Abelard, Peter (1079-1142) - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Logic

The logica vetus included just two texts by Aristotle himself, the Categories and On Interpretation, along with the Isagoge (Introduction) to the Categories by Porphyry (c. 232–305 CE), and texts by Boethius (c. 475–c. 524 CE) on categorical and hypothetical syllogism, division, and topical inference. From this unpromising set of authorities, Abelard was able not merely to explore areas of formal logic untouched by Aristotle, but also to elaborate a whole metaphysics and semantics.

Ancient and medieval logicians worked in natural language, rather than devising a special logical symbolism. One of the hallmarks of Abelard's approach to logic was his awareness of the ambiguities in many ordinary sentences and the need to distinguish them carefully when constructing a logical argument. Abelard was not the first medieval logician to notice this point (Anselm of Canterbury, for instance, was an eleventh-century forerunner), but he placed an emphasis on...

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This section contains 3,586 words
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Abelard, Peter (1079-1142) from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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