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BOOK REVIEWS 249 Arno Seifert. Logik zwischen Scholastik und Humanismus: Das Kornmentarwerk Johann Ecks. Humanistische Bibliothek, vol. 31. Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1978. Pp. 184. DM 36.00. The first two decades of the sixteenth century saw the last flowering of medieval logic outside Spain. The main center was the University of Paris, where a talented group of Scotsmen, Spaniards and others wrote original treatises on such topics as terms, insolubles and obligations, as well as producing commentaries on Peter of Spain and Aristotle. However, a certain amount of logical writing was still done in Germany, particularly by Jodocus Trutvetter (d. 1519) whose works included Summule totius logice (1501), and by the subject of this book, Johann Eck (1486-1543), whose main logical works were his commentaries on Peter of Spain (1516) and Aristotle (1516-17). Neither of these men seems to have been original, but each of them had an encyclopedic knowledge of earlier writers, and an admirable clarity of exposition. Another feature of their work which makes them peculiarly valuable to the historian of logic is their habit of giving fairly detailed references to the authors they were discussing, this at a time when it was still usual to attribute views to "a certain doctor" or "some recent logicians." Johann Eck was also a figure of great interest apart from his logical works. He was a talented humanist who knew Greek and Hebrew, an experienced university lecturer, a best-selling theologian, a devoted pastor who is said to have delivered 436 sermons in a six-month period, and a famous polemicist who came to grips with Luther, Zwingli, and Melanchthon. It was therefore with high expectations that I approached Seifert's work on Eck, hoping to find his logical work placed in a perspective which would illuminate both the period and the man. Unfortunately it turns out that the book's title is highly misleading, since the book tells us very little about Eck himself and very little about logic in the second decade of the sixteenth century. This is partly because the text is so short: a mere ninetyeight pages, followed by seventy-two pages of footnotes. Moreover, the last part of the book is devoted to an excursus on the concept of dialectic in the middle ages which, although valuable in its own right, has only a loose connection with the rest of the book. The most significant contribution Seifert has to make to our knowledge of the period is his detailed account of the Arts Faculty at Ingolstadt, how it came to commission Eck to write the commentaries on Peter of Spain and Artistotle, and what happened to them once they were published. For instance, in 1516 one Michael Hutter was sent to the universities of Freiburg and Tibingen to persuade them to adopt Eck's commentary on Peter of Spain, and later 200 copies of the work were sent there. It is this kind of detail which helps us to understand the circumstances in which men like Eck were working. Seifert also gives a useful, though hardly new, account of the various logic texts that were available in the early sixteenth century, and a useful summary of the various intellectual trends of the time. However, while Seifert is clearly a good historian, his grasp of logic itself seems to be minimal. For instance, on page 63 he mentions in passing that Eck adopted Ockham's view whereby spoken words signified things rather than concepts without attempting to tell us why this was a matter of debate, or what the issues were, and without noting that in the passage cited Eck was explicitly following Duns Scotus as well as Ockham. In the same paragraph Seifert mentions Eck's rejection of Peter of Aily's view that mental sentences signify truly or falsely whereas spoken sentences signify the true and the false without explaining what the dispute was about, or how it related to Gregory of Rimini's introduction of the complexe significabile as an eternal object named by occurrent sentences . Another example is Seifert's account of supposition on pages 50-51 where he lists 250 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY some of the views held by Eck...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 249-250
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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