Multiple Generality in Scholastic Logic

Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy 10:215-282 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Multiple generality has long been known to cause confusion. For example, “Everyone has a donkey that is running” has two readings: either (i) there is a donkey, owned by everyone, and it is running; or (ii) everyone owns some donkey or other, and all such donkeys run. Medieval logicians were acutely aware of such ambiguities, and the logical problems they pose, and sought to sort them out. One of the most ambitious undertakings in this regard is a pair of massive diagrams (magnae figurae) which map out the logical interrelations of two sets of doubly-general forms. These appear in a fourteenth-century MS of John Buridan’s Summulae de Propositionibus. In this paper, I present these diagrams, and determine the truth conditions of their different forms. To that end, I have developed a bespoke system of diagrams to display their truth conditions. As we will see, such forms present significant difficulties for an all-encompassing account of the role form plays in logic. Accordingly, they can tell us important things about the role logical form plays in Buridan’s account of logical foundations.

Author's Profile

Boaz Faraday Schuman
University of Copenhagen


Added to PP

195 (#57,869)

6 months
117 (#16,459)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?