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‘They had added not a single tiny proposition’: The Reception of the Prior Analytics in the First Half of the Twelfth Century

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A study of the reception of Aristotle’s Prior Analytics in the first half of the twelfth century. It is shown that Peter Abaelard was perhaps acquainted with as much as the first seven chapters of Book I of the Prior Analytics but with no more. The appearance at the beginning of the twelfth century of a short list of dialectical loci which has puzzled earlier commentators is explained by noting that this list formalises the classification of extensional relations between general terms and that this classification had already be put forward by Boethius in his de Syllogismo Categorico and Introductio ad Syllogismos Categoricas. It is pointed out the kind of text referred to as an ‘Introductio’ at the beginning of the twelfth-century follows very closely the structure of Boethius own Introductio and adds to it material drawn from his accounts of loci and the conditional propositions. It is argued that the reception of the Prior Analytics has to be understood against the background of this well developed tradition of treating together syllogisms, loci, and conditional propostions. Referring to a challenge to the formal validity of Darapti in the Ars Meliduna the paper concludes by illustrating that the theory of the syllogism presented in Prior Analytics was still controversial in the middle of the twelfth-century.

Affiliations: 1: University of Auckland

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