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This article seeks to locate Vives’s work in the tradition of humanist thought that criticized the linguistic and philosophical abstraction of the scholastics. After discussing Vives’s views on language and knowledge as functions of man’s biological nature, the article argues that for Vives the topics, as seats of argumentation, are a reflection of the ontological order and as such an instrument and heuristic aid for the human mind. They form a grid through which knowledge can be acquired and arguments be formulated. The topics bridge the world of (unknown) essences and man’s epistemic categories.