Species, Concept, and Thing: Theories of Signification in the Second Half of the Thirteenth Century

Students of later medieval semantics are familiar with the controversy that developed at the end of the thirteenth century over the signification of names. The debate focused on the signification of common nouns such as and : Do they signify an extramental thing or a mental representation of an extramental thing? 1 Duns Scotus is commonly recognized as having played an important role in this debate. 2 In his Ordinatio, he alludes to a magnaaltercatio among his contemporaries concerning signification. 3 What is more, he gives, in his two commentaries on Aristotle’s Perihermeneias, a detailed and fair analysis of the two contrasting positions on this issue. 4
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DOI 10.1017/S1057060899081025
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