Categories and Logic in Duns Scotus: An Interpretation of Aristotle's Categories in the Late Thirteenth Century

Categories and Logic in Duns Scotus: An Interpretation of Aristotle's Categories in the Late Thirteenth Century

Categories and Logic in Duns Scotus: An Interpretation of Aristotle's Categories in the Late Thirteenth Century

Categories and Logic in Duns Scotus: An Interpretation of Aristotle's Categories in the Late Thirteenth Century

Synopsis

This volume deals with thirteenth-century interpretations of Aristotle's Categories, providing at the same time an introduction to some main themes of medieval philosophical logic. It analyzes various answers to the question whether the Aristotle's short and influential treatise is a logical or a metaphysical work, and to the connected question, whether categories are words, concepts, or things. It also presents the doctrine of the so-called second intentions , and traces the influence that it had on the interpretation of the Categories in authors such as Thomas Aquinas, Peter of Auvergne, Simon of Faversham, Radulphus Brito, and Duns Scotus. The last two chapters, entirely devoted to Duns Scotus's reading of the Categories, provide a systematic introduction to Scotus's commentary on Aristotle's treatise, which has hitherto been largely neglected.

Excerpt

Several studies have been devoted to Duns Scotus's theological and metaphysical output. His contributions to logic and philosophical logic, however, have not received much attention. Scotus's commentaries on Porphyry's Isagoge and Aristotle's Categories, De Interpretatione, and Sophistical Refutations have often been considered youthful works, and consequently have been neglected. When considered against their background, however, Scotus's logical commentaries disclose a fresh and brilliant reading of Aristotle and bear witness to the lively debates of the end of the thirteenth century. in this work, I do not intend to provide a general assessment of Duns Scotus's contribution to logic. Rather, I focus on a specific question, namely why Aristotle's Categories were considered a logical work and, consequently, how logic was thought to deal with categories. With this question in mind, I approach Scotus and his contemporaries' writings and logical doctrines. Since Scotus is particularly careful when dividing the respective fields of logic and metaphysics, I hope that this study will also shed light on how thirteenth-century authors conceived metaphysics as the science of what there is in the world as opposed to the way it is understood.

During the elaboration of this work, I have contracted a debt of gratitude to many people and institutions. Among the latter, I am happy to mention the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, where in 1997 I defended my doctoral dissertation on some of the themes with which I deal in the present study. I am also fond of remembering my time at University College London (1996–97) and the De Wulf-Masion Centrum at the Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (1997–99). the Italian cnr funded my stay in Leuven during the summer 1997 (Short Mobility Program). the Onderzoeksraad (Research Council) of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven granted me a junior fellowship in the year 1998–99. the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto (where I stayed in 2000–01, thanks to a fellowship funded by the Mellon Foundation) provided an excellent place where I could carry out the final revision of this work.

Among the people who helped me, I am particuarly grateful to . . .

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