•  103
    Apart from his Consolation of Philosophy, perhaps the most well known text of Boethius is his discussion of universals in the Second Commentary on Porphyry’s Isagoge.1 In that passage, he first reviews the arguments for and against the existence of universal entities, and then offers a theory he attributes to Alexander of Aphrodisias, a kind of theory called in recent times “moderate realism,” according to which there are no universal entities in the ontology of the world, but nevertheless there…Read more
  •  90
    The “dragon” that graces the cover of this volume has a story that goes with it. In the summer of 1980, I was on the teaching staff of the Summer Institute on Medieval Philosophy held at Cornell University under the direction of Norman Kretzmann and the auspices of the Council for Philosophical Studies and the National Endowment for the Humanities. While I was giving a series of lectures there (lectures that contribute to this volume, as it turns out), I went to my office one morning, and there …Read more
  •  88
    This paper argues that Burley's theory of simple supposition is not as it has usually been presented. The prevailing view is that Burley and other authors agreed that simple supposition was in every case supposition for a universal, and that the disagreement over simple supposition between, say, Ockham and Burley was merely a disagreement over what a universal was (a piece of the ontology? a concept?), combined with a separate disagreement over what terms signify (the speaker's thoughts? the obj…Read more
  •  84
    (1) (p. 31) (1.1) “Some things that are said are said with complexity, and others are said without complexity.”3 Those that are said without complexity are, for example, ‘man’, ‘animal’. Those that are said with complexity are, for example, ‘A man runs’, ‘An animal runs’.4 (2) It is plain from this that the incomplex is part of the complex.
  •  80
    What I want to talk about here is a puzzle for historians of philosophy who, like me, have spent a fair amount of time studying the history of mediaeval logic and semantic theory. I don’t know how to solve it, but in various forms it has come up repeatedly in my own work and in the work of colleagues I have talked with about it. I would like to share it with you now.
  •  65
    Synonymy and equivocation in ockham's mental language
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 18 (1): 9-22. 1980.
    A textual and philosophical study of the claim that according to ockham there is no synonymy or equivocation in mental language. It is argued that ockham is committed to both claims, Either explicitly or in virtue of other features of his doctrine. Nevertheless, Both claims lead to difficulties for ockham's theory
  •  62
    John Wyclif has been described as "ultrarealist" in his theory of universals. This paper attempts a preliminary assessment of that judgment and argues that, pending further study, we have no reason to accept it. It is certainly true that Wyclif is extremely vocal and insistent about his realism, but it is not obvious that the actual content of his view is especially extreme. The paper distinguishes two common medieval notions of a universal, the Aristotelian/Porphyrian one in terms of predicatio…Read more
  •  48
  •  47
    Anselm and ambiguity
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 7 (3). 1976.
  •  47
    What is a proof for the existence of God?
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 6 (4). 1975.
  •  43
    seem to be a kind of corruption of the elements and not a mixture. Again, if the substantial form of a mixed body is the act of matter without presupposing the forms of simple bodies, then the simple bodies of the elements will lose their definition (rationem). For an element is that of which something is primarily composed, and exists in it and is indivisible ac-.
  •  42
    1 There have been several editions of Fridugisus’ letter. I have consulted those in Jaques-Paul Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus … series latina, 221 vols., (Paris: J.-P. Migne, 1844–1864), vol. 105, cols. 751–756; Francesco Corvino, “Il ‘De nihilo et tenebris’ di Fredegiso di Tours,” Rivista critica di storia della filosofia (1956), pp. 273–286; and the most recent and authoritative edition, in Concettina Gennaro, Fridugiso di Tours e il “De substantia nihili et tenebrarum”: Edizione critica…Read more
  •  41
    Let me begin then by introducing you to a distinction between what I will call a broadly “Platonic”-style and a broadly “Aristotelian”-style metaphysics. The guiding thread will be the notion of the essential and non-essential (accidental) features of a thing. Perhaps you will find what I am here calling an “Aristotelian” view unfamiliar and even foreign, because there is a kind of metaphysical “common denominator” in some philosophical circles today, left-over perhaps from the days of “analytic…Read more
  •  38
    This is the first of three “tomes” of Jon Stewart’s habilitationisskrift in philosophy at the University of Copenhagen; the second concerns The Martensen Period: 1837–1842, and the third Kierkegaard and the Left-Hegelian Period: 1842–1860. Together they make up volume 3 of Stewart’s series Danish Golden Age Studies . Their purpose is “to put forth the basic information about the Danish Hegel reception in a clear and readable fashion” . Such information needs to be put forth because, unlike Hegel…Read more
  •  36
    I am preparing an English translation of both the Tractatus longior and the Tractatus brevior of Walter Burley’s De puritate artis logicae for the “Yale Library of Medieval Philosophy.” My translation is based of course on the 1955 critical edition by Philotheus Boehner, the only reasonably reliable text available. Nevertheless, in preparing my translation, I have had several occasions to question or correct readings in Boehner’s edition. In some instances the corrections are merely obvious typo…Read more
  •  35
    Quodlibetal Questions
    Philosophical Review 102 (1): 91-94. 1991.
  •  33
    From Guillelmi de Ockham, Summa logicae, Philotheus Boehner, Gedeon Gál and Stephanus Brown, ed., (“Guillelmi de Ockham Opera philosophica et theologica,” OPh I; St. Bonaventure, N.Y.: The Franciscan Institute, 1974), pp. 744–.
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    This is a supplement my original 2005 article "Insolubles" in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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    The Cambridge Companion to Ockham (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 1999.
    The Franciscan William of Ockham was an English medieval philosopher, theologian, and political theorist. Along with Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus, he is regarded as one of the three main figures in medieval philosophy after around 1150. Ockham is important not only in the history of philosophy and theology, but also in the development of early modern science and of modern notions of property rights and church-state relations. This volume offers a full discussion of all significant aspects of O…Read more
  •  29
    divinity in reference to substance or in some other way; and I judge that a path of inquiry should be taken from that place which is agreed to be the clear starting point of all affairs, that is from the very foundations of the catholic faith. So, if I should ask whether He who is called Father is a substance, the response would be that He is a substance. But if I should ask whether the Son is a substance, the response would be the same. And no one..