The doctrine of distribution

History and Philosophy of Logic 27 (1):59-74 (2006)

Terence Parsons
University of California, Los Angeles
Peter Geach describes the ?doctrine of distribution? as the view that a term is distributed if it refers to everything that it denotes, and undistributed if it refers to only some of the things that it denotes. He argues that the notion, so explained, is incoherent. He claims that the doctrine of distribution originates from a degenerate use of the notion of ?distributive supposition? in medieval supposition theory sometime in the 16th century. This paper proposes instead that the doctrine of distribution occurs at least as early as the 12th century, and that it originates from a study of Aristotle's notion of a term's being ?taken universally?, and not from the much later theory of distributive supposition. A detailed version of the doctrine found in the Port Royal Logic is articulated, and compared with a slightly different modern version. Finally, Geach's arguments for the incoherence of the doctrine are discussed and rejected
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DOI 10.1080/01445340500321543
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References found in this work BETA

Reference and Generality.P. T. Geach - 1962 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
The Development of Logic.W. C. Kneale - 1962 - Oxford University Press.
Logic Matters.P. T. Geach - 1972 - Blackwell.
Introduction to Logic.Irving M. Copi - 1953 - Pearson/Prentice Hall.
The Development of Logic.A. R. Lacey, W. Kneale & M. Kneale - 1964 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 84:194-195.

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Fred Sommers’ Contributions to Formal Logic.George Englebretsen - 2016 - History and Philosophy of Logic 37 (3):269-291.

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