Summulae de dialectica

Summulae de dialectica

John Buridan
An annotated translation, with a philosophical introduction by Gyula Klima
Copyright Date: 2001
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 1104
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    Summulae de dialectica
    Book Description:

    This volume is the first annotated translation in any language of the entire text of theSummulae de dialectica, by the Parisian master of arts John Buridan (1300-1358). One of the most influential works in the history of late medieval philosophy, theSummulaeis Buridan's systematic exposition of his nominalist philosophy of logic. Buridan's doctrine spread rapidly and for some two hundred years was dominant at many European universities. His work is of increasing interest today not only to historians of medieval philosophy but also to modern philosophers, several of whom find in Buridan's ideas important clues to problems of contemporary philosophy.Gyula Klima provides a substantial introduction to Buridan's life and work and discusses his place in the history of logic. Through extensive notes Klima assists philosopher and medievalist alike to read Buridan with understanding and insight. Those with a philosophical interest in the relations among the structures of language, thought, and reality will find much to ponder in theSummulae.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13286-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xxiv)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xxvii-lxii)

    John Buridan [Iohannes Buridanus] (1295/1305–1358/61) was undoubtedly one of the most influential philosophers of the late Middle Ages. Nevertheless, as is usual with medieval authors, we do not know much about his life. His date and place of birth are uncertain. He was born somewhere in the diocese of Arras in Picardy, sometime around 1300. In his youth, he studied in the Collège Lemoine in Paris, probably as a recipient of a stipend for needy students. Later he joined the Arts Faculty at the University of Paris, where he obtained his license to teach sometime after 1320. During his...

  5. 1. Treatise 1: On propositions
    (pp. 1-100)

    “Just as the commander is the savior of the army, so is reasoning with erudition the commander of life”—this statement was written by Aristotle in a certain letter of his to Alexander, which begins “Aristotle to Alexander, greetings.”¹ The commander saves the army in two ways. First, by repelling the enemy, second, by leading [the soldiers] to their desired goal. This is why it is said in the seventh book of thePolitics²that legislators, who are commanders and rulers, frame laws both for war, with reference to the first point, and for peace, with reference to the second....

  6. 2. Treatise 2: On predicables
    (pp. 101-140)

    [The term] ‘predicable’ is sometimes taken strictly, sometimes broadly. A predicable, strictly speaking, is what is predicated of many [things]; a predicable, taken broadly, is what is predicated whether of only one or of many things; of only one thing, as ‘Socrates’ is predicated only of him [i.e., Socrates], when we say: ‘Socrates is Socrates’, of many things, as when ‘animal’ is predicated of man and horse, and ‘man’ of Socrates and Plato, and so forth.

    The second treatise deals with predicables. It contains seven chapters: the first is about a distinction concerning the name ‘predicable’, the second is about...

  7. 3. Treatise 3: On categories
    (pp. 141-218)

    Those [things] which have their name in common, but with respect to that name the concept [ratio] of [their] substance is diverse, are called ‘equivocals’, as [when both] a [real] man and a painted man [are spoken of by the name] ‘animal’.

    This is the third treatise of this work and it is about the categories. This treatise is found in many summulae, but in many it is not. And since Aristotle quite amply discussed the categories in his bookCategories,I intend to deal with them briefly, gathering Aristotle’s most notable remarks and providing as brief a text as...

  8. 4. Treatise 4: On suppositions
    (pp. 219-302)

    The following treatise deals with supposition and some related matters. First we shall state the difference between signification and supposition. And I do not intend to speak about utterances signifying naturally, for from such utterances we do not form propositions, but I only intend to speak about the conventional [ad placitum] signification of utterances. Nor do I intend in this chapter to speak about material supposition, for in this way every articulate utterance can supposit, even if it is not imposed to signify something. For the present, I only intend to speak about supposition inasmuch as an utterance can or...

  9. 5. Treatise 5: On syllogisms
    (pp. 303-388)

    (1) The following treatise is about syllogisms. We should begin [our discussion] with some general remarks. (2) A categorical proposition is an expression that affirms something of something or one that denies something of something. (3) A term is that into which a proposition is resolved, as into a subject and a predicate.

    The fifth treatise is about syllogisms, and it will contain ten chapters. The first premises some general remarks, the second distinguishes and enumerates the modes of the three figures, the third is in particular about the first figure, the fourth is about the second, the fifth is...

  10. 6. Treatise 6: On dialectical loci
    (pp. 389-492)

    This treatise, which is about dialectical loci, has been excerpted by our author from Boethius’sTopics.¹ Therefore, just as Boethius provided certain general preliminaries to his treatment of dialectical loci, so too our author provides some preliminaries, namely, [some remarks concerning] what an argument is and what argumentation is, and howthey differ, and furthermore on what constitutes an enunciation, a proposition, a question, and a conclusion, and how they agree or differ, and then finally how many species of argumentation there are and what they are. All this is the aim of the first chapter of this treatise.

    This is...

  11. 7. Treatise 7: On fallacies
    (pp. 493-612)

    (1) Turning now to sophistic elenchi and the fallacies they are naturally liable to generate, we preface this treatise with some general remarks concerning them. We may say, therefore, that an elenchus is a syllogism demonstrating the contradictory of the position of the respondent. (2) A sophistic elenchus, however, is an expression that appears to be an elenchus, but is not. (3) Now the cause of illusion [causa apparentiae] in a sophistic elenchus is that in which it agrees with a genuine elenchus; (4) and the cause of not-being [causa non existentiae], or defectiveness, is the failure to meet some...

  12. 8. Treatise 8: On demonstrations
    (pp. 613-820)

    Now it remains to discuss demonstrations. But these presuppose definitions; therefore, we should also treat of definitions. However, the investigation of definitions benefits [a great deal] from the art of division; hence we also have to deal with divisions. But our author did not discuss divisions, although [the art of divisions] is a very important and ultimate part of logic.¹

    In accordance with what was said at the beginning, this is the eighth treatise of this work. It deals with three principal subjects, first, with divisions, second, with definitions, and third, with demonstrations. The first subject is handled in one...

  13. Sophismata
    (pp. 821-998)

    At the beginning of my lectures on the survey [summa] of logic, I said that the ninth and final treatise would be about the practice of sophisms, namely, about their formulations and solutions. Further, I may recapitulate in it some points discussed in the earlier treatises, and sometimes I will clarify them somewhat more, to the extent that I consider fitting for the solution of sophisms.

    I accordingly wish to divide this treatise so that I deal first with propositions about actuality [de inesse] and second with modal propositions; and, although only those about the present [de praesenti] are, strictly...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 999-1016)
  15. Indexes
    (pp. 1017-1032)