Review of Metaphysics 43 (1):154-155 (1989)

Scott MacDonald
Cornell University
This volume is an important supplement to the two volumes in the series of Cambridge Histories covering the philosophy of the Middle Ages. Dronke's book, which adopts the format of the latter volume, is intended to fill the gap between them. It contains sixteen contributions by fifteen scholars. The contributions are arranged in four parts. The four essays in part 1, "Background," provide useful summaries of the intellectual inheritance that provides the cultural environment for what has been called the twelfth-century renaissance. These essays give us, for the first time I think, a clear and reasonably broad account of the historical and philosophical relations between twelfth-century thinkers and ancient thought. Part 2, "New Perspectives," contains four chapters, one on twelfth-century scientific speculations, one on the grammatical, logical, and semantic issues that grew out of interest in grammar, and two on logic during the period. These chapters are the most exciting in the book: they succeed in showing us not only some of what is new and distinctive in twelfth-century thought but also in taking us to the frontiers of some of the philosophically most interesting current research. Fredborg's "Speculative Grammar" and Jacobi's "Logic : The Later Twelfth Century" uncover some of the strange and intriguing roots of characteristically medieval developments in logic: issues such as the properties of terms, the theory of supposition, and fallacies; and methods such as the use of sophismata and instantiae.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph198943178
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