the treatise on hypothetical syllogisms too was forgotten [see C. J. Martin. Denying Conditionals: "Abaelard and the Failure of Boethius’ Account of the Hypothetical Syllogism", Vivarium, 45, 153-68, 2007.].

  23. ———. 2008. "Logic at the turn of the Twelfth century." In Mediaeval and Renaissance Logic, edited by Gabbay, Dov and Woods, John, 65-81. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    "The model for the most widespread type, the ‘composite’ commentary, was provided by Boethius’s commentaries, where each section of the text was discussed discursively, and problems were raised, explained and resolved.


    Boethius, however, did not go in detail through every word of the text (although the elementary first editio on On Interpretation does from time to time gloss individual sentences). The twelfth century logicians added an element of literal, phrase by phrase commentary, quite often put in the first person, so that the commentator is speaking for Aristotle, Porphyry or Boethius, as if these authors were to have paused to explain their texts more explicitly and ponderously. In the other, slightly less common type, ‘literal commentary’, this very detailed commentary predominates, and discursive discussion is more limited. Literal commentaries are, then, distant formally

    from the model of Boethius, and they are usually distant in content too, whereas some composite commentaries contain many passages borrowed from, or closely based on, Boethius. ‘Literal’ and ‘composite’ should not, however, be thought of as designating two completely distinct classes: literal commentaries contain some more discursive comments, and composite commentaries can have sections where the exegesis is merely literal. There were also ‘problem commentaries’ (the best known is Abelard’s Logica Nostrorum petitioni sociorum), which concentrated on discussing the difficult issues, with very little or no literal commentary. None of these has been dated to before c. 1120, but they should be born in mind, since it will turn out that the chronology of the commentaries is far less fixable than has been believed." (pp. 66-67)

  24. Martin, Christopher John. 1991. "The Logic of Negation in Boethius." Phronesis no. 36:277-304.

    "Boethius' de Hypotheticis Syllogismis is by far the most extensive account of the conditional and its logic to have survived from antiquity. A rather obscure and tedious work, it has puzzled commentators from Peter Abaelard to Jonathan Barnes. Most of the difficulties that they have had in extracting the principles of Boethian logic seem to me to follow from the assumption that what he offers is an account of the application of propositional operators to propositional contents. Though generally not made explicit by modern historians, the concepts of propositional content and propositional operation are nevertheless presupposed by the symbolic apparatus which they typically use to represent the claims of ancient and mediaeval logics. I will try to show that an examination of Boethius' theory of language forces us to give up the assumption that his logic is propositional and that when we do so his remarks on compound propositions turn out to be rather less mysterious than they have seemed." (p. 277)

  25. ———. 1999. "Non–reductive Arguments from Impossible Hypotheses in Boethius and Philoponus." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy no. 17:279-302.

    "While there seems to be no record of an ancient debate over the paradoxes of strict implication anticipating those of the twelfth and twentieth centuries, we can, I think, advance our understanding of ancient attitudes to conditionals with antecedents acknowledged to be impossible by considering some hitherto neglected remarks made by Boethius. I shall try to show in the present paper that at least in late antiquity some philosophers were happy to introduce acknowledged impossibilities as hypotheses and to draw inferences from them without any suggestion that there might be indefinitely inflationary consequences. By these philosophers at least, the conditional was understood relevantistically." (p. 281)

  26. ———. 1999. Theories of Inference and Entailment in the Middle Ages.

    Unpublished dissertation available at ProQuest Dissertation Express ref. n. 9948627.

    Contents: Abstract III; Brunellus VI; Introduction VII; 1 The Logic of Negation in Boethius 1; 2 Thinking the Impossible 56; 3 Embarrassing Arguments and Surprising Conclusions 106; 4 The Logic of the Nominales 148; 5 Obligations And Liars 243; 6 Nothing Grows 310; 7 Impossible Positio and the Foundations of Metaphysics 344; Abbreviations 439; Bibliography 441-457.

    "Boethius provided the middle ages with much of its information about ancient logic and philosophical semantics and in chapter 1 I try to rescue his work from some of the false and misleading claims that have been made about it. I argue that Boethius has no notion of propositionality in our sense and so no notion of a propositional operation and that this explains two peculiar features of his logic. First his apparent commitment to conditional excluded middle. Second the fact that rather than offering a single schema for a hypothetical syllogism and a rule of substitution he rings all the changes on the the various forms of premisses and conclusion. Boethius knows only how to negate categorical propositions and it is his application of predicate negation to conditional propositions which explains his account of their logical

    relations. Once this is properly understood it is possible, as I show, to give a plausible reconstruction of his theory of the hypothetical syllogism. Boethius has been thought to be committed to the logical principles of what is now known as connexive logic. I argue that this is not true in the sense proposed but that he does accept and transmits to the middle ages an argument for 'connexivity' from the Prior Analytics which is crucial for the development of theories of the conditional in the twelfth century." (Introduction, pp. VIII-IX)

  27. ———. 2009. "The Logical Textbooks and their Influence." In The Cambridge Companion to Boethius, edited by Marenbon, John, 56-84. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "The time at which Boethius wrote was not a great one in the history of logic and he himself was certainly not a great logician. His importance lies rather in acting as an intermediary between the logicians of antiquity and the those of the Middle Ages. With his translations (1), commentaries (2) and independent logical works (3) Boethius provided mediaeval philosophers with most of what they knew about ancient logic and so with the foundations upon which mediaeval logic was built. The most important parts of those foundations were the metaphysics of substance and semantics of common names which could be extracted from Boethius’ commentaries on the Isagoge, Categories, and De interpretatione, his account of conditional propositions in De hypotheticis syllogismis, and his treatment of topical argumentation in De topicis differentiis. Boethius’ own peculiar contribution to the history of logic was an exposition of the hypothetical syllogism which, for the reasons we will consider here, would play no role in the development of logic after the middle of the twelfth century." (p. 56)

    (1) Boethius’ translations of Porphyry’s Isagoge, and Aristotle’s Categories and De interpretatione, were known throughout the Middle Ages. His translations of the Sophistical Refutations, Topics and Prior Analytics were rediscovered during the first half of the twelfth century. Boethius’ translation of the Posterior Analytics (if he made one) apparently did not survive into the Middle Ages.

    (2) On the Isagoge (1IS, 2IS), on the Categories (CAT), on De interpretatione (1IN, 2IN), on Cicero’s Topica (TC).

    (3) On the categorical syllogism covering the material dealt with in Prior Analytics I.1–7 (ISC and SC), on topical inference (TD), on the hypothetical syllogism (SH), on division (D).

  28. ———. 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)

  29. Martin, John N. 1989. "A Tense Logic for Boethius." History and Philosophy of Logic no. 10:203-212.

    Reprinted as Chapter 5 in: J. N. Martin, Themes in Neoplatonic and Aristotelian Logic. Order, Negation and Abstraction, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004, pp. 53-63.

    Abstract: "An interpretation in modal and tense logic is proposed for Boethius' reconciliation of God's foreknowledge with human freedom from The Consolation of Philosophy, Book V. The interpretation incorporates a suggestion by Paul Spade that God's special status in time be explained as a restriction of God's knowledge to eternal sentences. The argument proves valid, and the seeming restriction on omnipotence is mitigated by the very strong expressive power of eternal sentences."

  30. McKinlay, Arthur Patch. 1938. "The De syllogismis categoricis and Introductio ad syllogismos categoricos of Boethius." In Classical and Mediaeval Studies in Honor of Edward Kennard Rand: Presented Upon the Completion of His Fortieth Year of Teaching., edited by Rand, Edward Kennard and Leslie, Webber Jones, 209-219. Freeport, N.Y: Books for Libraries Press.

  31. Mignucci, Mario. 1989. "Truth and modality in late antiquity: Boethius on future contingent propositions." In Le teorie delle Modalità. Atti del Convegno internazionale di storia della logica, edited by Corsi, Giovanni, Mangione, Corrado and Mugnai, Massimo, 47-78. Bologna: CLUEB.

    Reprinted as Essay 11 in Andrea Falcon, Pierdaniele Giaretta (eds.), Ancient Logic, Language, and Metaphysics: Selected Essays by Mario Mignucci, New York: Routledge 2020.

    "Aristotle's analysis of future contingents in On Interpretation 9 has generated a great deal of discussion, ranging from the interpretation of his own words to the philosophical meaning and adequacy of the solution proposed by him. Unfortunately, the former question is entailed by the latter, and there is no agreement about the kind of answer that Aristotle gives to the question of determinism despite the astonishing quantity of works dedicated to it. I do not want to involve myself in the problem of Aristotle's interpretation. My task here is to illustrate the meaning and relevance of Boethius' s analysis of future contingents, and I will consider his commentary on the On Interpretation for its own sake. In other words, I will not try to evaluate the adequacy of Boethius' s proposal with respect to Aristotle, even if, of course, he believed that his interpretation was faithful to the text of the On Interpretation. Nor will I try to compare Boethius's solution with other solutions that have been proposed by ancient and modern interpreters alike who have tried to

    explain Aristotle's text. I will consider only one view other than that of Boethius because Boethius himself discusses it and his discussion is relevant to the understanding of his position." (p. 47, a note omitted)

  32. Minio-Paluello, Lorenzo. 1942. "The Genuine Text of Boethius’ Translation of Aristotle’s Categories." Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies no. 1:151-177.

    Reprinted in L. Minio-Paluello, Opuscula. The Latin Aristotle, Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1972, pp. 1-27.

    "It is known that Boethius wished to make translations of all the works of Aristotle and to comment on them, (1) but fate brought him to imprisonment and death before he was able to carry out his plan. That he translated the works on logic is certain. True, some scholars have doubted whether he translated the Analytics, Topics and Sophistici Elenchi, (2) but no one disputes that he both translated and commented on the Categories and the two books De interpretatione. This can be established with certainty by the references he makes elsewhere to these works of his, (3) by the tradition which begins with Cassiodorus (4) and is thus contemporary, and by the unanimity of the manuscripts of the Commentaries. (5) All scholars agree, and rightly so, on this point.

    On another point, however, scholars have been entirely mistaken. They have held that the translation of the Categories, which from the tenth century onwards appears in innumerable manuscripts, now scattered over European and even American libraries, is by Boethius. This is the text, often printed in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and also reproduced in the Patrologia Latina of Migne and in the editions of Notker’s works. (6)

    It is the objet of the present study to prove that this is a mistake and to make known the genuine translation of Boethius, which until a short time ago remained buried in a small number of manuscripts. It is hoped also to correct certain errors arising out of this mistaken attribution and thus to throw fresh light on the history of the study of the Categories and of the translations from the Greek in the tenth century." (pp. 151-152)


    "To conclude, I hope I have made clear the following points:

    (1) That a version of the Categories, whose author has hitherto not been recognized, is the work of Boethius;

    (2) that the version, which up till now has been ascribed to Boethius partly belongs to the tenth century; and therefore

    (3) that there is a mediaeval translation of Aristotle into Latin at a date much earlier than is commonly supposed." (p. 26)

    I wish to thank Dr. Decima Douie for her help in translating this article, and the Editors of this Journal for their criticism and advice.

    (1) ‘Ego omne Aristotelis opus, quodcumque in manus venerit, in Romanum stilum vertens eorum omnium commenta latina oratione perscribam . . .' (Comment. Second, in Arist. De interpret. 79, 16 ff. Meiser). P. Mandonnet (Siger de Brabant, Fribourg 1899, xxiv f.) alone believes that Boethius had really translated all Aristotle, and quoting Migne (!) Sstates that ‘on possède les commentaires de Boèce sur tous les livres de la logique’.

    (2) E.g. M. Grabmann, Gesch. d. schol. Meth. II, 71. Even he, however, recognised the value of the references of Boethius to his translations (In top. Cic. PL 64 col. 1051; 1052; De diff. top. 1173; 1184; 1193; 1216). On the question of the authorship of the translations of these works preserved under the name of Boethius, see B. Geyer, Die alten lat. Uebersetz. d. arist. Analytik, Topik und Elenchik (Philos. Jahrb. d. Görres-Gesellsch. 30 [1917] 25 ff.); C. H. Haskins, Studies in the histiory of mediaeval science, Cambridge Mass. 1927, p. 228 ff.; M. Grabmann, Forsch, üb. d. lat. Arist.-Uebersetz. d. XIII. Jahrb. (BGPM XVII, 5-6, p. 130); id., Bearbeitungen u. Ausleg. d. arist. Logik aus d. Zeit v. Abaelard bis Petrus Hisp. (Abh. Preuss. Akad. 1937), p. 10; E. Franceschini, Aristotele nel Medio Evo latino (Atti del IX Congr. naz. di filos., Padova 1934-35, p. 5 ff.).

    (3) See S. Brandt, Entstsehungsz. u. zeitl. Folge d. Werke von Boethius (Philologus, N. F. 16 [1903] 141-154 and 234-275).

    (4) Variae I 45, cap. 4 f. Institut. II 18 (p. 128 ed. Mynors, see Introduction xxviii); Anecdoton Holderi (ed. Usener), p. 4. On the question of Cassiodorus’ testimony see below, Appendix.

    (5) The incipit of the Commentary to the Categories in almost every manuscript is : ‘Anicii Manlii Severini Boethii, viri clarissimi ex consulum ordinibus editio prima super Categorias a se verbum de verbo translatas e graeco in latinum'; and the incipits of the two Commentaries on the De interpretatione are nearly the same.

    (6) At least 350 manuscripts of the Categories are till preserved. Not less than 24 editions were published in the 15th century (see Gesamtkatal. d. Wiegendr. nos. 2335-2342; 2390-2393; 2396-2400; 2406-2410; 4511-4512). In the Patrologia of Migne the translation is only printed as lemmata to the Commentary (voi. 64 col. 159-294). After editions by Graff and Hattemer, a critical edition of Notker’s works was given by P. Piper (Die Schriften Notkers und seiner Schule, Freiburg 1882); the commented and translated text of the Categories is in vol. I, 367-495.

    [Minio-Paluello published the critical editions of Boethius' translation of Aristotle's Categories in 1961 (Translatio Boethii).]

  33. ———. 1945. "The Text of the Categoriae: The Latin Tradition." Classical Quarterly no. 39:63-74.

    Reprinted in L. Minio-Paluello, Opuscula. The Latin Aristotle, Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1972, pp. 28-39.

    "The Latin versions of Aristotle’s Categoriae have never received much attention from the editors of the Greek text. J. Th. Buhle (Arist. Op. Omn. I, Bipont. 1791) and Th. Waitz (Arist. Organ, I, Lpz., 1844) availed themselves of Latin texts, but in a very unsatisfactory way; and since them the Latin field has remained unexplored throughout the last hundred years, in which both Hellenists and Orientalists have done much to increase our knowledge of the textual tradition of the Categ. It is the purpose of these pages to give a summary account of the Latin tradition and to contribute to a revision of the Greek text by a collation of Boethius’ recently discovered translation with the best printed Greek and Oriental sources.

  34. ———. 1957. "A Latin Commentary (? translated by Boethius) on the Prior Analytics and its Greek sources." Journal of Hellenic Studies no. 77:93-102.

    Reprinted in L. Minio-Paluello, Opuscula. The Latin Aristotle, Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1972, pp. 347-356.

    "Cod. Florence Bibi. Nazion. Centn Conv. Soppr. J.VI.34—formerly in Niccolò Niccoli’s and St. Mark’s libraries—written in a beautiful French hand of c. a.d. 1150-1200—contains the second edition of Boethius’s translation of Pr. An. (1) Many scholia, written on the margins and between the lines by the same calligraphic hand which wrote the Aristotelian text or by a hand very similar to and contemporary with it, accompany the translation in this MS. They are mainly concentrated in about one-half of the work, viz. in book I.23 -30 (400-463) and book II (52a-7ob); quite a few accompany I. 1,5-6,30-45 (24a, 27b-28a, 46a-5oa) ; almost none is to be found in I.10-14,17-22 (30b7-33b25, 37a25-40b10). Arrangement and writing suggest that the scribe intended to give the reader Aristotle’s text together with what was available to him of an authoritative commentary.

    The scholia range, in nature and extent, from short glosses on single words or phrases and short summaries of sections of Aristotle’s work to detailed explanations and doctrinal developments of important or difficult passages. Here and there carefully drawn diagrams illustrate logical rules and geometrical examples." (p.93)


    "The Florentine MS. is quite unique among all the Latin manuscripts of Pr. An. It is the only one, out of about two hundred and seventy, that contains—and contained—only the Pr. An.; out of a hundred and twenty so far examined, it is the one which seems to contain the second, and very rare, edition of Boethius’s translation in its purest form, and the only one which contains the ‘corpus’ of Greek scholia translated into Latin; (21) the paleographical characteristics—big letters throughout, even for the scholia, spaciousness, very careful transcription—suggest that we are in the presence of a library copy of an important text of the past.

    The attribution to Boethius remains hypothetical; but the linguistic argument in its favour, if expounded in detail, might prove very strong; our other arguments strengthen it. No argument against this attribution has so far suggested itself." (p. 102)

    (21) Only scanty fragments from the scholia are also preserved in two or three of the many manuscripts inspected. The only important exception is in the figure of the 'pons asinorum', which exists in most MSS.; but it is likely that Boethius ha included it in the text of Aristotle itself, as it appears in Greek copies of Pr. An. independently of any commentary or scholia.

  35. Nikitas, Dimitrios Z. 2012. ""Exemplum logicum Boethii": reception and renewal." In Greek into Latin from Antiquity until the Nineteenth Century, edited by Glucker, John and Burnett, Charles, 131-144. London - Turin: The Warburg Institute - Nino Aragno Editore.

    "In his essay (“ Exemplum logicum Boethii : Reception and Renewal”) D. Nikitas shows the extent and nature of Boethius’s reception of the exemplum logicum from a long tradition that goes back to Aristotle himself, as well as his innovations in this technique. As a member of the Aristotelian-Neoplatonic school of Alexandria, Boethius draws the material for his use of exempla logica from Greek and Roman sources and from his own contemporary environment. Nikitas analyzes numerous exempla translated by Boethius along with Aristotle’s text, others in which Boethius’s active intervention is clear, new exempla absent from Aristotle, and exempla drawn from other sources." (Ioannis Deligiannis, from the Review of Greek into Latin from Antiquity until the Nineteenth Century, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2012.)

  36. ———. 2019. "The early literary construct of Boethius: Ιn Isagogen Porphyrii commenta, editio prima." In Aristotle and his Commentators: Studies in Memory of Paraskevi Kotzia, edited by Golitsis, Pantelis and Ierodiakanou, Katerina, 107-130. Berlin: de Gruyter.

    "I wished to present above, in the most concise way the literary particularities of the dialogue In Isagogen Porphyrii commenta, editio prima. With this work Boethius, in the prime of his youth, begins to realize his authorial plan and his patriotic goals.

    In a time when the urbs aeterna has ceased to be the center of the World, he wishes to revive it with the fresh spring water of the Aristotelian Platonism of Alexandria.

    His two dialogues serve this purpose: his maiden commentary on Porphyry and his sublime allegorical Menippial satire, bound with his own blood. Boethius’ considerable literary abilities, recognized in the De consolatione Philosophiae, can also be observed in his maiden Aristotelian dialogue which, true to the praecepta of the Neoplatonic school of Alexandria, contains literary embellishment. The “last of the Romans” in this “scholastic” treatise achieves the connection of specialized contemplation with literature, beauty and sweetness of word with the depth and preciseness of thought. Alexandrian Neoplatonism here embraces the Roman language and literary tradition while at the same time the Aristoteles Latinus, who would decisively water the tree of European civilization, is formed." (pp. 129-130)

  37. Pizzi, Claudio. 1977. "Boethius' Thesis and Conditional Logic." Journal of Philosophical Logic:283-302.

  38. Prior, Arthur Noman. 1953. "The Logic of Negative Terms in Boethius." Franciscan Studies no. 13:1-6.

    "Historians of logic have recently been turning their attention to the De Syllogismo Hypothetico of Boethius, and have found in it a quite highly developed propositional calculus.(1) So far as we are aware, however, his De Syllogismo Categorico and his Introductio ad Syllogismos Categóricos have not yet been subjected to similar scrutiny; and in the latter work at least there are features of considerable interest.

    The Introductio ad Syllogismos Categoricos resembles the De Syllogismo Hypothetico in exhibiting a special interest in the results of attaching a negative particle to an element or to the elements of a proposition. Just as he gives in the latter work an exhaustive account of such varieties of the conditional proposition as ‘If p then not q’, ‘If not p then q’, ‘If not p then not q’, ‘If p then if q then not r’, and so on, so in the Introductio he considers the relations of opposition, entailment, and so on which hold between categorical propositions with and without negative (or as he calls them ‘infinite’) terms. In doing this he does not use variables such as ‘a’ and ‘b’ , but the concrete terms which he uses are selected on a definite principle, which we shall now illustrate." (p. 1)

    (1) See, in particular, K. Diirr, The Propositional Logic of Boethius (NorthHolland Publishing Co., 1951); R. van den Driessche, “ Sur le ‘de syllogismo hypothetico’ de Boèce,” Methodos Vol. I, No. 3; I. M. Bochenski, Ancient Formal Logic (North-Holland Publishing Co., 1951), pp. 106-109.

  39. Reesor, Margaret E. 1972. "Poion and Poiotes in Stoic Philosophy." Phronesis no. 17:279-285.

    "The second category, poia, is the most puzzling of the four Stoic categories.' The general term poion (qualified) included the koinos poion (generically qualified) and the idios poion (individually qualified), but the relationship between these two concepts is by no means clear. It is even more difficult to see how they were connected with the idia poiotes (particular quality) and the koine poiotis (common quality).

    In order to explain how the four terms were related, I shall undertake in this paper as thorough an investigation as possible of a diaeresis described by Boethius in his Commentary on Aristotle's De Interpretatione." (p. 279)


    "In this paper I have stated my reasons for believing that the idios poion, the koinos poion, the idia poiotes, and the koine poiotes all have a place in the second Stoic category and that the relationship of one term to another can be reconstructed from Boethius' diaeresis." (p. 285)

    (1) For the fragments of the Old Stoa I have used H. von Arnim, Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta, Berlin, 1905, and I have referred to them by the number of the book and fragment. The categories are listed by Simplicius (11.369), and Plotinus (II.371).