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Bos, E. P., Editor. Logica Modernorum in Prague about 1400. The Sophistria Disputation "Quoniam Quatuor".

BOS, E. P., Editor. Logica Modernorum in Prague about 1400: The Sophistria Disputation "Quoniam Quatuor". Studien und Texte zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters, 82. Boston: Brill, 2004. xvi + 488 pp. Cloth, $167.00--This is a reproduction of an anonymous tract preserved in Kracow's Jagiellonian Library. Written sometime after 1396, the tract is a specimen of the art of sophistria, or sophistic arguments, and it covers the following main topics: sophistria as a science, signification, syncategorematic terms, supposition, ampliation, restriction, complex signifiables, the significate of a proposition, mediate and immediate terms, propositions with a comparative or superlative term, and exceptive, exclusive and reduplicative propositions. The tract is divided into two uneven parts, the first of which consists of 100 questions, the second consisting of eighteen questions. Also included is a partial reconstruction of the Logica by Thomas of Cleves as appendix I. What follows is a brief summary of the main sections as provided by the editor (p. 27).

In the first section (bk. 1, qq. 1-13), our anonymous author discusses sophistria as an art. Like other authors who wrote sophistria, the author first shows that sophistria is a demonstrative science, not indeed in the sense that one is taught how to make sophistical arguments, but a science in the sense that knowledge about sophistical arguments is taught through demonstrations (qq. 1-3). In the subsequent questions on this topic, he makes a number of distinctions, for example, between a new and an old division of sophistrie (q. 5), between sophistria utens and docens (q. 6), and between scientia realis and scientia rationis (q. 10), ultimately identifying the science in question as a scientia rationis. He ends this section by identifying the ways in which the four causes pertain to this science (q. 13). Unfortunately, a number of lines are missing in these questions, making it impossible to identify some of the author's arguments which lead him to some of his positions. For example, in question 5, which asks whether the division of sophistrie into an older part and a newer part is suitable, only two arguments to the opposite are given; in question 6, which asks about the distinction between utens and docens, nothing but the question has survived, while in question 7, which asks whether the new logic of sophistria is distinct from the other parts, only one opposing argument is given.

The second main section (bk. 1, qq. 14-37) covers signification and is heavily indebted to Peter of Spain's Tractatus. Distinctions include divisions into universal and specific signification (q. 15), natural and conventional signification (q. 16), first and second imposition (q. 17), essential and accidental signification (q. 21), univocal and equivocal signification (q. 22), absolute and relative signification (q. 23), material and formal signification (q. 24), concrete and abstract signification (q. 25), complex and simple signification (q. 27), signs that can be placed in a proposition and signs that can not be so placed, such as extramental things (q. 29), and divisions into categorical and syncategorematic terms (q. 32). As in the first section, though, a number of missing lines occasionally make it impossible to follow the arguments. To take just two examples, in question 14, only the initial arguments to the opposite survive, and in question 18, only one counterargument is preserved.

The third main section (bk. 1, qq. 38-84) treats the properties of terms. In the first three questions, our author first demonstrates the way in which supposition is the subject of a science (qq. 38-40). He then focuses on the definition of supposition (q. 41) and the difference between supposition and signification (qq. 42-8). Drawing on Thomas Manlevelt, he then treats each of the traditional divisions of supposition, namely material supposition (qq. 49-54), simple supposition (qq. 55-6) and personal supposition (qq. 57-66). After supposition, our author turns to the science of ampliation (qq. 68-72), restriction (qq. 73-8) and ends with a discussion of appellation (qq. 79-84).

The fourth and shortest section (bk. 1, qq. 85-8) covers complex signifiables and the significate of a proposition. Unfortunately, however, as in many other questions in this work, a sizeable number of missing lines make it difficult to follow our author's arguments (altogether, over forty-six lines are missing from these four questions alone).

The fifth main section (bk. 1, q. 89 to bk. 2, q. 16) is actually a commentary on Richard Billingham's Mirror (Speculum puerorum). As a prolegomena to question 89, our author identifies the subject of Billingham's work, the definition of a term, and whether terms are mediate or immediate. He then focuses on immediate substantive verbs (qq. 89-94). He ends book 1 with a treatment of expository syllogisms and exponible terms. In the second book, he covers demonstrative propositions which are immediately proven (bk. 2, q. 1), indefinite propositions (q. 2-8), particular affirmative propositions (q. 9), indefinite negative propositions (qq. 10-11), universal affirmative propositions (qq. 12-14) and universal negative propositions (qq. 15-16).

The last main section (bk. 2, qq. 16-17) is on consequences and is one of the shortest of the whole work. These two questions are most likely a commentary on either Manlevelt or Willaim of Suttons's work on consequences. Once again, though, a substantial number of lines are missing, making it difficult to follow all of our author's arguments.

In spite of all the missing lines, this work has a number of important features. To take just a few examples, when it comes to the proof of a proposition, following Billingham before him, he concentrates on singular propositions, as opposed to Aristotle's logic, which concentrates on universal propositions. Secondly, he distinguishes between essential and connotative signification and between univocal and synonymical signification, the former belonging to a single sign, the latter belonging to two or more signs that signify the same concept. Finally, he makes room for propositions with fictional terms.--Lloyd A. Newton, Benedictine College.
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Author:Newton, Lloyd A.
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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