Cover

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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Editorial Foreword

Gyula Klima

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pp. ix-x

More than a decade after its original publication, Claude Panaccio’s book is more actual than ever. This claim is amply justified by the reasons carefully listed by the author in the new Postscript to the English translation—namely, recent developments both in the historiography of and theoretical reflection...

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Preface

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pp. xi-xvi

This book is the result of a project originally much more narrowly circumscribed: it aimed to trace the theoretical discussions of the period (from approximately 1250 to 1320) that led to William of Ockham’s theory of mental language (oratio mentalis). At the time, I was guided by two motivations that...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

Does it not make sense to say that a Latin speaker who sincerely affirms (1), a French speaker who sincerely affirms (2), and an English speaker who sincerely affirms (3) all share the same belief? Those subscribing to a theory of mental language consider this way of speaking with utmost seriousness. They...

Part I: The Sources

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1. Plato and Aristotle

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pp. 11-27

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, three authorities—of no little stature—were regularly invoked in connection with the idea that thought is a type of mental discourse or interior speech. These were none other than Augustine, the intellectual guide of all medieval theology; Boethius...

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2. Logos endiathetos

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pp. 28-57

Of the three authorities medievals most often associated with the idea of interior discourse—namely Augustine, Boethius, and John Damascene—only the last wrote in Greek and, although much later than the other two, offers our investigation a more immediate...

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3. Verbum in corde

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pp. 58-77

Augustine, bishop of Hippo in the first decades of the fifth century, was the great authority for the theorizing of Christian faith in the Latin Middle Ages, and the notion of an interior speech—a word generated in the heart, or verbum in corde, to use his favorite expression...

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4. Oratio mentalis

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pp. 78-100

Until the third century, the philosophical notion of interior discourse remained relatively stable. Different authors emphasized different aspects, and the contexts of its emergence varied, but in the final analysis interior discourse almost always appeared as something...

Part II: Thirteenth-Century Controversies

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5. Triple Is the Word

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pp. 103-120

From here, our history takes a new turn. The theme of interior discourse, or mental speech, played a significant role in certain major discussions in Greco-Latin antiquity (on the rationality of beasts, notably, and on the divinity of Christ); but it had not itself become the...

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6. Act versus Idol

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pp. 121-139

By the middle of the thirteenth century, Aristotle’s natural philosophy was firmly implanted in the faculty of arts, which all university students attended for some years. Religious reticence and local but repeated condemnations did not succeed in containing it, and theologians...

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7. Concept and Sign

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pp. 140-158

Is the word the sign of the concept or of the thing itself? John Duns Scotus, in his Ordinatio, mentions a lively debate on this subject—a magna altercatio, as he calls it.1 This dispute over the notion of sign was closely linked to the discussion about the word described in the preceding chapter...

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8. What Is Logic About?

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pp. 159-176

In the second quarter of the thirteenth century, a writer named Henry of Andeli, writing in French, described in colorful allegory a “battle of the seven arts” dividing the intellectual milieu of his time. In it, we see Grammar and his troops valiantly defend training in language and the love of...

Part III: The Via Moderna

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9. Ockham’s Intervention

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pp. 179-197

At the end of the fifteenth century, a philosopher from the University of Erfurt, Bartholomew of Usingen, described the English Franciscan William of Ockham, who had been dead for approximately 150 years, as the “venerable initiator of the modern approach” (venerabilis...

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10. Reactions

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pp. 198-216

The Ockhamist conception of mental discourse was quickly impressed upon the attention of university intelligentsia and became, at least in its broad outlines, one of the key elements of the via moderna in the late Middle Ages. This development merits a study of its own...

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Conclusion

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pp. 217-228

How did the Middle Ages come to construct a notion of mental language quite similar, in certain respects, to that of contemporary philosophers? To answer this question, we identified a multitude of Greek and Latin texts, from Plato through the time of William...

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Postscript to the English-Language Edition (2014)

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pp. 229-258

Since the original French version of this work in 1999, quite a lot of research has been done on the history of the idea of mental language, especially in the Middle Ages. As far as I can see, however, very little of what I wrote here needs to be withdrawn, and since no other monographical...

Bibliography

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pp. 259-276

Index of Names

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pp. 277-285