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  • Quaestiones super Priora Analytica Aristotelis by Radulphus Brito
  • Paul Thom
Radulphus Brito. Quaestiones super Priora Analytica Aristotelis. Edited by Gordon A. Wilson. De Wulf-Mansion Centre Series 1, 54. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2016. Pp. lxviii + 616. Cloth, €120.00.

This volume should be warmly welcomed as the first critical edition of a major work by Radulphus Brito (d. 1320), one of the most important logicians of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, who lectured at the University of Paris between 1296 and 1306. The questions edited here cover most of Aristotle's Prior Analytics, with 75 questions on the first book and 22 on the second. There are no questions specifically on book 1, chapters 17–22, and none on book 2, chapters 22–27. Two Appendixes supply some extra questions, including three doubtful questions. The edition is preceded by a critical study describing the manuscripts, Brito's sources, and the editorial principles. Regrettably, there is no index doctrinalis.

Radulphus shows familiarity with the writings of Albert the Great (d. 1280) and Simon of Faversham (d. 1306). The critical study and the apparatus supply much interesting information on Radulphus's disagreements with Simon, including numerous quotations from Simon and Albert. These will be of considerable value to scholars studying Brito's sources. The apparatus also includes citations of Pseudo-Scotus, but their relevance is not explained.

Generally, Brito's questions address problems deriving from the question-commentary of Robert Kilwardby (d. 1279) as retailed by Albert the Great. But these questions had come to be addressed with increasing sophistication in the interval separating Kilwardby and Brito. For example, Brito takes up the view (Kilwardby, lesson 22, doubt 5; Albert, book 1, treatise 4, chapter 19) that the opposition between "Some B is contingently A" and "Some B is necessarily A" is not immediate but depends on the general opposition between contingency and necessity; Radulphus deepens the discussion by asking whether this latter opposition is formal or material (book 1, question 22). He repeats Kilwardby's view (lesson 9, doubt 9; Albert, book 1, treatise 1, chapter 13) that in necessary matter, particular and universal necessity propositions are equivalent, but again introduces further subtleties (book 1, question 22). He agrees with Kilwardby (lesson 15, doubt 7) that a necessity major in the first figure "regulates" the minor so that the latter must be a simpliciter assertoric (book 1, question 37); but he goes beyond Kilwardby in clarifying the character of the conclusion as a necessary proposition, not a necessity-proposition, when the major premise is a simpliciter assertoric and the minor a necessity (book 1, question 39).

Further points of doctrinal interest include the following. He judges that the assertoric conclusion following from a universal negative necessity major and a contingency minor in the first figure is ut nunc in itself, but is simpliciter in relation to the premises (book 1, question 55). Book 2, question 11 gives extended consideration to the principle of converse syllogisms: when r follows from p and q the contradictory of p follows from q and the contradictory of r. Must the second of these inferences be of the same kind as the first? For example, if the first inference is a syllogism, must the second also be a syllogism? Kilwardby (lesson 11, doubt 5) had suggested an affirmative answer to this question, but Brito considers a first figure syllogism deducing a contingency conclusion from a pair of [End Page 729] contingency premises, arguing that the converse syllogism will deduce a negated contingency from two premises, one of which is a contingency and the other a negated contingency: this latter inference, he argues, must be valid but it is not syllogistic. (Aristotle's syllogistic does not include inferences from negated contingency-propositions.)

The edition has been prepared with great care; nevertheless, some citations in the apparatus are erroneous. The quotation from Simon at book 1, question 22, line 69 should support the doctrine that "Some B is contingently A" is formally opposed (not just that it is opposed) to "Some B is necessarily A," but it fails to do so. Book 1, question 26, line 20 cites Prior Analytics A4 as the...


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