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William of Sherwood’s Treatise on Syncategorematic Words

William of Sherwood’s Treatise on Syncategorematic Words

translated with an introduction and notes by NORMAN KRETZMANN
Copyright Date: 1968
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 196
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  • Book Info
    William of Sherwood’s Treatise on Syncategorematic Words
    Book Description:

    This is the first translation of an important medieval work in philosophy, an advanced treatise by the thirteenth-century English logician William of Sherwood. The treatise draws on doctrines developed in Sherwood’s Introduction to Logic, which has also been translated by Professor Kretzmann. William of Sherwood is an important figure in the development of the logica moderna, the distinctively medieval contribution to logic and semantics. As Professor Kretzmann explains, the logica moderna may have originally aimed only ad providing ad hoc rules regarding inferences that involve problematic locutions of ordinary discourse. But its principal aim soon became the development of a more or less general account of the ways in which words are used to stand for things or to affect the meanings of other words. In Sherwood’s time the logica moderna seems to have been thought of as having two branches, an account of the “properties of terms” and an account of the signification and function of “syncategorematic words.” Sherwood deals with the first branch in his Introduction to Logic and with the second branch in the treatise presented here. The translation is copiously annotated to supply the kind of explanatory material a twentieth-century reader may need for an understanding of a thirteenth-century discussion. As Professor Kretzmann points out, many of the problems dealt with in this treatise closely resemble the problems of twentieth-century philosophical logic and philosophy of language.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6332-3
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Preface
    (pp. [v]-[viii])
    Norman Kretzmann
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. [ix]-[xviii])
  4. Translator’s Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    This book may be studied independently, but in several respects it is a companion volume to myWilliam of Sherwood’s Introduction to Logic(hereafter cited asWSIL).¹ Some of what Sherwood says in that elementary textbook is presupposed by what he has to say in this advanced treatise, and the notes to the present translation frequently refer to specific passages in the earlier translation.

    Since I discuss Sherwood’s life and writings at some length in the Introduction toWSIL, I shall provide only a brief survey here.²

    William of Sherwood (or Shyreswood) was an English logician of the thirteenth century....

    (pp. 13-16)

    In order to understand anything one must understand its parts; thus in order that the statement (enuntiatio) ¹ may be fully understood one must understand the parts of it. Its parts are of two kinds: principal and secondary. The principal parts are the substantival name and the verb, for they are necessary for an understanding of the statement. The secondary parts are the adjectival name, the adverb, and conjunctions and prepositions,² for they are not necessary for the statement’s being.³

    Some secondary parts are determinations⁴ of principal parts in respect of the things belonging to them;⁵ these [secondary parts] are...

  6. CHAPTER I. ‘Every’ or ‘All’ (Omnis)
    (pp. 17-40)

    The first [to be investigated] is the word ‘every’ or ‘all’ — first with regard to its signification and then with regard to its function.¹

    It must be known that² ‘every’ or ‘all’ signifies universality. Sometimes, however, it signifies universality as the disposition³ of a thing; in that case it is not a syncategorematic word but is equipollent⁴ to ‘whole’ (totum) or ‘complete’ (perfection), as in ‘the world is all.’ ⁵ At other times it signifies universality as a disposition of a subject insofar as it is a subject; in that case it is a syncategorematic word.

    For example, if...

  7. CHAPTER II. ‘Whole’ (Totum)
    (pp. 40-41)

    Now, however, we have to deal with the word ‘whole,’ regarding which it must be known that sometimes it indicates (dicit) the wholeness of something considered as a real thing, in which case it is equipollent to ‘entire’ (integrum) and is a categorematic word.¹ At other times it indicates the wholeness of something in respect of a predicate and is a syncategorematic word, in which case, as one says, it has the same strength as ‘each and every part’ and is a universal sign.

    The following sophisma proceeds on this basis. The whole Socrates is less than Socrates. Proof: Each...

  8. CHAPTER III. Number Words (Dictiones numerales)
    (pp. 41-41)

    It must be known that each and every number word can indicate a plurality belonging to its adjunct either in reality, in which case it is a categorematic word, or in respect of a predicate or a subject, in which case it is a syncategorematic word.

    For example, if one says ‘ten men are carrying a stone,’ the sense in the first case is that men who are ten [in number] are carrying a stone, and it is true whether they carry it together or separately. In the second case the expression signifies that the subject ‘men’ relates to (respicit)...

  9. CHAPTER IV. ‘Infinitely Many’ (Infinita in plurali)
    (pp. 41-43)

    In the same way the phrase ‘infinitely many’ is both syncategorematic and categorematic, for it can indicate an infinite plurality belonging to its substance² either absolutely or in respect of a predicate. We can see its signification in the following way: ‘infinitely many’ strips away numerical limit and thus posits an excess in respect of any number whatever; therefore it is equipollent to ‘more than however many you please’ (quotlibet plura). Thus it is apparent that this line of argument — ‘infinitely many; therefore two’ — does not hold good.

    On this basis the following sophisma is solved. Suppose that...

  10. CHAPTER V. ‘Both’ (Uterque)
    (pp. 43-43)

    There is one more sign distributive of supposita — viz. ‘both.’ Nothing more need be said of it than [has been said] of the word ‘every’ or ‘all,’ insofar as it distributes for numerical parts² except that it divides only for two appellata and must be attached to a term the community of which is limited to two, as when one says ‘both of them are blessed,’ two but not three having been indicated.³...

  11. CHAPTER VI. ‘Of Every Sort’ (Qualelibet)
    (pp. 44-48)

    Besides the aforementioned signs there are others that are distributive of copulata, just as the signs ‘every’ or ‘all’ and ‘each and every’ (quilibet) are distributive of supposita. (A suppositum is what is signified as awhat, a copulatum as awhat sortor ahow much.) ² Signs of that kind are ‘of every sort’ (qualislibet), ‘however much’ (quantumlibet), and the like.

    It must be known that [signs] of this kind signify a definite accident in an indefinite (infinita) substance, just as other adjectives do, and signify, besides, the distribution of that same accident in respect of that substance....

  12. CHAPTER VII. ‘No’ (Nullus)
    (pp. 48-54)

    Next, as to negative signs, and first as to the word ‘no,’ of which it must be known that sometimes it divides for specific parts and at other times for numerical parts.¹

    On this basis the following sophisma is solved. Suppose that there is no man. Then no man is an animal. Proof: No man is; therefore no man is an animal. Alternatively: there is nothing under man with which the predicate agrees;² therefore [no man is an animal]. But on the contrary, ‘every man is an animal’ is true; therefore ‘no man is an animal’ is false.

    It must...

  13. CHAPTER VIII. ‘Nothing’ (Nihil)
    (pp. 54-57)

    A sophisma [can occur] in [connection with] the negative sign ‘nothing’ in that the negation can be carried to various things. If [a] nothing is, then [b] that nothing is is true; and if [b], then [c] something is true; and if [c], then [d] something is; therefore, by [a], if nothing is, something is.

    It must be said that [b] ‘that nothing is is true’ is ambiguous in that the first ‘is’ and the second ‘is’ can be either compounded or divided. The division signifies that the negation stays in the first ‘is’; [taken as] compounded it signifies that...

  14. CHAPTER IX. ‘Neither’ (Neutrum)
    (pp. 57-57)

    There is, in addition, a negative sign that negates for two only — viz., ‘neither.’ From it arises such a sophisma as the following: ‘Having neither eye, you can see’ (neutrum oculum habendo potes¹ videre). Proof: Not having the left eye [you can see, and not having the right eye you can see]; therefore [having] neither [eye you can see]. On the contrary, [one may infer] ‘thereforewhileyou have neither eye, orbecause, orifyou have neither, you can [see],’ which is false.²

    It must be said that if the singular [propositions] are compounded, then the negation is...

  15. CHAPTER X. ‘But’ (Praeter)
    (pp. 58-69)

    Since enough has now been said regarding distributive signs, we must next speak of the exceptive word ‘but,’¹ both because an exception always tends to fall over a division² and to be immediately linked to it, and because exception is opposed to division (tum quia oppositum habet ad ipsam). [59] This is clear in that the word ‘every’ or ‘all’ indicates a total plurality and the word ‘but,’ by subtracting some part from the totality, [indicates] the opposite. There might nevertheless be some reason for treating of the exclusives³ before [the exceptives], but it need not concern us.⁴

    It must...

  16. CHAPTER XI. ‘Alone’ (Solus)
    (pp. 69-81)

    After having spoken of [distributive] signs and also of exceptive words, which attach immediately to the signs, we must speak next of the word ‘alone’: ¹ first, because it has to do with (cadit circa) the subject as the signs also do; and second, because of its opposition to the word ‘every’ or ‘all,’ for ‘every’ or ‘all’ always indicates one-with-another, ‘alone’ one-not-with-another.

    The first question is whether or not the word ‘alone’ is a syncategorematic word.

    It seems it is not, since if one says ‘Socrates walks proud,’ the word ‘proud’ signifies how [63] Socrates is while walking. Thus,...

  17. CHAPTER XII. ‘Only’ (Tantum)
    (pp. 81-90)

    We must speak next of the word ‘only,’ regarding which it must be known that as regards its first signification¹ it is not a syncategorematic word. Instead it indicates a certain measure of an act, just as ‘much’ and ‘little’ ² indicate uncertain measures, and it is an adverb of quantity as they are. But when this consideration (ratio) of measure [67] is restricted to the consideration of a subject in respect of a predicate or of a predicate in respect of a subject, then the word ‘only,’ denoting a measure in this way, takes on the nature (ratio) of...

  18. CHAPTER XIII. ‘Is’ (Est)
    (pp. 90-93)

    Since we have now discussed or decided about syncategorematic words pertaining to the subject, we can proceed in two ways — by deciding either about those that pertain to the composition [of a predicate wtih a subject] or about those that pertain to the predicate.

    Proceeding in the first way, let us first decide about the verb ‘is,’ not because it is a syncategorematic word but because it is supposed by many to be a syncategorematic word.¹ They [70] rely on Aristotle’s remark that ‘is’ signifies² a certain composition that cannot be understood without the components;³ for they believe that...

  19. CHAPTER XIV. ‘Not’ (Non)
    (pp. 93-100)

    Next, as to the word ‘not.’ It seems that it ought to be a verb, because it signifies division, which, it seems, is opposed to the composition denoted by the verb ‘is.’ Thus [‘not’] ought to be a verb just as [‘is’] itself [is a verb], for contraries belong to one and the same genus.

    It must be said that this reasoning errs in two ways. First, because [71] although the word ‘not’ does signify division only, the word ‘is,’ as was said before,¹ does not signify composition only; and so they do not signify contraries. Second, also because the...

  20. CHAPTER XV. ‘Necessarily’ (Necessario) and ‘Contingently’ (Contingenter)
    (pp. 100-106)

    Next, as to the words ‘necessarily’ and ‘contingently.’¹ And it must be known that the word ‘necessarily’ can be either a categorematic or a syncategorematic word. If it is categorematic it is a determination of a predicate; if it is syncategorematic [it is a determination] of a composition. (Similarly with respect to ‘contingently.’²)

    But on the contrary, the composition is nothing except what is in the extremes or in an extreme [of the proposition]; therefore [73] if ‘necessarily’ determinates the composition it determinates one or the other of the extremes. But not the subject; therefore the predicate.

    Again, if ‘necessarily’...

  21. CHAPTER XVI. ‘Begins’ (Incipit) and ‘Ceases’ (Desinit)
    (pp. 106-116)

    Next, as to the words ‘begins’ and ‘ceases.’¹ And it must be known that in one way they are syncategorematic, in another way categorematic words. For example, the word ‘begins’ signifies the beginning of some act in the subject and for that reason always requires (vult) that an infinitive designating that act be attached to it. Sometimes, however, it relates (respicit) to that act either in respect of a thing belonging to it or insofar as it is predicable [of the subject].² In the first way it relates to it [75] in some particular belonging to it; in the second...

  22. CHAPTER XVII. ‘lf’ (Si)
    (pp. 116-128)

    Now that we have decided about the words whose functions pertain to the subject and also to the predicate in respect of the composition, and also about those that in one way are determinations of predicates but in another way are predicates, we must next decide about words that pertain to one subject in respect of another, or to one [78] predicate in respect of another, or to one composition in respect of another. Words of this sort are conjunctions.

    A conjunction is an indeclinable part of a sentence conjunctive of other parts of a sentence.¹ I say ‘parts [of...

  23. CHAPTER XVIII. ‘Unless’ (Nisi)
    (pp. 129-132)

    Next, as to the word ‘unless,’ regarding which it must be known that it notes a consequent¹ in relation to a negated antecedent, for ‘unless’ is composed of ‘if’ and ‘not.’²

    Why then is it a conjunction rather than an adverb? The reason is that the consequential character (consecutio) [of ‘unless’] falls over the negation [belonging to ‘unless’] and is what completes its signification.

    Why then is the negation touched on in the first syllable and the condition in the last? The reason is that the completion of its signification should be designated by means of the end of the...

  24. CHAPTER XIX. ‘But That’ (Quin)
    (pp. 133-134)

    Next, as to the expression ‘but that,’ regarding which it must be known that it is a consecutive noting the consequence of something from a negated antecedent, for it has negation within itself. For example, ‘he does not run but that he moves.’ The sense is ‘if he does not move, he does not run.’

    Here is a sophisma of this sort. You cannot truly deny that you are not an ass (negare te non esse asinum). Proof: You cannot deny truly what is necessary, but this is necessary; therefore you cannot truly deny this. Then [someone may infer] ‘therefore...

  25. CHAPTER XX. ‘And’ (Et)
    (pp. 134-140)

    Next, as to copulative conjunctions, a sort to which ‘and’ belongs. Priscian says of it that it signifies being together (simul esse).¹ Therefore if ‘being together’ does not indicate a syncategorematic notion (intentionem), neither does ‘and.’

    In response to this it must be said that the being together that is indicated by ‘and’ is of two predicates in one subject, or of two subjects in one predicate, or of two predicates in two subjects or vice versa; and this relation is certainly syncategorematic. Moreover, it sometimes indicates two determinations in a single determinated thing and at other times the reverse....

  26. CHAPTER XXI. ‘Or’ (Vel)
    (pp. 140-148)

    Next, as to the word ‘or,’ which is a disjunctive conjunction. But how can it disjoin, since what is a conjunction must conjoin?

    It must be said that it conjoins utterances into a single sentence but disjoins [the corresponding] real things; for the sense of a disjunctive conjunction is (sentit disjunctiva conjunctio) that the things between which it disjoins cannot be together. Thus it indicates that one [utterance] is true and that the other is false.

    The rule that if one or the other is true the disjunctive [proposition] is true runs counter to this, however.

    But it must be...

  27. CHAPTER XXII. ‘Whether’ or ‘Or’ (An)
    (pp. 148-155)

    Next, as to the word ‘whether’ or ‘or,’ regarding which Priscian says that it signifies doubt.¹ It must be understood that this is so when we are in doubt which of two things we are asking about should be agreed to, and those two things have to be conjoined by means of ‘or.’ For example, ‘should I speak or (an) remain silent?’

    But then there is a doubt how it is being used here — ‘you know whether (an) Socrates is running’ — and what it conjoins between; for if it signifies doubt it is incorrectly adjoined to the verb...

  28. CHAPTER XXIII. The Particle ‘Ne’
    (pp. 156-156)

    Next, as to the word ‘ne,’ which is sometimes used interrogatively, as in ‘is Socrates running?’ (curritne Sortes). It is also used [interrogatively] in place of ‘an.’¹

    At other times ‘ne’ is used prohibitively,² and that in two ways: [1] sometimes in such a way that the prohibition is effected by [‘ne’] itself, and [2] sometimes in such a way that what is prohibited is itself ordered together with something preceding it. Example of [1]: ‘do not run’ (ne curras); example of [2]: ‘I want you not to run’ (volo ne curras).

    And so a doubt regarding it occurs in...

  29. CHAPTER XXIV. ‘Whether... or...’ (Sive)
    (pp. 157-158)

    Next, as to the word ‘whether,’ regarding which it must be known that it signifies disjunction together with a condition.¹

    And then a doubt arises, as follows. If Socrates is running or (vel) Plato is running, Socrates is running. Proof: This is a disjunctive conditional the first part of which is true; therefore the whole is true. The first part is ‘if Socrates is running, Socrates is running’; the second part is ‘if Plato is running, Socrates is running.’ But [on the contrary,] since this is a disjunction together with a condition, [92] it is equipollent to ‘whether (sive) Socrates...

  30. Bibliography
    (pp. 161-162)
  31. Index
    (pp. 163-173)