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Avicenna’s Theory of Supposition

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Abstract Although he does not have an explicit theory of supposition as is found in the works of Latin medieval philosophers, Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā) has two doctrines giving something equivalent: the threefold distinction of quiddity (triplex status naturae), corresponding to a division of simple, personal and material supposition, and his analyses of truth conditions for categorical propositions, where sentential context determines in part the reference of their terms. While he does address which individuals are being referred to by the universal terms used there, Avicenna concentrates more on the varied temporal durations of the predications being made. In Western terms, he has incorporated ampliation and restriction into the theory of supposition itself.

Affiliations: 1: Kutztown University


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