Topoi 16 (1):35-40 (1997)
In a recent paper Paul Vincent Spade suggests that, although the medieval doctrine of the modes of personal supposition originally had something to do with the rest of the theory of supposition, it became, by the 14th century, an unrelated theory with no question to answer. By contrast, I argue that the theory of the modes of personal supposition was meant to provide a way of making understandable the idea that a general term in a categorical proposition can be used to refer to the individual things that fall under it. Once that idea had been made acceptable, truth conditons for the various forms of categorical proposition could be given without any specific appeal to the ideas of descent and ascent in terms of which the modes had been defined.
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