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The Role of Discrete Terms in the Theory of the Properties of Terms

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Chapter Summary

Discrete supposition occurs whenever a discrete term, such as 'Socrates', is the subject of a given proposition. This chapter examines this apparently simple notion. It draws attention to the incongruity, within a general theory of the semantic variation of terms in a propositional context, of the notion of discrete supposition, in which a term usually has a single semantic correlate. The incongruity comes to the fore in those treatises that attempt to describe discrete supposition as a sort of personal supposition. This shows a fundamental link between common signification, simple supposition and predicability, three notions that rely on the existence of a significate distinct and independent from the suppositum of the term. The connection is to be seen especially in William of Sherwood's Introductiones, the only author of a terminist Summa who recognizes the existence of simple supposition for discrete terms.

Keywords: discrete supposition; discrete terms; Introductiones; personal supposition; semantic variation; simple supposition; William of Sherwood



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