The Doctrine of Descent in Jerónimo Pardo: Meaning, Inference, Truth

In I. Angelelli & M. Cerezo (eds.), Studies on the History of Logic. Walter de Gruyter (1996)

Paloma Perez-Ilzarbe
University of Navarra
The complexity of the scholastic view of descent stems from the attempt to find a reply to three different questions at the same time: those pertaining to the meaning of propositions, the relationships of inference between propositions, and the truth conditions of propositions. From each of these issues there arises a different sequence of developments to this doctrine, each of which has its own problems and solutions. Initially, the concept of descent is introduced in response to the problem of determining the meaning of quantified propositions. This is the first axis of the development of the doctrine of descent, according to which descent consists of the construction of individual propositions which make explicit the meaning of the quantified proposition. The appearance of these new propositions, however, gives rise to the second axis in the development of the doctrine of descent. As soon as we have this multiplicity of singular propositions, it is possible to forget where they came from and how, simply considering the problem of their logical relationship with the original quantified proposition. This is how descent comes to be viewed not as an analysis of the meaning of the proposition, but as a relationship of consequence: that which could be established between a quantified proposition and a set of singular propositions. Lastly, when descent is considered as a relationship of consequence, it is possible to develop this doctrine in a third direction, given that this relationship between a quantified proposition and a set of singular propositions can be used as a means of showing the truth or falsehood of the quantified proposition. Pardo’s text is a good example of the problems which the concept of descent inevitably encounters when it is approached from three points of view which are superimposed upon each other without regard for their radical diversity.
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