Journal of the History of Philosophy 35 (3):355-374 (1997)

Irven Resnick
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
Odo of Tournai, the Phoenix, and the Problem of Universals IRVEN M. RESNICK OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS a good deal of attention has been focused on the philosophical literature of the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries in an attempt to locate the origins of nominalism? As part of this effort, several scholars have attempted to come to a new and better appreciation of one of the most vilified figures of the late eleventh century, namely Roscelin of Com- pi~gne, whose logical doctrine, sometimes described as "proto-nominalism" or "vocalism, ''2 represents an early stage in the development of twelfth-century logical thought. Some have attempted simply to reconstruct, on the basis of the little material available to us that describes Roscelin's views, a less polemical and more coherent account of his theory of universals.3 Others have attempted to identify additional writings -- both published and unpublished -- that may prop- erly shed light on Roscelin's philosophy.4 All, however, would agree on Roscelin's significance for the history of philosophy at the beginning of the twelfth-century renaissance. Roscelin's importance does not necessarily presuppose his originality. Evi- ' This effort has resulted in the dedication of an entire number of Vivarium to the origin and meaning of twelfth-century nominalism. Cf. Vivarium 3o/1 . For a discussion of various doctrines on universals that emerged before Abelard, see Augustine Thompson, "The Debate..
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DOI 10.1353/hph.1997.0052
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