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« “NOMINA QUIDEM FINITA SUNT, RES VERO INFINITAE”. Mediaeval Variations on an Aristotelian Authority »

Abstract : The question whether things are infinite in number, whilst linguistic items are not, has elicited little interest amongst post-medieval commentators on Aristotle’s Sophistici elenchi. Indeed, prominent scholars such as Agostino Nifo and Giulio Pace – to name but two of the most influential – disregarded it completely. The former dismissed the subject with a joke: for no one ever bothered to count either things or words, no one really knows whether there are more of these and less of those (or vice versa, for that matter). As for the latter, it is safe to assume that he did not think much of the alternative either, considering he did not mentioned it at all in his well-known companion to Aristotle’s Organon. Mediaeval interpreters, on the other hand, paid a great deal of attention to the issue, and rightly so. As a matter of fact, it makes excellent (exegetical) sense to investigate the problem. To begin with, Aristotle himself states – or so strongly suggests as to make no difference – that the most natural way deductive arguments get us into trouble has to do with the fact that every so often words and things do not add up (equivocation being, needless to say, the most common mismatch Aristotle refers to in the prologue of the Sophistici elenchi). Hence, it is definitely worthwhile to look further into the matter and ascertain why and to what extent this is the case.
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Contributor : Leone Gazziero <>
Submitted on : Thursday, May 20, 2021 - 11:06:01 AM
Last modification on : Friday, July 9, 2021 - 4:38:03 AM
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Leone Gazziero. « “NOMINA QUIDEM FINITA SUNT, RES VERO INFINITAE”. Mediaeval Variations on an Aristotelian Authority ». L. Cesalli, A. Grondeux, F. Goubier, A. Robert et L. Valente (éd.), Ad placitum. Pour Irène Rosier, Roma, Aracne, 2021, p. 309-318, 2021, 978-88-255-4025-3. ⟨10.4399/978882554025339⟩. ⟨hal-03230757⟩



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