John Buridan on the Possibility of Defining Definition

History and Philosophy of Logic 38 (3):201-209 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The study of the medieval reception of Aristotle’s Topics has largely been oriented toward debates on dialectical argumentation. And this is surely right. Nonetheless, I wish to approach John Buridan’s commentary on the Topics from another perspective, which highlights some semantic features of the set of predicates around which the work is organized. Thus, in my paper I will first reconstruct Buridan’s account of the identification of the predicates discussed in the Topics. I will argue that, for him, they are different in that they reflect one or more features of the way in which definiens and definiendum relate. By doing this, I will shed light on the role the notion of definition plays in Buridan’s commentary, so that an interpretation of it as a work on definition becomes promising. In the second part of the paper, I will offer an analysis of Buridan’s first move in his commentary toward a theory of definition. It concerns the problem of whether there is a definition of definition. In examining Buridan’s answer, I will argue for the close connection between his treatment of definitions and his theory of supposition, so that distinctions among the different modes of supposition help him to disambiguate statements in their possible meanings, and thus to clarify the difficulty related to the definability of definition.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,100

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

John Buridan’s Propositional Semantics.Miroslav Hanke - 2009 - Studia Neoaristotelica 6 (2):183-208.
A Formal Reconstruction of Buridan's Modal Syllogism.Spencer Johnston - 2015 - History and Philosophy of Logic 36 (1):2-17.
John Buridan.Gyula Klima - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press.
John Buridan.Gyula Klima - 2001 - In H. Lagerlund (ed.), Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy. Springer. pp. 597--603.
John Buridan on Universal Knowledge.Olaf Pluta - 2002 - Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch Fur Antike Und Mittelalter 7 (1):25-46.
John Buridan on Universal Knowledge.Olaf Pluta - 2002 - Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch Fur Antike Und Mittelalter 7:25-46.
Buridan's Solution to the Liar Paradox.Yann Benétreau-Dupin - 2015 - History and Philosophy of Logic 36 (1):18-28.


Added to PP

27 (#591,340)

6 months
10 (#272,213)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Rodrigo Guerizoli
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Aristotle's Modal Syllogistic.Marko Malink - 2013 - Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press.
Summulae de Dialectica.John Buridan (ed.) - 2001 - Yale University Press.
Definition.Richard Robinson - 1950 - Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Topics.Robin Aristotle & Smith - 1997 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Robin Smith & Aristotle.

View all 19 references / Add more references