•  398
    Three Myths of Intentionality Versus Some Medieval Philosophers
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 21 (3): 359-376. 2013.
    This paper argues that three characteristic modern positions concerning intentionality – namely, (1) that intentionality is ‘the mark of the mental’; (2) that intentionality concerns a specific type of objects having intentional inexistence; and (3) that intentionality somehow defies logic – are just three ‘modern myths’ that medieval philosophers, from whom the modern notion supposedly originated, would definitely reject.
  •  213
    This paper argues that Aquinas's conception of the human soul and intellect offers a consistent alternative to the dilemma of materialism and post-Cartesian dualism. It also argues that in their own theoretical context, Aquinas' arguments for the materiality of the human soul and immateriality of the intellect provide a strong justification of his position. However, that theoretical context is rather "alien" to ours in contemporary philosophy. The conclusion of the paper will point in the direct…Read more
  •  194
    It is supposed to be common knowledge about the history of ideas that one of the few medieval philosophical contributions preserved in modern philosophical thought is the idea that mental phenomena are distinguished from physical phenomena by their intentionality, their directedness toward some object. As is usually the case with such commonplaces about the history of ideas, this claim is not quite true. Medieval philosophers routinely described ordinary physical phenomena, such as reflections i…Read more
  •  165
    Contemporary "essentialism", if we want to provide a succinct, yet sufficiently rigorous characterization, may be summarized in the thesis that some common terms are rigid designators. [1] By the quotation marks I intend to indicate that I regard this as a somewhat improper (though, of course, permitted) usage of the term (after all, nomina significant ad placitum [2]). In contrast to this, essentialism, properly so-called, is the Aristotelian doctrine summarizable in the thesis--as we shall see…Read more
  •  120
    The Essentialist Nominalism of John Buridan
    Review of Metaphysics 58 (4). 2005.
    To many contemporary philosophers, the phrase “essentialist nominalism” may appear to be an oxymoron. After all, essentialism is the doctrine that things come in natural kinds characterized by their essential properties, on account of some common nature or essence they share. But nominalism is precisely the denial of the existence, indeed, the very possibility of such shared essences. Nevertheless, despite the intuitions of such contemporary philosophers,2 John Buridan was not only a thoroughgoi…Read more
  •  117
    This paper provides a comparison of three fundamentally different approaches to the issue of ontological commitment. It argues that despite superficial similarities on either side, Buridan’s approach provides an intriguing third alternative to the two commonly recognized modern approaches. Keywords: ontological commitment, existence, meaning, reference..
  •  115
    1st GPMR Workshop on Logic and Semantics: Medieval Logic and Modern Applied Logic, Reinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universität Bonn, Germany, 2007.
  •  96
    This paper examines the multiple semantic functions Aquinas attributes to the verb ‘est’, ranging from signifying the essence of God to acting as a copula of categorical propositions to expressing identity. A case will be made that all these apparently radically diverse functions are unified under Aquinas’s conception of the analogy of being, treating all predications as predications of being with or without some qualification (secundum quid or simpliciter). This understanding of the multiplicit…Read more
  •  82
    The medieval problem of universals
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
    “The problem of universals” in general is a historically variable bundle of several closely related, yet in different conceptual frameworks rather differently articulated metaphysical, logical, and epistemological questions, ultimately all connected to the issue of how universal cognition of singular things is possible. How do we know, for example, that the Pythagorean theorem holds universally, for all possible right triangles? Indeed, how can we have any awareness of a potential infinity of al…Read more
  •  82
    Indifference vs. Universality of Mental Representation in Ockham, Buridan, and Aquinas
    Questio. Yearbook of the History of Metaphysics 10 (1): 99-110. 2010.
    This paper argues in the first place that nominalists are right in insisting against ontological realists that semantic universality does not require commitment to universal entities. However, Ockham, in his zeal to get rid of Scotus’s universal entities, swept under the carpet the issue of universal representational content of genuinely universal symbols, conflating it with the mere indifference of the information content of non-distinctive singular representations. Buridan did come up with an …Read more
  •  82
    Aquinas vs. Buridan on Essence and Existence
    In Charles Bolyard & Rondo Keele (eds.), Later Medieval Metaphysics: Ontology, Language, and Logic, Fordham University Press. pp. 30-44. 2013.
  •  78
    “The expression ‘free logic’ is an abbreviation for the phrase ‘free of existence assumptions with respect to its terms, general and singular’.”1 Classical quantification theory is not a free logic in this sense, as its standard formulations commonly assume that every singular term in every model is assigned a referent, an element of the universe of discourse. Indeed, since singular terms include not only singular constants, but also variables2, standard quantification theory may be regarded as …Read more
  •  77
    Of those that exist, some are said of a subject, but are in no subject: as man is said of some subject, namely of some man, but is in no subject. Others, however, are in a subject, but are said of no subject. And I say that to be in a subject which, while it is in something not as a part, cannot exist apart from the thing in which it is. For example, some particular literacy is in a subject, namely in the soul, but is not said of any subject, and this whiteness is in a body as in its subject, fo…Read more
  •  74
    Saint Anselm’s proof for God’s existence in his Proslogion, as the label “ontological” retrospectively hung on it indicates, is usually treated as involving some sophisticated problem of, or a much less sophisticated tampering with, the concept of existence. In this paper I intend to approach Saint Anselm’s reasoning from a somewhat different angle.
  •  72
    Aquinas on One and Many
    Documenti E Studi Sulla Tradizione Filosofica Medievale 11 195-215. 2000.
    Lo studio intende mettere in evidenza l'ambiguità della nozione di unità, intesa come entità numerica, con la nozione di unità quale sinonimo di essere. Sul primo concetto verte la parte iniziale dello studio, alla quale segue l'esame del significato ontologico di «uno». Le considerazioni fatte guidano l'A. a valutare i rapporti di relazione fra le nozioni di essere e uno, e quelle di sostanzialità, identità e semplicità in Tommaso. La gerarchia ontologica che ha al vertice l'essere assoluto e l…Read more
  •  67
    Thomistic “Monism” vs. Cartesian “Dualism”
    Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 10 92-112. 2007.
    This paper contrasts the Thomistic and Cartesian interpretations of what the substantial unity of the body and mind can consist in. A detailed discussion of the Thomistic account of the substantial unity of body and soul identifies especially those principles of the presupposed hylomorphist metaphysical background of this account that Descartes abandoned. After arguing for the consistency of the Thomistic view, briefly outlines how certain developments in late-medieval scholasticism prepared the…Read more
  •  59
    Medieval Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary (edited book)
    with Fritz Allhoff and Anand Jayprakash Vaidya
    Wiley-Blackwell. 2007.
    This collection of readings with extensive editorial commentary brings together key texts of the most influential philosophers of the medieval era to provide a comprehensive introduction for students of philosophy. Features the writings of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Boethius, John Duns Scotus and other leading medieval thinkers Features several new translations of key thinkers of the medieval era, including John Buridan and Averroes Readings are accompanied by expert commentary from the editors,…Read more
  •  56
    In his admirably clear, beautifully argued study, Claude Panaccio has provided an able defense of Ockham’s position in response to an argument I presented against Ockham in a discussion with Peter King eight years ago at a meeting in Pittsburgh.1 But after eight years, and even after Claude’s book, I still stand by that argument. So, in these comments I will attempt to explain why I think Ockham may still not be off the hook.
  •  54
    Is Aquinas a representationalist or a direct realist? Max Herrera’s (and, for that matter, Claude Panaccio’s) qualified answers to each alternative show that the real significance of the question is not that if we answer it, then we can finally learn under which classification Aquinas should fall, but rather that upon considering it we can learn something about the intricacies of the question itself. In these comments I will first argue that the Averroistic notion of “intentional transfer”, comb…Read more
  •  50
    In these comments I am going to argue that Yiwei Zheng's paper, by postulating an imaginary mental language in a proposed new interpretation of Ockham's conception of mental language, provides us with an imaginary solution to what turns out to be an imaginary problem. Having said this, however, I hasten to add that the paper has undeniable merits in pointing us in the right direction for revealing the imaginary character of the problem.
  •  50
    Is there a grammar of the name ‘God’? In an obvious and trivial sense there certainly is. This term, being a part of the English language, has to obey the grammatical rules of that language. So, for example, by consulting the relevant textbooks and dictionaries we can establish that ‘God’ is a noun, so it can function as the subject or predicate of simple categorical sentences, but it cannot, for example, function as a verb or a preposition.
  •  49
    This course covers paradigmatic accounts of human nature in ancient, medieval, and early modern philosophy, through a careful reading of selected primary texts and contemporary commentary. Major topics will include knowledge and opinion; body and soul; immortality, rationality, and freedom of the will; created being and goodness as emanations of divine perfection. The main focus of the discussions will be on the metaphysical foundations of moral value in the pre-modern tradition, and the concept…Read more
  •  48
    ex opposito, any methodological doctrine that separates theological dogma from philosophical inquiry increases the autonomy of philosophical inquiry. But the Latin Averroist methodological doctrine of veritas duplex (rather improperly, but not entirely unreasonably called so) separated theological dogma from philosophical inquiry. Therefore, the Latin Averroist methodological doctrine of veritas duplex increased the autonomy of philosophical inquiry.
  •  48
    John Buridan
    Oxford University Press. 2008.
    Buridan's life, works, and influence -- Buridan's logic and the medieval logical tradition -- The primacy of mental language -- The various kinds of concepts and the idea of a mental language -- Natural language and the idea of a formal syntax in Buridan -- Existential import and the square of opposition -- Ontological commitment -- The properties of terms (proprietates terminorum) -- The semantics of propositions -- Logical validity in a token-based, semantically closed logic -- The possibility…Read more
  •  45
    Geach's Three Most Inspiring Errors Concerning Medieval Logic
    Philosophical Investigations 38 (1-2): 34-51. 2015.
    This paper analyses the import of three claims extracted from Geach's works concerning theories of predication and the reference of common terms, the notions of being or existence, and the force/content distinction and theories of valid inference, respectively. The paper highlights the theoretical and historical errors involved in these claims as well as their enormous influence and inspiration in the field of the philosophical study of medieval logic and metaphysics
  •  39
    One often hears extravagant claims made for the Aristotelian doctrine that "what understands and what is understood are the same" De anima iii.4; 430a4). This identity between knower and what is known, or between percipient and what is perceived, is often said to offer a way out of the familiar skeptical arguments against the possibility of our having knowledge of the external world. Typically such claims are made by students of Thomas Aquinas, who in this way seek to render Aquinas's theory of …Read more