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Supposition Theory and Porretan Theology: Summa Zwettlensis and Dialogus Ratii et Everardi

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates how the problem of (linguistic) reference is treated in the theology of two pupils of Gilbert by means of suppo terms. Supposition is for Gilbert an action performed by a speaker, not a property of terms, and he considers language as a system for communication between human beings: the 'sense in the author's mind' and the 'interpreter's understanding'. In contrast, the two Porretans tend to objectify language as a formal system of terms. Suppositio becomes in the Summa Zwettlensis the name itself as subject term in a proposition, and is divided into many kinds; formal rules are described which govern the influence of the predicate on the subject term's denotation. In Everard of Ypres' Dialogus Ratii et Everardi, supponere is a function of the name, and 'human is a species of individuals' is, as in some logical treatises and differently from Gilbert, a case of rhetorical transfer.

Keywords: Dialogus Ratii et Everardi; Gilbert; Porretan theology; Summa Zwettlensis; supposition theory



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