The best part about this series is that when Thursday afternoon comes around and I realize “Oh! We need something to post on the Medieval Logic blog!”, all I have to do is turn to my bookcase, select a text, and see what it has to say.
The text for today is the anonymous Syncategoremtata Monacensia, written in England in the last quarter of the 12th C, chosen because it is handily translated in Kretzmann & Stump’s Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical Texts, vol. 1: Logic and the Philosophy of Language (pp. 163-173). In the introduction to the translation, they say that according to the grammarian, “syncategorematic words are all the others — e.g., conjunctions, adverbs, and prepositions” (this list is taken from Priscian Minor XVII 10, p. 114.9-20, which Nicholas of Paris explicitly notes in his Syncategoremata, which appears on p. 180 of the same volume) and that “only some of those grammatically syncategorematic words were of interest to the logicians — those whose inclusion in a proposition alters the inferential force of the proposition” (p. 163). What is surprising given these two facts is that conjunction is not discussed in this short treatise, despite the fact that it is (a) grammatically syncategorematic and (b) alters the inferential force of the proposition. This makes the second twelfth-century text that we’ve looked at that doesn’t really consider conjunction as a logical connective. Albeit this is very early stages in the consideration, but I am beginning to develop a hypothesis. It will be interesting to see if future analyses will bear it out: That conjunction as a logical/propositional connective only really starts being separated out in the 13th century. (Of course, if anyone knows of any study on this topic that’s already been done — especially one that gives counterexamples! — I’d love to hear about them.)
Next week I hope to return to the other 12th C texts in the Logica Modernorum; I had planned to do so today but left my copy at home. Thank goodness for Kretzmann & Stump providing me back-up.