Names that can be said of everything: Porphyrian tradition and 'transcendental' terms in twelfth-century logic

Vivarium 45 (s 2-3):298-310 (2007)
Abstract
In an article published in 2003, Klaus Jacobi—using texts partially edited in De Rijk's Logica Modernorum—demonstrated that twelfth-century logic contains a tradition of reflecting about some of the transcendental names (nomina transcendentia). In addition to reinforcing Jacobi's thesis with other texts, this contribution aims to demonstrate two points: 1) That twelfth-century logical reflection about transcendental terms has its origin in the logica vetus, and especially in a passage from Porphyry Isagoge and in Boethius's commentary on it. In spite of the loss of the major part of the Aristotelian corpus, the twelfth-century masters in logic still received some Aristotelian theses concerning the notions of one and being via Porphyry and Boethius; on the basis of such theses, they were able to elaborate a sort of proto-theory of the transcendentals as trans-categorical terms. 2) That this theory is centred on the idea that there exists a particular group of names which have the property that they can be said of everything; this group includes "being", "one", "thing" and "something" (ens, unum, res, aliquid). Twelfth-century masters in logic try to question the (originally Aristotelian) thesis that these terms are equivocal, although they do not deny it completely.
Keywords THING   BOETHIUS   SOMETHING   PORPHYRY   TRANSCENDENTAL TERMS   PETER ABELARD   ONE   TWELFTH-CENTURY LOGIC   BEING
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