Buridan's theory of sentences with epistemic verbs (`to know', `to believe', etc.) has received much attention in recent scholarship. Its originality with respect to Ockham's approach, however, has been importantly overestimated. The present paper argues that both doctrines share crucial features and basically belong to the same family. This is done by comparing Buridan's notion of the `appellation of reason' with Ockham's application to epistemic sentences of the general principle that a predicate always `appellates its form'.
Medieval philosophy is often presented as the outcome of a large scale encounter between the Christian tradition and the Greek philosophical one. This picture, however, inappropriately tends to leave out the active role played by the medieval authors themselves and their institutional contexts. The theme of the mental language provides us with an interesting case study in such matters. The paper first introduces a few technical notions—'theme', 'tradition', 'textual chain' and 'textual borrowing'—, and then focuses on precise passages about mental (...) language from Anselm of Canterbury, Albert the Great and William of Ockham. All three authors in effect identify some relevant Augustinian idea (that of 'mental word', most saliently) with some traditional philosophical one (such as that of 'concept' or that of 'logos endiathetos'). But the gist of the operation widely varies along the line and the tradition encounter is staged in each case with specific goals and interests in view. The use of ancient authoritative texts with respect to mental language is thus shown to be radically transformed from the eleventh to the fourteenth century. (shrink)
This paper studies the doctrinal and historical relations between the augustinian theme of the inner word as it was understood in Thirteenth-century thought --especially by Thomas Aquinas -- and William of Ockham's idea of mental discourse. The differences are shown to be deeply significant and are replaced in the context of a crucial shift that occurred in the decades between Aquinas and Ockham: the shift from theology to logic as providing the main inputs and stimulations for the development, on an (...) aristotelian basis, of a radically new sort of philosophy of mind. (shrink)